So obviously, at this point, you’ve probably figured out that I’ve got kids (shocker, right?) And just in case this is your first time here, I have 3 of them. And I had them back to back. Gained and lost a lot of weight.
So why does that matter?
Because believe it or not, doing something like that- having your body stretch and grow over and over, with no real recovery time- can put immense strain on it. For all the mommas that had C-sections- kudos to you, because it’s even more difficult then. Now I’ll be real with you- as I always am- the extent of my experience with “working out” in my lifetime has been as follows:
- I played soccer when I was like 7/8 for a few seasons (My parents claim I didn’t “play,” I just picked flowers. But I mean, when there’s no game action down at my goal, attention can wander!)
- Elementary school “Road Runners.” This was what our track program was called at my elementary school, and basically they tallied up the laps we were required to run/walk/sulk the few times a week we did that during gym time.
- I took Pilates/Yoga as an elective in high school (it kicked my ass. I thought it would be a blowoff. Boy was I wrong.)
Oh, and also- one time my younger cousin and I messed around with his mom’s treadmill and he put it on the highest setting while I attempted to keep up. Safe to say, I fell and got righteous friction burns all over my legs and a strange circular scar on my right foot from that wonderful, scarring (literally) experience.
Obviously, I’m not the most fitness minded person. And really, in reality, weight hadn’t ever been anything I really struggled with, thankfully. I lived in the safe zone between 115 and 125 for a majority of my high school life. At five foot five, that was about on par for what was expected, as far as small frames go. Could I run for a short distance without feeling like one of my lungs had collapsed? Ha, that’s funny. In my dreams, maybe. But I wasn’t overweight, so what did it matter?
All of that changed after kids, though.
After my first daughter, I was so dang proud of myself because a week later, I was able to fit into a loose-fitting pair of normal jeans. During my pregnancy, I had gained 70+ pounds- mostly from water retention because I was a religious salt fiend. But I seemed to have bounced right back. This meant, surely, I wasn’t going to have to worry about my weight; I was a ~lucky one~. Fast forward two months and I find out I’m pregnant with Bear- and that I had been pregnant since 5 weeks postpartum from my first daughter. No big deal (I cried if we’re being honest.)
Once again, I gain 70+ pounds. End up being diagnosed with preeclampsia at the very end of my pregnancy with her, no biggie. I lost the weight so quickly last time, I’m 21 years old, never been overweight. But this time, the pounds didn’t shed like they had before. And this time, I hovered around 150, and then 155. 165. What was going on? My eating habits hadn’t changed. I had to buy new pants because they didn’t fit anymore, and when that became too depressing, I resorted to only wearing leggings because I could force a medium to stretch and not resort to buying a large (I really should’ve though- I apologize to everyone who may or may not have seen me in leggings that were working really hard to cover me because I was being ridiculous.)
I hit peak shame when I squatted down to put a license plate on a vehicle one day (I work at a car dealership) and the clasps on my slacks popped open. True story, and I’ve never told anyone (until now, when for some reason, I decided to plaster it on the internet. Genius.) But then, lo and behold, I’m pregnant again! (A theme is emerging here, huh?)
This whole pregnancy, I was terrified. I’ve even always been scared to become overweight because I had it made up in my mind that it’s impossible to come back to a healthy weight once I made it there. I’ve seen family members struggle with being overweight, the health issues that are associated, and I just knew that if I let myself get there I didn’t even posses the skills to come back. Yet again, I capped out right around 175-180 during my pregnancy, so only about 35/40 pounds- but a shorter span, since I was already closer to these weights normally at this point.
“But you don’t look overweight”
Now, you might be looking at the pictures above and thinking to yourself that I had nothing to worry about. But at the end of the day, everyone’s body is different. And for me, those weights weren’t healthy. They weren’t anywhere close to a healthy range for my height, and mentally, it wasn’t working for me either. When I sat down, all I could focus on was the belly. Squeezing into my shirts eventually morphed into me only wearing men’s shirts, because they fit a little looser, hid my shape a little better, and allowed me to save face (or so I thought.)
I would also pick up our other two daughters and get winded. Feel like I was about to keel over just unloading groceries. I was eating horribly- pizza, chinese food, all kinds of fast food restaurants. I work in the car business, so it was easier to make an excuse to order out for lunch or zip through a drivethru for breakfast and lunch than it was to pack something.
