Body After Baby: Two Years

Note: This post is about body image, weight loss, and eating. If this may be a trigger for you, please feel free to skip this post and come back another day!

I know it may seem a little odd to do a body after baby post so long after giving birth, but for me personally it has taken this long to really feel good about myself. I wanted to be sure other women know that if it doesn’t happen in 3, 6, 12 or 18 months, IT’S OK. Slow progress sticks around better for me anyway as opposed to a quick fix, and I much prefer lifestyle changes instead of “diets”.

For a quick refresher before we dive into the now, let’s take a look at what I looked like one month postpartum below:

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and then again six months postpartum below:

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and now (2 years postpartum) below:

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Also here’s a shot from the day I had Emma Kate (9/24/14), and then from August of this year:

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When I was 12 months postpartum, I was one pound over my pre pregnancy weight, so I weighed 151. At the time I was happy with that, but what I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t in the best shape when I got pregnant…so getting back to my pre pregnancy weight still wasn’t my “happy weight”. I wanted to be stronger and have more muscle. I wanted to feel better, to be the best mom I could be.

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I am now sitting at 143 pounds, so I have lost eight pounds since probably about mid June (yes I sat at 151 from last September until this June, fluctuating a pound or so here and there). So what changed? Well, a couple of things.

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(The above photo was taken on day FOUR of eating out at restaurants for every meal. If only I had been able to take photos at the beginning of the trip!)

1.) I amped up my workouts. I was doing bootcamp 3-4 times a week and running 1-2 times a week while resting 1-2 days. It just wasn’t giving me results as fast as I would like, so I moved up to bootcamp 5 days a week and running once a week, sometimes twice. I also started running stadiums on Wednesday mornings before class. Some weeks I do take off two days, but I aim for only one day of full rest. My current schedule looks something like this:

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Boot camp

Tuesday: Boot camp

Wednesday: Stadiums and sprints at the track, HEAT class (like Orange theory)

Thursday: Boot Camp

Friday: Boot Camp

Saturday: Long run

As much as I enjoy racing and will continue to do so, it just isn’t working for me right now to run tons and tons of miles to get faster for longer distances. I would much rather be strong than fast, so it is what it is.

2.) I cleaned up my eating. I seriously loathe counting calories, but knew I at least needed an “idea” of how many calories I was eating in a day, so I counted calories for a week or so (as well as macros) just to get a good starting point. What I realized is I don’t get enough protein, and I was eating too many carbs and fats, as well as overall calories. Lots of snacking folks! After counting on My Fitness Pal, I felt like I had a firm grasp on my hunger cues, and about how much I needed to eat a day to still be able to workout hard and not feel weak.

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So what happened? I started eating foods that filled me up more to fuel my tough workouts instead of empty calories. I stopped eating late at night, and I was just more mindful in general. Do I still eat candy and drink alcohol? Heck yes! But for example…if I know I’m going out with friends that night, I am more careful during the day and the day before. It’s seriously all about planning ahead and meal prep these days, and it really does pay off (I talk about meal prep more in my book!)

After a couple of weeks, I started noticing that I could SEE my muscle more in my arms, abs, and legs. It was under there the whole time, it was just hidden. Smile

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I have been able to go up in weight when doing a lot of exercises, and I don’t tire out near as easily. It’s such a good feeling to be able to add that 25 pound plate at the squat rack, or use heavier dumbbells for bicep curls or kickbacks.

The beginning of November marks one year of boot camp, and if you look back and read my 12 month body after baby post, you will see I was just about to start boot camp and had a “we’ll see what happens” attitude towards it. Never did I think I would end up falling in love with it and making great friends at my gym.

I started really PUSHING myself at boot camp this summer, in spite of having been going since the end of 2015. I began not just doing the bare minimum, but really pushing myself to my limits and taking it seriously. I work out way too hard to ruin it with a bad diet or injury, so I am more careful with everything I do now. I have lost fat, gained muscle, and still managed to lose weight in the process. I honestly am not as concerned about the number on the scale though. I just want to feel good in my clothes, and have energy and confidence.

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I want to be a good role model for my now two year old daughter, and teach her to work hard for the things in life she really wants. I want her to learn discipline, self love, and respect for her body. I want to run races with her, teach her how to lift, and help her find her passions.

To all the new mamas out there or mamas about to have babies, I know, I KNOW, it’s so much easier said than done, but you can get to where you want to be. Don’t get bogged down in a timeframe. Enjoy your baby, and get back to working out when YOU feel ready. It may take you two years, it may not. Don’t let the amount of time it took me scare you. But just know if it does take two years, that’s ok. Do the best that you can, making small changes one at a time. Make your health a priority, and please don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it all on your own. We are all in this together, and other moms understand the best just how stressful it can be, so lean on each other. If you don’t have someone who supports you wanting to get healthy, FIND SOMEONE. In real life, online, at the gym, at church, etc. Find your people. You can do this. Be BRAVE! You can have a great body after baby!

