To say I have been extremely hesitant to write this post would be the biggest understatement of my life. I’ve actually begun writing it a few times only to get sidetracked and delete it all. However, I’m writing this because I think it’s just the kind of thing that mamas desperately need after having a baby. I know it’s what I needed. I wanted to show a picture of what it’s like for an average mama to try to get back to her shape-ish after having a baby.
November 2014, still have 5 months left to go. Apparently the more babies you have the faster you show!
Before I begin….a bit about me. This was my 3rd pregnancy and each one was completely different. I carried my babies different, my exercise level during each varied, but regardless of my activity or lack thereof during pregnancy, I am always accompanied by 40 pounds as I carry my little bundles. Getting rid of that weight is a big cause of anxiety for me during pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE having babies, as a matter of fact I would love the entire thing if it wasn’t for months 2-6 postpartum. I have been encompassed by pure joy after each of my babies arrived. It never fails that a few months later, when that new baby excitement is gone, lack of sleep is kicking in and summer is going on (all of my babies have been early spring/summer) that I have to keep a close watch on depression. I don’t like how I look, I don’t know the body I’m in, I don’t feel I have the time or energy to workout which leads to a buildup of stress and frustration. I feel incredibly selfish and then have guilt about desperately wanting to take care of me. Needless to say, postpartum isn’t fun for me. I feel far from God because I know I’m being selfish and have unrealistic expectations of how my life should look, but this time it was different.
About a month after I had my little man I began working out hard core. Jillian Michaels DVDs each morning. It became way too much for me especially as I tried to figure out the whole nursing a baby thing (which I had never done). So I took a break from exercise for awhile. I knew I needed some time to just soak up my new life with 3 kids and enjoy that cuddle time that is so short lived when you have a darling infant in your life. By putting my little man first at this point in my life I was putting myself first. That snuggle time was so important and I am so grateful that I made being present for my children a priority.
This is what it’s all about 🙂
Here’s how exercise fits into my life. I haven’t ever known life without it. Growing up I played softball, volleyball, soccer, participated in gymnastics and dance team. Being athletic is all I know and it’s a huge part of my life. That being said, I am not at all someone who is continuously training or someone who works out a couple times a month. My life fits somewhere in the middle. I’m determined to do my best to take care of the body I have been given. Fitting that into my life can be a bit tricky at times. My husband works full time for the state and can be called in at any time (although this year wasn’t too bad for snow!) , he is also in the military so he attends drill weekends and military schools at times. I homeschool my 2 girls (and little man makes himself known throughout our school day!) and they are involved in various activities as well as myself. It’s hard for me to justify paying for a sitter to workout, so for me early morning or naptime is what seems to work best. I cherish the time with my family after my hubby gets home from work so that’s not something I’m willing to compromise right now as we only have 1 night a week completely free.
I knew this time around I wouldn’t be able to just exercise. I eat better than most people but honestly, in this country that still isn’t that great! I made a conscious effort to eat foods that were created to fuel my body; fruits, veggies, and meats. I figured if these are the things God created; fruits, veggies and meat. He created my body so He knows best right? That was a huge help to me as I ran short on time to exercise. I began reading “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst and started practicing some serious self control. I had always thought about my issues with food as vanity that I had to deal with but this book has completely changed my point of view. Lysa talks about how your struggles with diet/exercise can actually lead you closer to God. Practicing discipline, self control and gratefulness for your body are all fruits of the Spirit and when I look at this journey as practicing so that these skills will flow over into other parts of my life, it brings a much bigger meaning to losing the baby weight. If my body is a temple that is to be used to further God’s kingdom, I am being selfish when I fill it with junk food, or when I am too lazy to get up and go for a run. It completely changed my perspective.
(I HIGHLY recommend this book! Even if you aren’t a Christian, you will learn so much from it! Here’s a link to order it on Amazon. Made to Crave.)
So for the past year, I took it slow. I didn’t jump into any program. I took care of myself and my family spiritually, physically and mentally. I’ve grown more than ever and I feel amazing. I’m back to my weight pre-baby and have just now been getting enough sleep to get back into my morning workout routine. I have become more self-controlled, more disciplined, more patient with my body, and feel at peace. (Galatians 5:22 anyone?)
Here’s the hesitant part…..pictures. As much as nobody loves doing this, I encourage you to take pictures and set small goals if you are really trying to lose weight. I am only sharing these because this is what I needed to see after each of my babies. A mama who worked very hard to take care of her body. Not a website with extreme weight loss from a pill, not someone who gets paid to run marathons (btw if that you I think you are awesome, but it’s just not realistic for me) and surely not pictures that don’t even look like the same person. I’m sharing these to encourage you, that slow progress, is progress. I had months where I gained weight, and months where I worked my butt off and lost only a pound. So here it is, the pictures I took along my journey, I’m almost at my goal!
(PS-For the record, I have swimsuit bottoms on in these pictures! Not trying to be inappropriate here!)
“When I get all caught up in how unfair it is that my friend is skinny and doesn’t have to work at it, how she can eat what she wants when she wants, and how much it stinks that I can’t be like her, I remind myself that God didn’t make me to be her. You see, He knew even before I was born that I could easily allow food to be an idol in my life, that I would go to food, instead of to Him, to fulfill my needs. And in His great wisdom, He created my body so that it would experience the consequences of such a choice, so that I would continually be drawn back into His arms. HE wants me to come to Him for fulfillment, emotional healing, comfort-and if I could go to food for that and never gain an ounce, well then, what would I need God for?”
from “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKuerst, pg. 105
My favorite part of this quote is that it’s our choice. We can choose to live in self pity and let food control our lives, or treat our bodies like the temples they are. So don’t be discouraged, you’ve got this. And if you want a buddy to pray for you, I’m her!