How My Life Changed By Making The Decision To Become Fit
We all know that after having a baby, two things come into play: good genes and not-so-good genes.
I am going to take you on my physical fitness journey. I will be breaking it into two blogs, the first being why I decided to change my life, and the second being what I currently do to stay in shape.
I AM NO FITNESS EXPERT. I do not have muscles popping out everywhere, I do not “eat clean, ” and my mission is NOT to brag about how great I am or to say my journey is the right way. I am simply here to share my story and encourage others who may be stuck in a fitness rut.
Growing up, I skipped sizes one through seven and went straight to a size nine. I was okay with it… I was young and all of my weight seemed to fall into right places. I was very active from an early age, playing soccer, dancing and cheerleading. I never gave my weight any thought.
Then, I got pregnant with Karmyn.
When I say that I ate my way through the entire pregnancy, I mean it. I had day long queasiness and the only thing that made me feel better was food. I ate McDonald’s for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch, Cheesecake Factory for dinner and to top each day off, Marcus would go on powdered donut run at midnight. I completely understand we indulge a bit more when we are expecting. I mean, this is the only reason women get pregnant right? So we can eat bowls of full-fat ice cream with pickles and fried chicken on top.
I definitely took the saying, “eating for two” to heart. By the time I delivered, I was tipping the scale at 200lbs, standing 5’1” tall. In hindsight, when I look back it is hilarious to me. My doctor would tell me I was going to have a BIG nine-pound baby! Nope, I was just extra FAT! I gave birth to a healthy seven pound, two-ounce baby girl.
A word to the wise… getting ready (or planning) to have a little one: those who think once you give birth all of your baby weight will magically melt off because you are chowin’ down for two, don’t be alarmed, BUT, THAT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAPPEN! Don’t get me wrong, it does happen for some. It turns out that those women are just down right LUCKY! Genetics. I am also convinced that some women who get back into their pre-pregnancy jeans within a week may not be human. Once the baby, placenta, and water weight is all gone, most of us lose about 15 to 20 pounds, total. (I think 20 pounds is stretching it). I just thought I’d hit ya with some knowledge before you eat the three burgers sitting in front of you.
I was 23 when I gave birth to Karmyn. Yeah, I was 200 pounds, but I had “youth on my side,” (which was another misconception in my book). I thought the weight would just fall off.
Four months, post-partum, I will never forget going shopping for pants at the mall. I was squeezing into a size 14 when I was more like a 15 or 16. I avoided the scale like the plague and I finally I mustered up enough courage to weigh myself. After four months, I’d only lost 14 pounds and I weighed a whopping 186 pounds. Being crushed was an understatement. Seeing that horrific number on the scale knocked the wind out of me. I felt my chest cave in and I was no longer able to breathe. I knew I wasn’t where I once was, but I felt I had been in denial about the reality of my weight.
I ran out of the bathroom, locked myself in my closet and cried on the floor for what seemed like hours. I was sick over how I let myself get so big during my pregnancy. How in the world would I lose all of the weight? I was breastfeeding full-time, I didn’t feel like I ate a bunch… why am I still 186 pounds? So many women tell me their weight fell off from breastfeeding, so I wondered why mine didn’t. I heard tons of stories about mothers being back to their pre-pregnancy weight within three months of giving birth. So, why wasn’t I? I felt so helpless and ashamed.
Then something happened; a light bulb went off and something changed within me. Sitting in my closet, feeling sorry for myself, was not going to do anything for me. I needed to make a change and I needed to do it immediately! But where in the world would I start?
I joined Weight Watchers and within four months, I lost 35 pounds! This was a HUGE boost to my self-confidence! Picture me, a young 23-year-old attending Weight Watchers meetings with my baby every week. I weighed in weekly and I was held accountable for my own progress. At the time, it was what I needed. Weight Watchers teaches about moderation, eating whole grains, and it allowed me to eat small controlled portions of whatever I wanted. I wasn’t depriving myself of the things I enjoyed.
Once I lost 35 pounds, I started to feel a little too good about myself. I stopped attending the Weight Watchers meetings and ended up stopping the program altogether. But, I can adamantly say the things I learned about food, via the program, stuck with me to this day.