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So what’s next for me? Sadly, this round of my beloved boot camp ends November 4th, and then I move to Tampa. I’m sure things will be up in the air for awhile until I find a new gym home. I hope I can find a new boot camp class as awesome as the one I have here, but it’s highly doubtful any group can compare. Smile I look forward to having more racing opportunities in Florida, and making new workout friends. Who knows what’s next? It will be a fun ride to find out.

QOTD: How long did it take you to get your body where you wanted it after having a baby? What worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

5 Reasons You are Failing at Weight loss

Losing weight can be tricky business. We are bombarded with ads promising fast results and that you can lose a dress size in a week. The truth is, lasting weight loss is done slowly for most people. However, there are a few things that you may be unintentionally doing that could be sabotaging your efforts. Instead of getting frustrated, let’s take a look at 5 reasons you could be failing at weight loss. Maybe one or two will strike a cord with you, and help you to get to your goal weight. You can do it!

Failing at Weight Loss

1.) Water Consumption: One of the reasons a lot of people (myself included) struggle with losing those last few pounds is we aren’t drinking enough water. I finally had to just force myself to sip water all day long and not only can I feel a difference in not feeling bloated, but my skin is more clear as well, bonus! Tip: Sip out of a pretty cup with a straw, it helps me! I shoot for eight glasses a day, and except on special occasions have cut out soda all together.

I really like this fruit infused water bottle to give your drink a little flavor.

 

2.) Rewarding Workouts With Treats: This is a major trap that creates a vicious cycle. Should you celebrate your weight loss? Heck yes! But you shouldn’t celebrate with a food related reward. Otherwise, you are eating back all the calories you just burned from your workout! Other good options are a manicure, new workout clothes, or some time to yourself to go to the movies.

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3.) Snacking all day, Oh, it’s just a handful!: As someone who works from home, this is another trap that I fall into if I’m not careful. One handful of M&M’s isn’t a big deal, but when it turns into three or seven spread out throughout the day, then I’m in trouble. Little bites add up quickly, so beware! This is why I prefer things that come in snack sized portions like string cheese or a cup of Greek yogurt.

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4.) Portion sizes: Living in the south, this is a biggie. I was taught to eat everything on my plate, whether I liked it or not. Stores sell monster sized dinner plates, which compounds the problem. Check the back of your food labels and find out what an actual serving size is and measure it out. You me be surprised to find out that you are eating multiple servings of your favorite cereal!

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5.) Not working out enough: I love my activity tracker, but there has been a lot of controversy as of late about the accuracy of them. Did I REALLY walk 10,000 steps? Was that my actual heart rate for for my exercise class? It’s hard to know for sure, but I would much rather err on the side of doing more work than the minimum as opposed to not doing enough. I have found that when I just enter age and weight into a treadmill or stationary bike, the calories are WAY overestimated, and this can lead to a big problem if you think you are burning more than you are. Shoot for 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, or 30 minutes a day five days a week to have a healthy heart, and improve your fitness.

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PS: Sign up for my FREE set of printables to help you track your daily fitness routine, as well as make goals related to fitness and every day life.

QOTD: Did any of these resonate with you? What other reasons can you think of that cause people to fail at weight loss?

*Please note that I am not a doctor, and these are just things I have observed in my personal life and journey with weight loss.

Master It with MetaRun

When I think about Mastering things in life, one of the things that immediately jumps into my head are athletic related goals. I have been an athlete since the third grade (well, if you call 3rd grade basketball a sport,) and I thrive on competition and physical fitness.

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If I was being honest though, there are other  areas of my life that I would love to master as well, one being the way I see myself. Being a competitive person, I have always been VERY hard on myself when it comes to well…everything. If I made a 98 on a test in school, it was “gosh darn it why didn’t I make a 100?” If I had 10 kills in a volleyball game, I wanted 11. If I ran a race, I wanted to PR every time (well, I still do that.) While this is a great, goal driven attitude to have, it can also be destructive.

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Ever since having Emma Kate in September of 2014, I have been really, really hard on myself concerning my physical appearance. This once bikini wearing girl bought a tankini and a wrap to wear for the summer at the pool. I ran non stop but still wasn’t thrilled with my body. Still about two pounds from my pre-baby weight, I have beat myself up over why it is taking me so long, when other seem to bounce back in lightning speed.

