This will not be the usual fitness post that you’re used to seeing.
I do not have a workout routine, I barely cook and while I try to eat healthy, I usually (most of the time) fall short. Gyms give me anxiety. I hate working out on a treadmill or elliptical & I feel like everyone is either watching or judging me. I love Yoga & Pilates classes, albeit I’m not very good as I’m probably the least flexible & coordinated person you’ll meet but I love the classes themselves. I’ve never actually spoken or written about my post-partum body so bear with me. There will be some self-deprecation, but it’s all very honest. I’ve been very back and forth about writing this & putting it out there for the world. Most people would rather seem more put together. For all you know I could be working out several times a week, eating healthy and in seemingly good shape. Is that the case? Not really. Who am I kidding. It’s not the case. At all.
Am I relatively skinny? Yes
Am I currently comfortable being in a two-piece bikini? Hell, to the no.
Are spanks my best friend right now? ::kool aid voice:: OOOhhh Yeeahhh!
Am I trying to defend my decision not to snap back in shape? No, not at all. And I’m not complaining. This isn’t a “woe is me” post. This is a – Hey I’m doing the best that I can as a mother, wife and human trying not to put orange juice in her child’s cereal instead of milk because it’s 5 am in the morning and I just went to bed a couple hours ago. This is a – I’m just not 100% comfortable in my own skin right now post. I know that there are many women out there that feel the same, & if anything comes out of this post I want them to know that they aren’t alone. I want them to know that being uncomfortable in your own skin, let alone feeling like a stranger in your own body post-baby is more common than you think. I want them to know that you shouldn’t be defined by your body type because bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and they are all beautiful. If there’s something I’ve learned in my mid (to late..shh!) 20’s – it’s that the perfect body isn’t restricted to the cover of Vogue. There isn’t one perfect body & beautiful bodies come in every size.
I’m not the type to post a post baby “body transformation” photo. I’m happy for the women that do, it’s insane that their body can bounce back so quickly but my very next thought is feeling bad that I don’t look that way. It’s only natural to compare yourself to a woman who went through pregnancy and came out looking much better. I like inspirational posts as much as the next person but I’ve seen women post bikini photos with a 6 pack right after giving birth and that’s not what most women look like after just giving birth. Could I throw in a work out DVD during the day? Yes, but after 4 hours of sleep each night and a day that feels like it lasts forever when your baby wants to be held ALL DAY, do I want to, or even entertain the thought? No sir. (Cue in : Lazy Bethany who would rather just lie down in peace & quiet with her own thoughts once the babies are put in bed and therein lies the problem.)
Warning: Brutal self-honesty ahead –
I’m what you would call “skinny fat”. While I loathe this term, it’s the best way to describe how I believe I look right now. I’m slim, but I’m not exactly in shape and not toned…at all. My post-partum body often gives me anxiety and even though I’d love a Jessica Alba figure, at the end of the day I have zero motivation. I’m around 10-15 lbs. more than I’d like to be right now. Which I’m thankful for, I know a lot of women have higher numbers to lose in order to get back to their “ideal weight” after pushing out a couple of babies. I don’t hate my body, but there are many days where I look in the mirror and just audibly sigh because it’s not what I’d like it to look like. I wasn’t in tip top shape before having Kai & after having him it felt like my weight shifted to different parts of my body. My hips have widened about an inch after having Kai and then another inch after Rowan. And that’s bone’s just widening, no amount of exercise is going to make my bones narrow back to what they once were. My pant size went up. It feels like my entire rib-cage has expended and my bras now fit tightly around the band. I bloat 10x more easily (I HATE the word bloat) and a lot of my dresses now fit snug around the waist line. I can grab my stomach. I can literally grab and hold a chunk of my stomach as if I had just given birth. At the same time of sighing at my body, I also embrace it. I grew two tiny humans and to me that’s pretty cool. I’m incredibly grateful, every single day that I have had two healthy back to back pregnancies and I will never ever take that for granted. What I also take comfort in, is that it took 9 months for your body to grow a human, it should take at least that long to get back to feeling “normal” again. (Hey Bethany… Hasn’t it been about a year since you gave birth?? HEY! Mind ya’ business!! I’m trying!!!.. Well I’m going to start trying! ..Very soon!.. Starting tomorrow..)
When I see fitness blogs & work out guides/goals I become immediately intimidated because the person is either already in amazing shape or has been eating insanely healthy for years. It’s part of who they are and their routine seems like it’s 2nd nature to them. That kind of commitment takes some serious strength and determination. This is not an excuse to not work out. I’m throwing all my excuses out the window and working on how I can get back to a healthy toned body. I don’t need a 6 pack, I just want to feel comfortable and confident in a swimsuit.
I’ve tried cooking healthy (lasted a couple weeks) and working out regularly (was on a decent path until Kai and Rowan were born) but nothing has ever lasted. I blame completely diving in as part of the problem. I now want to change my eating and exercise habits but I’m going to approach it in a different way. I plan on slowly incorporating healthier habits into my lifestyle.
#1 – Eating habits. I’ve neglected feeding myself. Or at least feeding myself a decent proportion of quality food on a regular basis. If I’m going out for the day, I’ll make the babies breakfast, put them in their highchairs and quickly shower so by the time that they are all finished, I’m ready to go and just need to change them to get out the door. I’ll sometimes hurry, and frantically consume a yogurt, or grab a bagel to eat on the go. (& half of either option is consumed by two hungry boys with wide eyes asking for bites every 5 seconds)
I’m sure there are plenty of ways I can slow down our morning routine that allows me to cook a proper breakfast of eggs, eat & do the dishes, but right now my main priority is spending every moment with the boys, keeping sane, working, and having a little time to myself at the end of each day to just do nothing. Glorious nothing.
Here come the changes =
*Instead of 3 big meals a day, I want to start eating 4-5 smaller servings throughout the day.
*Instead of cutting out alcohol completely, I want to cut down the amount I consume in a week. This is going to be a hard one since I’m coming to the end of my breastfeeding era and into being able to have a drink without timing it perfectly.
*Instead of going balls to the walls with an impossible gym/exercise regimen I’m going to be realistic and start attending a yoga class 2-3 times a week.
*I’m going to start drinking more water. I now drink around 3 cups a day. Instead of immediately forcing myself to increase this amount to the recommended 8 cups a day I’m going to add an additional cup every week until I reach 8.
*Instead of grabbing a box of Cheez-its or bag of Doritos and plopping myself down to bored-eat* my way through an episode of mad men I’m going to pour a small serving into a bowl and limit myself. *Bored-eating = Munching on snacks during a show or movie when you aren’t really hungry. You just want something to snack on. I’m guilty of this on the regular.
Bottom line. I’m going slow and steady into this weight loss/tone up goal. I used to be all about a quick fix, but that never lasted. I want something that I can keep up relatively easily with and can be long term. If you’re looking to do the same, please join me! I will be posting once a month on updates on what I’ve been doing., what works/doesn’t work and what changes I’ll be making as I progress to my goal.
Wish me luck! And to anyone in the same boat – I wish you all the luck right back! Knowing that there are women out there going through the same thing is even more of a motivation to reach my goal. If any of you have questions/comments or suggestions, please comment below or email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org
To all my fellow non-fitness gals – Let’s do this!