My Workout,Weight, and Fitness Journey

Why am I sharing this? To let people know anything is possible.

I'm not some amazing story for the 400 lb person who lost all the weight and made a huge lifestyle change. I'm not even the person who lost 100 lbs. I'm not someone who suffered and survived eating disorders or intense dieting. I'm just the average college student, turned fit young woman, turned overweight pregnant woman, turned new mom, turned mom of 2 who learned how to put myself first for my health and for my family.

I admit I am a munchy-mid-day-snacker, a late night ice cream grabber, a carb loader and a picky eater. So, ask me my favorite foods and carrots are not popping up on that list. I have to try hard to eat healthy and watch my nutrition.

I also did not grow up as an athlete. I did dance...but not in the ballet 3 hours a day kind of way. More like 6 hours a week and most nights I wouldn't break a sweat and I almost never practiced or did extra exercise outside of dance.

But right before college, I started dating Dan- who was a competitive swimmer, and his whole family did sports and fitness (and still continue to compete and train into adulthood). So a lot of things I've learned, I attribute to him because over the years he has taught me a lot and been my biggest cheerleader and supporter through it all.

{DISCLAIMER: Dan never pushed me to be different or forced me to workout or anything like that. But he did teach me things, including nutrition and work out facts and weight lifting and so on. Always on my terms and when I asked.}

In college I picked up running. I loved the challenge to see how far I could go and the ease of just lacing up my sneakers and going outside. I'd feel great after and I was seeing "vanity" results-  the ones where you look in the mirror or on the new tag of your pants and like what you see.

      ****SIDE RANT: I don't like when people act like it's wrong to workout for looks, I think that's okay. I think its normal. I also think there are way more benefits of working out than just that. Whatever your reason, whether it be for mental health, training goals, personal goals, or whatever... you usually get some kind of vanity results as well and I believe it's okay to be proud of that! You put in the work and you feel good... kuddos!****

Then when we moved to Chicago post college, it was just our way of life. It felt good to wake up early and get a workout in before going to work all day. It woke up my mind and body and it made me feel great.

After our first half marathon. A lot of naive training and running that went on but lead me to learn more about running long distances and gave me confidence to try again!

We had no kids or dogs, so on the weekends we'd find pleasure in trying out a new hot yoga class, or taking a long run together on the lake front trail. It was a fun, healthy activity. And we had the time for it. We had those years of training for half marathons, sprint triathlons, duathlons, and 5ks.

I do not swim, but I can stay a float. And a sprint triathlon is so much fun... so even if you think you could never do one- try it!! Find an event that is a small local race that uses a pool for swimming- it is way less intimidating and more manageable for a new racer! 

Then..welcome dog number one, Phoebe. We got her and we were in a high rise in the city and in for a big surprise. PUPPIES ARE A LOT OF WORK AND TIME CONSUMING. I will never laugh or mock anyone for comparing a puppy to having a baby or a child- because I agree! They need training, let outs, walks, care, and so on. Yes, you can put them in a crate and leave for a few hours but we would feel guilty from the moment we locked the door behind us until we were back home.

Anyways, I digress... the point is, she changed our workout flow because we started working out in shifts to avoid having her in the crate for longer, and our weekends were about tiring her out and getting her exercise before we did for ourselves. I'm not saying its normal but its how we functioned!

So all good and great, and then we moved to the suburbs and got 2 dogs. And a house, and had to drive to everything. Even though we worked out regularly in the city, we'd also end up walking to everything getting extra activity too.

So fitness was still a hobby but we had less time for it between yard work, house work, events, dogs, and so on.

I always held active jobs. I worked at Flywheel Sports everyday and then taught dance classes at night. I was exhausted. But likely could usually hop in a class during work or I'd squeeze in some short run between jobs.

Then came our first pregnancy. And I got so sick I couldn't even walk around the house, let alone go on a walk for exercise, or a run or anything. Around 25 weeks I remember trying a prenatal yoga class but never returning, so I'm not sure why besides that I probably just felt yucky.

Anyways, I gained a lot of weight with Will's pregnancy, especially the last few months but we were just glad I was eating, and baby was healthy. I'd occasionally try for a walk but it was summer, and I was 8 months pregnant.

I think I gained 50+ pounds in this pregnancy!

It's easy to look back and want to smack myself in the face and tell myself to just do it because I would feel better and be healthier. But I try to be graceful because I know I was struggling with all-day morning sickness and on anti-nausea medicine til like 2 weeks before my due date.

I thought nursing would give me a glorious "bounce back" and I'd be skinnier than before. And I thought after the initial recovery, I would be able to hop right back into shape and have no trouble including baby in on my workouts.

Nope. I feared working out and running because whether it was true or in my head I felt like it was affecting my milk supply and making working out a stressor- not a destressor. So I kept it light. With walks, and some yoga and the occasional jog.

Me the day before finding out I was pregnant with Liv. I was still like 25 lbs over my "normal" bodyweight.

Then when I was done nursing Will, and we just moved to Cincinnati, I tried a boot camp style work out and I loved it. The class was 30 minutes, 2 miles away and kicked my butt. And I started seeing results and then... PREGNANT AGAIN.

I remember saying to Dan it was going to be different, I was going to keep working out to help avoid the sickness and to feel good. But the classes I was doing were at 6am and I was sacrificing sleep over workout. Again, I want to smack myself in the face and say just do it because I might be tired, but I might feel great and really debunk any kind of sickness.