What seemed to me was that I really needed to master my attitude and evaluate the process. This for me started in the summer while following the BBG fitness program. While I am getting a lot better, I still have some work to do. I realized a few things 1.) I can’t eat like I did while I was pregnant, 2.) JUST running isn’t going to get me in the shape I want to be in, and 3.) My body did an amazing thing, and even if I never look the way I “used to” ever again, I have done something even greater, and that is having a child

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I love my body for what it has done for me and continues to do for me, and taking bootcamp classes + running has done wonders for making me feel good about myself. However, it’s so easy to sit back in my yoga pants and sweatshirts and say I am proud of how far I have come, hiding the flaws and trouble spots.

So, today I have decided to force myself out of my comfort zone (which seems to have been the 2015 theme around here,) and take some pictures in my awesome new MetaRun ASICS shoes, baring the body part that I give the most grief to.

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Thankfully, the shoes are so adorable and awesome (and just so happen to be New Orleans Saints colors), I know you are all just staring at them, RIGHT? I know I have things to work on both physically and mentally, but I also know that with the right attitude and some hard work, I can master anything. Having cute shoes helps, too. (Also, WOW do I need some sun!)

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So can I tell you a little about the shoes that prompted me to write this oh so honest blog post? I promise they are super cool.

Over the last 3 years, ASICS’ Institute of Sport Science (the ISS) has been researching, prototyping and designing a shoe that they think will master long distance running, with no restrictions. They were told to create the best thing they could and they did.

These shoes adapt and contour to your individual running style. MetaRun was built using the latest ASICS exclusive technologies providing you with the best and first ever running shoe with a responsive ride. The first thing I noticed was that they are really lightweight, but at the same time very cushioned, which are two things that tend to not go together in the running shoe world. I basically forgot that they were on my feet!

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The following is from their website:

Constructed using groundbreaking midsole foam developed in the ASICS ISS. FlyteFoam isn’t a little bit lighter, it’s remarkably 55%* lighter than the industry standard. FlyteFoam isn’t just super lightweight, it’s organic fibres bounce the MetaRun back into its original shape in the space of each stride to provide perfect cushioning from the start of your run to the finish.

A carbon fibre reinforced, two-piece AdaptTruss gives MetaRun both incredible stability and amazing flexibility. This helps to reduce the impact of medial forces on the foot, so the MetaRun will flex safely but become rigid if the foot rolls in too much, meaning reliable stability no matter the distance.

A new one-layer engineered mesh minimises rubbing between the foot and the upper to create a super snug, glove-like fitting experience. A unique combination of closed and open weave patterns optimises flexibility and breathability.”

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Pretty sweet huh? I can say for myself after testing these guys out yesterday that they are pretty amazing. The Gel Quantum 360 is my favorite ASICS shoe, but these bad boys are giving them a run for their money. They are currently available for limited release through December 31. Christmas gift anyone?

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Shoes can truly take you anywhere, and I can’t wait to see where my MetaRun’s take me next year. Hopefully to not only master some great runs + races in 2016, but also to a place of being more at peace with myself and my body, and all of the amazing things it does for me every day.

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QOTD: What is something you want to Master in 2016? It can be running related or not!

You ARE Enough

I first met Tasha when I visited Under Armour headquarters a couple of years ago, and we were ambassadors together and roommates. She has become a wonderful and inspirational friend who is very dear to me, and I am honored to have her guest post today. She has an amazing story of overcoming shame, guilt, and anorexia that she is sharing here today. I hope you will read it, it’s worth it!

Shame, as defined by vocabulary.com, is “a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.” In my life, it defined an entire period of my life, a darkness, a private hell that I lived in and out of for far too long. With my daughter just turning twelve last week, memories of how my life came crashing idem, all over my weight, shortly after her birth came flooding back. I decided, now, more than ever as she enters a very delicate period in her own development, to really acknowledge how I got there, how I can deal with any remnants of what was and make to decision about walking in freedom about my body and my weight and being a worthy example for her to follow.

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Six months before I became pregnant with my daughter, I had just successfully lost a little over forty pounds. I had been dating a man for a little over a year and had gotten “comfortable” and had ended up getting very close to two hundred pounds again, something I promised myself I would not do. I had gotten a membership at the local YMCA, cleaned up my diet and was really really proud about being under 160 pounds, a weight I had not seen since my first year of college. Within a month of reaching a healthy weight, my boyfriend proposed and we were married three months later. I became pregnant three months after that. All of the quick changes (not just getting married but losing my job, going through a custody battle over my oldest child and moving to a different city) made gaining fifteen pounds SUPER easy. I felt “happy” but out of control. So many people were inspired by the changes I had made and I was now feeling as if I was letting them down. That guilt on top of the guilt of being put on a diet by my doctor for gaining too much weight (as a pregnant woman) on top of no longer having a job on top of feeling bad for being “vain” about my body when I was supposed to be taking care of myself to bring another life into the world. The weight of it all was super heavy on my shoulders.

