Snapbacks and Comebacks
After I had my son, I got into the best shape of my life!!!!
See exhibits A, B and C.
But now when I look in the mirror almost 6 months after having our little girl, I’m like “Harpo, who dis woman?” I do a quick survey of the “new me”, finish my after shower routine, then leave the bathroom sadder than I entered.
I don’t like what I see. Yes, I know my body created a tiny human (which is amazing by the way) and it went through some changes to do so BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t feel any less pressed about its current state. The rounded belly, dimpled thighs, flappy arms and the layers of back fat make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. Even getting dressed is a daily dreaded task. What limited wardrobe I have after a total closet cleanse leaves me looking more “mom” than I would like. Sigh….
I know I should probably give myself some grace because things are drastically different this time around. When I had my son, it was just him I had to be concerned with on a daily basis. We ran the streets of Houston and he adapted to almost any environment. He slept through the night from about six months on and regardless if it was bottle or boob, he simply only cared about being fed. I hit the gym religiously 5-6 times a week for 1.5-2 hours a sesh, ate a strict diet (until I discovered IIFYM) and “me” time was never an afterthought. Now nearly six years later, with a new she babe in tow, most of those things are nonexistent. While I manage to hit the gym, its not as frequent or as hard as it once was. But when I am able to go to its usually some half ass attempt that frustrates me and has me leaving almost as soon as I start. Other times, I’m so damn sleepy by the end of the day that I end up trying to finish up on housework that didn’t get done earlier in the day, spend a little time with the hubs or trying to plan my next steps so our kids and our kids’ kids can have an opportunity at generational wealth. Being a stay at home mom is not the only title I care to hold.
Sleep, well quality sleep, has been a distant memory for quite some time. She still wakes up multiple times a night and adamantly prefers her milk straight from the tap. While she’s insanely cute and brings me so much joy, it just doesn’t quite make up for the zombie like state I so often find myself.
Food is somewhat on track being that I strive to stick to a mostly plant based diet. But damn it if doesn’t all fall apart by the end of day with chocolate peanut butter cups, crackers and whatever else I can stuff in my face to meet whatever caloric needs I tell myself I need for that day. Ugh...Insert deep sigh number two…
Ya’ll, I know I sound like all I’m doing is bitching and complaining, and yes I will agree, but can I just have my moment please? As I mentioned before, giving birth changes you, not just physically but mentally as well as emotionally. While I didn’t want to be the overweight and out of shape mom, exercise also became my means to cope with the lack of control I felt in every other aspect of my life. When I was angry, I hit the gym. Lonely? I hit the gym. Sad? I hit the gym. Whatever it was, the answer was to hit the gym. If I didn’t beat myself up in the gym, it didn’t count. My goal was to leave it all on the floor each and everytime. Sure I some days I dreaded having to sit down on anything because my legs would be so sore nor being able to life my arms beyond chest high, the results I saw more than made up for the temporary pain. As my body changed and the attention poured in, I became slightly obsessive about my food and regimen. Occasional bingeing would occur if I went beyond my allotted macros for the day. I was so sold on this lifestyle, at least that’s what I told myself, I began to pursue it as a career by becoming not only a group fitness instructor but a also a certified personal trainer. That’s when it went all downhill from there. Something that I thought I loved quickly became something I hated. The gym was no longer my happy place. The routine and pace that was needed to keep up that lifestyle I no longer cared to do. I was done.
After I left the fitness world and settled into an office job, exercise became just another item on my to do list that sometimes got checked off and sometimes not. I had gained some weight but due to the muscle I had built along the way, my body was not worse for wear.
Now over three years since my peak fitness, being in shape has a whole new meaning to me. Sure I want the toned arms and legs back, but not at the cost of my emotional and mental health. When I look in the mirror, I not only need to like but love the person I see. Do I have to spend countless hours in the gym or eat 'bro food? No. I just have to understand that the results will take longer and might not be exactly what I envisioned, but internally I'll be at peace. I do this not just for me but also for the sweet she babe who will look to me as her first example of body positivity.
Amber 2.0 is now under construction!