MOTHERHOOD JOURNEY, SHIV KENT - AUSTRALIA
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Showing our bodies some love.

Lying face down in the rubber willing myself to get back up off the floor – uh huh, that definitely happened during today’s workout. A lot. Burpees really suck.

For those that aren’t familiar with the Burpee, it involves throwing yourself down on the floor until your chest touches the ground, then jumping back up to stand tall, clapping your hands above your head. The worst thing you can do is stop at the bottom. Cheek or forehead to ground, you can breathe for the smallest second and it’s oh so tempting to just stay there. But you’ve come to a dead halt, so getting all the way back up is just so much harder…

However, I’m pretty sure that little exercise that everyone loves to hate is to thank for the fact that late last year I achieved my goal of losing all my baby weight in order to fit into my wedding dress, just four months after giving birth.

I’m the first to admit I’m not hardcore. Far from it. I used to be an avid CrossFitter, and while some would say that’s pretty full on I used to absolutely dread the hurting part of it. Yes, all of it hurts, but it’s the severe ‘suck’ – the point where you don’t think you can continue or think you’re going to be sick – that’s the worst part.

So why did I keep doing it? Because of the feeling you get after working out like that. It puts a spring in your step for the rest of the day, you’re more positive, you feel better about yourself, you’re healthier, feel ready to take on the world and are fitter to tackle everyday tasks

But back to being face down on the floor. In that state a week or so into my post baby fitness regime, I remember coming to the realisation that losing the baby weight would be the toughest fitness test I’d ever faced. I’ve presented group fitness programs to thousands of people, been a professional dancer and competed in various fitness competitions – I don’t mention all these things to big-note myself, simply to illustrate how much of a challenge I found losing the baby weight.

To all those mums out there trying to do the same, I’m in agreement with you that it’s far from easy. Nothing I’d done before was as hard as this. During my sessions, I would encourage myself by thinking of my wedding dress. I’d tried it on six weeks post bub (because clearly I’m a sadist and really wanted to upset myself!) and of course it didn’t fit. It was a LONG way from doing up.

Pre-baby and ‘mum life’, if I wanted to lose weight all I had to do was step up my training and eat relatively healthy. And if I wanted to get results quick, I’d go onto a fairly strict diet. In a bid to get lean for a stage competition I once did a cleansing diet, and I’ve done more low carb diets than I can count. All got results, and quick smart, but they were dangerous and the results weren’t long lasting (not to mention the fact that I couldn’t function properly).

This time around I couldn’t resort to drastic diets or train too much, and I didn’t want to. I was nourishing a little bubba and that’s a huge responsibility. If I didn’t eat properly, in particular enough protein and carbs, it would affect my milk supply. And while I used to be able to fit in at least one exercise session a day (and a fairly long one at that) I just didn’t have the time for that once I became a mum.

The day I went into the hospital to give birth I’d gained 16 kg during my pregnancy. The first 10kg came off relatively quickly in the first few weeks after giving birth. The last six were very hard fought. Every single time I exercised it was at least twice as hard as it used to be. One morning during a little park workout, eight weeks post partum, I was sick after just five minutes of a 20 minute workout that I used to find quite easy. Food-wise, I tightened it up – lots of vegetables, salads, good fats and meat – and I think breastfeeding helped just a tiny bit.

I felt amazing on my wedding day, and the dress was a dream, but more importantly I was with my little guy and big guy as we put pen to paper and cemented our little family. I lost 20 kg in the end, but now realise the experience wasn’t just about losing the weight. It was about learning to appreciate my body for what it had done.

My body is drastically different to how it was pre baby and I’ve learnt that’s ok. It’s delivered an actual HUMAN and there’s bound to be some wear and tear from that. Even though I weigh less now, I have more fat and less muscle – but I really couldn’t care less. Try telling skinny-gym-obsessed-25-something-year-old-me that and she wouldn’t believe it!

A woman’s body is amazing and what we’re all capable of, both physically and mentally, astounds me every day. Fellow mums, if you’re pregnant and worried about losing the weight, or if you’re post partum and in the throws of feeling bad about your body, remember this – at the end of the day all the body aches and pains, sickness, hard work and struggle is worth it. You’ve produced an actual little person, which is truly a miracle.

For me, seeing my little man’s face break out into a smile countless times each day, watching him sleep, playing with him and enjoying watching him grow is well worth the price of an extra layer of fat.

I’m still training, when I can. I aim for three cross training sessions a week along with two swims, but if I can’t fit it all in the world doesn’t end like it used to for 25-something-year-old-me (she was insane, by the way). I post my park workouts on my blog (www.meohmymum.com.au) and on Instagram (@meohmymum). I wish you the best of luck with your pre or post bub fitness, and feel free to get in touch anytime!

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