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When I gave birth, I became obsessed with losing the weight. I wouldn’t go visit family and friends because I was ashamed of what I had become, or in my mind, become “again.” On top of severe post partum depression (which I’m sure was affected by the way I felt about myself), I exercised excessively. I battled my second round of anorexia. I rarely slept. I almost killed myself. I felt trapped, again, all because of a number on a scale. It’s amazing how trying to be what we think is acceptable to others will destroy us.

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I have battled the same thing since entering the fitness profession some eleven years ago. Shame is what led me to a binge eating disorder. I was a yoga teacher. How does a yoga teacher explain to her students that her emotions are our of control and she is ashamed of her body when she is telling them to breathe and love themselves? I shoved brownies down my throat before class in the corner of the parking lot where no one could see, cried for ten minutes and then went to play the role. That’s what shame does to us. We play roles to feel “accepted” and hide from who we really are. When I came to terms with who I really was and that it was o.k. that I was super small or that I didn’t dress a certain way or that I wasn’t a runner and that who I was indeed was ENOUGH, my battle with shame became less and less and less and while I still struggled (honestly, struggle) with body image from time to time, I no longer hide from people or the issue. When I feel that way, I get to the root of the issue and not just accept it as before. I have not only had to change my thinking but there are times I had to change environments, friends, who I was following on social media, where I was shopping and what I watching on television. If it made me second guess myself, it had to go.

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Shame is hard. Suffering is hard. Silence is hard. It secretly kills. If you are in a shame cycle,may I encourage you with these words: you ARE enough. Shame attacks us when we feel inadequate. You are more than capable and more than worthy. When we believe in our own worth and power, shame dissolves. When shame dissolves, we can see who we really are and go from there. There is nothing wrong with self improvement. We just can’t become undone trying to undo who we truly are. Be encouraged. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you Tasha for sharing such a personal story! If you are not already, please be sure to follow this amazing lady on her social channels, here are a few: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

QOTD: Can you relate to Tasha at a time in your life? How did you overcome these feelings?

A Small Victory

When we moved into our house last August, I was very very pregnant. We unpacked the entire house prior to Emma Kate’s arrival, because I knew if it didn’t get done then, that it wouldn’t get done for a looonngggg time. We did a good job, and pretty much everything had a place.

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After the baby was born, the weather turned cold, and I knew there was no way I was going to fit into my pre baby blue jeans. I hated the thought of spending money on clothes that I would hopefully not be wearing for long, and I kind of felt like I was “giving in” to being a bigger size, but I also knew I couldn’t wear leggings all winter (or could I? hmmm). I was finally convinced to buy just ONE pair of jeans, I refused to get more than that. They served me well, and spring came and I never had to wear them again.

This past weekend, we had our first “cold snap” down here in Mississippi, and I busted out my jeans to go to a fall festival. I put them on and immediately realized there was a problem. It was a GOOD problem to have, but still a problem. I could literally pull my pants down over my hips without unbuttoning them. I wore them to the festival and was constantly pulling them up. As soon as we got home, I went in my closet to look for all of my pre baby blue jeans…..I looked, and I looked…and I looked some more. Huh. I looked under the beds, and even dug through every. single. box. in the attic. NO JEANS! What the heck!

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I still have no idea what happened. I really really hate the phrase “they got lost in the move”, because seriously, how does that happen? You put boxes on the truck, you take them off the truck…but there is no other explanation. I’m pretty bummed because I had about 8-10 pair, including my all time favorites of course, but unfortunately my only other option is to buy more jeans. We have put ourselves on a pretty strict budget lately trying to get things going with the yogurt shop, so the last thing I wanted to do was buy unnecessary things, but I guess at this point it is necessary? Anyway, I’m rambling.

So yesterday I went to the outlet mall, because no way I’m paying full price for jeans I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BE BUYING, and actually hit a really good sale on jeans and snagged a pair at a great price. I’m still in denial and hoping the old jeans magically appear so I just bought one pair, but the best and important part of this story is that I FIT INTO MY OLD SIZE! They are a little bit snug, but YAY! I honestly wasn’t even sure what size to bring into the fitting room so I brought three different sizes in. I was surprised, and really really happy! 

Why did I take 500 words to tell you this? 1.) because I am still aggravated about all my jeans and just wanted to tell someone (you’re welcome), and 2.) I wanted to tell you all that it’s OK if you don’t reach your goals in the timeframe you initially set for yourself. it doesn’t mean you give up, KEEP GOING! Would I have loved to reach this goal in the nine month timeframe I had set for myself? Of course! But life sometimes life gets in the way, and things take longer than anticipated.

