After my first three kids were born, losing the baby weight just happened without a lot of effort. I ate pretty healthy, but I also ate whatever I wanted for the most part, and I didn’t exercise on any regular basis.
After my fourth, Theodore, was born in August 2015, I really wanted to make some changes to my lifestyle. I wanted to start exercising regularly and being more aware of what I was eating.
Today I wanted to share a little bit about my journey to health, and what I learned along the way.
Here’s a picture of me two months postpartum. (I gain a lot of weight in my face when I’m pregnant. If anyone knows how to avoid that, please let me know for the future! Ha!)
In November, I started taking some steps toward better health. This was when I really started to notice the times that I was emotionally eating. You know… the baby is crying and you are stressed so you just go grab a handful of chocolate chips from the cabinet. (Repeat throughout the day.) I started stopping and asking myself why I wanted to eat. Was I hungry? Then I would be happy with a healthy snack. Was I stressed? Then eating something wouldn’t solve the problem. I would just be placing a Band-aid on a deeper issue. I’ve talked to lots of friends and other moms who have also struggled with this. When you’re a bit sleep deprived and you have all the postpartum hormones and you’re busy and stressed it’s so easy to turn to food for comfort. That sounds so silly writing it out, but it was a real issue for me. So that month I began making changes.
In December, I started wearing a FitBit Charge HR that my mother-in-law got for me. As I shared in this post last year, I was shocked at how little I was moving each day (even though I considered myself to be “active”). But I very quickly started changing my lifestyle. I went from 5,000-8,000 steps a day to over 10,000/daily by the end of the month. December was a very mild month weather-wise, so we went on lots of family walks, and I also went for runs by myself.
In March I decided to start doing exercise videos every afternoon. I chose short, manageable routines I could do in 20-30 minutes in my room while the kids napped. I learned that I loved kickboxing, arm circuits, and yoga. I found these workouts enjoyable and energizing! And knowing they weren’t a big time investment kept me doing them regularly. I was also part of a Facebook fitness group with some other mom friends. We shared workouts with each other and provided encouragement! In April I realized I needed to address the food component of my health. As much as I had grown in the area of emotional eating (I was doing much better), I knew I still wasn’t always conscious of when I was mindlessly eating during the day. I decided to start using MyFitnessPal to track every single thing I ate during the day. It was eye-opening to say the least! I don’t think that just counting calories is the best way to lose weight or get healthy, so I don’t advocate using MyFitnessPal exclusively. But, it was very helpful for me to hold myself accountable! Did I really want to log in that I ate 4 brownies? Nope. It was good accountability.
On June 15, I met my goal weight. I was so excited! It wasn’t just what the scale said, though. I felt really good in my clothes. I had to buy a bunch of new things because my skirts and shorts were literally falling off. At this point other people started to notice as well, and I was able to explain that, no, I wasn’t dieting, but that I had made lifestyle changes that led to weight loss.
By August, I had not only lost 14 pounds, but kept them off as well. I felt healthy and energetic! I weighed less than I did before I got pregnant with Theodore. Or Jude. Or Cordelia. I was back to what I weighed when I got married. I now average 15,000-16,000 steps a day, and log 30-60 minutes of exercise a day.
This is a photo from our family vacation at the end of August.
Just to compare again, here’s a photo from last fall.
And here’s one from this fall, taken last month.
For a whole year now (what? I can’t even believe I’m typing that!), I’ve been able to fit regular exercise into my life almost every day. This change has not happened overnight, and I hope this post has helped show that. Many, many small steps have led to this point, and I hope that the things I learned this year will carry into next year and the next and the next!
I want to model health to my children. Not just in what I eat, but in how I live. I want them to be strong, healthy, and active, so I need to set the example. I hope they don’t see a mom who is obsessed with her weight, worried about every calorie, or who has unrealistic standards of beauty. I hope they DO see a mom who is confident in who God made her to be, determined to care for her body as a good steward, and who is ready to enjoy life to the fullest!
This week I also wanted to share two things that will help YOU in your health journey as well!
First, Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom has launched a brand new eCourse called 15 Days to a Healthier You! I’ve been able to preview the workbook for this course, and it’s really awesome! Starting in January, Crystal will be sharing live videos each day of the course to provide motivation and encouragement to live a healthy lifestyle. I believe her approach is very balanced as well, not obsessive or restrictive. She addresses so many factors of health besides eating and exercise… things like sleep, goal-setting, and self-care. I can’t wait for the course to begin! It will be a great way to get off to the right start in 2017!
Learn more about 15 Days to a Healthier You right here!
Secondly, the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle (that I shared with you in September), is coming BACK for two days, this week only! It will be on sale December 28-29 (yep, just 48 hours!). This bundle of eBooks, eCourses, printables, and other resources is the ULTIMATE guide to healthy living. Whether you’re looking for a new workout plan for 2017, or just want to break out of your recipe rut, this bundle has everything you need. I personally love my bundle that I got back in the fall, and I think you’ll love it too! I’ll post again tomorrow when the sale is live, or you can go here to sign up to be reminded when the sale begins.
Here’s to a healthy 2017!
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.