Learning to Love Myself

Losing the weight after baby #2 was much more difficult than with baby #1. When I had Sawyer the weight just kind of…fell off. With all the calories I burned breastfeeding, and the swelling that finally went down after preeclampsia, I lost a lot of weight in the first few weeks by doing nothing at all. 10 lbs or so stuck around, but then I went back to my job at Orangetheory Fitness where I could literally workout whenever I wanted, for free, and lost those last 10 lbs pretty easily after that.

And then, badaboom, my pre baby body was back.

Don’t get me wrong, things were different. I had a C-Section which means I was pretty much stuck with that “mommy pouch” and a giant scar for life but the number on the scale went back to what it was, and I started fitting back into my old clothes.

With Oliver…it was different. Everyone warned me you bounce back easier with your first baby and losing the weight gets harder and harder every child you have. And they were so right.

Not only was losing the weight harder altogether (it didn’t just fall off by breastfeeding this time), but I quit my job to transition to a stay at home mom and take my blog full time, and lost my free personal training sessions. I also lost the time to workout. When I was working for OTF, I could workout before or after my shift, or on my lunch break. It was easy because I was already away from the baby for the duration of my workday, so working out didn’t require any extra childcare, or any extra effort at all, really.

As someone who had been petite her whole life this transition was hard for me. Not just because I didn’t feel “pretty” or “small” but because I didn’t recognize the body I was in. Were these really my hips? My arms? My thighs? They didn’t look like mine and they didn’t feel like mine, but here they were attached to me. It didn’t just feel like weight gain, it felt like an alien abduction. I did not know this person.

Not only had my body changed exponentially, but so had the rest of my life. We were in a new house, I had a different job, I had more kids, everything had changed and coping with all that change on top of a newborn with an oxygen tank after a NICU stay was…unbearable.

I didn’t like myself. I didn’t respect myself. I certainly didn’t love myself.

Making time to workout seemed impossible. Oliver wasn’t sleeping at night, so getting up before my kids did was out of the question. I couldn’t workout with them at home because they were so needy, I wouldn’t be able to get anything done. I couldn’t afford the extra fees for childcare at our local gym, and asking family or getting a babysitter to watch them 5 times a week to workout was just unreasonable.

That’s what I thought anyway. The real problem was I just wasn’t motivated enough to make it happen.

Sometime in the new year, that changed. I knew I needed to change. Not because of my weight. Not because of my appearance. Not because I wasn’t as small as society needed me to be. But because I was unhappy and I didn’t love myself.

So, I started. And I started at the bottom. My mom already took the kids for a few hours every Tuesday afternoon so I could work. I decided to start taking one of those hours and going to the gym. Sure, it meant I was cutting back on work and yes, I would have to make up that hour somewhere else. But I had to decide it was worth it. That I was worth it.

My Mother in Law did the same thing by taking the kids on Fridays, and I decided to dedicate one of those hours to the gym as well. I then started doing the same thing at home every weekday. If it wasn’t a “gym day” I took Sawyer and his iPad and Oliver and his DockATot upstairs and I would workout. Oliver would sleep and Sawyer would watch YouTube and I would just do whatever I could. Sometimes I got a full hour in, and sometimes it was only 15 minutes before someone started screaming and I had to stop but it was always something.

Once I started prioritizing my fitness, I started transitioning my diet. Before I got pregnant with Oliver we ate Paleo and I felt amazing. I wanted to get back to that so I started cutting carbs and focusing on lean proteins and fruits and veggies.

I didn’t do it because I needed to be skinny. I did it because I needed to be sane.

It’s been almost 3 months now and I’ve lost some weight but what I’ve gained is so much better. I’ve gained body positivity. I learned to embrace myself and the new curves I may come with. I’ve learned to love and respect the body that The Lord gave me. The one that conceived 3 times, grew 2 babies, breastfed them, suffered a miscarriage, and survived preeclampsia. My body has been through a lot of trauma the past 3 years and expecting it to just bounce back wasn’t reasonable. But treating it badly and letting Postpartum Depression and Anxiety get the best of me wasn’t reasonable easier. I am more.

I encourage you today to love yourself as The Lord loves you. Respect your body because you only get one in this lifetime. Love your curves and your stretch marks because your babies gave them to you.

My outfit is care of Senita Athletics. Senita is a high quality and affordable altheticwear company owned by 2 sisters. Their clothing is so adorable and the price point can’t be beat! Also, all their bottoms have pockets which I’m obsessed with. Be sure to check out Senita!

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