Quick fixes and fad diets that claim to work super fast usually don’t work, and even if you get temporary results, it’s so easy to fall back into your old routines and gain weight back. Slow and steady has worked well for me, even if it was a lot slower than I would have liked. I don’t do well with crazy restrictions or a lot of change at once, so it was literally me just slightly, ever so slightly turning my ship a little at a time until I got on the right course. I’m still not finished or where I want to be, but this is the first time I have really seen tangible results that surprised me since having Emma Kate.

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Don’t give up. Keep going. I know it’s hard. I know some days you go backwards. It’s ok. Small changes add up to big results. You can do this.

QOTD: Have you ever lost anything when moving? Have you ever been surprised by a small victory like mine?

Body After Baby: 12 Months

Note: This post is about body image, weight loss, and eating. If this may be a trigger for you, please feel free to skip this post and come back tomorrow. I have an exciting announcement for that post!

Well, here we are. I had a baby a year ago. Today is actually my due date, but we all know Emma KAte was a week old by the 30th last year!  The excuse of “I just had a baby” can no longer be used. trust me, I milked it as long as I could. Honesty moment: I always used to roll my eyes when people said they can’t get rid of the baby weight. I mean really, it can’t be THAT hard right? Well, it IS hard, but it is also doable. I have realized you have to really want it more than those chips and queso, and honestly, sometimes I just really want the chips and queso, yall.

In the beginning, the weight came off really fast. I got cocky, and thought I would be back to my old weight in no time. I think I lost something like 17 or so pounds in the first few days. (I gained right at 30).

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One month postpartum

I stopped breastfeeding after a month, and I know that didn’t help matters. Between November and March I actually GAINED weight while marathon training (I always gain about 3-5 pounds marathon training), so that was really frustrating.

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end of March 2015, 6 months postpartum

I looked at myself in April/May and was not happy with my progress and knew I needed to get serious if I wanted to see changes. I had a come to Jesus meeting with myself after I got back from Disney in May and had gained weight again. I was 8/10 pounds from my pre pregnancy weight, and 15 pounds form my “happy weight.” I knew it was my eating, because I was working out plenty, but I also knew I wasn’t doing the right kinds of workouts.

I decided right then that I was going to be more mindful of my eating . There have been some ups and downs since then, but overall my attitude towards food has greatly improved. I thought when we bought Orange Leaf, that I would gain a ton of weight eating frozen yogurt every day, but I actually LOST weight because in the beginning I was working 13 hour days at the store 3-4 days a week, running back and forth, on my feet all day, with no time to snack. So yeah, froyo was my lunch some days, but there was no mindless snacking all day long. However, because of my crazy work schedule, I have only been working out 3-4 days a week since August. My half marathon training plan got completely derailed, and I started just kind of floating through the weeks.

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September 2015, almost 12 months postpartum

My new plan is to continue running 3 days a week, but I am also going to sign up for a special 6 week HIIT class at my gym that starts the beginning of November. I think the accountability will be good for me and just what I am needing right now. Between now and then I plan to do some strength training on my own 1-2 days a week as time allows. I don’t really have much of a “plan” other than that right now. We have a lot of personal things up in the air at this moment so I feel I’m not in the best place to make concrete plans far out in the future. I know  I’m rambling a bit, I guess I’m just lacking focus an direction at the moment, but I know it is just part of it, and that it will come back to me.

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12 months postpartum

With that being said, I am currently ONE POUND away from my pre pregnancy weight. Of course I would love to be AT my pre pregnancy weight, but close enough, right? However, when I got pregnant I was about 5-8 pounds over my happy weight, so I still have a little bit to go, and I’m hoping the HIIT class will give my body a nice shake up and be just what I need. I want to gain MUSCLE and be STRONG. (PLEASE note, that I understand it’s not all about the scale. I could stay at this exact “weight” but have muscle mass and fit into my clothes better and be perfectly happy, I am simply giving a range based on the past.) I am happiest with myself when I feel strong, and I think that is what I have been missing since having Emma Kate. Sure my arms aren’t that bad from picking up my 24 pound child, but I feel quite flabby. I’m not after being skinny, I’m after being ripped! I think that will help with my running, too.

So, here we are, one year later. On the right path, but not there yet. I plan to “check in” again in a few months, maybe 3, maybe 6, I’m not sure yet, to check on my progress. I hope you will follow along with me. I have a lot to learn and a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I’m excited for it! Time to get stronger and faster!

