There is no getting around the fact that bearing children will cause you to gain weight. Each of us gains it differently, dispersing the extra pounds on various parts of our body. And each of us loses that weight differently, with our bodies possibly taking on a new shape.
I mentioned in the first post of this series that losing pregnancy weight didn’t happen overnight for me. It’s been something I’ve had to work toward. But there were several factors that made me finally get serious about losing weight and getting back into shape. I’ll get to the nitty-gritty of how I made a diet and an exercise plan, but first I wanted to explain why I wanted to lose weight. We can set goals and try to attain them, but it’s much easier to stick with a plan when we have reasons for a goal.
1. I wanted to fit into my wedding gown again.
And, into other clothes that are in my closet and have been there for years. I knew it was possible that my body would never be the same size or shape that it was before I had kids, but I wanted to try. I wanted to see if I could do it.
With every new season I would purchase just enough clothing items to get me through, and I’d raid my closet to find anything that still fit. Pants would be okay in the hips, but sometimes I couldn’t button them because of my waistline. Shirts would fit a bit too snugly, so I’d need to buy a couple more. My closet was full of random sizes of clothing and I got tired of that.
I can’t quite fit into my wedding gown yet, but after working to get off some weight, I’m wearing clothes that I had before I got married, and fitting into sizes that I wore my senior year of college. My body isn’t the same, but it the weight can come off.
2. I kept throwing out my back.
On more than one occasion I bent over or picked something (someone) up and would pull something in my lower, or upper, back. One time this landed me on my back for a couple of days, including passing out because of the pain. Caring for four small children is difficult when you can’t move around. And when it was happening every couple of months, I realized that it was possibly due to the fact that I had practically no abdominal muscles.
Since I started running last fall I haven’t thrown my back out at all. I haven’t even done any core workouts, but my muscles have gotten stronger just from running. I have a separated muscle in my abdomen (fairly common in women who have given birth, but I can’t remember the medical term for it) so there are still some specific exercises I’d like to do to help to increase my core strength, but for now I’m just pleased that my back is better.
I also haven’t been running consistently (okay, I’ve only run three times) since we moved away from Florida. And, I’ve noticed a difference in my strength. But, it’s SO cold in Virginia!!
3. My children like to tell me that my stomach looks like dough.
We were making pizza one time and as the mixer combined the flour in at the end, my then 4 year old, said, “Mommy, it looks just like your tummy!” And then both of the girls started cracking up.
It’s one thing to have strangers ask you if you’re pregnant when you are most certainly not, but having your children laugh at your body is an entirely different matter.
Of course I explain to them very gently and kindly that they are the reason I look that way. And I try not to let it bother me; they are just children after all. But their words made me start to think about what my body might be communicating to them.
I want my girls to have a healthy view of their bodies, and part of that is by having a healthy view of my own body. I do my best not to say things like, “I’m fat” or “I wish I looked differently” around them. And when I was cutting back on my calories, I tried to never use the word diet.
If my children can see me practicing self-control, making wise choices with my body, this will hopefully communicate to them the importance of being healthy, not being skinny. Taking care of our bodies is important, and I’m trying to keep the right balance in this area.
4. I wanted to feel better.
Not because skinny is better, but because I was tired of feeling overweight, tired of having a squishy doughy tummy, tired of not having clothes that fit me, tired of feeling insecure in what looked like a four-month pregnant body.
Discipline in an area that doesn’t come naturally to us takes work. It’s hard. So, if you’re thinking about losing weight or incorporating any other type of discipline into your life, you have to really want it. If you want the end result badly enough, you’ll work hard to reach your goal. We make time for the things that are important to us.
I’ll write more on this later, but one of the things that I love about disciplining myself in the area of exercise and healthy eating, is that it teaches me so much about discipline in my spiritual life.
If I want to be healthy, or lose weight, it requires daily, sometimes hourly, choices that are hard.
If I want to be more like Christ, it requires daily, moment-by-moment choices to pursue holiness.
“Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
This is Part 2 of a series, Sometimes I Wear Spanx. Click here to read Part 1.