Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't ever give up on your body

My daughter Charlotte turned one on the 31st of March. It has been a year filled with many firsts from breastfeeding to teething, Christmas and one emergency room visit. The learning curve of course, has been huge and it's been a year of tears, love, happiness, and often loneliness on the journey that is being a new parent. This first year has been a year of readjusting. While I'm getting better at leaving the house in a timely manner, it's not always easy to get yourself plus one ready for the day. I have another schedule to work around, another mouth to feed, a little soul that's constantly begging for my attention and always underfoot when I'm doing anything from vacuuming to showering. The past year was one of sacrifice and choices which were often unpleasant yet freeing. I could deal with selling our house, my dwindling bank account to pay for sitters and substituting happy hours for naps but the one thing I refused to give up in my life was working out.

Me in the best shape of my life pre-pregnancy

Can I tell you that standing on a scale a year after Charlotte was born, I'm so happy I never gave up on the body that didn't give up on me.

Let's be clear my best friends...I do not own a scale. I never have. I find them to be the source of unhappiness in life. When I was pregnant the scale taunted me and I hated each appointment where I had to step on it and see the number go up and up. My gym of course has a scale and so that is the only reason I ever knew how much I'd weigh here and there. Parked outside the bathroom, the scale at the gym was a source of amusement for me while waiting my turn to use the restroom. I prefer to go by how my clothing fits but I can say when I saw the number at 125 before I got pregnant I was elated. I worked hard for that number and spent many hours taking yoga classes, pushing myself on the spin bike and refusing to put the weights down in yoga sculpt. I swung kettlebells, box jumped and gymnastics tumbled my way into that 125 number and I was damn proud of it. Not just the number but how much muscle I had added to my body and how lean and healthy I felt and looked.

Here is the thing about one tells you after you give birth you will go home looking like you are five months pregnant still. The day I gave birth I was 157 so I had gained about 32 pounds with Charlotte. While some of the weight did come off right away due to the baby being born, blood, fluid and placenta loss, I hovered around the 130-135 mark for a long while. Slowly I eased my way back into workouts. Sometimes I'd take Charlotte to the gym with me and park her sleeping self by the elliptical. Other times I'd leave her with Chad while I did yoga. No longer could I take 4 classes in a day because I didn't have the time. Often I would choose spending time with my family over myself and my workouts.
first day home from the hospital

Here's the thing best friends, once something becomes an addiction that addiction is hard to beat. It's always there and it gnaws at the pit of your soul until you become agitated. The less I worked out the meaner I became because I wasn't happy mentally or physically. Maternity pants didn't fit but neither did my old jeans and I became more than annoyed with my body. The baby was out, why didn't it look like it did before? Where were my abs and toned arms? Why did my thighs still touch? I wanted to give in to the craving of working out but I had to do something else first....I had to thank my body for all it had done and I had to forgive it. I could not move forward and find a new normal until I could be grateful for the life my body hosted. I could not find my abs until I thanked my body for allowing me to have a natural birth.
at 41 weeks

It took a year friends. I know celebrities will tell you the weight melts off. I know magazines and friends will say breastfeeding will burn all your calories for you. You have to remember it took nine months to put on the weight and it will take longer to burn it all off. I had to stop buying angel food cakes and ice cream bars like I was still pregnant and start eating right. I had to hit my yoga mat with a new intention to make the most of that 75 minutes. My legs moved faster and spun harder knowing I may only get 30 minutes of cycling in a week. I hiked the hardest 14ers I could and did more yoga in a weekend at Wanderlust than I'd done all year. The end result was not what I was expecting. I didn't get my "old" body back...I earned a new one.

So while the number is the same on the scale my body is not. My belly button is deeper and my boobs are a little smaller stretched. My core isn't as strong as it was but it's getting there. I can do yoga postures like forearm stand and gymnastics moves like piking up that I never could before. My body is reenergized and refocused and I appreciate the fined tuned machine I now know it is. I trust my body more than I ever did before and I understand what it takes to be not just thin but strong.
4 weeks out vs today

Most of all I appreciate the every day. Our bodies are meant to constantly change and grow. Some days the scale will say more...some less. This is not an indicator of my self worth and it shouldn't be to yours either. What should determine your worth is how you feel. I didn't feel good when I wasn't working out and now I can see a difference mentally and physically. It takes a long time to lose the baby weight make no mistake but go at your pace, do what you love and in addition to getting to know your baby get to know yourself again. Your body is not your enemy, it's a giver of life...and whether that's to another human being or just to host your soul...well don't you think that's pretty cool?

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