Last weekend I went through my closet and got rid of some old clothes, including my favorite pair of jeans I wore when I still had post-pregnancy weight. It got me thinking about that time in my life.
I gained 34 pounds during my pregnancy – that’s one pound shy of the maximum recommended. Once home from the hospital with my new child, I embraced motherhood and all that came with it, including my Santa belly that jiggled when I laughed, which made me laugh even more; my Milk Factories that allowed me to wear shirts in styles I had never been able to wear before; and mom jeans. Yes, that’s right – I had resigned myself to wearing mom jeans.
I felt like the changes my body went through plus the 23 pounds I was left with meant I’d never be able to get back to pre-baby shape. I wasn’t anxious to get back to racing so I didn’t have any strict fitness plans. My priority was my baby, not me.
That first year I was a stay-at-home-mom and to keep from going crazy in my own house, I joined Stroller Strides, an outdoor workout for moms and kids in strollers. At first I walked with the other walkers, mostly out of not knowing what to do with my boobs. Once I learned how to properly restrain my Milk Factories, I started jogging. It wasn’t long before I was in a full on run to the next strength station with Ray happily along for the ride. I didn’t use the scale, but I could tell the weight was starting to come off. I entered several 5k events and my times went down – I had my competitive drive back!
Ray was 8 months old before I touched my bike again and it was so liberating! I was happy to get out the neighborhood, happy to have been able to detach my baby from my hip, and happy to fit into Lycra again, albeit a larger size. I didn’t care, I was riding. Whether it was the mental break from child-rearing or the new pain threshold I acquired during childbirth, my rides were more focused. I was out to get some work done so I could go home and put my mom jeans back on.
I was a decent runner and a good cyclist. I live in San Diego, a mecca for triathlon, so I decided to learn how to swim. I knew how to not-drown, but swimming was new for me. After several swim sessions and securing a wet suit, I entered a handful of sprint distance triathlons. I was always last out of the water, so I never knew where the leaders were. Doing my best and seeing incremental improvements was rewarding, but I missed the adrenalin rush from bike racing. Plus running through a parking lot barefoot and getting on my bike soaking wet weren’t that enjoyable to me.
Ray had just turned 1 year old when I started racing bikes again and I had lost more weight than I gained during my pregnancy. My mom jeans had a droopy butt. The only thing worse than mom jeans is droopy mom jeans. So, they got put on a shelf. I experienced my body transform during pregnancy. After, by getting active, trying new things, and having fun, I experienced a positive side effect of body transformation again.
I share this to illustrate just how amazing the human body is! We all have the ability to transform our bodies, whether it’s to carry a baby, to loose excess weight, or to become better at climbing. I didn’t follow a secret diet and I didn’t accomplish anything unique. I never got back to pre-baby shape because I got better (in different ways)! So, have confidence in your body. Do the work, but have fun, and watch your transformation take place.