Real talk: Postpartum health and fitness after one baby felt like a breeze. Postpartum health and fitness with a toddler and terrible newborn?? It feels impossible. Well, it felt impossible…
I know, I know — I’ve heard that we make time for things that are important. And if health and fitness are important, you do whatcha gotta do.
But here’s the thing — I tried really, really, hard to live by the motto “DO NOT COMPARE YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS JOURNEY AND YOUR LIFE WITH OTHER PEOPLES.”
For me, I’m telling you, it was impossible to workout and focus on eating healthy in Remy’s first year. I was in full-on survival mode. She didn’t sleep, like, at all. No, I’m not just saying that. If you’ve followed this blog at all over the last year you’ll know she legit did not sleep. 2 hours of broken sleep in a 24-hour period. So I was a zombie. I wasn’t even on Mom-bie level; I was a straight-up emotional wreck without being able to comprehend how to perform normal daily tasks, let alone focus on myself. Heck, I was lucky to make it to the end of the day with all of us alive and well(ish).
I was so tired of hearing well-meaning(ish) people saying “You just have to make time for it.” Because, here’s the thing — I know how good it feels to work out. I really do. I spent the better part of my life in a full-on obsession with eating super healthy and working out 2.5-3 hours a day (yep – you read that right… 3 hours of working out a day). So I know how awesome endorphins feel. And, yes, I craved them. It just wasn’t in the cards for me the first year. I’m really and truly lucky that I didn’t end up hospitalized for postpartum psychosis (I had severe PPD/anxiety, but not psychosis — I know this because I was lucid enough to make the decision to hand my children off when I was at my breaking point).
But then, right around Remy Bea’s first birthday, something magical happened — she began to sleep. She was acting like a normal baby. And I could regain some sort of (new) normalcy back into my life.
It changed everything for me. Not only was I able to hold conversations and laugh again, but I wanted to start working out again!
Here’s what’s been working for me in this moment:
About 8 weeks ago I got an email from Weight Watchers with an offer that I just couldn’t pass up — but it required a year commitment. And, truthfully? that’s exactly what I needed to kick my butt in the right direction. In my mind, if I commit to one year, then I will be able to make the changes that I need to make and stick to it.
I was successfully with Weight Watchers after Ari was born because it doesn’t require calorie counting. See, I get obsessed with calorie counting — and not in a good way! And in the short amount of time I’ve been back on WW, I’ve already seen weight loss and other non-scale victories!
I really like weight watchers because there is some flexibility. Instead of focusing on each day, I focus on the week. It really focuses on the lifestyle change and creating balance instead of a ‘diet.’
Switching it up //
The first time around I only did one thing, fitness-wise, to get back into shape: running. It really was the best option for me at the time because I had an hour lunch break at work and a running path right outside the door. So I would lace up and head out during the one hour of the day when I didn’t have my kids and I wasn’t busy working.
But this time, running is… difficult. I’ve been trying to still catch up on sleep, so waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to hit the road while the kids and husband are still sleeping isn’t going to happen. So I have been squeezing in time to work out at the YMCA when I’m not working (which is pretty much always). And instead of going for distance and speed, I’m focusing my treadmill efforts on intervals and incline.
I’ve also committed to three group-fitness classes a week: 2-HIIT/strength training classes and 1-cycling class. There have been plenty of days when I didn’t want to work out, but 100% of the time I am in a better mood afterward. And these group fitness classes are something that I’d forgotten how much I enjoy! I’ve been, unknowingly, longing for the comradery of sweating it out in a room full of other people who have an equal love-hate relationship with exercise! Ha!
Getting out of my comfort zone //
Recently I did two things that really brought me out of my fitness comfort zone. First, I volunteered for the Cleveland Marathon a week ago. I helped get all of the runners into the starting corrals and watched them take off over the start line. It was energizing! It’s been awhile since I’ve run a race, let alone a major race! It reignited a fire inside of me — my love for running is slowly coming back!
The bonus? I get a free race entry into next year’s Cleveland Marathon just for volunteering! So while it’s a bit far away, I’m not pressuring myself to run a race before my body is ready (which I’ve totally done in the past); but I have set this goal for next Spring — to run the Cleveland Half Marathon!
The second crazy thing I did was take Megaformer class at Corus Fitness in Beachwood. The Megaformer hits everything: strength, endurance, cardio, balance, core, and flexibility. To me it looks like a pilates reformer; but it isn’t. It uses small, slow movements to create a full-body, high intensity, low-impact workout!
I really like pushing myself, but this was totally out of my comfort zone! I spent the first 15 minutes of class thinking “I don’t know if I will be able to do this.” But by the end, I was thinking about when I could make it back for another class! See?? It pays to get out of your comfort zone!
Focus, focus, focus //
I have to admit, I feel defeated when I see the scale get just a couple pounds lighter each week. Defeated because I feel like it should be coming down faster. But I remind myself (almost daily) that this hard work is paying off and sticking with it will be beneficial.
Heck, I’m already feeling stronger and leaner! Slow and steady is my motto. And even if I have teeny setbacks, this is all paying off; and I am feeling better about myself in the process.
I think I like who I’m becoming //
Rarely do people talk about how having children really changes who we are as women. I’m not talking about all the things you ‘give up’ to become a parent. I’m talking about how we change into completely different people at the core of who we are. I guess the term really should be ‘grow into’, but still. You catch my drift. Motherhood changes us.
I’ve struggled for a long time at being this new person — absolutely happy about motherhood, but also a bit sad that I don’t recognize myself anymore. But I’m finally growing into my role and embracing this new me. And part of this has been finally being able to make myself a priority again.
I’ve come to terms that I will never be the person who can dedicate 3-hours in the gym 7 days a week; I’m happy with squeezing in a faster, more effective workout and then chasing kids around the park the rest of the day. I’m accepting that sometimes dinner is less than ideal; but I’m making better choices and holding myself accountable. And so much of this is just accepting where I am and the stage of the life we’re living.
Had an amazing time at the Columbus Zoo for @andrea_halcat’s wedding! Remy and I were rocking our pretty dresses. . Mine is from @shoppinkblush and Remy Bea’s is from @oldnavy! ?? . . . . #imsobloggingthis #remybea #documentyourdays #letthembekids #letthembelittle #columbusohio #columbuszoo #weddingfun #exploreohio
So if you’re in the thick of it — the hardest, worst part of motherhood, just hang in there and know that you will find yourself again.