This past week my daughter celebrated her first birthday. Everyone always told me it would “go by quickly,” and they were right. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant, our first doctor’s appointment, the first kick in my stomach and the day she was born like it was yesterday. Then I blinked and she was a year old.
My husband and I weren’t sure we wanted to have a child when we first got married. We loved to travel and the flexibility to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. As time went on and we celebrated our third wedding anniversary, we decided it was time to add a little person to our happy family of two. I have shared on social media many times how I was very nervous about what would happen to my body when I got pregnant. You can look at my Instagram page for lots of bump photos. I would look at other fit women who still looked super-fit post baby, and their journey gave me the inspiration to trust that I could be the same way.
I had a very active pregnancy. Before I got pregnant, I was in great shape. I taught 5 spin classes a week, including a double on Tuesdays, and I lifted weights 4 times a week. I also had a very easy pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, and I really did not get any more tired than usual, so I was able to keep up this rigorous schedule without many modifications. My heart rate was still very high when I taught class – but I was able to talk and teach. I reduced my weights when I was targeting very large muscle groups – during squats and lunges. Other than that, it was business as usual.
And the belly kept growing…
I described myself as a “laid back pregnant chick.” I did not go to extremes to avoid certain foods. I still had 1-2 cups of coffee a day, occasional sushi and red meat that was not well-done. I drank protein shakes and took my BCAAs along with my daily prenatal vitamins and fish oil. My diet was mostly whole foods, lots of vegetables, green juice, and plenty of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I ate healthy 80% of the time. In the end, I gained 35 pounds after 40 weeks, and I didn’t weigh myself at 41 weeks pregnant when I delivered exactly one week late.
My labor and delivery was again, easy. I was in labor for 8 hours and pushed for 30 minutes. Hello healthy 7 pound 14 ounce baby! My recovery, also easy. I was able to return to my workouts at 4-weeks postpartum.
I cannot say for sure that my health and my diet was to thank for my easy pregnancy, my easy delivery, my easy recovery or my easy BABY – a great sleeper to this day. But I can say one thing for sure – it didn’t hurt the cause.
After I delivered, I still had 12 pounds of baby weight to lose, and the journey to lose it was a struggle for me. Everyone told me it would “fall off” after I finished nursing at 12 weeks, but that was not my experience. Every pound was a struggle. A STRUGGLE. I hovered at 140 for a long time. I remember being very sad some days because I was still very uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t like having to wear loose shirts. I remember crying on a date night with my husband because I felt so badly about my extra layers. He just looked at me and told me that it didn’t matter to him. But it mattered to me. So I got my ass in gear. I set some goals, and at 8-months postpartum, I got to 3 pounds below my pre pregnancy weight for a photoshoot I did for my lululemon athletica ambassador photos: 129 pounds. That lasted for about a day, then I returned to 132 quickly afterwards. Today I hover at 135 pounds, since I’ve made some muscle gains since then.
Now at one-year postpartum, I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life. I am stronger than I have ever been. I have ABS! I NEVER had a six-pack before I got pregnant, but the way that my body has reverted back has allowed me to achieve the six-pack look, which is super cool because I’ve always wanted one.
I never thought that I would be training for a bodybuilding competition at one-year postpartum. I never thought that I would care less about the scale than ever before, because the scale does not tell the whole story. Pictures tell a story. How your clothes fit tell a story. The number on the scale does not represent your fitness level. It is there as a gauge only.
And most important of all. I am grateful that I overcame a huge fear in my life, and I had a baby because the joy that I have experienced in the past 365 days, is greater than any that I have ever known. I mean, who wouldn’t smile when they looked at this face?
So I have said it before, and I will keep saying it. Do not let your fears hold you back from achieve anything your heart desires. Fear is a liar. Move past it. Crush it. Be grateful. I’m off to lift.