This post is part of my series, A Real Picture of Post-Pregnancy, where I document my journey of postpartum weight loss and getting back to real life after giving birth to my third baby in 4 years, including losing 52 pounds of baby weight. (For my raw, unedited look at my 10 months of pregnancy, check out my series, A Real Picture of Pregnancy.)
Well, it’s been a great month, and it’s also been a really tough month. Let’s start with a quick recap.
I was finally able to go on a run, and it felt amazing. The hubby watched the baby while the 2 older boys were napping, and I strapped on 2 sports bras (’cause you have to double up at 5 weeks postpartum, obvi), dug my iPod out of the bottom of the drawer, found my workout shoes in the back of my closet and got outside into the sunshine.
Something about being outside, and just putting one foot in front of the other, moving my body, no matter how slowly, felt so amazing and empowering. I “moved” for about 40 minutes. I was planning to let myself walk if I needed to, but I didn’t. I just jogged, very slowly, the whole way. The best part was I didn’t have to share the moment with anyone. I wasn’t pushing a stroller. There was no baby in my womb. Just me and the open road.
Oh, and FYI, my body eventually caught up with what I was doing and staged a major protest. Here’s what your body says about exercise when you haven’t worked out for a year:
Day 1: Wow, I’m awesome.
Day 2: Ouch, this hurts.
Day 3: Holy crap, I can barely move.
Day 4: Send help.
A few of the days, I somehow managed to run with all 3 kids in tow: preschooler on a scooter, toddler on a scooter for the first 5 minutes and in the double stroller the rest of the time (with scooter balanced on top of stroller, ’cause that’s fun), and baby next to him. And of course felt like Superwoman. (If you keep reading, you’ll learn this didn’t last more than a few days, but in those few days, I realized there is power in just saying, ‘I’m going to do this.’ #makeithappen has become my mantra.)
This month, my husband’s paternity leave ended, and he went back to work. I’ll be honest: that was a rough week, for several reasons. We decided to put both our rental properties on the market to sell. There was negative backlash to my breastfeeding post. And, my husband also just started a new business, which means he is working 2 to 3 hours more per day, and he now works outside of the home (whereas before he was in a home office and could help me in the middle of the day if needed). And, on top of all that, because of morning commitments and afternoon thunderstorms, I wasn’t able to workout at all.
And I started feeling like a failure.
As soon as I realized what was really stressing me out, I took steps to limit it. I took a break from the blog. And I decided that, until I can commit to my 6am boot camp every weekday, I’m not going to put pressure on myself to workout with 3 kids in tow. (‘Cause… DUH… it’s kind of ridiculous.)
Isn’t it easy to put totally unrealistic expectations on yourself, and then feel shame when you can’t do it all?
I decided to stop myself and my crazy expectations.
I CAN’T do it all.
And, for me, just admitting that is a big win.
So, let’s get to what I’ve learned this month:
1. Celebrate the wins. On my first-day-back-to-running week, my dad came for a visit. I was hoping I wouldn’t get off-track, because when visitors come into town, it often causes me to get into vacation mode, and thus, eat everything in sight. But this time, I (mostly) kept with it. I had green smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch, and I even got a couple more runs in. One evening, I slipped up and had some tortilla chips and cocktails. After giving in to those craving, I started thinking, Well, I’ve ruined it for the day. Now I’m going to eat anything I want. It’s time to go crazy. But I stopped myself. I kept my cheat to just the chips and went to bed. The next morning, I was so proud of myself that I hadn’t allowed my eating to go off the deep end. This needs to be a lifestyle change, not just a diet to lose my baby weight.
When we were on vacation, I shocked even myself and went on a run. I didn’t think I’d make it to the pier, but I did. Even though I walked part of the way, it didn’t matter. I’d accomplished something I wasn’t sure I could. Once I got to the pier, I took a picture to remember how great I felt. Celebrate the wins. They will motivate you to keep going.
2. Think bigger. A friend recently posted about the book, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food, on Facebook, and I checked it out at my local library. I highly recommend it! I’ve told my mom about it, bought it for my sister and even recommended it to my Bible study leader. It is amazing.
