Many of you know that I am in my late 30's and that I have given birth to four amazing children. What many of you may not know is that genetically, the women in my family are not what most would consider "thin". My mom has had weight issues for most her adult life and when I hit my 30's my body changed.
After giving birth to my three oldest daughters (20, 16 and 11) I literally bounced back after breastfeeding for the better part of their first year of life. Having had the ability to breastfeed helped me get my body back and to be honest, I didn't have to do much.
When I gave birth to my first daughter, I was 16 and weighed 96 lbs. I went right back to just under 100 lbs, after she was born, but I was a teenager and my body was like a fat burning machine. When I gave birth to my 16 year old and my 11 year old, I gained a healthy amount of weight but again, the fat just melted off without much effort of my part.
I had my son at the cusp of turning 30, and I went from a 115 lbs pre pregnancy to 179 lbs. For me, at 5' 4", that was a lot of weight. Even my doctor had asked what I was consuming that I was gaining so much so fast. Being pregnant with my son was much more difficult on my body than my previous pregnancies and after giving birth, I expected the weight to just "fall off". But weeks past...then months, and nothing was happening. That's when I realized that my body had shifted and that I was going to have to put forth effort to get back to my pre baby weight.
At the time, I didn't know nearly as much about health and fitness as I do now, so I just made small changes to my diet and began to do moderate exercise a few days a week. That helped me get back to a place that I was happy with, however, since that pregnancy, I have had to change my lifestyle and for the first time in my life, found myself having to work on staying at a weight that was acceptable to me. Now that I am better versed, the changes are part of my lifestyle, but I can't say that it is always easy.
My body is not "perfect", but let's be honest, who's is? I have stretch marks, cellulite, jiggly bits and things, BUT looking at the above picture (taken two weeks ago) makes me feel good about myself, It reminds me of why I try every day to stay on track. It's not because I want to look like the chicks in magazines, because not even the chicks in those magazines look like that. I don't feel the need to stay in shape or compete or otherwise stress myself out over my body, but instead I do it because I FEEL BETTER. I have more stamina. I can enjoy wearing clothes that are fitted and feel sexy. I do it for myself and for my children.
I am not always "good", and trust me, I have really bad days, weeks and months. But I always know what to do to get back to where I want to be, and with summer approaching, I want to be swimsuit ready. So I know I have to start doing a little more work.
Taken last week
Here is what I will be doing over the next few weeks....
1. Lowering my sodium intake by 80% which means I am going to start enjoying the actual taste of the foods I am eating and not the seasoning that my Puertorican roots tend to indulge in. Lol!
2. I already drink a lot of water, but I will be trying my best to stay at a gallon a day. It's not that hard when you spread it throughout the day.
3. I will be cutting out refined sugars and any sort of fried food. (which is so hard for me)
4. I will be including healthy fats in my meals. (avocado, olive oil, flax seed oil, natural peanut butter)
5. I will be eating 5 small meals a day instead of my usual 3 larger meals and two snacks.
6. Finally I will be trying very hard to get at least 8hrs of sleep because, believe it or not, getting enough sleep is extremely important to your body.
The bottom line is that no one thing will work for everyone. Not all women must look the same, be thin or constantly worry about their weight, but we should always want to be healthy so we can enjoy our lives now and in our later years.
Pick a few things that you enjoy doing like dancing, walking or jogging and make that your exercise. Remove items from your diet one at a time if it feels too overwhelming to do it all at once, and most importantly be good to yourself and tell yourself how sexy you are, and believe it!