Getting Fit After Giving Birth – one program at a time

Do you know the polite manners for running on pavement?  I don’t.  I couldn’t even remember which side of the road I was suppose to be running on, or which side of me the dog should be running on, or if I needed to signal to passing vehicles, or what?  So, I looked it up.  I sure do love the internet, don’t you?

Did you also know that not only is there basic running etiquette, but there are rules for running in a race, or running on roads, or running on side-walks, running at gyms, running on forrest trails, running on park trails, and even some unspoken rules?!  WOW, I was a little overwhelmed.  Anyways, for the type of running that I am doing (on roads, not sidewalks, with a dog), this is what I came up with:

  • Run towards oncoming traffic so that we can both see each other.
  • Keep a leash on Pixie Dust and clean up her messes
  • Pixie’s leash should be short enough to keep her close, but loose so that she can still run freely beside me.
  • Run on sidewalks where applicable
  • Always use cross-walks (don’t jay-walk!)
  • Be aware of the traffic

Then, for running with a dog, these are just some good things to keep in mind:

  • Keep a close eye on Pixie and watch for any injuries, especially to her paw pads (which are still fairly soft from pampered indoor living)
  • Don’t let Pixie drink from any puddles: could contain antifreeze, salts, harsh chemicals, unknown products
  • Train her to walk on one side of me, instead of the way that she often switches sides
  • Bring treats to reward good behavior

I’m sure that I’ve still got lots to learn about having a polite and well-trained pooch, but Pixie and I are already off to a great start!  She comes quickly when I call her, she’s mostly house-trained, she doesn’t pull on the leash, she is learning the basic “tricks” of sit, stay, roll over, shake, and lay down (obviously not in that order).  She  still chews on everything in sight, which is a slight problem with kids stuffed animals, but only a slight problem, because usually just telling her to quit is enough to get her to stop.  She also is GREAT with the kids, and lets them hug on her as much as they want.  Yeah, we got a good dog!

Is running with a dog something that you would like to do?  How do you run with your canine friend?

 

Running with a pooch

Ever since I first heard about labradoodles I wanted one.  Hypo-allergenic like poodles, but the amazing disposition of Labradors.  My perfect pet dog, right there!  So, when I saw that some friend of ours was going to be having golden doodle puppies I jumped at the opportunity.  Yes, I’ve lost my mind!  Wanting a *puppy* while I’m in the middle of potty training, terrible two’s, preparing for another year of homeschool preschool, managing a very energetic 3-yr-old and the super silly 4-yr-old, while I’m struggling with keeping up with the housework, and maintaining some sense of a social life.  Can’t you just imagine the chaos that runs in our house on a daily basis?  But, we got her anyways.

We finally settled on the name Pixie Dust, and she settled right into the dynamic of our family.  My youngest, who has always been a bit puppy-obsessed, immediately fell in love with this super sweet little dog, and I’ve got TONS of A.dor.a.ble pictures of the two of them.  Anyways, when we traveled across the country to spend the summer with my family (and to help prep for my sisters wedding!), I knew that I was going to have to do something to keep this little pooch, and myself moving.  See, back in the western part of TX, there is a much larger canine living in our backyard that had served as a wonderful energy expender for Ms. Pixie Dust, but this giant pooch simply could not make the trip with me and my children.  Also, for me, well, I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a guest membership to a gym for 6 weeks.  And so, me and the dog took up the c25k running program.

The first thing that we both needed was the proper equipment.

  • I splurged on some new work-out clothes (which were needed anyways)
  • Got some decent running shoes (my old ones were way too worn down)
  • Pixie got a new leash – a retractable one, which I know isn’t the best thing for running with, it’s bulky and heavy, but if I lock it in place, we manage just fine
  • I also did some research on if dogs need shoes as well.  And decided that while she doesn’t currently *need* any shoes, if I become a marathon runner, then it might be a good idea to get her some to protect those precious paws.

I downloaded the c25k running program on my phone, along with some new songs, found a great place, and perfect time, and we hit the pavement!

  • The first day I took things pretty slow because I didn’t know how well either one of us would do.  However I was pleasantly surprised by both of us.  I wasn’t dying at any point during the run, and she managed to keep up with minimal pulling, jerking, getting under foot, or other distractions.
  • The second day she did even better, and I knew that I had found a running partner.
  • By the third day (end of the first week), she was barking to wake me up, and jumping all around when I pulled out the leash, and I knew that she wouldn’t ever let me quit and I’d be making another purchase for some winter work-out clothes in another 4 months.

As far as fitting in my aerobics work-outs with the running…well…I may have to figure that one out when we travel back to dry west TX.  As for now, I am thoroughly enjoying running with my dog in rainy west TN.

My weight-loss journey

Every adventure has a beginning. This is my journey with my body during and after the birth of my children.

