post baby fitness

When I planned this post out in my head, words like "journey" and "postpartum" and "breastfeeding" kept jumping out at me, so I didn't really want to write about it that much.

But on the other hand, I kind of want to document how hard getting back into shape was/is, so future me will not take this lightly.

Ahh the summer before I got pregnant. I was the fittest I had ever been. That summer I completed one round of the Insanity DVD workout program, and as we began the 2012-2013 school year I was in the middle of my second round. I had tons of energy and I felt strong.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had every intention of staying fit and active throughout my 40 weeks. I thought I would gain the minimum amount of weight recommended, and the pounds would just fall off post baby. I think I forgot about how hard I had worked over the years to get to the fitness level I had reached in 2012. I forgot that I was not naturally that small. I also did not account for a miserable first trimester of nausea, exhaustion, headaches, and a stomach that only wanted bland carbs like crackers, toast, and cereal.

Unfortunately, I was unprepared and uninformed about fitness during pregnancy. Instead of pushing through the nausea and fatigue, I allowed myself to lay on the couch for hours on end, barely summoning the energy to pour a bowl of cereal. Now I know that working out regularly would have helped to reduce those symptoms, but at the time I probably wouldn't have even cared to do anything about it even if I did know.

The second trimester was at least a relief from my symptoms, but it was difficult to get "back into shape" once I had already taken 2 months off and was steadily growing a basketball on my abdomen. I attempted to walk 3 miles a day at least 4 days per week, but I must admit the brutal winter and busyness of lesson planning and correcting papers sidetracked me more than once. At least I was still in the cute stages of pregnancy!

24 weeks pregnant
The third trimester was great until it wasn't. I'm not sure when the switch occurred from cute pregnant to whale status, but suddenly everyone was asking me "how many weeks left? Oh you're never going to make it that long." and "are you having twins?" It didn't help that I have an incredibly short torso and was carrying Pippa very high. Needless to say, my discomfort and size kept me from staying as fit as I had hoped. At the very least, I took Pablo for a walk each day. And on really good days I would attempt to do some light circuit training or yoga. But let's face it. I was the weakest I had been in a long time, and I certainly had not maintained the level of fitness I had hoped.

Pippa's head poking out! Writing thank you notes just days before giving birth.

On our way out the door to have the C-Section! 
I remember in those last weeks thinking about how I couldn't wait to do my first heart-pounding, sweat-drenched Insanity workout. I missed the feeling of jello legs and that sore-but-in-a-good-way feeling. But C-Section recovery is no joke. I felt great, so I wanted to return to normal as quickly as possible. But a small infection that just wouldn't quit prevented me from immediate action. Once that little bugger was gone, I would try the occasional modified workout. My incision would throb, and I had no idea if that was normal or not, so I would just give up working out for another week. Then the process would start all over again. (Not to mention the feeding schedule Pippa and I were on made it near impossible to  find enough time to work out).

Now that we're done nursing, and Pippa is on a pretty good napping schedule, I have recommitted myself to working out at least 4 days per week. I have started the Insanity program again, and am reminded how good it feels to start my day with a good sweat session. I feel more energetic, cheerful,  crave healthier foods, and it doesn't hurt that I'm starting to see muscle tone again!

Honestly, it was a blow to my motivation when I saw women all over the internet claiming the weight just melted off, or bragging about how they were down 10 pounds from their pre-pregnancy weight 3 months after having the baby. I know women like that exist, but I was definitely not one of them, and that kind of talk just made me feel inadequate that I actually had to do some work to get rid of the weight. On the other hand, I got so annoyed when I saw posts or articles about women who were proud to give up their figures for the sake of their children. What? I mean, I know it takes a lot of work and time, but come on! I wanna look good (oh yeah, and be strong and fit), not to mention set a good example for my child.

I have come to accept the reality that I need stop comparing myself to other women, and realize that losing weight is hard work - for me at least. So if you need me, I'll be up in the gym just workin' on my fitness (or in my living room sweating it out with Shaun T and the rest of the crew).

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