Social Media Is Causing A Ripple
Some of you may or not be aware that social media is making ripples in the VERY Picture perfect world of magazines. Whether it’s Hollywood glam or September’s issue of Men’s Fitness it’s hard to avoid the steel cut abs and the rest of the perfectly proportioned bodies that grace the checkout aisles.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that I envy those “perfectly great bodies.” I mean who doesn’t want to look like that?
But lately, I’ve noticed a shift from social media and I have to admit I love what I’m seeing.
Perfectly imperfect people posting selfies of blemished skin and lots of post baby pictures that every mommy can relate too.
I love it because the pictures represent…REALITY!
And now as a mother, I realize I hunger all the more to see that reality depicted.
You see before I had my two adorable cuties, I was very happy with my body.
Here’s a picture of me with my sister 4 days before I got married.
Fast forward to 17 months later. This is me, days before I gave gave birth to our first child, Emma.
During my pregnancy with Emma, I completely stopped working out. Except for a few random yoga workouts, I justified that I didn’t need to workout because I was on my feet all day working with children and that was active enough. I still ate healthy and often even got comments about how weird my lunch was at my job.
But I was extremely sick the first 18 weeks and then again for the last 3 weeks. I ate a lot of crackers and toast just to keep from throwing up.
After having a completely natural birth, I was excited to see that just after 10 days later my weight was 5 pounds more than before I got pregnant.
I was PSYCHED! I’ve got this I thought. This baby weight thing is so easy because I ate healthy during my pregnancy.
Fast forward to 6 months later. The scale said I was my pre-pregnancy weight but I didn’t look it at all.
Although the scale said I was about my pre-pregnancy weight give or take, my pre-pregnancy clothes didn’t fit the way they did before.
I’ll never forget my first workout after having Emma. Eight weeks after having her, I decided I was rested enough to start working out again. I chose a 20 minute yoga routine which I couldn’t finish. My arms felt like I was supporting a 100 tons of concrete…I had lost ALL my muscle tone. This realization hit me to the depths of my core.
I had just given birth naturally without any type of pain relievers, medical interventions. I had pushed and labored for several hours and it was literally one of the greatest moments of my life but now I could barely do downward dog!? It was humbling to say the least.
I didn’t want to admit it but I wasn’t just out of shape…I was in a dark place.
Fast forward to a year after Emma was born. Emma’s 1st Christmas. Still have a belly.
I was STRUGGLING. Actually, drowning in depression, frustration, a feeling like I had lost all my beauty and confidence.
12 months later, I could fit into more of my clothes but I had the infamous pouch that was hard to hide.
The girl who could walk confidently in a room, suddenly became very self-conscious. I often found myself standing in front of a mirror thinking and saying horrible, hate-filled statements about myself.
And then, I would look down and see this beautiful little girl scooting around my feet and I would cry.
I LOVE my daughter. There is a bond between a mom and her daughter like nothing else.
What was I modeling for my daughter?
I certainly did not want my daughter standing in front of the mirror hating the way she looked. And, I realized that my body change was a small price to pay for the beautiful gift that I had received in exchange.
But that truth didn’t make me feel any more comfortable in my skin.
Some of you may know, that I am married to Todd or otherwise known as Bodyweight Todd. He’s the fitness guru and founder of ashotofadrenaline.net.
It definitely helps living with your own personal fitness coach but after 4 years of marriage, I have learned that I have to take ownership of my own choices. I personally have to have a healthy relationship with food. No one can do this for you.
I CAN EITHER LET FOOD CONTROL ME OR I CAN CONTROL IT….
Honestly, food won a lot in the past and still sometimes wins but I’ve learned that I win a lot more when I have the following perimeters in place.
Here’s what I have learned About Myself:
1. If I don’t buy it… I won’t eat it. (A no-brainer but really hard to do) 😉
2. My progress is best monitored by how my clothes feel, pictures, and a tape measure.
3. I eat better and feel better when I am tracking my water intake.
4. Tracking when I eat and what I eat keeps me from mindless snacking.
5. Solid protein in the morning along with a big glass of water before I eat breakfast makes a world of difference.
6. When I finish one fitness goal, I need to reward myself and then set a new goal.
7. Healthy is awesome but you CAN still over eat healthy.
WHY, DOES THIS EVEN MATTER?
I want my children to have healthy views about their bodies. It starts with us, as parents. Todd and I are very conscious about not making any negative comments about our children’s physical appearance. It’s just too damaging.
