Getting Fit After Giving Birth – one program at a time

Posts tagged ‘Pregnancy’

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?

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The difference that 30 lbs, and a little bit of muscles can make!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combatting the “Mommy Tummy”

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!

 

 

 

If my 2 yr old can do it why not me?

English: A man lifts his shirt up to expose hi...

English: A man lifts his shirt up to expose his well-developed abdominal muscles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I noticed something on my 2 yr old girl the other day that just blew my mind…She has a six pack! Now, I know that she’s not had the three pregnancies or the chance that I’ve had to gain any weight (I mean, I’ve got 20 something years on her). But she has a six pack!!! How does that even happen? I know that she’s a super active girl.  She loves to run, and she does run…EVERYWHERE!  She climbs, she jumps, she throws, she is a champion fit pitcher, she is very busy.  I’m not saying that she’s busy because all toddlers are busy…she’s exceptionally busy (I’ve had two other toddlers, and other people who work closely with her age range all comment on how busy she is…yeah, she’s really active).  My point is, if my 2 year old can have a six pack, then by all means, so can I!!!!!  Granted I’ve got a lot more working against me: Laziness, three previous pregnancies, 20 something years.  But I’ve also got a lot more working for me: The desire to become fit, an interest in healthier foods, working for that specific goal.  So, my statement for today is, if my 2 yr old can have a six pack, then why can’t I?

 

 

New plan – Cycling AND Running??

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Cycling (road)....

Well, as I discussed a few days ago, it seems that my running ability is not on par with the C25K Beginner’s program.  My body is just so messed up.  In all truth, it really is my fault.  I was a HUGE couch potatoe throughout all of my pregnancies.  With my son, I had mild edema, pre-ecalmpsia, and high blood pressure, so I was *ordered* to take things easy.  With my oldest daughter, my hips were SO messed up that it was extremely painful to be active.  The more active I was, the worse my hips would be and the less my mobility became.  When you already have one child, you really cannot afford to lose your mobility.  Plus, I was so super sick during my pregnancy with her (lost 20 lbs. the first HALF).  Then, with my youngest daughter, I was just doing my best to survive.  I really was just living day by day, struggling to get my chores done, and taking every advantage of nap times.  Emotionally, I was a wreck, had no clue how I was going to deal with 3 children under two and a half years of age (another story for another blog).  Any type of exercising was out of the question.  I wouldn’t say that I was lazy during any of my pregnancies, if your a stay at home mother, you really are anything except lazy.  But, I wasn’t too terribly physically active…couldn’t handle it.

Now that I’m trying to get up off my butt and doing something, my body is fighting back.  My lungs can handle it.  I can push my lungs, control my breathing.  However my legs are not liking the *abuse*.  My knees disagreed with my shoes, my tibias are arguing with my shins, and my glutes have strife with my pelvis.  Running 3X a week just isn’t going to work RIGHT NOW.

So, I’m going to start slower than beginner.  At first I was really frustrated at myself, I hated my body, I was angry that the wonderful gift of children came with such an unexpected burden.  But I have a plan now, and I’m ok with everything that’s gone on.  Allow me to share my plan, and maybe someone else who has similar issues may want to join in?

I go running twice a week.  I follow the idea of the Cool Runnings program, but what would take a normal person two weeks to complete will end up taking me three weeks.  And then, on days that I’m not running, I cycle, twice a day.  Running is something that I can do by myself without my children, and cycling is something that I can do with my whole family, and also help my husband get into shape.

Cycling

So there you have it.  A plan.  Having a plan is the first step to correcting a situation.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how this plan works, so far, I’m quite happy with it!

Today’s cycling stats (using Strava cycling app for iphone):

First time

  • 1.6 miles
  • 16:06 minutes
  • 6.0 mph average
  • 10.4 mph max speed

Second time

  • 1.6 miles
  • 19:04 minutes (had to stop to adjust the kids…silly)
  • 5.5 mph average
  • 9.6 mph max speed

Beating Down The Judgments

Couch to 5KI am not a thin person.  I mean, seriously, I’ve had three children!  I’ve got a belly pooch that makes me look AT LEAST 6 months pregnant.  Yes, I am *very* self conscious about it.

I run in a very public place – the local park.  There is nothing private about my running.  Anyone can watch me run, they can decide whatever they want to about me.  I am very slow, so naturally there are other runners (and even walkers, I know, how embarrassing) who pass me up.

There is a 123.7% probability that my own insecurities are playing against me, but when I am running, I feel EVERY SINGLE pair of eyes staring at me.  I can sense their probing brains thinking: “What is that fat girl doing running?”  With every person that passes me up I shrink a little bit smaller.  So, just how do I overcome these emotions?  Let me suggest 5 different ways that I have overcome them.