I naturally stayed more active this pregnancy because I had a toddler running around and we'd walk the dogs and do family walks but still was seeing higher numbers than I wished and not being the active 6 month pregnant woman I always imagined I would be.

1 week before Liv came into our lives. I don't think I paid attention to the scale almost at all this pregnancy but of course you still gain. And I never lost all the way, so I was trying to just be healthy and active and not compare.

So once Liv came along, I said no. NO MORE. I want to feel good about myself and my body and I will share it with her but not at the expense of feeling out of control and self conscious for so long. And guess what- my milk supply was never affected and I was able to hit hard work outs and still feed her and help her grow.

I so bad wanted to try the keto coffee everyone raves about and sells on instagram, or the shakeology. Or any number of expensive quick fixes. I wanted so bad to wish away the excess fat and have nursing be the miracle fat burner for me.

But instead, I just had to put in the hard work. I tried the app NOOM and loved it at first and I would recommend it. But the "homework" it was giving me everyday was adding up and I was falling behind- because 2 babies under 2- and it costs a lot so eventually I stopped. I reached out people close to me to say "Hey I mean it, I want to lose it, I need help. Whatever that means. If it means making salads for dinner when we meet up, planning fun park workouts together to show the kids healthy lifestyles, to meeting up for workout classes, our whatever!" And suddenly I had an accountability I've never had outside Dan before.

So my sister in law who lives a distance and I starting sending each other our meals for dinner each week. It'd force me to meal plan and make healthy choices and get the ingredients in my shopping cart, instead of throwing something together at 4:30 each day and hoping for it to be healthy (pancakes for breakfast or frozen pizza are not healthy).

And my brother agreed to do a half marathon with me. Dan and I have done them together before but with the kids, it would mean taking up so much time on weekends for us to take turns doing long runs and he honestly doesn't even enjoy long runs as his preferred workout.

And of course Dan. He is always my cheerleader, motivator and person to help me. He's always on the same health journey because he knows how good it feels to eat healthy and to be in shape.

And I decided to make myself a priority. I made sure everyday before Dan started work I got in a workout of some sort unless it was a rest day. I became a healthier person for so many reasons:

  1. Working out is healthy- duh.
  2. I was doing something for myself. As a SAHM my whole day is about setting up the house and routines for the family. I feed animals, kids, nurse, clean up, disinfect, create, unload, fold, cook, plan, walk, teach, etc. And I love it. But it can be hard day after day especially because my dogs don't thank me, my kids don't, and although Dan is constantly boosting me up with love and support, even everyday "thank yous" don't make the weight come off and self esteem go up.
  3. We leaned into being calm. Not everything had to be a rush or as fast as possible. And Dan definitely takes the hit here, starting work sometimes as late as 10AM just to make sure we all got the things we needed for the day (dogs walked and Mom worked out and hopefully Dad too). So we found our calmness and realized what matters most us in the first hours of the day.
  4. The self discipline and daily grind is hard yet so rewarding. I can literally feel like Super Mom most days all because I ran 4 miles and showered before playing super heroes or chasing a crawling baby around. Mentally, I feel ready to take on the day.

So now, as my half marathon is less than 2 weeks away. I will admit the long run on the weekend is throwing off my vibe. I hate missing nearly 2 hours of morning time with the whole family together. BUT, I am so proud for pushing myself and gaining "me" back.

Working out has always been a trigger for me to eat healthier and make better choices. I think a lot of times people think "Oh I worked out today so I can eat that" instead of "Oh I worked out today I don't want to ruin my hard work by eating that." And that's been the biggest change for me. I eat balanced, I still enjoy dessert and I still have munchy snacks. But, my munchy snack is popcorn not cheetos, and dessert is enjoyed right after dinner instead of right before bed. Those little things help my body feel better and avoid me undoing my hard work.

When Will was a baby, I had misconceptions that everything came before me. I was constantly checking in on everyone else- Dan, dogs and baby. But never made time for me. I would take him in the running stroller, or wait until he was down for nap and have Dan watch the monitor, or use the nap time to walk the dogs. But sometimes Mama needs just time to herself.

Some of it was new mom syndrome, some of it was the nursing learning curve, and some of it was a cop-out. It was easier to say I couldn't work out because I had more important things to do.

Aside from feeling good, both physically and mentally, I needed to do it for my health. I want to be 45 years old and running beside my kids on the weekend and letting them experience the beauty of pushing yourself, making your body work and getting fresh air all before you start your day. I want to have a healthy heart and bones to feel good each morning when my feet hit the floor. And I want to be proactive in my health so I can see so many more wonderful things about my life- whether it be traveling, watching my kids grow, meeting new people, trying new things or whatever. I don't want to hinder all that one day because I didn't make time for myself now.

Feeling better about myself and really proud of my hard work I put in each week. Not back to pre-Will and maybe I never will be exactly, but I hope to feel as healthy and fit as possible.

I'm not where I want to be yet on scale standards, but I'm feeling good, proud and I'm working hard on it which makes me feel accomplished and powerful.

I'm sharing my journey because I was not always an avid runner or workout warrior {Flashback to freshman year in college when I was eating a brownie at my desk scrolling Facebook}. But I am sure glad I've grown and changed things about my life to make me be the best person I can be in mind, body and soul.

Go out there and find what works for you. Maybe its hiking, or yoga, or kickboxing classes. Maybe it's as simple as putting on some sneakers and walking around the block a few times after dinner as a family. Whatever it is, it is worth it. It will be your outlet, your self care and your health boost.

If you are looking for a race or event to par-take in, I suggest using I like their search engine abilities and find them easy to naivgate!