I had given up. It just seemed that my body loved the extra weight it was carrying and had decided that parting with it was lame and overrated.
I had turned 32 and had survived carrying 3 children into the world so I figured maybe this is just what it is.
A part of me was sad. After my first two kids, I came back stronger. And fitter than ever before. (Please know this took at least 2 years each time.)
With every child, I gained 50-60 pounds. Always. (yes, I know the guidelines.)
Vomiting profusely for 7 months? Still 50-60. Running until 30 weeks? Still 50-60. No matter what I did or didn’t do, every time my body gathered those pounds.
But then the real insult happened. No matter what – it held onto those pounds for 6 months. Always. Nursing or not nursing. Working out with all I had or sleeping when I could. Even while training for a half marathon… I could always count on those pounds holding onto my body for 6 months before they would budge. (And it took a year before things really started looking up.)
This was slightly upsetting. Actually, it was highly upsetting. And crazy-making. Though I fought to see my beauty (as I think it’s so important to love ourselves and one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my daughter), I will not pretend that I was all smiles during those times.
But with time, I found my way back to stronger and fitter. It took months – but I learned new loves. This precious girl who HATED running and avoided it like the plague found that I ACTUALLY enjoyed it after getting suckered into a 5K with a friend. (I’m still floored. I detested every step of running successfully for 24 years and felt strongly that every plod forward might just kill me or open up my body to pour out onto the ground. And running outside? Imminent death due to humidity.)
Clearly I was motivated to not die on the course, so I started a training program. For the first week I prayed staring at the program and mentally feeling the anguish of THINKING about running would prepare me, but I decided to play it safe I should actually run. Otherwise, my fear of having to be wheeled off the course might just become reality. After 5 weeks of showing up, hating all the steps and not actually dying from this training– something bewildering happened.
I liked it. (running.) No joke. I didn’t know how to handle this conversion. My new discovery led to me running a half-marathon. (One of the most beautiful, difficult, huge moments of my entire life.)
After my middle man arrived on the scene, I wanted to get to work right away. I tried P90X and though I still had nothing happen for the first 6 months, it finally started to work.
Back to NOW
But after Asher came and my body was left in shambles from Lyme disease, nothing worked. T25, P90X2, running, Shakeology, Isagenix…you name it, it just didn’t yield huge results. (Though there were good things to them and helpful things.)
Then my brother started Advocare. I scoffed. But I KNEW him. And I knew that if he said it was amazing – he wasn’t kidding. I secretly really wanted to try it but was convinced I couldn’t do it. Because NOTHING seemed to work. (PS: If you do have questions about Advocare or decide you would like to try it, my brother is an Advocare coach. You can email Chris at email@example.com He’s pretty awesome, completely hilarious and the person I point people to for all things Advocare. Side note: Their product Catalyst before workouts is just the best. Well…I love it. It makes a huge difference to my workout.)
My parents called and told me they were going to try the 24-day challenge and would love for me to join them. I prayed. I decided this was my last try. If this didn’t work, I would shower myself with grace and just accept where I was and embrace it. After all – my body was working and on most days was pain free. That is a gift.
I was nearly 100% certain I couldn’t survive the 24 day challenge. Eliminate coffee? Um, no thank you. My life was built around coffee consumption. And the occasional chocolate chip. But I decided to throw myself into it all and just try.
That was my mantra: just try.
And so I did. Something amazing happened: I didn’t die. I actually started to feel even better. I had more energy. My joints didn’t ache as often. I could live without coffee! (The 24 day challenge does include a drink called Spark. Let’s just say it’s my bestie. I realize it’s not perfect, but I also do love it and thank God for it frequently.) Thought I often couldn’t believe it – I didn’t crave sugar anymore.
Then the Holidays came. My coffee dependence came back, even though it was hurting my stomach. Desserts found their way back onto my plate and though the changes to my body from my start with Advocare were still very obvious and wonderful, I could tell my body wasn’t feeling as great anymore. Plus – I still wanted to be more fit.
I decided to do a second 24-day challenge after the New Year. To press the reset button. To feel my best again.
About the same time, I came across these pictures of physical transformations on Instagram. As with most of the workout transformations I’d seen, I decided those people were like magical unicorns and those kind of transformations didn’t happen in real life. But there were so many. I kept coming across this Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guide. (Honest moment? I didn’t like that name. I still don’t. So I just call it BBG and ignore the name.)
I was 100% certain that I couldn’t do it. I’m not the most tenacious person when it comes to physical challenges. I am not quick to be motivated to push myself beyond what I want to do. I like pressing play, being told what to do, watching the crazy super fit people struggle through it with me and then being done. And when something is crazy hard physically, you can usually find me considering when I’m going to quit. I lurked on her website, read the stories, searched Instagram and made up my mind that though these results were amazing, I wasn’t capable.
