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Today’s guest writer is Gabriela. I met this mama several years ago, along with Lindsay, when we deployed to Afghanistan. Afterwards, Gabriela went on to become an Army drill sergeant! -Elisebet
Hello, young and strong women and mothers. I would like to share my so-called “wisdom” and experiences for the “body after baby.” Thank you, Elisebet, for the opportunity to share my perspective, and I hope that it can help someone out there.
The Top 5 things that helped me along the way…
- Manage your expectations.
- Accept yourself.
- Learn to get help and allow others to help, because no one can do it on their own (and be happy).
- Work with what you have and accept the results because of what you have.
- THERE IS NO BIG SECRET TO LOSING WEIGHT AND LOOKING LIKE A VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL (Besides most of us aren’t models; we’re mothers… embrace it happily).
So the first thing is managing expectations; I think we get easily and quickly discouraged, because we are looking for overnight or weekly results. After a baby nothing is easy and everything is upside down, backwards, and just plain a mess. We’re a mess, our homes are a mess, our lives are a mess…I was ok with that. I accepted it, because I was happy. Some of us don’t think about the bundle of joys we were given after they’ve reached two years old, and they’re throwing tantrums. I know. That was me sometimes. I was more concerned with the house chores and food than I was enjoying my babies. I have what they call “Irish Twins,” which means they’re less than a year apart. For two weeks my kids are the same age. It was hard in the beginning. But I got smart as they kept growing. What I did was accept imperfect solutions. And in turn it did two things for me; well, it helped with my sanity for one, and it made my children more responsible and independent. For example, I made games out of clean up. And I didn’t go back after them, if they didn’t do it “my way.” I accepted the solution the way they did it. Of course, if there was jelly all over the carpet or something crazy like that, than yes I would clean it up. But for the most part I accepted it. And I didn’t feel the need to clean up better, they were just gonna make another mess later anyway. So, if you have so many things to do in one day or week or month, than you’re going to have to manage expectations. Same thing with my husband (even to this day:/); when he cleans, I am just happy that he did it. The results of how he cleaned aren’t what I expect. I should be able to expect a grown man to clean the house the way I do, especially since we’ve been married for 10 years. But it’s not, and that’s ok now. Accept different results, by managing your expectations.
What do I mean by accepting yourself? Well most of us are easily and quickly discouraged because we, once again, are expecting overnight (or a week’s worth of working out) results. Our bodies went through 10 months of drastic change. Try giving back the same work and energy back to your body for a solid 9 months, then you can complain if the results aren’t the same. But for the most of us, we don’t do that. I know I didn’t. It wasn’t until both my kids went to school that I started to care about my body again. For me, that was ok. I wasn’t interested in being a VS model. I was happy being a mom. I generally ate healthy and did enough around the house to maintain a decent size and shape. I walked the dog; I played with the kids, go on walks, went to the pool (cause we were in FL). But I accepted myself because I knew that I wasn’t making my body a priority. I made my kids and family a priority. Could I have done both? Easily. So the only question you have to ask yourself is, which is a priority? And I’m not saying that you can’t do both, but at some point or another one will conflict with the other. And the result will be that one of those priorities gets bumped, so accept the result after one of them gets bumped. Accept yourself and the results that come with your priorities.
Assuming you have so many priorities, like I did. Work, school, kids and their school, the house, dinner, cleaning, doctor’s appointments, play dates, family events, birthday parties, extracurricular activities, etc. (You get it. It’s SUPER busy, and I am sure I am not the only one) Because life throws us so many curve balls we sometimes need to sit one out. We can’t always hit home runs. Certainly not all by yourself and not all the time. So how do you get help or accept help. Well, the funny thing about help, is that it comes in different forms, amounts, and from people you probably you didn’t expect or from someone you don’t really want it from. But you have to learn to accept help.
The main thing about giving helpful ideas and sharing experience is simply that you can take what you want and leave what you don’t want. But this by far is not a super secret to being successful or fit. It is simply my take away on the things that I struggled with and experiences I went through. So what’s the “big secret”? The big secret is that there is no big secret. The biggest things that have helped me are acceptance, moderation, commitment, patience and hard work. Although I “pig out” on the weekends I am committed (mentally) to know that I am going to the gym during the week and eating healthier during the week in order to enjoy the weekend. But on the weekend we still do activities that help sustain a healthier lifestyle like biking, hiking and swimming or simply playing sports that my kids are in like doing soccer drills that help my daughter’s skills and we are staying active in the process. You just have to figure out a way to make it fun, and possibly pick up someone interested in helping you, because although you can do it alone, it’s easier with a partner.
The biggest excuse I hear is “I don’t have time.” Time is a luxury; if you waste it or abuse it, it will never work in your favor. So be selfish with your time, because in the long run it will help you and your family out more. And I don’t know about you, but I would rather be fit than look like a VS model, being fit serves a purpose. But being fit doesn’t mean having the body of a supermodel. So, what I’m about to tell you might be regarded as harsh or blunt, but that’s kind of the point. My best advice is this, truly embrace the fact that your body might not ever go back to what it used to be. I really mean for you to sit there and accept that you may never be the same weight or shape. I’m not saying this is true for all women. I’m just saying it’s a lucky break if your body does go back to what it was after kids. For some of us, it gets better, it did for me (at least in my husband’s eyes, which was an important factor). But for others it’s a struggle, a challenge, and a battle (which it was also for me). A battle we give up on so quickly. And we give up because we don’t see the results we want when we want them. So the sooner you can embrace your new body the better. But don’t think of it as something bad. Think of it as your result from bringing the miracle into this world, because no battle is pretty and now you have the scars or weight or shape to prove it. Be proud of yourself, be content, and be grateful that your child is here in this world because you did what you were supposed to like a mother should. BUT now it’s game time. Do you want your body back? (or as close to it as possible) You will have to be a little selfish with time, with house work, with all the things (excuses) that you use that stop you from getting a new body. Most of us carry the burden of “I have to do the cooking, the cleaning, the doctor’s appointments, the soccer mom duties, the play dates, the grocery shopping, etc.” But you aren’t as adamant about your personal time for something that will make you feel better and actually results in a better lifestyle that aids the overall outcome of your family’s well-being.
Disclaimer: All information presented during this event is purely personal opinion and shared for educational purposes only. The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise, weight-loss, or nutrition program. Please note, My Life: A Work in Progress does not necessarily endorse any opinions presented by guest writers during this event. Not all exercise or nutrition programs are suitable for everyone.