I can’t expect my children to have a healthy body image when I don’t. Whether my body is my ideal weight or not… I have made a commitment to LOVE it. 🙂
My body is strong, it’s powerful, and when I properly train it…it can do wonders. And I made a promise to myself, if I ever got pregnant again, I would workout for as long as I could comfortably and safely.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise but my body look much healthier during my second pregnancy.
Here I am two weeks before giving birth to our son.
I ended up working out 4-5 days a week until I hit 30 weeks. At 30 weeks, I noticed a big shift in my stamina and switched from high intensity bodyweight workouts to lots of yoga and then in the end prenatal yoga and stretching.
What’s mind blowing is that my daughter was born in December and my son was born in January exactly 2 years and 15 days apart. But I had to buy new maternity clothes, because what I wore for my daughter during pregnancy was too big for me when I got pregnant with my son.
I had another beautiful birth with no pain meds, medical interventions and this time I did it all at home. 🙂
Since, this was my second rodeo and my son was sleeping 5 hours from the start…I was ready to dive deep into my workouts. Again, at about 8 weeks I got the clear and was ready to go full throttle. I didn’t want to repeat my same mistake twice.
I had my first week of workouts under my belt and I was feeling great. I was only doing 1o minute bodyweight workouts when I came across this article about ab gap or also known as diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is when your muscles in your abs separate causing a belly pouch due to the strain of pregnancy. According to WebMD, 2 out of 3 women have this after giving birth! Who knew? I had never heard any of my mommy friends or doctors talk about this condition before.
Turns out I had this, so I immediately began implementing practices to close my gap. Specific exercises, wearing control top pants and good posture all contribute to healing the diastasis recti.
This is one of the workouts I did to heal my diastasis recti. I don’t remember how many weeks it took me before this healed but I remember it making a big difference in shrinking my belly pouch.
Once this was healed, I literally started working out only 3 times a week doing 9 minute workouts. Mentally, this IS all I could handle in the beginning.
If you have ever given birth than you understand. Juggling feedings, crazy sleep patterns, low energy levels all while still keeping up with the rest of the family’s needs can be overwhelming and exhausting. But I saw great results thanks to my hubby’s Bodyweight 9 program. I was able to adjust to my newborn son’s needs while also working on losing the baby pouch in a easy, sane way.
My mindset was better this time around too. I mentally prepared myself that losing the baby weight would be difficult but knowing I had a game plan, being proactive in taking pictures, and loosely monitoring what I ate greatly helped. It also helped that I hadn’t taking a 9 month hiatus from working out. 😉
Instead, I found myself saying, “I can’t believe I’m already fitting in my pre-baby clothes.”
I even had to adjust my goals to make them harder.
Here’s my progress:
I started wearing my size 4 jeans 2 1/2 months after Landen was born!
I was fitting into my old clothes better and faster and the intensity of my workouts accelerated much quicker this time. Not only is my weight down again but so are the inches. My body looks like it did when Emma was 18 months old.
Best of all my confidence came back even stronger. Instead of hiding under lose clothing or shying away from the camera, I’m soaking up compliments from family and friends.
Here’s a picture of me when Landen was 10 weeks old.
My next goal..six pack abs.
You may think that’s vain or unnecessary but for me it’s a personal goal/challenge that I want to accomplish. It’s not out of a need but a personal challenge I want to achieve for myself. Why am I sharing it with you? Because I have learned when goals are spoken, written and shared it adds more weight, more accountability and ultimately a higher success rate of happening.
Trust me…I’m not someone who LOVES posting post baby selfies of myself but I wanted to help other mommies. I wanted to give hope, and provide encouragement.
It’s hard not to let the change in your body over shadow the joy of one God’s greatest gifts. And I want you to know it doesn’t have too.
I’m still learning, still growing, and still avoiding my own pitfalls and my guess is YOU are too!
So…Be kind to yourself. Be loving. Don’t let failure dictate the level of your health.
“A Healthy Outside Starts on the Inside.” – Urich
I wish I had reached out to my other mommy friends after having my first baby but I didn’t. Instead, I internally loathed my body instead of finding a process and following it.
I still have bad days, but I can’t dwell on it. Instead, I choose to focus on my success.
Like, that I have lost over 30 pounds in 10 weeks.
That I was wearing my size 4 pants 12 weeks after having my baby.
And that I have lost over 12 inches and am still counting. 🙂
And I have this adorable little man as a result.
He’s ADORABLE, right?!? I know, I’m biased. 😉
Health is a journey that you don’t have to travel alone… so don’t.