Monday, August 27, 2012

The Journey to a Better Me


Maybe it was the three years of being pregnant or nursing.  Maybe it was seeing myself in Christmas photos this past year and not liking what I saw.  Maybe it was just the right time for me.  Something clicked after having Grace.  It clicked in a great way, and has made the better part of 2012 a journey to a better, fitter, faster, stronger, and healthier me.

There have been ups and downs in the road, but I have officially lost every ounce of baby weight left over from Ellie and Gracie.  That is 31 lbs. lost from January to June.  How did I do it you ask?

First I have to say that I wanted it, and that is probably the most important part.  Yes, I lost all the weight from Bradley.  A few lbs. crept on while we were trying to have Ellie.  The doctors told me not to work out so vigorously.  Next thing you know I am pregnant and the roller coaster of weight gain begins again.  Add in nursing Ellie for 11 months, not really working out hard, and one more pregnancy and Taaa Daaa…not so pretty!

After Grace was born at the end of October, I gave myself two sleep deprived months to eat terrible, survive the holidays, and then the week after Christmas I purchased a new pair of running shoes and the journey began.

I still remember that first run after Grace, I could hardly run 10 minutes without my lungs burning and thinking I was going to die.  I knew that the battle to get fit was going to be a long and hard road.  Especially after two c-sections in two years.  That will do a number on your body!

Second was finding an amazing trainer.  I wish I had a picture of Vanessa to share (one will come soon).  She teaches a number of classes at the gym by my house, you can walk or run up to it, it is so close!  She is motivating, fun, and will push you harder than you think possible.  I started seeing her in January once a week.  Vanessa would take me through machines at the gym in a totally different way.  She had me working so hard on the rowing machine one time, that I have used plenty of times before, that I thought I was going to die.  And that was just a warm up.  When you are counting down the first eight minutes of your hour long work out, you know you are in trouble!  Plus the fact that she would show me how to really use the machines to work hard, it seemed as if I must have been picking my nose when I came to the gym before meeting Vanessa. 

Not only did we do things around the gym, but she has a great way of using your own body against you.  It is an evil little trick she does.  You start with the first rep of this or that and think, ‘this isn’t that hard’ and by the third round you are swearing her up and down.  There is something so fun and happy about her that makes you still want to come back for more torture.

Meeting with her once a week, and taking her Athletic Conditioning class once or twice a week has been killer.  I have seen myself change.  My body get so strong.  And feel the best I have felt in years.  Vanessa really helped me to get my core back together.  Literally.  She will still laugh at what a weakling I was about core work this winter.  Now I am right there with the best of them.  You wouldn’t even know that I just had two c-sections!  I can do regular push-ups, run sprints, do jumping jacks until the cows come home, and throw the medicine ball from here to the moon.  Ok, not really, but sometimes it feels like that!  (Thank you Vanessa!!)

Third was running.  Lots and lots of running.  I found a little spark for running in college.  I have enjoyed it on and off since then.  But, I have run A LOT in the past six months.  I added two apps to my iphone “Run Keeper” and “Map My Run.”  They are both great, but I have fallen in love with Run Keeper.  It will tell you ever five or ten minutes your distance, pace, and time.  It will also keep track of your ‘runs’ online, distances logged, etc. 

Since I started using the running apps in April I have run 170 miles in five months. 

I have gotten my average pace down from a 11 minute mile to a 9 minute mile.  I have logged some of my farthest runs in years.  Once a week I am trying to do a long run for 6 to 8 miles.  And then a few shorter sprint or interval runs.  It is amazing to walk in the door after a six mile run.  I feel like a million bucks, smell like a laborer, and I am probably more emotionally level than ever.  If that makes sense?

