As a first time mom, I have this deep awareness of how fleeting and precious this time is, so while I could have done a better job of getting back in shape after pregnancy, I have been so focused on savoring this time, it wasn’t really a priority for me… until now. I’m (finally) ready to get back in shape. Yes, in part because I would like to lose the baby weight, but also because I want to feel strong and like I’m in shape again, and I’m actually (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) craving exercise.
I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant and not just because I was pigging out. My body just really held onto fat and grew and changed in a lot of ways. After James was born, I was so exhausted by James not sleeping and nursing round the clock that I didn’t start working off the baby weight during my mat leave as planned. And frankly, I’ve found losing the baby weight and getting back in shape after pregnancy to be hard. Part of it is that I just didn’t care and didn’t have the drive to push myself. I was also too exhausted to even really worry about it. The other issue was that between nursing and taking on a new role at work and expanding this blog, I was too tired and strapped for time to really focus on getting in shape.
I breast fed for the first year and I basically made that my exercise besides walking with James a lot. Luckily, I was able to kick most of the baby weight that way, but then I stopped breastfeeding and I’ve been at a standstill and in the last few months of fertility struggles and miscarriage, I have gained some pounds. Frankly, I still have 5-10 pounds that I’d like to lose and I know I need to change my diet and exercise habits (as in start to exercise) if I’m going to get my body back. Another unintended consequence of miscarriage and the rollercoaster of trying to get pregnant is weight gain, or at least for me, that’s been the case, and it’s just been another depressing aspect of the whole journey. It didn’t bug me when I gained some weight last time when I was hopeful that I was getting pregs or pregs, but now, I just feel gross, bloated and fat… and depressed. In fact, recently I’ve been really unhappy with my body and just have not felt good. It’s been hard for me to share my daily outfits, because I haven’t wanted to be in front of the camera or in clothes in general. Tbh, on one level I just don’t care because I’m tired, stressed, and still struggling with the infertility rollercoaster, but on another level, I want to feel good in my clothes now and in my swimsuit this summer, and I know that getting in really great shape will make me feel better overall. And let’s be honest, at this point, it no longer feels like I can use “I had a baby” as an excuse. I look at moms who popped out twins yesterday and look better than I do. I know, I know. I shouldn’t compare and I shouldn’t be hard on myself and all of that. But I feel crappy and uncomfortable in my own skin, and I hate that feeling and at least it’s something I can control right now. Plus, as we’ve been struggling to expand our family, I really don’t need another thing about my body that I’m unhappy with, so I’ve decided it’s time to get back in shape. Plus, I know it’ll be good for my mental health and help distract me from our struggles to conceive. (Have you noticed I can’t stop bringing that up? It’s all I can think about. I’ve heard that happens when you struggle, but boy, is it true. I’d apologize, but I’m trying not to apologize or feel bad for how I feel or who I am or what I do anymore, so there you go.)
The problem is I still don’t frankly have time for the gym and classes at this point. As soon as my nanny comes, I am rushing to finish getting ready for work and running out the door to get to the office. At night, I’m in a rush to get home, get James fed and bathed, shove something in my mouth, and get him to bed. By the time he’s asleep, I’m lucky if I can stay up long enough to work on my next blog post and say goodnight to Andrew before I have to turn out the lights I’m so exhausted. And on weekends or in any free time I have, if I’m away from James, it’s to go to a shower or go to the doctor or to attend a friend’s wedding or get a desperately needed mani/pedi so I can show my feet in sandals.
So I’ve had to find some ways to make exercise work without losing time with James and without taking too much time out of my cray schedule. Now it isn’t that I don’t believe in making time for yourself, which I really do. Just for me personally, I know that if I have to leave my time to spend with James to go to the gym, I won’t. I don’t enjoy working out that much, and it’s not just the gym. I tried Soul Cycle once, nearly died. I tried SLT once, nearly left during the first five minutes it was so hard. The thing is it has to be fun and easy to do and I prefer working out independently rather than classes where I will likely look like a fool. I love sports like skiing and playing tennis, but realistically, I can’t do those every morning before work/James wakes up, so I’ve found some alternates that work with my lifestyle and our family and that don’t make me dread doing them every morning.
I started by waking up early and trying Tracy Anderson workout DVDs. This way, if James wakes up early (since he’s not always up at the same time), I am there to get him and give him his morning kisses and bottle. I used to dance and really like the dance videos. They’re fun, I work up a sweat, but they’re not too taxing. They’re broken up into digestible sessions so I don’t have to commit a full hour and wake up super early, and if James wakes up, he likes dancing along with me to them (although often he makes me pick him up, which makes it a hundred times harder to do).
