Archives for posts with tag: body image

I am starting to get back to my old level of training. I have really started to push myself again. It has been a long year plus since finding out I was pregnant! One of the most difficult things for me to handle was the way my strength changed. It doesn’t matter how much I worked out while pregnant, the bottom line is, your body changes and with it so does your strength.

After baby arrives you are exhausted. If your child is anything like mine, you spent the first 20 weeks waking up 2+ times a night! Alexander has just very recently started sleeping through the night. When I say recently I mean within the last week! Someone or all of us have been sick once or twice a month since Alexander was born in October. Two bouts of strep. Two strains of Influenza. 5 ear infections. Bronchitis. Several colds. A couple sinus infections. Croup. I was still training throughout all of this. However, I wasn’t pushing myself like I used to. I was just tired. Sometimes sick. But mostly just tired.

Immediately after having Alexander I discovered I could barely do a bridge on my Reformer. I was so frustrated. Bridging is a staple in my training. It is a staple in my teaching. I could bridge until I collapsed. I could have a student bridge until they collapsed. I truly love the way bridging works the entire body. Imagine my complete dismay to discover my core strength was entirely destroyed and I could barely get my tail bone off the mat, let alone keep the carriage at the stopper.

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That was then. This is now. Alexander is 20 & 1/2 weeks old. He will officially be 5 months on the 28th. I have started running farther distances. I have started to push myself while doing Pilates. I shake and drip with sweat. Planking is my best friend. I do some kind of plank every single day. My options are abundant with my mat, Reformer, WundaChair, Bosu, and Pilates ball. I could plank all day long if I wanted to.

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On Sunday I ran over 4 miles. I haven’t done that since my first trimester of pregnancy. It felt amazing. It felt amazing because I pushed myself to be where I used to be. Yesterday I did an incline program on my treadmill. It had a nice plateau of incline. I smelled like a hockey player when I was done. I have never been happier! I ran 3.2 miles entirely uphill. That is the sweet smell of my fitness returning.

20 weeks postpartum

20 weeks postpartum

I can be very hard on myself. I pride myself on being and feeling strong. So when I struggle to do exercises that I used to be able to do without blinking, I can really feel defeated. I hear a lot “you just had a baby!” I recently asked my husband “Exactly how long is that excuse applicable? How long do you get to say that? I think you get a couple weeks” He told me I was crazy. Maybe. But I also don’t see anything wrong with expecting more from myself. I don’t see anything wrong with pushing myself to be the best I can be.

Lately I have noticed my strength returning. I am able to bridge much better. I can plank rather well. I can move on my WundaChair with greater ease than right after birth. I have noticed my C-scoop improving. My biceps are looking more toned again. I feel I have a lot of work left to do. My hips. My low belly. It will take time though. I am aware of that. I do feel that as I am getting more rest and making the conscious decision to make sure my workouts really work me out, the strength I want will trickle back in.

IMG_7983It is one of the hardest things in life, growing a baby and birthing it. It really changes you emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have done it twice now. It is not easy. You have to be strong in so many ways. For me, my physical strength and fitness helps keep everything else in my life strong. It is all so intertwined it is hard to see where one thing begins and another thing ends. Feeling strong and being strong keep me happy and significantly less stressed. As I am peeking at the end of the exhaustion tunnel, I can see glimpses of my old life and strength returning. And I am positively giddy about it!

Sometimes a little perspective is a good thing. I get all sorts of emails from all sorts of baby geared websites. I LOVE getting info on Jack’s age group. Learning what he should and shouldn’t be doing, games to play, tips to help his development. As someone who was originally going to be a teacher, I am very obsessed with focusing on helping him with his development. And who knows, I may end up teaching just yet. Just not high school. ha!

Anyway, I get emails from Baby Center. Yesterday this was included

Post Baby Bellies

You will have to click the link to check it out. I cannot copy and paste these images like the ab workout for runners.  But I was actually kind of surprised. I want to clarify that I do not think my belly is perfect yet. I never really thought it was, it is my obsession. Looking back, I realize how nice it was. In the moment I never do. I did not realize how different a lot of people’s bellies look from mine post baby. Like I said, I have a lot of work to do still, but it kind of opened my eyes. I could be starting from a much more difficult point. I don’t have stretch marks, it is starting to tighten up. The “pooch” is not that bad (compared). I know in a few weeks when I forget about this article I will be incredibly hard on myself. So this is my belly, nearly 19 weeks after having him. 19 weeks is on Friday. I am 129.8 lbs.

19 weeks after baby...

I still do not think this looks amazing. Please believe me when I say that. I just think that it looks different that what these articles all say it should be looking like.   Ha, I feel like going back into my editor and circling the problem areas. That bottom pooch area really gets me. I will just continue to remind myself, it could be much worse. I do not look 5 or 6 months pregnant still, like some of the articles I have read state is normal and can happen.