Fourth has been food.  I know, I know you don’t want to hear about all of the crap, I mean rabbit food I have been eating.  But, I am going to tell you anyway.  I joined weight watchers.  Did I mention two years of back to back pregnancies??  Well, that can also do a number on your eating habits.  Ice cream?? Sure.  Snacks?? Sure.  You know the drill.  Weight watchers is one of the few plans that has built in systems for breast feeding mamas.  So, I used it all while I was fully nursing Grace, weaning Grace, and without nursing Grace.  I still felt like I was eating, just not as much, and smaller portions as the breastfeeding tapered off.  Unfortunately you can’t have weight loss without changing your food AND moving your body.  I realize too that was why I was able to lose the weight so quickly.  I was working out five to six days a week, breastfeeding, and dieting.  That is a lot going on in one little body.  I wanted it gone.  For good.  Even though I say rabbit food, it really hasn’t been that at all.  I found this AMAZING website, Skinnytaste.  I have printed out an entire three ring binder of her recipes.  We eat from them pretty much every night of the week.  She has so much variety and something to please even the pickiest eaters (my kids;)  We still go out to eat, maybe once or twice a week.  I still splurge now and then.  But I have also found a lot of substitutes for things that I love.  If you want more info on the food part let me know!

The last reason it worked was making the time.  I put myself first, for the first time in a LONG time.  Probably three or four years to be exact.  Chris and I found the money and the time for me to meet with Vanessa once a week.  I meet with her in a small group so it is really cost effective.  I run early in the mornings before the kids wake up.  Or I drag them all to the gym with me.  Luckily, I am home, the gym is very close, and they have childcare available.  I will wake up early on the weekends to run, or run before we start our day while the kids are eating breakfast.  I just make the time.  Period. 

I am better for it.  I am happier and healthier.  I am setting a good example for them.  And fitting into skinny jeans isn’t so bad either…


Jentifur said...

How amazing!! So proud of you! I would love to hear about the food stuff, I have gained 15lbs since our wedding 4 years ago and I hate it. Just have no idea how to eat differently and still enjoy food.

eas said...

Congratulations on your hard work and determination!!

Christy said...

I had Porgie and Izzy back-to-back (they are 17 months apart). I had put on a lot of weight, and was disgusted with my body. When Izzy was about 6 months old, I got serious about getting healthy and lost a lot of weight. Then I gained a little back and then I lost it all again.

Fast forward to Izzy. I have actually gained weight since I had him. It is depressing and feel like a cow. Your post was inspiring. I just might start trying to put myself first again.

laura said...

you go girl!

i had a similar eye-opening experience when i saw a picture taken on my birthday back in february. sure, i've always had a bit of mommy pudge around the middle, but i noticed my face looking rounder, fuller. and i didn't like it. so, i started small. i gave up sweets for lent. it's not like i ate that much chocolate, but man, did the weight just come off. we don't own a scale, but i was fitting into shorts that i hadn't worn since pre-ben and then my annual ob appointment last month, i was down 25 lbs in a year, and probably more than that since i definitely gained weight last fall/winter. i just took a bunch of clothes to the tailor to have them taken in. it was a great feeling...

so proud of you! i'll definitely have to check out that skinnytaste website! xoxo!

Jenny said...

way to go Clare! that is amazing. i love the runkeeper app as well, and use it often.

you look great and i am sure you feel awesome!

i will have to check out this site...always looking for great recipes for my clients.

Colleen said...

I was thinking how great you have looked in pictures lately. You should be proud!! I am going to check out those apps. I need some inspiration and I really loved reading this. I need a Vanessa!!!lol

aimee said...

So proud! I'll say it again, you look amazing! Can't wait to follow in your footsteps. I hate my post-pregs body right now. I'll definitely use many of your suggestions. Thanks for the post, friend!

Amy - OPC said...

GOOD FOR YOU Clare! I am actually down about 25 this year as a result of a few bad photos and similar 2012 discipline practices (minus the nursing, ha!) It's a good feeling. You look FABULOUS and I admire you "making the time" with your 3 kids. Inspiring!

Vanessa Crawford said...

Clare, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! You are such an inspiration to all moms! Keep up the fabulous work and continue to live your best! xo!

amanda said...

oh much do i need this to be me?? i so want to find the motivation. i know what it is to my core, but i just keep ignoring it. i need to start listening. thank you for leading the way! i am so proud of you and so very happy for you!!

Ashley Hardee said...

That's awesome Clare. Way to go!!!