Until I stopped.
God reminded me of all the things this beautiful body of mine had done. It ran 2 half-marathons, carried and birthed 3 babies, survived high school, hiked with 3 kids under the age of 6, learned to ride a bike at the age of 27. I had been lying to myself for a long time. I constantly told myself I couldn’t do things, when in fact, I could.
So…I decided to try her free week of workouts. With my own set of rules.
I would extend grace to myself. I wouldn’t push myself like crazy. And I would celebrate every last thing I DID do and let go of the things I didn’t do.
For the first trial workout, I made it through 2 rounds. Seeing as my legs appeared to have morphed into Jello, I decided I was done. Boom. I did 2 sets. Sure, I was supposed to do 4 but I was all about celebrating the fact that I just showed up and TRIED.
The next time I made it through 3. (The following day I became very jealous of those handicapped railings on the sides of bathrooms and decided I might need to invest in one.)
After a week or 2, I could actually complete all 4 rounds. Granted I was modifying things left and right, but I did them. I put in my 7 minute rounds and I did the work.
So I decided to do the BBG.
For the past 11 weeks, I’ve been doing the guide. (And eating mostly clean.)
Though there have been numerous moments where I’ve seen NO change at all, I’ve kept showing up and reminding myself OVER AND OVER to “trust the process.”
(Yes, internet. I just went there. And yes it feels awkward. Good thing I’m focusing on being as honest and real in life as I can. Also – this is a comparison shot from one week after I began to Week 8. I’d upload a more recent one with more changes but that requires more work and I’ve got to clean my house.)
The results are a little astonishing. My pictures may not be quite as dramatic and awesome as others out there, but I’m thrilled. (Please note – stopping and taking pictures along the way was crucial. Embarrassing, but crucial. I didn’t really start to have big results until approximately week 7. So I said a heck of a lot of “trust the process” to myself and found a lot of encouragement through amazing ladies sharing their BBGmoms journey on Instagram. But now to compare pictures – I see it. All that hard work. That brave girl. And I want to hug her for showing up and putting in the time and trying. And modifying a lot and laughing whenever possible.)
So here’s where it’s hard: this stuff can bring up SO many things. Shame. Pain. Anger. Good. Bad. All the things.
Because this small part of our lives can often be used as a public measure of who we are. (The truth is there’s SO much more to who we are)
So it’s rough waters.
It would be really easy to say – “look at what I’ve done! And if you make time for it – you can, too!”
There’s a problem with that. I truly don’t believe that anyone can do this. We’ve been in debt before and there are times where you have to say no to any extra purchases – Advocare and workout guides included. These things may be wonderful but when your bank account says no – it says NO.
Workout wise? I think many can. But not all. I have precious friends with auto-immune diseases and chronic pain and they literally cannot. When I was in the throes of Lyme disease, I most CERTAINLY could not. (I also needed to modify the exercises often. Sometimes it was because I wasn’t strong enough and sometimes it was because some of my joints have been compromised from my bout with Lyme and I cannot safely do them. For me, modifying sounded way better than injury.) When I was in the early stages of learning life with new precious souls who had lovingly invaded our home and like to remind us of that at ALL hours of the night – I don’t believe that I personally could have done this. (Granted there are new mommies who can and are doing this. I just don’t believe I could have done it so early on and I think it’s great I know myself that well.)
That makes no person ANY LESS worthy, lovable and beautiful.
It’s just to say that in life there are seasons. This worked for me in this season. If this matters to you – you’ll find your season. Just be brave enough to know you are probably more capable than you think and you can ask God for help ALL the time because I sure have. (Frequently uttered prayer: God, please help. I realize there are bigger issues in this world that deserve Your attention and mine, but right now this matters a lot to me and it feels big. And…help me care more about the world, too…)
So I’m sharing today without pointing fingers. Scrap that – I am pointing fingers. I’m pointing my finger at you and leaning in close and saying this, “You are a gift to this world. And you are so lovely. RIGHT NOW.”
Then I extend my ears to listen to your story and your heart. Because you are worth every last moment you need to share. Then I extend my hand and say that no matter your next right step – we’re in this together. If that’s a step toward lying down and sleeping while the baby sleeps – I’m cheering you on. If that’s choosing to hold hands with your husband and say I choose love today – I’m cheering you on. If that’s tying up shoe laces and attempting a training program for a 5K – I’m cheering you on. If that’s remembering that tomorrow is a new day and choosing to go to bed early and let the stress of today go – I’m cheering you on. And if that’s trying Advocare or BBG or anything – I’m cheering you on.
I share this journey because when I think of that precious me from last year – I’d want to hug her. And I’d want to look her in the eye and say – you beautiful girl you…don’t be afraid to try. You’re in a new season. Trust the process. Lean in. I’m cheering you on…