Setting an Example with Health
Let me start with saying: Our bodies are beautiful at all stages of life. Take each stage as a learning opportunity to improve for you. As I include brief segments of my journey below -I try to also include the lessons I learned along the way. Although my journey originally began with losing the ‘baby weight’ – I grew to realize health was the priority and the example I was setting for my kids. If I don’t take care of my health, through nutrition, exercise and balance, how will my kids learn/or know health is important and to how take care of theirs? They learn by example in everything we do. As I allow myself to see it that way: the results came and were easy to maintain. I know that “falling off” happens but CONSISTENCY towards the goal of health > perfection, lasts. That’s also called life and we have to enjoy it all. It’s balance- striving for health with workouts/exercise and eating clean, but allowing yourself to have ice cream with your kids or knowing it’s ok to miss a workout. At least that is what it has become for me- a goal for healthy balance makes results maintainable.
My postpartum health changes started about 5 months after Brock (my second baby) was born. Looking back, I was exhausted. I get it! We’re up at night, chasing babies all day, trying to find what makes them happy. Taking care of myself looked different early on. I tried to get sleep and adjust to being a new mom. Workouts and healthy eating didn't happen often because I didn't feel I had time and I felt too busy with my kids. My brother and sister in law were getting married and I had decided at that time I wanted to lose baby weight before the wedding. I think that I had also become comfortable with where I was physically, until the yoga pants came off for “real clothes”, dresses, etc.
Long story short -I had a few failed attempts at Beach Body workouts. Imagine here: a baby in a booster seat, on my bed, next to my laptop, while I danced and punched the air, haha! I know many people who stick with it and really enjoy it, but I made no long-term changes with this approach mainly because I realized this wasn’t the type of workout I enjoyed.
About 1 month after their wedding (~7 months postpartum), I signed up for CrossFit. I had decided this was going to be my “me time”, since they offered child care for certain classes. Not long after signing up, I was hooked. Although my journey had started by wanting physical changes, I found emotional changes first. Post workouts -I felt great. Whether I thought I felt great before a workout or exhausted the end result was always the same: proud, accomplished, reenergized, and that emotional reset most of us mommas need. Those ‘feelings/results’ carried into my mothering back at home. My first takeaway: It doesn’t matter what workout you do for THIS result- We feel accomplished, reenergized, and motivated to continue coming back when WE ENJOY what we’re doing. Sure -initially it takes motivation and drive to push through those ‘tired’ days so that eventually it becomes a new ‘habit’ or part of life. Overall you get the picture.
About 2 months of CrossFit, I didn’t see a ton of changes to my weight which was my initial goal. So, I started using My Fitness Pal to track what I ate in addition to my workouts. My weight began to creep down. I had also been introduced to the RP Diet Templates (eating for your training) by my sister in law. This became my new drive: How would my body change or how would my lifting improve if I learned to eat optimally vs the quick hot pocket I had become accustomed too. Hot Pockets aren’t included in the templates -so that would be a quick change for me, haha!
After great success during my first RP cut, my next takeaways were this: Take the time to enjoy your babies! That time passes quickly. Remove the pressures of getting your “pre baby body back quickly”. It comes, when you’re ready! This is also where I realized during my RP cut, that I just felt better. I wasn’t as focused on aesthetics because I loved the way I felt eating better.
Soon after, I switched to Olympic weightlifting from CrossFit. I loved it for a while but eventually strength training with my brother (Quinn -Power Programs) is what I enjoyed the most. The program is a hybrid style training including: bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic lifting and some CrossFit/metcons. Each month’s cycle may have an emphasis on a different style -but the overall goal is to gain strength across the board and to improve form. The last couple years have been my favorite, because I feel goals can constantly change. Over the last couple years, working with Quinn has been huge for improving my form and increasing strength. I still have strength goals and I still have form flaws – but currently those are my goals.
During this process, my kids have been around it all. They see me as “mom” – so aesthetic changes they don’t notice. My kids grew up in the gym: so, if you are just getting started or trying to pick up where you left off, workouts won’t always go as planned. HANG IN THERE! We left often with them crying, or not staying put. I would spend workouts consoling or chasing them, picking up spilled or thrown cheerios, and leaving without a workout. I say time goes quick and it does, but in this short time now -both my kids have learned where to stay or sit during lifts (so I can see them for safety), they enjoy learning/participating now, and they know the ‘right’ music to lift too -AC/DC of course! All jokes aside -I love sharing this with them. I hope through this all -they learn and see that hard work pays off. Things won’t always go as planned, but then it’s about perspective and how we choose to handle it and move forward. Missed workouts, the occasional sugar -it’s ok! Consistency for overall health is the goal -and for that it takes balance! It takes time, but if this momma can do it, so can you!