(this post contains affiliate links of products I have personally used and love)
I’ve always been petite; I’m 5’3″ and currently weigh 114lbs. Until my first pregnancy, I had always weighed between 100-110lbs soaking wet. I’ve always been mildly active and moderately interested in sports, yet never kept up with a regimen. I was also fairly ignorant going into my first pregnancy in early 2010, so naturally “eating for two” meant overconsumption to my ADHD brain.
I gained 45lbs during my first pregnancy and I continued to “eat for two” long after I gave birth, citing breastfeeding as my excuse. It was quite a surprise to me when my pregnancy weight refused to “fall off” the way I had read it would during breastfeeding, and I silently screamed when I went clothes shopping about 8 months postpartum and had to buy a size 11-13 pair of jeans. “How could this happen to me?!” I had thought. I was always a size 0-3 in my young adulthood, and I had gone up to a SIZE ELEVEN?! It put me into an immediate funk, in which I stayed until my son was over a year old. I remember looking at the photos from his first birthday party and being absolutely disgusted with myself; I could barely look in the mirror anymore.
My son and I weaned when he was about 16 months old, and as soon as he was off the breast I knew I wanted to lose weight but I had no idea how to go about it (this was Summer 2012, and my journey starting weight was 174lbs). I had never cut calories before nor kept an exercise regimen so I was overwhelmed and anxious even thinking about it. I ended up finding a very helpful weight-loss app to get me started, called noom. The best thing about this app is that it color-coded healthy, neutral, and unhealthy foods as I logged, and encouraged any type of movement. It definitely encouraged me to get active and taught me the basics of making healthy food choices. I started slow; I didn’t cut calories at first but logged how much I was actually eating, and began walking daily while pushing my son in the basic stroller we had.
I began to notice how good I felt after getting outside for activity, and quickly started increasing the pace of my walking, still using the silly travel system stroller we had (hey, work with what you have, right?!). The stroller was a great weight, and I began getting some cardio bursts going up hills, and jogging downhills (stroller resistance!). As I got more into my walking, I naturally became more curious about cutting calories to really start shedding and that’s when I decided to upgrade my weight-loss app of choice and invest in a used jogging stroller (BabyTrend Jogger all the way!).
To this day I still love myfitnesspal. It was great; all I had to do was input my current weight, goal weight, and daily activity level and I was ready to go! The app itself has so many amazing features, including recipe creation and so. many. exercises. I was curious about the algorithm for calorie deficits, so I began researching BMI, BMR, and all things weight-loss related to gain a better understanding of my personal physique to better tailor my lifestyle change.
Thanks to myfitnesspal I was able to continue my weight loss journey and really kick it into high gear; the app helped me lose a total of 40lbs and I even got to see my progress on a graph. It helped me turn into a health and fitness nut and make a lifestyle change that I could actually stick to. I was no longer walking, but jogging an average of 5k (still pushing my son) and started exploring different group exercise classes such as Zumba and yoga, and eventually worked up the confidence to begin a bodyweight workout regimen. The classes were fairly difficult to attend, as my son’s dad had an inconsistent work schedule and always said things that made me feel shame for wanting to get out and do something for the betterment of myself, so I bought a Xbox Kinect fitness game: UFC Trainer, and that’s when my body started transforming. Not only was I burning calories and losing weight, but I was building muscle and feeling and looking AMAZING. The best part was that I could do it in the privacy of my own home during my son’s naps, without the perceived judgment from others, and my son’s dad couldn’t complain anymore about me leaving.
Working out at home became my sanctuary; I was comfortable in my solitude. After all, I was making this change for ME so doing it alone really kept the focus on myself. I was enrolled in college online during this time, so I signed up for a food and nutrition class and fitness class that helped me gain more self responsibility in terms of accountability in my lifestyle change. I was learning things that I could carry forward to keep my future self healthy AND my family healthy. I was so excited to teach my family the things I was learning! Well, it turns out you can’t make someone change when they don’t want to, and my son’s dad surely didn’t want to change. Along with consistent refusal to attend family walks with our son and me to get us all out and active, many times he threatened withholding grocery money unless I would purchase his unhealthy food preferences, and that was the beginning of the end of our relationship (and a story for another day).
Fast forward to 2018 and I’ve all but given up jogging and lengthy cardio classes and have replaced them with HIIT (high-intensity interval training), using free weights and Kettlebells, and I’ve never felt better! I do yoga for flexibility and relaxation and walk for fresh air (it’s always good for the soul to get outside). I still do all my exercise in the comfort and privacy of my own home, and have added a couple medicine balls, a new app NTC, an amazing fiancé who supports my lifestyle and engages with it, and my two boys love getting involved in our activities. Their favorites are nature walks, dance parties, wrestling matches, and of course they enjoy trying their strength with my less-heavy equipment (under my supervision, always).
There are days where I don’t feel like working out, and I always listen to my body. Sometimes I’ll take a full rest day, complete with a nap, other times I’ll use my active rest days for yoga, a walk, or both. The most important thing I always keep in mind is doing what I enjoy and what feels best for my mind, body and soul, within whatever time frame I have, whether it be 10, 20 or 40 minutes.