QOTD: Have you ever been in a fitness rut? Do you struggle more with food or working out?

If I Can Be a Runner, ANYONE Can

Hello from Destin, Florida! We are having a great time relaxing and unplugging a bit. Please enjoy this guest post from Michelle and read about her journey from the couch to the runDisney Princess half marathon!

In the middle drawer on my chest of drawers, where I keep my jewelry, is a palm-sized silver medal with a purple ribbon. It says 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon, and when I look at it, I smile. I smile because I’m proud of myself, and because I still can’t quite believe I actually did it. I smile when I think about how far I’ve come and all the changes I made to earn that medal.

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Between August 2013 and February 2014, I lost almost 30 pounds. Before that, I was about 60 pounds overweight with high blood pressure. I also suffered from arthritis in my hands, hips, knees and feet. When stress built up, as it often did being a middle school teacher, and 42 year old mother of two young children, I would find myself facing a day or two of fatigue so extreme that taking a shower was too big a task for me, and every joint in my body ached. In my life, though, with my children, taking it easy isn’t really an option. My husband’s job involves long hours and working on Saturdays. He often isn’t home much before bedtime. My kids are great kids, but they have needs to be met. And they deserve a mom that plays with them and pays attention to them. I began to resent those times of fatigue and pain. I resented my body that seemed to be rebelling against me. I resented the fact that stress made me want to do things like eat bags of Double Stuffed Oreos. A stress eater under stress. It wasn’t a pretty cycle. Feel bad, eat, feel worse about myself, eat some more. I knew something had to change. I just didn’t have a clue how to start it.

One day in March 2014, while surfing the time suck that is Pinterest, I discovered an interesting looking pin.

There was a picture of a lady in a cute running outfit in front of Cinderella’s Castle. “Disney Princess Half Marathon”, it said. I remember thinking, “How far IS a half-marathon?” A quick Google search got me to the answer…..Thirteen point one miles. I clicked on the pin, and read what others had to say about this race.

“Run through EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom……dress as your favorite princess…….run through Cinderella’s Castle…….pictures with characters…..and at the end, you get a big, pretty medal.”

On that day, sitting in my recliner, I KNEW I had to do this. I knew nothing about running. My personal philosophy on running had always been that if you ever saw me running, you might want to run also, because something big and hairy was probably chasing me. Not only was I not currently running, but I wasn’t engaging in ANY form of exercise. Prior to having two children, I used to enjoy the gym: doing the elliptical machine, weight machines and for a while, I regularly attended Body Pump classes. But in the last five years, nothing. Still, I was unfazed. I kept picturing Cinderella’s Castle and that shiny medal.

My wonderful husband’s reaction to what I had decided to do was pretty much what I expected. His brow furrowed, and he kind of stared into space while he chose his words carefully. “You know that’s for people who run, right?”

“Yes, dear. I know it’s for people who run.”

Again with the furrowed brow and the carefully chosen words. “You know you DON’T run, right?”

I looked him dead in the eyes and said, “I’m going to start.”

And start I did. I did an internet search for running plans for non-runners, and found a plan that suggested alternating walking for four minutes and then running for one minute, for a total of a 30 minute workout. The plan suggested increasing the running and decreasing the walking by one minute until you were running for five minutes. Reading over this plan, it seemed very doable. So, on the first of April, I began. I knew I probably looked really slow, but I really didn’t care. I just knew I had to change what I had been doing and do something different. I ran two days, then took a rest day. After three to four running days of doing the same interval, I would increase the run and decrease the walk. In June 2014, I ran my first 5k. It was hot, and I didn’t run nearly as much of it as I would have liked, but I finished with a pretty respectable time of 44 minutes.

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Training for the Princess Half began in earnest in late October. My sister-in-law jumped on board with me and we trained together for it. I’m so glad she did, because as we increased our mileage on weekends, I learned that long runs by yourself just plan stink. Throughout the fall and into the winter, we ran. Our training schedule had us running two to four miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays with longer runs on Saturdays. Days got shorter, and the air got colder. Before I knew it, I had to buy a new pair of running shoes, and we were running upwards of seven miles on Saturdays. Considering that I had only been running for a short time, racking up those kinds of miles was mind-blowing to me.

All of our training and hard work paid off, though. We completed the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon in three hours, thirty minutes and some change. Considering the fact we stopped for a half a dozen character pictures, and I had to walk a bit between miles 7 and 10, I was really pleased with the time. Crossing the finish line and getting my medal gave me such a feeling of accomplishment.

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I’ve stuck with it, too. Since the Princess Half, I’ve done a couple of 5K’s, a 10K and another Half. I’ve already planned the events I’m going to do for the rest of 2015, and making plans for 2016. I’m studying designs to make my own medal hanger. I’m sure at some point my body won’t be able to do this anymore. But that day isn’t here yet.

