In 2015, I weighed over 300 pounds. I rarely looked in the mirror. I was in and out of the hospital, being told that I needed to change my lifestyle over and over again. That I needed to invest in myself. Because it shouldn’t be difficult to take a shower. It shouldn’t be difficult to tie your shoes. It shouldn’t be difficult to live. But it was going to be too hard (I kept telling myself). I can’t do it (I kept repeating). So I ignored the advice and continued my struggle to live.
Then Bobby and I started to have conversations about when we would start our family. I couldn’t wait to become a mother. So at my appointment in 2015, I brought it up to my doctor. She told me the last thing I wanted to hear. I was extremely unhealthy and overweight. While it’s my choice, of course, to try and put my body through that, she warned me it would be very risky for both me and any baby I would try and carry. Time froze.
So not long after on October 12, 2015, I showed up to something called Camp Gladiator. I had a cheap yoga mat and 3 pound dumbbells. For 60 minutes, I put my body through a wake up call. And then I threw up everywhere.
I started attempting 5K walk/runs and went from barely walking one to running one the entire way through. The photos below show my very first walk (where my feet got swollen and I had to sit for a while before walking to the car). They show my first attempt to lightly jog the last stretch on Thanksgiving morning with family. They show my first 4 mile jog through the city. They show my journey.Since the day I decided to try Camp Gladiator, I have gone 310 more times as of this week. I lost about 90 pounds from that first day until March 2017 when I found out I was expecting our little Maci. I cried through most of this journey, felt weak at times. I prayed to find the strength to get past my sore body begging me to stop. I felt sorry for myself at times because it just didn’t seem fair that I had to go through all of this. That I was given a body that required so much. But I kept thinking of our future child, our future children. The little humans that would someday make this all worth it.
I finally showed my body that it matters and that I love it. I begged for it to forgive me for how badly I have treated it. That’s all it was wanting, love. Help. From me. And I had neglected it and said bad things about it for so many years. All it was needing was for me to pay attention to it. So that’s what I finally did.
I showed up to camp 5x a week. I started lifting heavy weights. I started paying attention to what I put inside my body. Within a year of Camp Gladiator, in August 2016, I participated in CG Games prelims. I knew I wouldn’t qualify for finals, but I just wanted to finish all four events. And I did.All of a sudden, I had so much energy. I was looking in the mirror. I was seeing a beautiful and strong woman who was fierce and proud of who she was. And that person was incredible. The fact that I had her hidden away for so long made me sad. I couldn’t believe this person was here the whole time just waiting to burst out. It took me such a long time focusing on being happy with who I was. It definitely didn’t just happen overnight. But the more I focused on understanding my feelings, my strengths and my weaknesses, the more I began to appreciate what I had to offer the world. That in itself was transformational.
I took the photo on the left at the start of my journey. And the one on the right just a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant in April 2017.Throughout my pregnancy, I attended Camp Gladiator over 50 more times up until 36 weeks to stay healthy and avoid gaining too much of the weight back. My body had other plans for me. I ended up gaining almost all of it back by the time I gave birth at 38 weeks. I felt upset about it at first. I felt my thoughts going back to 2015 about WHY this has to happen to me. Why would my body do this to me again when I had treated it so wonderfully the last few years?
But then I saw Maci. I held her on my chest and felt her breathing synced with mine in our hospital bed for the first time. And I had my answer. She was my answer.
My body brought her to life. It worked its ass of to do that. (Literally. My ass looks like flat pancakes now.) And I wouldn’t trade this for the world! So here I am again. Heading back to Camp Gladiator. Back to lifting heavy weights. Back to thanking my body for what it has done. Back to bringing my body back to where it was so that Maci can be blessed with a little brother or sister. Don’t worry, Maci. Mama’s GOT THIS.
The Flexi Lexi watermelon pants symbolize my pre-baby body that allowed me to have Maci. They are my exact measurements from before, from when I found out Maci would be joining our family. And this is my pledge to both my body and to Maci that one day we will both wear the watermelon pants.
So, here we go.
I’m almost 5 months postpartum and finally starting to be able to feel my body changing. I make it to Camp Gladiator twice a week and lift weights twice a week. It’s currently all I can manage, but it’s all about consistency. Sure, I have to miss every so often because being a mom always comes first, but all you can do is keep trying. Keep persisting even when it seems completely impossible and you’re so tired you honestly think you just might black out from exhaustion. I get it. I’m right there with you. There are days you just want to throw your hands up in the air and say this just isn’t going to work out. I have failure days, too. I get upset, too. I make mistakes and don’t always make the best decisions every single day. I’ve learned that I won’t show up to workout anymore with 100% energy. I’ll have to fight for it. Push passed the pain, the soreness, the fear that I may not get results fast enough for me to continue.
Just always remember your WHY. And find ways that will help you. For me, sometimes having good workout bras and workout pants make me feel better. Some good tank tops or just anything that will help me get ready to go work. I don’t know what it is about that, but it motivates me since I guess I feel kind of cool. *insert monkey emoji covering eyes*
One day Maci and I will be twinning in our Flexi Lexi yoga pants, but until then I’ll at least rock a great nursing bra and my JC Penney yoga pants. My bra is from Cake Maternity. It’s the most comfortable and supportive one that I’ve found. All I did was use the sizing guide on their website to find what would work best for me, and it fit perfect! I can even sleep in it, MAJOR plus! I’ve learned to not be afraid to try something new. In all aspects of life.This journey I have ahead of me is going to be another long one. And it’s going to be even harder than before now that I have my little mini me. But I’m ready. And I’m willing to do this all over again if it allows me to be able to shower again with ease, to tie my shoes, to run around and chase Maci when she starts crawling and running me up the wall. To give Maci siblings. And hopefully those future siblings will grow up together and think, wow… Our mom is incredible.
And they will constantly be reminded that they, too, are incredible.
So thank you, body. For allowing me this view on life. For this opportunity. We got this.