Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Real Talk: Fitness after Baby

I'm just going to dig right in and be totally honest and say there were many days after Madeline was born that I didn't recognize myself. I know many of you, who are mamas, know this feeling yourselves. I looked in the mirror eight weeks later to see pale skin, cellulite, fifteen extra pounds, and dark circles under my eyes. Who is this person??

I lost a big chunk of my pregnancy weight super fast but then the weight stopped falling off and my pants and shorts still didn't button and legging season was dangerously close to an end. 

This was a big struggle for me for so many reasons. For most of my life I have been fit. But this is not something that comes easy for me. It is something I have worked hard for every day for years and years. I gained almost ten pounds while I was in graduate school and I exercised and meal-planned my way to the best shape of my life for our wedding and honeymoon. I vowed I would never put my health on the back burner again. It was hard work and lots of time and sweat and I was pretty devastated that that body I'd worked so hard for had disappeared after pregnancy. 

What was even harder was that I didn't really know where to start. I have a strong background in nutrition and fitness so I know how to lose weight in a healthy way and build strong, lean muscle. I just didn't know how to find the time to do it with an infant in tow. Madeline was still sleeping no more than two hours at a time. There were more 3:00 pm lunches in the Chick-fil-A drive through than I care to admit during her 6-8 week old fussy period where she cried most of the day and was only content in the car or in my arms. Especially since my husband travels so I was doing the whole exhausted new mom thing all by myself 90% of the time. 

Being a mom is hard. Finding time for yourself when you are responsible for a tiny human's life is even harder. It seems everyone needs you. You baby needs you to do literally everything. Your husband needs your attention. He needs your help finding his lost car key amongst the mountain of teeny tiny laundry. Your dog wonders why all of the sudden he's not the center of attention.

I was feeling very isolated. Our support system was spread out and my husband was in the middle of a busy travel season for work. I had to find a way to do this with no help. Dropping Madeline off for an hour with my mom or mother-in-law so I could get a class in at my favorite barre studio wasn't an option. I also found myself getting so frustrated when I'd see other new moms posting on our local mom group about trying to lose weight and so many people's response was how easy it was when you are nursing. Just breastfeed and it will fall right off. For me, I actually gained weight during my first four months of nursing. Honestly, I think I was in better shape two weeks after giving birth than I was three months later. 

Due to a postpartum hemorrhage, I was not cleared to exercise until 10 weeks post-baby but with the combination of purchasing a new house, listing our old one, moving, and going back to work all at the same time that didn't happen. And I wasn't eating clean, either. I was eating whatever was quick and little effort.

I really hesitated to share this photo and went back and forth between including it or not, but wanted to show that you can make big progress in a short time if you set your mind to it. The picture on the right was taken after only six weeks of being back into my routine. It took longer than I ever anticipated it would to get started back into a routine but when I finally did, I made some great progress and am still going.  I've actually lost another six pounds from that photo on the right. I carve out just thirty short minutes for a great at-home workout every day. I feel challenged and I am pushing myself daily. I feel leaner and stronger. I really dialed-in my nutrition using a meal plan where I was satisfied and energized. Adjusting my diet back to healthy foods and healthy portions made me feel so much better and I don't feel like I have to deny myself of things that I enjoy.

Fitness is a journey not a destination and I still have a few more pounds and some toning left to do. My abs don't look quite like they did on my honeymoon in Hawaii just yet but my clothes fit again. I have more energy. I feel healthier. I look leaner. I don't have unhealthy cravings. I can say no to Chick-fil-A. I feel calmer and more confident. Some of the victories aren't just noticeable on the scale. Most importantly, I don't have to choose between taking care of Madeline and taking care of myself. I even have time to do laundry and make dinner for our family in addition to my workouts, taking care of our home, a few hours of work a week, and being with Madeline.

Fitness after baby didn't look the way I thought it would. I thought I would have the energy to get right to the gym and bounce back quickly. I had to change my mindset to change my body. Its amazing what the female body can do. And its amazing how much progress you can make when you first give yourself a little grace and then tackle your goals with a lot of determination.

Baby or not, if you're feeling lost in your own health journey, email me. I'd love to help.


  1. You look great!! Way to go!! Being a mom is definitely hard!! It's a lot harder than I imagined it would be! We gotta get time for ourselves whenever we can!! If we aren't the best we can be, then our kids will suffer from it so we need to work at being our best selves first!

  2. Girl! Preach! You look amazing, first of all...but I hear ya on our bodies never being the same again after kids! (Ask me about my hot mess of a race last weekend! Yikes.) I think we have to give ourselves a little (no, actually A LOT) of grace and remember that we grew a human!!! You are doing great, mama! :)

  3. Great post, my sister is pregnant and super worried about all different things, it's good read other people's experiences!

  4. Way to go girl. I still have a soft spot for chickfila but don't have much of an excuse since there are no more necessary car naps. ;)

  5. You look wonderful! I really identified with the first part of your are just so exhausted right after the baby comes. My daughter is almost a year and a half though so I need to get on it! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  6. Yes! You look awesome, girl! Having babies changes so much of who you are. Physically speaking, after my babes were born, I had pairs of pants I couldn't get into for the life of me, and some from high school I hadn't fit into in YEARS that I could now get in. Talk about weird. It's really hard for me to carve out 30 minute chunks in my day, so I split up my time throughout the day and also make sure I stay active with my kids. My iWatch has been great for helping me keep up with that!

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