When I got pregnant with my son, my first born, I was a recovering anorexic (which is a whole different story for another time). I can’t tell you exactly what I weighed at my smallest, but I wore a size 4 (at 5’5″), and it wasn’t healthy. I can’t even tell you how much I weighed when I first got pregnant, but I can tell you that by the end of it I had gained at LEAST 60 lbs, and was pushing a weight of 200. From the start of that first pregnancy, to the end of my third pregnancy was 3 years to the week. So, yes, I spent 3 straight years being pregnant. Then there was the nursing that comes after it, which for my last baby lasted for 17 months before she weaned herself.

So, I wasn’t eating for myself during these 4+ years. I didn’t care what I ate, didn’t really pay attention to portions. I ate what was easy, available, cheap, and whenever I was hungry (or moody, and with three children, that was more often then I care to mention). So, I stayed at 200 lbs.

Then I got tired of the extra weight. I mean, I used to look good: I was attractive, sexy, and had time to spend on myself. So, my first step was to watch what I ate. I cut the carbs in my diet. Switched to more fruits, veggies, salads, and almost completely eliminated all breads and starches. Over the next 5 months I lost 20lbs just by doing this.

That wasn’t enough for me, though. While I felt better at 180 then I did at 200, I still didn’t *feel* attractive. So, we got a family membership at the YMCA for a discount (still more expensive than a gym, but we don’t have any local gyms). I attended a morning aerobics class rather sporadically, and over the next year, while still watching my diet, I’ve managed to lose another 20 lbs.

On a good day I can weigh in at 158. Which is tremendously better than my starting point of 200. I’m not satisfied with that number though. While I feel more attractive, I’ve still got that horrid “mummy tummy” and I hate it, hate it, hate it! I don’t feel sexy!

Just recently we obtained a new member to our family in the form of a golden labradoodle, and I have taken to going running with her in the mornings. So, now I am on my way to the c25k program with a canine friend edging me along! I am getting there, surely, slowly, steadily. I just have to remind myself that it took me 4 years to get as heavy as I was, and I’m almost to my goal (aiming for 130) just 18 months later.

What are you doing to reach your goal?

Italiano: Un atleta che pratica wakeboard, fot...

Italiano: Un atleta che pratica wakeboard, fotografia amatoriale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

My family owns a boat.  My parents *purchased* it back when I was in high school, and we spent our summers out on a perfect little lake.  My brothers got real big into wake boarding, but we also had a few pairs of skis, a couple of knee boards, half a dozen tubes, and other water sport equipment.  Back in the day, my big thing was the skis.

 

Because of the nature of my personal life, however, I wasn’t able to get behind the boat for four years.  Three of those summers I was actually pregnant, and even though it probably would’ve been ok (at least for my third pregnancy when I was still in the first trimester, my first two I was 7-9 months pregnant, and probably should’nt have even been out on the boat…sshh!), I wasn’t willing to take that risk.  Last summer I wasn’t pregnant, but I was 30 lbs overweight and a bit *lazy* from being pregnant for so long. I didn’t trust myself out there, I was real unsure of my ability to control my body.

 

Wakeboarding (733262124)

Wakeboarding (733262124) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

However, I am going to toot my own horn a bit right now, and say how impressed I was at the ease, and the fun with which I experienced water sports again this summer!  Not only did I manage to get up on the knee board first time around, I did a surface 360, and even managed to get a bit of air while jumping the wake.  I was excited about the simplicity of all of that, but something even more exciting for me, personally, was a personal first.  I have never even tried to get up on the wakeboard before. tried once before, probably 7-8 years ago to get up on the wakeboard.  Just attempted to get up only once.  After using the skis for a while the wakeboard just felt too weird, I didn’t like it.  However, I decided I’d give it another go just recently, and popped right up my very first attempt!!

 

THAT is the difference that 30 lbs, a little bit of muscle, and some self-confidence in my body’s own ability has made!  If for no other reason, THAT makes all of the sweat and sore muscles totally worth it!  I am not a puny little wuss of a woman.  Having children has not made me weak and lazy.  Being a Mom does not mean that you can’t have fun and enjoy extreme sports!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English: TAKEN DURING WIKIPEDIA TAKES MUMBAI 1...

English: TAKEN DURING WIKIPEDIA TAKES MUMBAI 1 PHOTOWALK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When a 24 hour stomach bug hits a family of 5 people, it can take several days for all of us to get over it.  Thankfully, my son didn’t get it, but me and my oldest daughter had it twice.  So this round, it took a week for us all to recover from the most debilitating stomach bug I have ever encountered.  Vomiting, Diarrhea, cramping…it was a bit rough.  So, there was a week long break from working out, and I must say that I sorely missed it!

 

Also a new instructor started this week.  She’s…different.  I like how she’s trying to incorporate her own moves and her own style, so that’s going to take some getting used to.  I don’t like her style: She doesn’t seem like she’s having fun.  She’s high energy, and knows what she’s doing, she’s got a good plan figured out before class starts.  A lot of it might be that she is brand new…not just a new instructor to the YMCA where I go, but she JUST got certified and this is her very first class to teach ever.  So, she’s nervous, and probably doesn’t even know her own style yet.  I’ll give her a few more weeks before making my final decision though ;-P

 

Monday’s HIIT was pretty easy.  I didn’t sweat through my clothes like I usually do, and there was probably just one set where I really got my heart rate up.  Like I said…new instructor…she’ll get there I’m sure.