Made to Crave is about how, Biblically, cravings are not from God. When we crave anything (food, alcohol, social media, sex), we are depending on the comfort from satisfying that craving, rather than depending on God. I’m only halfway through this book, and it has been life-changing for me. It’s written by a woman who wasn’t overly overweight, but she was a slave to her bad eating. Each chapter talks about her struggle, sometimes crying on the floor of her closet, to close the door to the bad foods she was living for. She talks about how, sometimes we crave our vices when we want to celebrate something. Other times, we crave when we’ve had an awful day. Each chapter has spoken to me, especially this line:
“Our flesh buys right into Satan’s lie that it’s not fair for things to be withheld from us. So we bite into the forbidden fruit and allow Satan to write ‘shame’ across our heart.”
This is so true for me. When I give in to a craving, it feels good. But then, later, I shame myself for cheating. Then I feel bad about myself and want to cheat again. And it is just a vicious cycle. Reading this book has helped me reason through why I crave things, and when. And recognizing that I’m craving something because I want to celebrate, or because I had a rough week, has really been empowering.
(Sorry for the long diatribe on this book, but I just think it’s that awesome and wanted to share.)
3. Follow motivating people on social media. My friend, Gina, has a Facebook page called Fitting in Fitness, and I just love her posts. She shares about her workouts, when she cheats, and all her posts are upbeat and encouraging. I look forward to seeing what she’s up to, what she made for dinner, or how she managed an evening workout with 2 little ones underfoot. She’s right on my level, and it’s inspiring to me. Sometimes, seeing her with a shake motivates me to make a green smoothie instead of the chocolate I really want.
4. The best chocolate smoothie ever!
Okay, yes here it is: as promised on Instagram, I have to share this recipe that has totally helped satisfy my afternoon sweet cravings! My sister sent it to me a few weeks back, I tried it once, and now I make it at least twice a week. It. Is. So. Good.
Blend together: 2 large, frozen bananas (peeled and sliced), 1 cup coconut milk, 3/4 cup ice, 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons cacao powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
I eventually plan to switch from peanut butter to almond butter to make it healthier (but it’s still a big step up from Cookie Butter, right?!?). You can also freeze what you don’t drink, and it becomes the consistency of ice cream.
5. Take the time to food prep. There’s no way around it. Healthy food takes longer to prep. I got back to clean eating this month, and every Sunday and Wednesday, I spend about an hour chopping veggies for salads, peeling hardboiled eggs and prepping healthy dinners for the week. I’ll talk more about this in next month’s post, and I’ll share my meal plan!
6. Don’t compare. This one is so hard. Why is it that everyone around me who has had a baby recently, is literally back in their skinny jeans like a week after having the kid (or at least it seems that way)? As I shared last month, I had to buy new “fat” clothes because my “fat” clothes from after my 2 previous pregnancies don’t even fit yet. And, even though I consider myself to be a confident person, I have to constantly remind myself not to compare.
I have 2 friends, one had a baby a month before me, the other a month after me. Both of them are naturally thin, and to me, they already look like they’ve never been pregnant. I find myself comparing to them, and I constantly have to, consciously, just turn that off. I’m happy for my friends, I love my friends, and we all have different struggles.
“Stay in your own lane” is what I keep telling myself. I’m on my own fitness journey. I don’t need to look at who’s next to me and compare.
7. Keep perspective.
Easier said than done, especially when you’re in the trenches of parenthood, right? I constantly have to remind myself that enjoying my baby is so much more important than fitting into those skinny jeans. I lost all the baby weight last time, and I know I can do it again. Plus, I’m more important than that anyway.
I’m hangin’ on. (By a thread, some days, but still.)
8. Forgive yourself. I wanted to end with this one because it’s the one I want you to remember when you finish reading this post. We all mess up. We all fail. I’m finding that the sooner I forgive myself, the sooner I’m motivated to get back on the wagon. Loving yourself and having confidence can be your strongest ally in hitting your goals. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. You’ll be amazed at how empowering it can be.
Alright, I’m 2 months in.
This month’s stats
Pre-pregnancy weight: 148
Birth day weight: 200
Start of plan (1 month postpartum): 186
2 month update: 181
Pounds lost: 19
Pounds to go: 33
Already 19 pounds down (but almost 10 pounds of that was my actual child, so let’s not get too excited LOL).
33 pounds to go!
Are you with me on the baby-weight-loss-and-loving-yourself journey? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so we can keep in touch!
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