I started doing one of the 15-30 minute DVDs every morning, but by Wednesday I got tired of it and ended up hitting snooze the rest of the week. I knew I needed to mix it up but the last thing I’ve felt like doing lately has been going to the gym or taking a barre class. Pre-pregnancy I really liked to run. Then I got burnt out and recently I’ve been craving doing it again. I know it’s weird for me to say that (I honestly never understood people who said they loved to work out), but the endorphins and stress release is amazing and my body clearly is craving cardio and a deep sweat. Maybe that’s what happens when you get older or when it’s been a long winter and you have major cabin fever?
Anyway, my sister and brother in law gave me their old jogging stroller and we keep it upstate and I get excited to go for runs with James when we’re up there even if I barely last a minute before I have to walk. The stroller is way too big for us to keep in our apartment and I was putting off buying one because we don’t even really have room for a smaller one and I didn’t want to buy one more stroller and then there’s would I use it. But finally after feeling fat and gross and hoping it was pregnancy only to find I was just fat and gross, I bit the bullet and bought a compact jogging stroller… and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been running with James a few times a week when I’m not doing Tracy, and while it’s more of a walk/run, I’m just really enjoying spending time outside and being active.
I still feel like I’m getting QT with James, I get to enjoy the nice weather we’re finally having, and I get to clear my head, sweat, get my endorphins running, and real estate shop/browse (AKA spy on townhouses and apartments I’m lusting after). So really, it’s not so bad. On the way back, we’ll oftentimes run to one of my favorite coffee shops to get James a treat and mom a coffee or to the bank to get cash or to the dry cleaner or grocery store, so I can also use it as a way to run errands, so there’s really no excuse.
To be honest, I haven’t noticed any huge changes in my body yet and I haven’t lost those extra 10 pounds of pregnancy weight, not even 1, which is pretty depressing. But I am noticing everything getting slightly tighter and my tummy getting a bit flatter, and my legs/butt feel tight after and I like that feeling of sore muscles again. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I would love if my clothes started feeling better, which sadly, they haven’t yet. My jeans are just as tight as they were before and my clothes aren’t falling off me. In fact, today, it felt like my pants were tighter and that made me want to give up or jump out the window or both. I’m hoping it’s my muscles building up over the fat and then it’ll all shrink down. Or at least that’s what I had to tell myself to convince myself not to burn all my clothes and eat a Twinkie this morning, but I think I will need to adjust my diet to actually lose the weight, sadly.
I don’t know why I expect to have a killer body like the hot mommies I see who do crazy intense exercise classes, work out with personal trainers, and only eat salads and green juice, when all I’ve done is some half-assed workout a few times a week, isn’t that what we all hope when we start a diet or fitness plan and why we usually quit after a week because we can’t see very noticeable results and still cry when we get dressed? It’s really hard to stick with it when the visual results are there/I’m so tired these days, sticking to a diet sucks, and frankly, I haven’t had the motivation even though bikini season is basically upon us. But I feel like one thing at a time. They say that if you’re trying to make a new habit, you shouldn’t try to do it all at once — save money, lose weight, quit smoking etc. And my approach is more for the long haul — trying a fitness plan that I can actually stick to, that works for my life, and that I actually (somewhat) look forward to, or at least don’t dread. Going from zero to extreme just wouldn’t work. I started to hate running because I got to a point where if I wasn’t running for 45 minutes, it didn’t feel like it counted as a workout. I don’t want to feel like if I can’t do a whole Soul Cycle class or get my ass kicked by a trainer or run six miles, that it didn’t count and that I should feel guilty. Frankly, as a working mom with a lot of other stuff on her plate, including this side hustle, I just have to get in exercise when I can and do the best I can and know it’s better than nothing, so for me, that means moving for 30 minutes in the morning even if I’m in such awful shape that my runs are glorified walks that still wind me, and that some days, my exercise includes walking to the subway and walking the dog with James strapped to me and doing squats while I rock him to sleep. It is what is is, and at least it’s something and I feel like I’m taking back control of my life and my body.
Next up: Diet.
Anyone have any good diet recs for people who love to eat and love carbs? Any other easy workouts I can do with a crazy schedule to rec? Help me not be embarrassed to take off my coverup at the pool this summer! And let me know if you want me to write about any diets I’m trying or if you’d prefer I just stick to fashion and mom stuff, or anything else you’d like to hear.