I have shared a little bit about starting up Kayla Itsiness’ workout program. I have gotten a lot of questions and I thought this would be the best place to share a bit about my experience.
I have been reluctant to put anything out there, because I am NOT a fitness queen.. but then I think that the “non fitness” type people are exactly the people I’d like to hear from with what they do to stay fit and healthy, so I’m going to share my story so far, instead of when I’m “on top” of it. So take note that I myself am in the very beginning stages.
Before I post about my workouts, getting in shape, and the ever sought-after “how did I lose the baby weight?!” questions, I feel strong importance to tell you the whole story, and my story with body image begins before my fitness journey does.
I grew up having a lot of body-shaming talk around me, which probably had a lot to do with my poor body image all throughout my childhood and teen years. I HATED my body, I was in a constant need to escape it. I treated myself poorly, allowed others to treat me poorly, and I didn’t take care of my health what-so-ever. As a teenager, I lived with my bachelor of a dad, so my idea of a “home cooked” meal was a can of Nally’s chili, or a frozen dinner warmed in the microwave… the only idea of “eating healthy” I knew of was crash-dieting, which I tried often, which looked more like harsh starvation of my body, and frustration when I didn’t look like Nicole Richie after my painful efforts.
Then, after years of sinking so deep into a darkness of not understanding my worth, and some devastating personal challenges, something miraculous happened when I got pregnant with my first baby. I carried that baby to full-term, and without ever having done so before, successfully pushed her out of my body. I did it! I gave birth to the most perfect baby girl. Something happened to me as I sat in my living room rocking chair, that first time my milk came in – the milk that would sustain this angel baby girl of mine that my body just fully prepared for earthly life – I had a crashing wave of gratitude come over me for the healthy body I had, that I had treated so poorly, but had given me my life’s greatest joy anyway. This is when I started viewing my body more as my friend rather than an inconvenient part of myself.
As Harlo grew, I wanted only what was best for her growing body. I researched her nutrition diligently – how to make the healthiest possible baby food to feed her perfect little body. One day as I was cooking for her, contentment filled my heart over nourishing her so well. A whisper of a thought came to my mind, “Your body is just as perfect as hers, shouldn’t you be treating yours the same way?” And that thought changed me.
I taught myself to cook. I cut out preservatives and ate only real, from-scratch, fresh food. I practiced gratitude for my body, and not only stopped talking negatively about my body (I strongly don’t want my children growing up in that environment), but I also stopped thinking negatively about my body. When a negative thought came in, I would quickly catch it, and respond with a positive truth. Rather than “I wish my thighs were skinnier.” I would replace it with, “I am so glad I have strong, capable legs that can chase after my little girls!” At first I corrected myself a lot, and then after some time I didn’t have to correct my thinking as much, and even more time, not hardly ever. A positive body image truly is something that can be learned, or perhaps it’s a bad body image that can be healed. I am living proof.
After I had delivered Harlo and began my pregnancy with Stella, I knew my body could do this work. I opted to deliver her naturally at home, because I knew my body was capable – and it was. When my labor with Grae stalled, I knew my body could do this. I trusted it fully, and again, it delivered. The end of my pregnancy with Major, when my body had been stretched more than ever before, when I was at the end of labor pushing out the toughest baby I’d ever had to push out – I knew my body could do this. Even during my miscarriage, when the doctors recommended a D&C and I opted out because I KNEW my body could do this.
As the years have gone on through my adult life, I have seen my body’s capabilities. I have given birth on my bedroom floor THREE times, I have labored and stretched and been stronger than I would have ever imagined I could be. I have withstood five sickening first trimesters, carried four babies to full term, my small frame feeling like it was busting at the seems, but still it pushed on cooking those babies well past “full term”. As I suffered a miscarriage, I waited patiently while my body worked hard to hold onto the pregnancy it had created, even though the life inside of it hadn’t made it. After that painful loss, I gifted my body with diligent yoga to help heal my mind, spirit, and my ever-capable body. It was during that therapeutic yoga practice that I learned that my body was much more “athletic” than I had ever given it credit for, and how good I felt when I took care of it.
So you could say my body and I have been through a lot together, and it stands as the only thing that has stuck with me through every single life experience I’ve ever had. This body of mine isn’t like my best friend, it is my best friend, and it’s a friend I care deeply for. So after my body and I delivered this last baby, skin sagging, extra weight, muscles literally stretched to separation, 2 ribs permanently misplaced, and one tailbone that will never be the same from it’s time on the battlefield, it was an easy decision to take good care of the body that has taken such good care of me and my family.
And this is where my fitness story begins.