I mentioned in my last post that I’d gained 37 pounds when pregnant this time and had lost 18 pounds so far. I want to be completely open and transparent about my journey so you know exactly what I do, what my challenges are, and how things have changed after each of my four children. So let’s go back to the beginning.
I was NEVER an athlete. I would diet because that’s what girls do, and I would go through phases when I would do some sort of exercise because I thought I should, but I was never anything even close to healthy and active. I was naturally thin and, apart from a few years here and there when I weighed more than my “normal,” I stayed around 130 pounds. For a 5’5″ woman, I was fine as far as those BMI charts go, but I certainly wasn’t fit or strong nutritionally.
I got pregnant with my oldest when I was 25. I was in my last semester of college and weighed 133 pounds. Thanks to tv and movies, I thought that I could eat for two full-grown adults and did. No joke – one ice cream cone for me, one ice cream cone for the baby. On the day I went into labor in January of 2007, I weighed a whopping 195 pounds. I honestly believed that the weight would just fall off, as everyone said “oh, breastfeeding will make that weight come right off!” Lies.
By March of 2007 I still weighed in at 175 pounds, was wearing a size 12, and miserable. I hadn’t a clue how to lose weight as I’d never done it before, and turned to a good friend (who’d just had her second baby) for advice. With her help, I learned about nutrition and being active and lost 50 pounds without counting a single calorie. I focused on eating lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and low-fat dairy and moving more days than not. By the end of 2007, I weighed 125 pounds…and was pregnant again!
I learned a valuable lesson the first time around and managed to only gain 28 pounds with baby number 2. I walked and ran and did some sort of strength training throughout the pregnancy and made sure my diet was reasonable (i.e., no double doses of ice cream cones). Even through vicious first-trimester nausea and insane carb cravings, I kept myself in check and remembered well how hard it is on your body to gain so much weight in such a short amount of time. Lego Boy 2 arrived in August of 2008 and I regained my shape fairly quickly. I started working out again around October of that year – walking/running on the treadmill and using a dvd to work out with a kettlebell. By January I was doing more running than walking, and that same healthy friend talked me in to signing up for my first 5k.
In March of 2009, my two friends and I ran a 5k together. Our goal was to finish without walking and we did. It was the first time I’d ever really competed in any sort of athletic event and it was wonderful. Empowering. Exhilarating. I wanted more.
My friends and I continued to run together over the next couple of years, tackling countless 5k’s, 10k’s, and half-marathons. It was our time to hang out and chit chat and take a break from the day-to-day journey of being moms. Running was something we did for ourselves – often the only thing – and we cherished the time together and how great the physical challenge made us feel. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without those women. I look back on those runs with a fondness I can’t describe.
By late 2010, health and fitness was as big a part of who I was as being a mom or a Christian. I pushed my boys in the jogging stroller when I ran, went on bike rides with my other mom friends and pulled the boys in a trailer; we ate healthy together and we were active together. I was a fit mom. 🙂
I found out I was pregnant again in late October of 2010. I lost that baby in January of 2011 at 12 weeks along. I was devastated. My attitude at that point was “Fine. If my body won’t grow a baby, it’s going to run FAST.” I made it my goal not to be “just” a runner, but to win. I wanted to run fast and win races. That competitive drive got me out the door and focused on something other than the emotional pain. My training became more serious – more than hanging out with my mommy friends, running became something bigger. I cherish that time, as well, because I learned that I am a lot tougher than I ever thought.
I became pregnant again in August of 2011 and I was in the best shape of my life. I completed a half marathon when I was 14 weeks and continued to run until the day before I went into labor in April 2012. When Lego Boy 3 was born, I was in a super duper rush to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and fitness level. I’d gained 32 pounds and slowed down significantly with my running. I made a huge mistake and started dieting and exercising way to hard, way too soon. My milk supply plummeted and I had to supplement him with formula, which was tough for me to accept. Again, I felt like my body had failed.
Despite our nursing troubles, I maintained my fitness routine and continued making healthy living a priority. I ran my first marathon in January of 2014 and quite honestly, that burned me out on running for a while! I signed up for an Insanity program at the gym and decided to focus on getting strong all over. During that time I went from 123 pounds and 17% body fat to 122 pounds and 13% body fat. Then, guess what?
I got pregnant again! This time around was incredibly different. I was 34 years old with three boys already, homeschooling the older two, maintaining my home and fitness…y’all, I was tired. I got up early and worked out, homeschooled my older boys in the morning, and napped with the toddler in the afternoon. My eating habits were far from the organic, whole foods of pregnancies past, but life has a way of changing things.
Lego Boy 4 was born in June of 2015…and that’s where my next chapter will begin. Getting back into shape this time has been drastically different than times before, but I am determined that the lessons I’ve learned in the past will make for a fitter future – for me and all the Lego Boys!