Deciding to run the Princess Half, going through the training and then completing the Half is one of the few times that I’ve ever set a goal for myself and actually followed through and attained it. It taught me that truly, my body is capable of WAY more than I would have thought. I’ve told plenty of people my story of how I got into running. I’m hoping that someone who hears my story will be inspired to do something like this for themselves as well. If I can do it, I know that anyone who wants to can do it as well.

QOTD: What was the thing that made you start running, and realize that you could do it?

Body After Baby: 9 Months

Well, it’s official! Emma Kate has been in this world for nine months today! When I was pregnant, I always heard people say to go easy on myself as far as weight loss goes, that it takes nine months to gain it, so it takes nine months to lose it. I had always given myself this “deadline” to be back at my pre baby weight, but yall…it’s hard.

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A few observations. I am still about 5 pounds from my pre baby weight, HOWEVER, I have a lot more muscle than I had in the months leading up to getting pregnant. I am more going by how my clothes fit than the number on the scale. Don’t get me wrong, a LOT of my old clothes still don’t fit me. My body is shaped differently now, which is still weird to me, but not much I can do about that one!

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I’m still not where I want to be, but I actually feel like in the last two months I have made some progress! It feels good to feel like you can see tangible evidence of change, so I wanted to share what has been working for ME the past two months.

1.) Running less. I know, weird, but I think my body is so used to running I’m just not seeing changes with miles on top of miles on top of miles. My body needs something to be mixed up a bit.

2.) Lifting and cross training more. I have been doing random You Tube videos and lifting at home. I just haven’t felt much like going to the gym lately. I either do HITT workouts, abs, arms, or legs and I alternate days.

3.) Drinking A TON of water. I feel like I’m drowning, but I think it’s helping me to not eat as much. I think a lot of time I was really thirsty and not hungry. Plus it’s getting so hot here the water helps keep me from feeling sluggish and getting headaches.

4.) Mindful eating. This is the big one for me, and what has caused the most change. I am great at justifying dessert or junk food, but lately I have been really THINKING about my eating decisions. I do a lot of mindless eating, so I have been trying to really just PAY ATTENTION, and after every bite, think if I am full or if I want to eat some more. I don’t NEED dessert after dinner every night, and I don’t NEED to order sweet tea when I go to my favorite restaurant. These little changes have been adding up, and I know I am headed in the right direction. I have even been eating a handful of salads (gasp!). Also I have been making a ton of smoothies with fruit, greens, and protein powder for breakfast or lunch, which are filling and healthy. I am buying a lot less junk so it’s not even in my house to tempt me. However, this past weekend with my birthday party and family in town I didn’t eat so great, but getting back on track now!

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I still want to firm up and drop a few more pounds, but I know it takes time, and slow and steady is the way to go. I refuse to deprive myself of ALL yummy treats, but I am working on the definition of moderation right now. Smile

I feel good, and I am getting a lot of sleep which is also SUPER helpful for me. It’s not fun, but I force myself to go to bed between 9 and 9:30 every night so I get adequate rest. It’s worth it to me!

I will check back in at the one year mark and see where I am. Hopefully I am stronger and still proud of myself. I just want to keep working hard, and making good choices.

QOTD: Did your body shape change after you had kids? Did you build more muscle?

Summer Workouts

Now that it is summer and getting unbearably hot outside here in Mississippi, my workout routine has changed quite a bit. I plan to talk about my results a little more in my body after baby 9 month post coming up in a couple weeks, but I am definitely seeing some results and doing things a lot differently.

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I have always struggled to run in the heat. Just because you live in the south doesn’t mean running in 100 degrees with 99% humidity gets any easier, you just learn to accept that it’s just the way it is. I can remember being a small child at field day at the end of the school year and getting horrible headaches from running around in the heat (and no I’m not dehydrated). Anyway, summers have always been tough for me because I am not great at getting my butt to the gym, and would prefer to workout at home on my own time. Also, I like to keep a base of 5-6 miles in the summer (ok, 6 is pushing it, I typically cap out at 5).

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So humid my sweat refuses to evaporate!

So, these facts coupled with the undeniable truth that I have been struggling to lose the last 5 pounds of baby weight led me to make some changes in my routine (I will save the eating side of things for my body after baby post). From mid December-March, I was marathon training, so I was running all the miles and eating all the foods. This got me through my race, but it didn’t do great things for my waistline. I knew something needed to change, so here is what I am now doing as far as workouts go (not food changes):

1.) Running less: Gasp! I know right? A distance runner running less, what is wrong in the universe! I know, I know. Like I said…it’s hot here. Even at 6:30 in the morning and 8:00 at night. I was getting terrible headaches and getting very frustrated in general, so I decided to cut my runs to 2-3 days a week, and my max mileage has been 5 miles at a time, and I am only doing that every 2-3 weeks with my other runs being 2-3 miles.

