Being pregnant with my twin boys was one of my favorite seasons of life. From the pregnancy glow to my big growing belly, I absolutely loved every minute of those 9 months. I was one of the of the lucky ones that sailed through without any issues. As my babies grew, so did the numbers on the scale. I lovingly gained the baby weight feeling beautiful, confident, and proud. In January 2018, I welcomed my perfect baby boys.
While pregnant, I accepted my 80 pounds of baby weight with love, but once the boys were born, that self-love quickly disappeared. I had postpartum expectations that fogged my perception of beauty. Since I worked out my entire pregnancy and ate healthy, I thought that the baby weight would just come off naturally. I had expectations that I would breastfeed my babies, helping burn more calories and give them a healthy start to life. Being an athlete, I thought I would be immune to diastasis recti (separation of your 6-pack muscles). I thought that even though I had a c-section that I would recover quickly and be back to feeling like my old self. I thought that since I was an overall happy person that I wouldn’t be affected by postpartum depression.
Well, I was wrong. I was never able to get the boys to latch and after 2 months I was solely bottle feeding them. I learned at my checkup appointment that I had a significant diastasis recti. This didn’t stop me from safely working out but I wondered if my stomach would ever be flat again. After my c-section I didn’t feel right. At first, I thought I was just recovering but after 6 weeks I still felt off. I would eventually need 2 D&C surgeries to fully recover. While all this was going on I was hit with postpartum depression. It felt like I couldn’t catch a break.
I sought healing from the numbers on the scale. I thought that if I could get back to my pre-baby weight then I would find myself again. It has taken me 3 years, and 70 pounds, to shift from using the scale as my gauge for success to using health and happiness as my new gauge. This shift included adopting a healthy lifestyle that involves nutritious foods, regular workouts, mindset management, and accountability.
I may never lose that extra 10 pounds but that’s OK. These past few years have taught me that it was never about the number but about finding my happy weight. Finding the athlete that craves a good workout. Letting those endorphins usher in a positive outlook on life. Feeling energized with a renewed love of health and fitness. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t hurt when an old shirt or favorite pair of jeans fits again. I’m not happier because of the number on the scale, I’m happier because of the person I am today.
There is an unspoken pressure to bounce back and do it quickly. There is an internal desire to feel like yourself again. Women should be proud of their bodies and in awe of all that they can do. If you want to lose the baby weight you should feel confident choosing the approach and timeframe that works best for you. For those looking to make a change, below is how I got and stayed motivated.
YOU ARE NOT A NUMBER
I had my biggest breakthrough when I stopped looking at the scale as my measure of success. Instead, I looked at who I wanted to be. I want to be someone who has more energy to keep up with my toddlers, has a passion for endurance races and participates in half marathons, makes time daily for self-care, is accountable for my actions, and has an outlet to better manage my mindset. These became my motivators and path to finding my happy weight. A weight not found on the scale but in my heart. I continue to stay true to the person I want to be by setting realistic goals and making that commitment to myself, day after day after day.
SET REALISTIC GOALS
We all wish we could eat healthy for 1 day and see results when we wake up the next morning. Most people give up because they don’t see drastic results immediately. If you are setting goals that are unrealistic, you will always be disappointed and eventually lose motivation. I break it down into weekly, realistic goals and then again into daily actions. The further away the goal, the easier it is to get off track and think you can course correct. Daily actions give you short term accountability and keep you moving towards your goals.
When I first moved to TN, my friend and I went to coffee and both shared our want to focus on our fitness. We came up with goals and agreed to hold each other accountable. During the week we used MyFitnessPal to track our food, workouts, and weigh-ins so that we could see each other’s progress. We cheered each other on through the app and texted each Friday with a weekly update. If you don’t have an accountability buddy, you can still stay accountable using the Watered Daily Growth Tracker to track your actions weekly and better visualize your growth. The key to being accountable is being honest with yourself and the effort you are putting in. I promise, if you put in the work, you will see results.
Motherhood isn’t a race, it’s a journey. Be patient with yourself and your results. When I first had my boys, I wish I had followed this advice when trying to lose the baby weight. I was sprinting to the finish line and losing myself in the process. What’s funny is that when I finally stopped sprinting and started being patient, I found myself and my happiness again. I found it by being present for my workouts, enjoying the process of making healthy meals, and celebrating the wins. Know that even when you can’t see results, growth is happening. Keep planting those seeds, watering daily, and watch as you begin to blossom both inside and out.
CELEBRATE THE WINS
Every positive action deserves a celebration. If you went for a run, turned down that cookie, met your weekly goals, congrats to you! Big goals are reached from many small actions. It’s OK to be proud of yourself, your commitment, and your accomplishments. Be your biggest cheerleader and never stop celebrating you.
If you have decided to make a change, I am cheering you on. Set realistic goals, be patient, and stay accountable for your actions. Celebrate the wins and brush off the setbacks. Give yourself the freedom to take time for self-care. When you make time for you, you will find yourself and eventually your happy weight. And that is an empowering feeling.