I still needed to lose 20 more pounds. I didn’t want to give up on my journey back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I had to try something else. I decide to join a gym and got a “personal trainer.” Okay, I’m going to keep this all the way real. I’m not generalizing all personal trainers working at gyms, but the ones I trained with were crap. I had a couple of male coaches, and they weren’t equipped to train women. Actually, they shouldn’t have even been trainers, period. Here are my reasons why:
The trainers I had worked me out like I was a man. They had little knowledge about the human body, let alone a woman’s body and they had no clue how to implement a proper eating plan. Therefore, they didn’t work for me. I didn’t feel encouraged, I dreaded going to the gym, and I hadn’t seen any results. I was a hamster on a wheel, running circles and getting nowhere. I was able to maintain my weight around 150 pounds; still not where I wanted to be, but I was stuck in a physical and mental rut.
Two years went by and guess what? I was pregnant again. The fifth month of my second pregnancy rolled around, and I’d already gained 20 pounds! The loss of control had become evident. I remembered my last pregnancy, and how I promised myself I would never go down the same path again. I didn’t ever want to feel the heartbreak and pain of being overweight again. I prayed for help; I had nowhere else to turn.
What did God do? God intervened and sent me one of his angels. My physical fitness angel, that is; the woman that changed my life forever. She helped turn me into the workout addict I am today.
I just happened to be telling my neighbor about my weight struggles after my first baby, and she referred me to her trainer, Lara, who MAKES HOUSE CALLS! I was a skeptic, because I had a seriously bad personal-trainer-taste in my mouth. But, my neighbor looked pretty damn hot, and I decided to give personal training one last shot. I called Lara, set up an appointment and let the life changes begin. My doorbell rang at 9:00am and in walked Lara. I am not kidding when I say she walked in with only one workout band and a bench. How in the HELL was I going to get fit with a band and a bench? Our first five months of workouts were done in the entry way of my house, with those two tools alone and she kicked my pregnant butt!
Lara knew all there was to know about the human body, especially the female body. She had me do exercises geared specifically for me. She started me on a gradual healthy eating plan that I could live with. I was no longer “dieting,” but I was making a lifestyle change. She pushed me to my limits and beyond, and encouraged me in everything I did. Of course, I was not perfect, and I fell off track, but she made me dust myself off and get back up. She wouldn’t let me quit. At times I hated her, but seeing how passionate she was about fitness, and not to mention the remarkable transformation that was happening inside and out, made me love her.
I grew to love and crave working out. Lara, hands down, changed my life. Plain and simple. By my third baby, within six months I was UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight, (as in, before I had any babies) by 10 pounds! I was in the best shape of my life! I no longer worked out because I had to, I worked out because it was a way of life. It was my drug of choice, my high.
Some people would say, “It’s not fair, she has a personal trainer. That’s how she lost weight.” Well, newsflash. Yes, I did have a trainer, but I DECIDED TO MAKE THE CHANGE. I got up every day and decided to work out. Not only did I work out with Lara, but I worked out every day outside of training. I chose to stop eating fast-food three times a day and I cooked myself healthy meals. I wanted to be the best me possible. I worked my butt off to see the results I wanted to see. No one else could have done this for me, but me. I put blood, sweat and tears, (literally, all three) into being where I am today. God knew I needed a little help and uplifting, so he sent me an angel. For this, I am forever thankful.
For anyone that is currently stuck, and does not know where to start, know that it starts with YOU! The hardest part is getting started. I will be honest, it’s a process. Before I met my trainer, I would start working out, and then I’d stop. I’d re-start, life would happen, and I would stop again. But I kept at it, trying every possible thing until it finally stuck and a fire was lit within me.
Today, I can’t go a week without working out because I get cranky! Please believe I am not perfect. Hell, just think about it. Who is perfect aside from GOD? It is okay to slip up, and I still do! I think acknowledging our imperfections makes us more HUMAN! I have days of full on Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes. But I NEVER give up! NEVER STOP FIGHTING! The next day, I just dust myself off, eat a healthy meal or two and hit the gym twice as hard!
On that note, I think I’ll hit the gym!
*Stay Tuned for Part II!