strong mama

I have done it. I am a weight loss success story!

How many pounds have I lost? I don’t know. How many inches smaller are my measurements? No idea. How many sizes have I dropped? Umm… it depends? Sizes are weird. No two clothing stores are alike.

What did you do?

This, I can answer.

Mamas, we do so much in a day. I developed a desperate plea of a mantra soon after Ev was born — once my boys were in bed, I’d look around at unwashed dishes, unfolded laundry, and dirty floors. I’d plop my soft and exhausted body onto the couch, and I’d say, “I kept two boys alive today.”

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Dear boys, ’twas me that kept you alive for this photo. You’re welcome.

This was enough. It was. It really, really was. And to be perfectly clear: it very much still is.

Eventually, though, I fell into a rhythm. I could keep the boys alive AND clean up after dinner. I could (kind of) stay on top of the laundry. I didn’t like the clothes I fit into, but I had clothes (clean ones at that), my boys had clothes, we had food in our bellies, and it felt wrong to complain about my size. It didn’t seem important, it didn’t seem right with all of the blessings we had.

And yet… I found myself on weak days longing to be skinnier. I knew I could stand to be healthier — I was tired constantly (hello, keeping two boys alive!) and it was so hard to be the mom/woman/human I wanted to be. I wanted more energy, more ambition, more motivation, but instead I had more wine. And naps.

Now I’d like to make something perfectly clear: I love wine. And naps. I’d never wine/nap shame.

After months of hearing me whine about waist sizes, my husband offered to help. He’d create individual goals for me and I’d do a weigh-in each week — except I couldn’t see the number on the scale. He’d look and write it down while I lived in darkness. The goal, he said, was my overall health and fitness, not a number on a scale.

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Feet to pavement. LET’S DO THIS. (Old pic. Man, I miss those shoes.)

I’m nothing if not good at homework, so I excelled at weekly challenges. Stop mindlessly snacking? Done (even if I was initially and am still occasionally crabby about it). Learn proper form for various exercises? Done. Learn how to eat in the way that works best for my body/ fitness? Done. Work out at least 60 minutes per day? Done. This was a doozy, but now I actually, willingly, work out longer than this. And meanwhile, even though I never knew the amount I was losing, I knew things were beginning to change.

  • My energy levels exploded.
  • I got strong — I can do so many real (on toes, not knees) push-ups.
  • All of my clothes got too big. All of ’em.
  • I didn’t have to nap (but I still could, if I wanted, because naps are great).
  • I was drinking a glass of wine once or twice a week instead of nightly — I didn’t need the “wine escape” anymore. Truthfully, and I realize this may be dorky, my workouts became the escape.

My workouts were(/are) a combination of weight training, core work, and cardio (specifically running), although I have also started playing tennis. With real people. Who also play tennis.

(THIS IS HUGE.)

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ALSO HUGE: full-length mirror selfie. Also dorky: thumbs up and grin.

I don’t have a program or some magic beans to sell you; I don’t even have a cute, artist-inspired image of buzzwords you can pin to your “time to get fit!” pinterest board. I have tried those things, and I’m not knocking them, because I know they work for some. If you, like me, struggled with finding a “fitness plan” that worked for you, stick around. Next week we’ll have a guest post from a doctor I know really well (because he’s my husband), and he’ll write about diet, exercise, and the way to get you from not healthy to healthy (which is incredibly different, I have learned, than the journey from not-skinny to skinny).

I have a gym membership, but this is simply not a requirement for you to become a strong mama. I have friends who wake up early to do fitness DVDs. I have friends who put their kids to bed and sacrifice time with their spouses to go for a run. You can do this. And you should, because it will make you a better parent, a better spouse, a better version of yourself. Looks may be a side effect of this journey, but the feels are what’s important.

Do it for the feels. Be strong, mamas.

 

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