  1. I Love Running.  That’s it.  I’m not running to lose weight, I’m not doing it to get in shape, I’m not doing it for anyone else.  I run because I enjoy it.  If someone else wants to pass judgment on self-enjoyment, then I can totally call out their wine/beer drinking, or their magazine collection, or whatever else that they may do as a means of pleasure.  At least this form of “escape” has some beneficial value aside from mentality.
  2. C25KI’ve just started.  A quote that I read on the lovely world of pinterest: It takes four weeks for you to notice, eight weeks for close friends and family to notice, and another 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice, keep going.  It takes TIME to lose the weight.  Especially after you’ve had a child, like they tell you, it took you nine+ months to gain the weight, it’ll take you at least that long to lose it.  Be patient, you’ll get there.
  3. I’ve had three children.  I know that not everyone can use this as an excuse for their weight.  How about “I went to College (freshmen fifteen, right?)”, or “I’m only 16”, or even “I just realized that I need to do some sort of physical exersize and this is what I’ve chosen”.  Find a legitimate excuse.  Don’t use this excuse as a reason to not get out there and run, just use it to quell those judgmental stairs that you feel as you travel past anyone else on the playground.
  4. How are you going to judge me, when you’re just as heavy/out of shape?  Yes, I’m pulling out the comparison card (which really is a big No No, because you don’t know the other person’s situation).  If just to keep your own mind at ease, go ahead and pull it out, but please, keep this one to yourself.  Just as you don’t like feeling that accusatory stare, so others wont appreciate it from you.
  5. JudgmentHow many people in the world are sitting on their big fat butts, NOT exercising?  Another quote from the lovely world of pinterest:  Doesn’t matter how slow you are going, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.  Again, I’m pulling out the comparison card, but if a person has enough precious time to sit on the couch and watch television then they can certainly find the time to do SOME physical exercise.  Because like I said above, a little is better than none!

So there you have it.  At least the ones that I use to keep me going.  Also, having a good soundtrack should keep you a bit distracted from those non-existent staring eyes, but distractions are going to be covered in a later post (go ahead and subscribe so you wont miss it!).

((If you’d like an invite to pinterest, simply let me know and I’ll send one right over to you, it really is an awesome social site!))

This Eventide’s Data:

Total Time (From walking on to walking off the track): 23:39.6

  • Warm-up: 3:11.8
  • Run: 1:07.3
  • Walk: 1:37.2 (I got a bit distracted)
  • Run: 1:05.7
  • Walk: 1:30.4
  • Run: 1:00.7
  • Walk: 1:31.2
  • Run: 1:04.6
  • Walk: 1:40.8 (got distracted again…haha!)
  • Run: 1:05.2
  • Walk: 1:42.2 (I’ll admit, I didn’t want to run anymore at this point)
  • Run: 1:10.9 (but I pressed on, and really tried to push myself!)
  • Walk: 4:51.1 to get all the way around the track

Total Distance: 1.5 Miles

Calories Burned: 207

Pace: 15:46

Sound Track

  • Earth Wind and Fire – Let’s Groove Tonight
  • Yellowcard- Way Away
  • Matchbox Twenty – 3 a.m.
  • Weird Al – Star Wars Cantina
  • Earth Wind and Fire – Let’s Groove Tonight
  • Blues Brothers – Ghost Riders In The Sky
  • Tarzan – Trashing the Camp

Getting Started with the C25K Running Program

From the start of my first pregnancy to the end of this last pregnancy has been a little over 3 years.  CRAZY!  If you’ll bare with me, I’ll go into a bit of some detail, I’ll try to keep it short for ya!

I’m sort of a wall-flower when it comes to being social.  Very introvertive and completely fitting the stereotype of middle child.  I’ve tried a whole slew of different sports: Gymnastics, softball, soccer, hockey, football, volleyball, and a few other artistic talents (piano, violin, theatre).  Never could really find my niche.  I have never really been overweight either (Average of 140-145 lbs. at 5’5″).

In college, I struggled with an eating disorder (anorexia, not because I wanted to be skinny, but because I had an issue with food, it’s a whole different story).  Then, I got married after my sophomore year (I was only 19, I know, SUPER young).  6 months later, I got pregnant with my son (eating disorder conquered!).  Gained 65 lbs.  When he was 3 months old, I weighed 195-200 lbs and found myself pregnant again, this time with a girl.  Lost 20 lbs because of horrible morning sickness, gained 30 back.  A total of 10 lbs.  When she was about 8 months old, I weighed in at 165 lbs.

I had seen a few of my friends posting facebook statusi (statuses, statuspeople?) about this couch to 5k running program (C25K) and I decided to give it a shot.  I loved it!  The first time I went, I came back so high on endorphins – sunshine, no children, no worries, just me and the pavement.  I got through the third week and found out that I was 7 weeks pregnant (another girl).  So, I had to stop.  I gained about 25 lbs total.

I was anxious to start running again, and I was good and waited until she was 6 weeks old.  I weighed in at 175 lbs.  Then, I had to wait until the weather was good (she was a winter baby).  She’ll be 5 months old in three days and tonight was my first run and it was incredible!

There are dozens, nay hundreds, well probably thousands, of women who have had just one child, and have struggled to get their figure back.  I know what they are going through.  I would LOVE to hear from them.  This is the beginning of my journey to get fit after giving birth.

Today’s Stats:

Total Time (From walking on to walking off the track): 23:28.1

  • Warm-up: 5:00.1
  • Run: 1:02.0
  • Walk: 1:31.2
  • Run: 1:01.9
  • Walk: 1:30.6
  • Run: 1:01.0
  • Walk: 1:31.1
  • Run: 1:00.7
  • Walk: 1:30.6
  • Run: 1:00.4
  • Walk: 1:30.6
  • Run: 1:00.3
  • Walk: 1:30.9
  • Run: 1:00.7
  • Walk to complete around the track: 2:14.7

Total Distance: 1.5 Miles

Calories Burned: 205

Pace: 15:39

Sound Track

  • Yellow Card – Back Home
  • Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
  • Relient K – Must’ve Done Something Right
  • Disney’s Mulan – I’ll Make a Man out of You
  • Reliant K – Must’ve Done Something Right (played twice, what’s up with that?)
  • Stepenwolf – Born to Be Wild
  • Relient K – Mood Rings
  • Smashmouth – All Star

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