I also wonder…am I too hard on myself? These women are proud of their new figures. I am aghast at mine. I refuse to get into a bikini and I only have about 5lbs to lose! My mom and Jason tell me I am too hard on myself. I just cannot buy into that old adage, “you just had a baby” I don’t know why I can’t. When I hear it my brain screams, “THAT IS JUST A LAZY EXCUSE” I am probably insane. But that is what I hear. And I feel I absolutely cannot give in to that excuse. I really feel the moment I sit back and think, “yup, I just had a baby 4 months ago. No big deal about any extra poundage I am carrying. No big deal about not being toned” that all this hard work will go out the window. I feel it is lazy to think that way. I manage to squeeze in a workout daily (sometimes two!), and my son is 4 months 11 days old! I have been doing this since week 3! He still doesn’t sleep through the night on a regular basis. So I am still sleep deprived, yet I run, do pilates, etc. It can be done. I cook dinner nearly nightly, I clean, I do the laundry, I take care of my son, I read a book every night (not an entire book lol but I read a few pages at least), I run the errands, I take Jackson to Gymboree, swim, and playgroup, I shower once if not twice a day, I eat all my meals I am supposed to, I even find time to blog and post on facebook! I manage to squeeze it all in. It can be done. 

So for me there is no “I just had a baby excuse.”  I don’t know if I am explaining my feelings properly. I just get ill and frustrated when I think that I should be accepting that fact. It won’t happen. I WANT to be back to what I was sooner rather than later. There is no need to carry around the extra pounds for the rest of my life. The longer it stays on the harder it may be to lose. The easier it will become to accept this new body, instead of being happy with meeting my ultimate goal.

I cannot say that I wish I could feel proud of this current body after baby, at least not at this point. I will feel proud in about 5 pounds and much more toning. It is what it is for me. I am not criticizing these other women in the least bit. Good for them for having that confidence. Jason has said to me that he wishes he could make fitness a part of his life like I have in mine. I am guessing that is where my personal body image feelings come from. It is such a part of my life, that to feel the slightest bit unfit irritates me beyond belief.

I read through some of the comments to the article. It was interesting how people see this article. Women who seem to have bellies that look worse than any of the images shown complain that too many tiny bellies are shown. I saw it differently…Not that too many large bellies were shown, but that a lot of them looked worse than I realized post baby bellies look. So I am sure I would fall into their category of women they are complaining about and being nasty about. Oh well. Doesn’t change the fact that it is not what it was before Jackson and I am determined to get back there. Making snotty comments about the women who have made some progress is just as awful if I made some rude jokes or comments about the women who are nowhere near close to what they were. It is just rude to do either. Everyone is different and some perspective is good for us all. We can all take something from another person’s journey. I have learned that I could be in a much different position that I am right now. It is not luck that has gotten me where I am, it has been hard work and discipline, but regardless, I could be elsewhere in this long journey.

I don’t know exactly where I was going with this post. Like I said, I am not saying anything negative about these posters of those photos. I was just shocked at what I saw for the time frames. I was surprised at all of the stretch marks. I seriously have one on my right side, that is it. One thing it has done is prove to me I don’t want a second baby. It seems after baby number 2 it is very hard to bounce back. I am so hard on myself now, I cannot imagine if this were any more difficult, how hard I would be on myself!

So, as I began this post, perspective can be a good thing. I honestly did not realize that bellies look that way for some people after a baby. I mean, I guess I assumed that some women get stretch marks…but I thought things looked different.

I will keep up my hard work and continue down my path to the old me. I will get there….It seems to be that I am on the right path.

I have been having body image issues the past couple of days. Yesterday was pretty bad. I was feeling really down about this baby weight. I just felt like a fat cow. I am getting frustrated that I haven’t lost any more pounds in a few weeks. I am just hanging out here at 131. I thought about posting to get it off of my chest yesterday, but I was pretty sure it would have just turned into an emotional nonsensical rant! I figured I would give myself a day to calm down.

I had to take Jack to the Dr yesterday. This pediatrician group always asks how baby is and then asks how mom is doing, because of postpartum depression. So, I was honest. “I am feeling happy with pretty much all things, except this baby weight. I am having a hard time losing it.” The look on his face was pretty amusing, he looked like I had just told him I was half lizard. He looked up and down at me, I happened to be standing sideways. Then he said “what baby weight?” I replied, “I still have bout 7-10lbs to lose” He replied “What?!?! Do you want to be a rail?” He then held up one finger, imitating a rail. I told him that is what I weighed before I had Jackson….and that he sounds like my husband….

I do not see what other people see. I never have. I realized this recently when looking at old photos of myself. By old I mean, when I was a house in the last month or so of pregnancy and I started looking at photos from spring 2010. I looked so good! It did not help my feeling sorry for my big preggo self though lol I genuinely, with all of my heart, want to be back to what I was April/May 2010.

Lately I continually hear:

“you look amazing”

“you look the same to me already!”

“you had a baby?!?!?!”

The compliments are nice, but who in their right mind would ever tell someone that they look like awful? Yeah, you do look fat after having that baby! You really let yourself go! How often do people actually say that? Unless you’re bff’s with Gillian Michaels, I am guessing that most people in your life are not going to say those things. Jackson’s Dr wasn’t going to say, “yeah you are a little fatty patty there lady!” Nope, people are there to reassure you and give you the excuse that you just had a baby so your body can totally suck. I hate that SO much! There is no excuse! If I buy into that excuse, then I will get absolutely nowhere.

