This past month has been eye-opening. As many of you know, I’ve had the “frequent pregnancy syndrome” for the past 4 years, and man, has it been life-changing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a mom and wouldn’t change it for anything in the world, but let’s just say my “me time” took a major hit.
I used to be a die-hard 5am, 5 days a week, hit the gym kind of girl. I meal planned and ate home-cooked meals at least 90% of the time. Four years and 3 kids later, if I’m up at 5am it’s because I’m tending to someone’s needs other than my own, and it seems like just getting through the grocery store once a week to stock up on fruits, vegetables, and frozen chicken breasts is a success.
Until about 4 weeks ago. You see, my husband encouraged me to sign up for a gym membership (or rather he said “You’re doing it – and that’s it.”) I haven’t had one in about 4 years, simply because with our conflicting schedules, it was difficult to see when I could go and still have someone home with the little ones. … But that wasn’t all of it. Remembering the shape I was in before being pregnant, and all I was physically capable of, it seemed daunting to get it back. Honestly, it seemed unrealistic, overwhelming even, to get it back. Four weeks ago something changed, and I think its worth sharing… maybe you will find it helpful too.
- I got permission. Usually, I would tell anyone else that is a bad word, but it’s honestly what I felt. Whatever form you may call it – it was support from my husband. Hearing that it is OK for me to go exercise in the morning and that he would handle the kids and dropping them to daycare and school was crucial for me. As a mother, my intuition was to take care of everyone else. “I can’t leave to workout – I have to get them dressed, make sure they have breakfast….” I would say to myself. It’s hard, as a woman, to make a personal commitment that affects her family. For me, this support was critical.
- I let go of the past. I want to be clear, I’m not forgetting it; I’m just not letting my previous physical fitness depress me to the point of not doing anything about my present fitness. It’s a work in progress. The person I see in the mirror today is not who I was before, and some days I choose not to even look in the mirror, but it’s not stopping me from my workout.
- I found a part of me that was lost. For me, going to the gym has always been a symbol of accountability, routine, and stability. I’ve struggled to re-create that piece with an at-home program, and I’m not even sure it’s possible for me. I used to think that if I couldn’t go 5 days a week, it wouldn’t be worth it. Now, I can see that even 2-3 days per week has allowed me to create a more consistent routine, and has even improved my consistency with my workout days away from the gym.
- I’m [trying to be] patient. Although sometimes it’s hard, I’m being patient with my progress. Over the past 4 weeks I’ve actually developed a better fitness base than I expected.
- I made a commitment. Not only have I now paid money for a year-long membership, I also signed up to run a ½Marathon in March. It probably won’t be a PR… but I think I just might feel more satisfied with the accomplishment this time around than the dozen other ½ marathons I’ve already completed.
If you’re struggling because you know you want to make a change, but you’re having trouble getting started, just take that leap of faith. You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself…. I know I was.