 

Step on Tuesday I went in planning on only using 1 set of risers.  The new instructor only used 1 set of risers and I noticed that most of the class (whom would usually use 2 sets of risers with the old instructor) also used 1 set.  It was just interesting to note that when the instructor steps it up a notch, so do the students.

 

Slept in on Wednesday, so missed weight lifting 😛

 

Got some new work out gloves specifically for kick boxing Thursdays, and man did it make a difference!  I really felt it in my chest muscles just a few hours later.  I really enjoy slamming my fist into that bag.  Again, picturing a possible assailant and knowing that I could use these techniques to defend myself and protect my children is motivation to really slam that punching bag.

 

In-laws came into town Thursday night and I wasn’t able to make it to the YMCA on Friday morning, which meant I missed HIIT.  I don’t particularly enjoy HIIT, but I know that it is super good on my system, which means that my heart misses it…I miss the work-out that my heart and lungs would get from it.

 

Crazy busy weekend ahead of me, and it’s good to know that I can have the energy to keep up with everything that I need to.  Overall, I am enjoying these daily workouts.  The result that it is having on my body…which as I’ve said before, isn’t my own.  That’s the purpose of working out, to be a good steward of this body that God is loaning me.  Other perks are to live longer, feel better, have more energy, and if the good LORD desires, and easier future pregnancy 🙂

 

English: YMCA logo (international and USA)

English: YMCA logo (international and USA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Monday was a holiday, the YMCA was close for celebration purposes

 

I was a bit upset that I had to take a riser off of my step on Tuesday.  Dealing with some congestion that meant it was difficult to breath.

 

Weight lifting on Wednesday wasn’t anything special.  Tried to push myself, but found that my technique was lacking a bit which meant I didn’t work what I was suppose to be working, and didn’t feel it the next day.

 

I was punching the bags so hard at Thursday’s kick boxing that I got and busted a blister on my knuckle.  It was really fun.  I picture a possible assailant and knowing that I will be able to defend myself if I ever need to (and protect my babies), is a comforting thought and what keeps me motivated to punch and kick as hard as I can.

 

Friday‘s hiit focused a LOT on the saddlebag area of the legs and buttocks…again. It was significantly easier than it has been in the past, but I think that the instructor was also taking it pretty easy on me also.

 

I’m not losing any more weight, and I can’t tell that I’m losing any inches (at least around my waist), so I keep telling myself that it isn’t about those things anyways.  My husband says he can tell a difference.  I have more energy, and I feel happier most days…I can tell that my depression is becoming more manageable.  I think that alone is a perk worth continuing for!

 

English: Abdominal muscles on a woman's belly.

English: Abdominal muscles on a woman’s belly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

If you’ve ever had a kid, you probably know what I am talking about.  If you’ve experienced multiple pregnancies, then I am sure you’ve experienced what I am talking about.  That little pooch in the front of your midsection that lingers around after you’ve had a baby.  Most of the time it dissipates largely in a few months.  However, in my situation, it never had time to dissipate at all.  I gained a whopping 60 lbs when I was pregnant with my son (Before you judge me, please know that becoming pregnant with him immediately cured me from the lingering threat of anorexia).  When he was three months old, I got pregnant with his sister (We wanted them that close together, I LOVE it).  I managed to only gain 30 lbs when I was pregnant with her (I did lose 20 lbs during the first 24 weeks because I was sick as a dog!).  When she was six months old, however, I found myself pregnant once again.  So, in the three years that I spent being pregnant (Exactly, the month of conception of my oldest, three years later, was the month of birth of my youngest).

 

I never had time to get rid of that pooch before I had to add on to it.  Add to that the scar tissue from one c-section, and a spiderweb of stretchmarks, I felt that my poor stomach would forever look to be 4-6 months pregnant.  Also, because of the timing of my children (don’t forget the major abdominal surgery of the c-section), I suffered from TERRIBLE diastasis recti.  That is a painless separation of your abdominal muscles.  I have spent almost 8 months now working on healing the diastasis recti, and I am actually quite proud to say that I have gone from an almost four finger-width of separation to 1/2 a finger-width of separation.  The secret to THIS is planks, and lots and lots of patience!

 

Working out at the YMCA this past month and working on other areas of my body as well as aerobic excersizing now means that for the first time in almost 5 years, I can accomplish a sit-up.  No more crunches for me!  I’ve still got quite a ways to go to get my stomach back in shape, but I now believe that the idea that your body wont ever be the same after having a baby is just an excuse to not even try (and an excuse to hold off on having children to begin with).  I am still nursing my baby (who will be 18 months old next month), and while I am suspecting some saggy breasts (especially after having 1-2 nursing children for 4 years straight), I know that they don’t have to be saggy forever.  And the added bonus is, by getting rid of my mommy tummy in this way, I am actually in better shape than I was before my mommy tummy even developed!  And I can be more proud of it too, because I’ve actually had to work for it!

 

 

 

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