What I see in the mirror are ginormous upper thighs and a rather unattractive rear end. Ugh, it disgusts me to look at myself without pants or shorts on. It is not just the back area and inner area I hate, I actually do not like how the front of my thighs look. I don’t remember when that has happened! Until now….OH and shorts, I am super picky about which ones are ok to wear. Then I usually spend my entire time in them pulling them down or rearranging them. That area has always been an area of concern to me, even before Jackson. So now it is just ridiculous.

My stomach looks like santa’s belly to me. Particularly the lower abs. You know, where that uterus really stretched things out! I am still not totally happy with my triceps. I noticed in the mirror in the meat dept at the grocery store the other day how gross they looked as I grabbed meat for dinner. I quickly recoiled my arm and moved on.

I am incredibly finicky with my body. I was before this baby and now it is just ten fold. A couple times a week, the thought of giving up breastfeeding crosses my mind. Then I can do more what I want when it comes to my appearance. I don’t have to be so conscious about things. My body wont desperately cling to these nasty fat stores in my upper thighs and butt. Ew they gross me out so much. The thought of feeding Jackson formula makes me gag. So I wont give it up for some time. We have been given the ok to start solids, some rice cereal. I refuse to even buy rice cereal for him without trying to make it myself first. I have never considered myself very all natural organic etc. But with this child I am all about all natural with his foods. Breastfeeding and making his baby food. I refuse to give him things that I have not prepared myself. But I can blog about that later.

I want to run! OH GOD I want to go running again. I want to do some 5ks. I miss them. I miss the feel after a good run. That high you get…..But I cannot do much running with the little man. We bought an elliptical when we moved, not a treadmill. I asked about a jogger yesterday. Most have a recommended age of 6 months. That is in August. So I asked his Dr, do you think he is big enough to go into one even though he is 4 months? He is 26 inches long, the 88th percentile for height! But he is in the 27th percentile for weight, 14lbs 3oz. He is built exactly like his Daddy. The Dr. said no, that he would stick with their recommendations. It probably has something to do with their trunk control as well as size. Trunk control gets better around 6 months. So I am sitting here itching to run. Jason said to go at night. Well, he gets home and he is starving, so I have to have dinner about ready. I cannot run after I eat. I have to wait at least 3 hours or I get severe cramping. That doesn’t really work then. He said to go on Saturdays. I think tomorrow I am. I will feed the baby in the morning when we get up, hand him to Jason and I am heading out for a good run. If I got up very early on Sundays I may be able to squeeze it in too.

I don’t know if running will help my body image, but at least I will fulfill that desire to use those muscles again. I am sure that once I hit or if I hit, my prepreggo size that I will still be picky. I wont feel quite so awful, but I will still remain concerned with my fitness. It is how I am. Bottom line. I have been this way for years and years. I know it drives Jason and my mom crazy.

So that is how I feel. I am just tired of this already. I want to bounce back. I want to be done with weighing in the 130s. I want to be back in the 120’s. God, they are so close I can taste it. Teetering on the low 130’s is a huge tease. I did my BMI the other day. I am 5’4 and 131lbs, 22.5 right in the middle of normal range. Last spring I was more like 20.8-21.1 depending on the day 🙂 I want to be back there.

I wholeheartedly believe Jackson will be our only child. I have no desire to do this again.  I LOVE him with every ounce of my being. God, I love that baby. He is perfect. I am SO lucky to be HIS momma! He blesses me every day with his love and smiles and even his tears. But I do not want to do this to my body again. Some may say that is selfish, but I do not think so. I only get one life, and one body. I should take care of myself and be the happiest I can be. God answered my prayers and gave me the most wonderful baby imaginable. He is personable, has a sense of humor already, he is adorable and handsome! I couldn’t have asked for my prayers to be answered more perfectly. I am content with our family how it is. It is exactly what we wanted. I think I am done. Unless there is a surprise one day down the road. Then I will suck it up and deal with it and go through this hellish emotional and physical rollercoaster all over again….But I hope to not do that.

This is my honest confession about how I feel sometimes. I do not always feel great and super fit momma. I hope one day to be back there and feel fit again. Perhaps, that feeling should be my goal and not the weightloss. But realistically, I am obsessed with the number on the scale and the number in my pants. Four months ago I was appalled at having to buy a size 8! I just thought, if only I could be in a size 4. And now I am in a size 4, and SOMETIMES a size 2. And I again just keep thinking about how it could be a smaller number. It could be a size 2 and SOMETIMES a size 0. That would be normalcy for me.

It is what it is. I do not want to weigh 114lbs again, like I did at our wedding in 2008. That was such a stressful time, not to mention surgery that made me drop a few lbs. I looked too thin, I can honestly say that! The lowest I really would want to go is 120. 11 lbs. But I will be happy in the 123/4 area. That is my goal…for now!

Ok this is the longest post ever! I am done and getting on to the rest of my day. I have been up since 7 and it is 8:30. My lazy duck baby is still sleeping! This is a wonderful thing 🙂