This phot of me is from September 2017. It was only last year I wrote about how much progress I had made with fitness and how I was back to my pre-baby weight. It was the first time I had ever made it past that threshold from having to continually motivate myself to it becoming a habit. I no longer had to motivate myself. I craved exercise and I was so energised. Then Christmas came along and it’s pretty common to eat more and exercise less. I think that is why so many have losing weight and fitness goals in the new year. Three of my weekly classes stopped pretty early in December, the crèche at my gym only closed between Christmas and New Year. Yet today was my first day back to the gym after six weeks. I really notice how my fitness levels were much lower than six weeks ago. I quickly became tired and had to take it much easier. Having a two, going on three week period, minus a couple of days doesn’t help with the tired levels. Periods suck!
On Sunday I hoped on the scales at my Mums and it looked like I had put on 5kg. I thought to myself ‘oh no, I lost 9 kg and have put 5kg back on. It was only 2 days ago I hoped on my digital scaled and it turns out I had only put on 3kg. My Mums scaled must have been out. After getting on the scaled at my MumsI felt a bit down about it because late November/early December I had pretty severe anxiety and a bit of a break down. I was drinking a bit too much and it’s only since the new year that I’ve started to come good but still not quite there yet. I know getting back into exercise will help a lot, so will regularly meditation. There were ridiculous amounts of tension in my body when I wasn’t exercising. I have fused vertebrae in my neck and I when sixteen I had whiplash from being in a car that rolled. I also have a pretty weak upper body; the exercise was helping to strengthen it. These things combined with stress and anxiety caused headaches but I was able to manage it if I had maintenance visits to the chiropractor. When I was exercising regularly I also wasn’t getting headaches because the exercise greatly reduced my anxiety and stress levels. Therefore, I had less tension in my body. Recently the headaches came back and my last one was like a migraine. It was one of those headaches that makes you nauseas.
School is now back, I’m in a better space and so glad I have taken the first step of going to my first class today. I’ve heard it takes 21 days to form a habit. So, I expect it will take a few weeks to get back into it but I now know that I can do it if I persist. I have done it before so I can do it again. There are few things such as upper body work, sit ups and planks that can trigger my neck to go out again. I know I have to be care with these exercises and ease into them. It is likely I might end up at the chiropractors again but at least I now know if I persist, then my upper body strength will increase and my tension levels will decrease. I always thought I had to avoid these types of exercises but I now know that I can if I work at it.
I really want to work on some health, fitness, wellbeing and creativity goals. Last week I downloaded an app onto my phone to help me achieve these goals. I can enter my goals for each day of the week and then tick them off when I achieve them. Reminders can also be set if I need them. I need an app like this because I tend to get so busy with kids and work that I forget things. It can be hard work always finding the time and energy in our busy modern lives, especially when we have kids but I think we can achieve anything we put our minds to. We just have to really want it, be patient and take baby step. Most of all don’t be hard on ourselves. I say this to myself too because I the person that I am the hardest on, the most critical of and the most judgemental is myself. We are allowed to have a rest and down moments. We are only human. No one is super mum.
I never show my belly and wouldn’t dare wear a bikini but something has happened that I never thought would happen. After having four babies fairly close together I am finally back to my pre-baby weight! I was huge during each pregnancy. When pregnant with Gabrielle my second baby, my stomach touched my thighs when I sat down. Eighteen months after Phoenix I still looked a few months pregnant. I always knew that a woman’s body is amazing for being able to carry babies and give birth. That it didn’t matter if you didn’t look the same after having a baby. The post-baby body and scar from my caesarean are reminders of how amazing my body is. I’ve never been one who gets caught up in the perfect body and unrealistic Hollywood pressures. However my belly is something I’ve always been self-conscious of. I never wanted it to be perfect, I just didn’t want to always look pregnant and have people ask things like ‘when is the baby due’ and ‘how far along are you’ since I was nineteen. I wonder how any one could think I was pregnant then, I was tiny compared to more recent years. Although I did bloat sometimes,. After Phoenix I was asked a couple of times every week, mostly by people I had never met ‘when is the baby due’. When I said ‘oh I’m not pregnant it’s just left overs because I’ve had four babies close together’, they would then be a bit embarrassed and act awkward.
I was trying to exercise and eat healthy but it was hard to really get into the exercise with the four kids. I was exhausted and tended to flop on the lounge at the end of the day, watch Netflix and eat too much chocolate or biscuits. I was torn between wanting to eat better, exercise more and being exhausted and needing more energy. I did try to get into going to Zumba but I kept getting sick and when I didn’t get sick I became so foggy that I couldn’t concentrate and keep up. It’s like my brain was registering the moves much slower than the dance moves were. Hence why I went for the chocolate and biscuits, they gave me a sugar hit. I think many of us Mums have this struggle. I came to the conclusion that maybe I’ll just have to get used to being asked if I’m pregnant, well at least until I’m too old to look pregnant and then when I look too old people will think I’m just fat.
I persisted with Zumba and I gradually was able to keep up with the classes until I reached a point where I was keeping up and I think I was even dancing a bit better. Then for the first time ever in my life I started to have energy and actually wanted to exercise. I now do Zumba three times a week and also sometimes dance at home. I’m also doing an ab and core program at home, I’ll write more about the program when I’m finished it. It’s not always possible to go to the gym with four kids, there’s a crèche Monday to Saturday mornings. I am lucky my husband will watch the kids a couple of evenings a week so I can pop to the gym for an hour. When I can’t get to they gym I do Zumba or exercise at home. I’ve never wanted to exercise in my life. In high school I chose to sit and write lines over doing sport or PE. So it was a huge thing for me to suddenly break that exercise threshold. It is even a bigger thing to actually get back to my pre-baby weight. I never thought that would happen. I still have some work to do. I’m fine with not being the same as I was pre-baby but I still would like to do a bit of toning. I look pretty good in the photo here but the flab is hiding well behind the black pants.
I haven’t lost the weight with exercise along. Diet has also been a huge part, probably the biggest factor. How I changed my diet is a whole other blog which I will write soon. For now I am so happy to get back to my pre-baby weight. For those of Mum’s who are still in the boat of needing the chocolate and biscuit sugar hit or who struggle with getting into exercise. I understand your frustration. Really getting into exercise, changing your diet and losing weight is really hard work. It requires stamina, mental and physical stamina. Mind set is a huge part and I think the most important part. As busy Mum’s we are already running a marathon. We are already mentally and physically exhausted and that’s ok. Being a Mum can be the hardest job in the world. So it’s understandable if we aren’t there yet in the diet and exercise part. The reason why I’m writing this is because yes it is possible to lose weight when you have kids but it is super hard work, especially when the kids are young and it is ok if you aren’t there yet. It is most important that we aren’t too hard on ourselves and that we know we are doing our best as parents and best to look after ourselves. We can be way too hard on ourselves when all we need to do is give ourselves a break, a bit of encouragement and remember to enjoy life sometimes. That’s why I chose Zumba, because I enjoy dance and it is not like I am exercising. I am just doing something I love.