Oh, how being pregnant for the first time changes your life, in more ways than one. Besides the complete upheaval of your life, there is a little voice in the back of your head wondering how you are even going to look after this little defenseless creature? However, a couple of months in you are rocking and rolling in that department, wondering what you were even worried about in the first place. As it is second nature, and as sure as brushing your teeth you soon figure out how to look after a newborn just fine.
Personally, my second priority was getting back in shape. We’ve all heard people say things along the lines of “You never get your body back after having a baby”, well I sure have, a million times. And, it really scared me!
I was a high fashion model when I was younger, and my appearance and my level of health has always been very much a priority of mine. Plus, I do want to look attractive to my husband too, and being an older Mother I wanted to have the stamina to keep up with my newly arrived Son.
It took me awhile to figure it all out, I guess I was kind of lazy, or exhausted or I just really was in denial, probably a combination of all above, the first year all seems like a blur to me.
That first year, wow, things changed so quickly. I remember, I started drinking wine regularly again (which I was not doing while pregnant) and no matter how much I exercised I was not losing any weight. Clearly, alcohol is full of sugar! I gained 26 pounds while pregnant, I lost most of it pretty fast after giving birth, however I just could not get rid of that last 10 pounds. That really bothered me. Nothing worse than trying to fit into my favorite jeans and them not fitting, I hated that feeling, which in effect made me depressed, super depressed so I drank more wine and exercised less – vicious wine-o-clock cycle. And, then suddenly, I had put on more weight and I was getting close to my final pregnancy weight again!
I was trying to pretend I looked good in a bikini but I didn’t, here I am in January 2013 at the beach…. this was 2 years after I had my Son, who is four years of age now. I mean, complete denial as secretly I was still wearing pregnancy leggings and those stomach holder-inners like you can find on a website selling cheap maternity clothes for sale from Bump Baby and Beyond. Yes, I was still wearing some of my maternity clothes and thought I looked good in a bikini; the mind is a funny thing.
So, what changed??
I had a split-second experience, a year and a half ago, a complete and utter moment of clarity which changed my whole life…. again. I was at the kickboxing gym, I was kind of groggy from drinking wine at dinner the night before, sweating profusely and I caught myself in the mirror. I did not look good, I was bloated, I was struggling physically and I barely recognized the Libby of old; the one that looked after herself and who was happy and strong.
And, just like that, I decided to stop drinking, to change my diet, to clear my mind and to get my post-pregnancy body back. I knew if I could get a hold of that, I would be in such a better place. I really would be a fit Mum and I would not be kidding myself. There was no turning back on this, and I made it happen.
As I write this, I weigh less than what I did before I had my Son, but not just that I am more toned and I am powerful, I have definition in places I never knew existed. I am fit, I am clear, I am healthy, and I’m very proud of myself, as it was not easy.
Here are some of the things I did to cut unwanted calories and to become healthier;
- Rid all alcohol from diet; for an Australian this was really really hard for me to do, but I knew it was having a detrimental effect on me so I mustered all the courage I could to change my habit
- Started following a plant-based diet; following a vegan lifestyle is known to increase one’s life expectancy by up to 7 years compared to meat and dairy consumers, this fact was enough to change my eating habits
- Started running a lot more and longer distances; running helps you drop overall weight gain on the body and I needed that BIG time
- Consume minimal processed carbs like bread and pasta; I do enjoy brown rice at times and try to choose healthier pastas like quinoa varieties instead
- Starting seeing a therapist every week; I can admit that I have a lot of worries in my head being a first-time Mum and committing to therapy has helped me work through them, thus focusing on the best person I can be
- Exercise at least 5 days a week, fitting it in wherever I can; for me variety is key I like to ride horses, run, play tennis, do crossfit or kickbox to get my gym fix
- Walk everywhere I can; thankfully living in New York City I do this daily and what a wonderful way to get to know this unique city that I live in
In retrospect, what I found on this painful then joyful journey, is that I could get my body back after having a baby and fight through the low esteem I was feeling about myself, not forgetting the sometimes-depression I was also tolerating. That, by putting my mind to it, I could manifest change and make myself feel so much better!
I am a firm believer that Mothers can do it all, we just need to prioritize what it is that we want. For me, that is making time in my daily lifestyle to work on being strong mentally and physically. And, goodness knows, this is not always easy, as Mothers naturally put our children first and forgot about ourselves.
But children need healthy parents more than anything. Health is indeed Wealth.
Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!