2.) More short, HITT and other cardio workouts: I have been randomly finding workouts on Youtube that I can do in my living room…in the air-condition. Most are between 10-20 minutes long, so I can fit them in easily during the day. My poor body is sore the next day from just those few minutes!

3.) More strength workouts: In addition to the HITT workouts I have been finding, I have also found short strength routines that target things like arms, legs, or abs. I pick one at random and do them at home as well. I have 10 pound dumb bells and an active motion bar, as well as a yoga mat. Pretty much all I have needed so far.

4.) More Walking/resting: I used to take one day off a week, but instead of that I am now taking two days off, once day of complete rest and another of active rest. I have been going for a lot of walks either at home with the dog, or early in the morning at the park with the baby. It’s a great way to get some steps in but at a more leisurely stress free pace. It mixes things up and keeps my body guessing, and it’s working for me for now.

5.) More sleep: This is a big one. When I am tired the first thing that I tend to cut out in favor of more sleep is my workout (well, I can’t really cut out work or cooking or taking care of the wee one now can I?) It isn’t always fun to go to bed at 9:00 (one day last week it was 8:45!) but even if Emma Kate wakes up at 5:45, I am still well rested enough to not skip that workout, and I just feel so much better in general.

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I know these things kind of sound like a no brainer, but for me it was actually putting them all together with some eating changes that have made the difference for me. I have only been doing this for about 3 weeks, but I can already see a difference not only physically, but in my mood and ability to get other tasks done during the day without feeling so tired. I realized I was killing myself trying to run for countless hours and doing sssooo much steady cardio with minimal results. I can’t wait to share what else I’m doing in my body after baby update! Stay tuned!

QOTD: What has been the best approach for you in the summer months when it comes to your fitness?

Body After Baby: Four Months

Hey guys! Sorry this month’s update is a little late, but I wanted to get it written. After this month’s post, I will skip month 5 and do a 6, 9, and 12 month update. Progress is much slower month to month now, so there isn’t as much to say, but here we go!

I am now 4 months postpartum, and January was a tough one. Coming off of the holidays not really losing any weight, and the cold made for slow progress. Also, I dove head first into marathon training, and when I do lots of long runs, I eat. When I marathon train I typically gain a little weight because I am hungry ALL THE TIME, so this has been a tricky balance.

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I joined the gym, but am not happy with their childcare situation, so I’m not sure what to do about that one. So, because of this, I haven’t gone as often as I would like. I have been going on Tuesday and Thursday when Emma Kate is at daycare for part of the day, but then that cuts into my time to work so it has been difficult. I try to make it at least one more time, whether it be when Bobby comes home from work or on Saturday when Bobby can watch EK, but, I also need to long run on Saturday so again, haven’t really found a balance yet.

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My weight fluctuates a lot, but I am pretty sure I only lost .5-1 pound this past month. I’m not sure what to think of it, except hopefully it will be easier once the marathon is over and I’m not running so many miles. Since I have such limited time to workout, I have really only been running. I run 5 days a week as opposed to my ideal which is to run 3 days a week, and cross train/strength train 2-3 days a week.

I still feel much “thicker” in the middle, and have about 9-9.5 pounds to go to be where I would like to be. I feel like my body has shifted where my weight is held, and I am just shaped differently now. I would be lying if I said looking back on old photos didn’t irritate me a bit.

I successfully ran my first post baby half marathon, and am looking forward to running the runDisney Princess half marathon at the end of this month. I am running with Jen, and we are running for fun/stopping to take lots of character photos etc., so thankfully there is no pressure.

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I am still taking my Advocare products, the Catalyst and Spark seem to give me an extra boost in my workouts so I don’t feel as tired, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to eat all the things after. I have recently started taking another one of their products, called Fibo-trim, that will hopefully help with my portion control.

I FEEL good which is really important to me, and I have been sleeping well, but I know if I can get a few more pounds off it will help my running and my confidence. I can finally fit into my old runningskirts.com athletic skirts (they are cut a bit bigger than the running skirts) so that was a nice surprise, I was able to wear one under my tutu at my race in New Orleans. I have a ton of cute workout clothes I am dying to get back into, so hopefully soon!

Be looking for another update at the end of March for my 6 month progress, and hopefully I will have more to report by then!

QOTD: When you train for a race and log a lot of miles do you eat more/feel more hungry?