After delivering Bug, I knew that the way I had been “caring” for my body (if I could call it that) wasn’t any good. Definitely no bueno. Now, C is tall and lean. Metabolism faster that a blink of an eye. He can eat (I’ve literally witnessed it) several packages of ramen noodles, followed by an entire quarter of blueberry pie WITH ice cream. The worst that happens? Bad gas, and maybe a stomach ache.
Me? It seemed like if I even tried to consume half of that, I instantly was just stapling pounds on top of pounds. The back to back pregnancies had left me with a weakened metabolism, an unrealistic idea of how to eat, and a mommy belly that was out of this world. The cherry on top was my extremely warped self image. The muscles in my core were weak and abused from expanding and attempting to shrink so many times.
I sat and did nothing for several months.
Actually, take that back. I pinned a TON of home workout ideas on Pinterest. I also pinned a ton of “healthy lunch ideas” and “easy, go to snacks for weight loss!” Oh, and don’t forget the “feed your boobies but not your belly” smoothies. I always swore I would start making and drinking them while I was breastfeeding. In theory, that was genius… except I swore I didn’t like smoothies. Basically, I was successfully fooling myself into thinking I was taking baby steps towards becoming “fit” and being conscious about what I put into my body without actually taking any steps at all. Sure, I would walk with the kids every day (weather permitting,) but then sit down and eat a whole medium cheese pizza all by myself.
#FitGoals, am I right?!
Finally, finally finally FINALLY- one of my best friends in the entire world started working out. She, like me (or the past me, at least) had never struggled with weight. But she wasn’t fit, either. I watched from afar, played as her cheerleader, and was so proud each and every time she did her workouts. Even ended up signing up with the same program just to feel like I took some sort of initiative.
I sat on that membership for 2.5 months before I did anything with it.
Then, I tried on wedding dresses and could barely fit into the sizes of the dresses on the rack. I had to hold my breath and suck in my stomach to get it on, and finally we resorted to just clipping it, with my super sweet consultant promising that they could order me a larger size; we could alter it, not to worry about sizes.
I found my dress that day, and also found the motivation and the drive to get my butt into shape. I had literally NO reason not to at this point, and every reason TO. To set an example for my daughters, to fit into my wedding dress, to look my absolute possible BEST on MY DAY. THIS was my why. This is what I had been missing all along.
Now, you’re probably thinking: “So what happens after you get married and lose your “why’? Are you going to go back to being an extension of the couch, barely visible behind the bags of chips and the empty cookie packages?”
No. Because now, I’ve found a new why. I still have the “Wedding Why” as I call it, as we’re not due to get married until March 2020. But my big picture why, the one that’s going to keep me going for as long as I can manage to pick up a weight and do the moves? It is that I want to better myself. I want to be good for ME. That is what wakes me up in the morning and gives me energy; what gives me a drive that I haven’t experienced in a while.
Now, none of this is to say that if you don’t weigh what I did or do, that you’re overweight. Or unhealthy. Everyone’s body is different, and everyone has different limits and points of what is too much for them. At the end of the day, confidence in your own skin is important, just as is your overall health. My goal isn’t necessarily solely to lose weight it’s more about feeling good about myself and being proud of the skin I’m in. After all, I’ve created 3 beautiful, smart baby girls. If I don’t feel good about myself, how am I supposed to teach them to feel good about themselves? On top of that, with my history of preeclampsia, I’m at a higher risk of hypertension in my later life, (about a 50% increase in risk,) and the prevention for that is excersize and a conscious diet.
Am I “good” at working out? Absolutely not. I work out with my dad occasionally and do weight training with him and my youngest brother. They say my faces are a sight to see. When I workout in the evening and C catches me mid move, he usually asks if I’m in pain. And from taping myself for form check, I myself know that I’m not the most graceful of people. (Check my insta for workout sneak peeks.) But what matters is that I show up. Every day. Even if its for a quick 10 minute power session, or a 30 minute cardio. It doesn’t matter. The skill will come, but the determination is what will keep me here now. Weight is not my focus; feeling better for myself is. And if I lose weight in the process? Well, that’s a win-win.