Today I finished the Bangin Bikini Body program in the Jillian Michaels app-and I'm super proud of that! I'm also halfway through the Beautiful Arms and Back and Sexy Abs programs. I'm super proud of finishing this program, because it's proof of my commitment to self care and doing what I have to, even if my day isn't going as planned. My consistency has been great, and overall my endurance and performance have improved immensely. I realized today that I should probably be using 15 lb dumbells on some of these moves now-which is huge, because that has never happened before. Related: 12 lb dumbells would actually be better but I cannot find them anywhere!
I mentioned in my last fitness post that I knew the body image stuff would catch up with me, and it has. As accomplished as I feel about my commitment, consistency, and performance improvement, I'm feeling pretty down about the aesthetic side of things. I haven't weighed myself, and I probably won't, until/unless I find that my size fours are fitting, and even then only out of curiosity and to mark it as a data point along the journey. The size fours are not fitting yet, though, and I had a pretty low moment yesterday when I happened to see myself mostly naked from a very unflattering angle. I just thought to myself, "You work way too hard with exercise and eating well for this." And, that's really the bottom line for me. I eat well, I exercise consistently and with lots of effort, and it's not unreasonable to expect some payoff for that on an aesthetic level. I'm not asking to be skin and bones, or dramatic overnight fat loss. I'm looking for consistent improvement on par with losing a pound or two a week. I want the results to match the effort. I wanna get what im paying for, Man! My worth is not defined by the number on a scale, or the number inside my jeans. It's not that. This is something I want for myself, and after much soul searching over the years, I've decided it's ok to want it. The catch, however, is that it's not fully under my control. That's become very apparent the past two and a half years, as I've worked my butt off to get a shorter distance than I got in nine months before I got pregnant with Declan.
Here is where I give myself a talking to and lay down some truth to get perspective back and know where to go from here:
- Yes, it's been four weeks, but it's also been only four weeks. Four weeks of building the start of routine, consistency, good sleep, general self care, therapy, coping tools for my anxiety, housework, and more. All this directly on the heels of the hardest period of my life, as my mental and physical health/energy have been jointly on the rocks for three quarters of the past year. My body deserves a chance to adjust to all the new, even if it is positive change.
- Because of the above, I am currently tapped out energy wise. I need to prioritize recovery just as much as I prioritize challenging myself. I especially need to keep working on getting both more and better sleep. This will not only let my body heal from everything i put it through, but it will reduce my anxiety symptoms, thus reducing my stress hormones and promoting a healthy metabolism.
- This body has been through so much in the past six years. Weight loss, fertility treatments, pregnancy, breastfeeding, more weight loss (while breastfeeding), preagnancy and miscarriage (while breastfeeding), weaning, fertility treatments, pregnancy, breastfeeding, ppda (while breastfeeding), some more weight loss, weaning, and whatever we wanna call the poopstorm of this last 9 months. Be KIND.
- Let's not forget the way my body reacts to exercise at best- I swell up, then, when my body gets either adjusted, or a break (often both, for awhile), it lets go and magic happens-and keeps happening if I stay consistent.. So maybe the trick is to work my tail off and match that with strategic recovery and then work my tail off some more. I've seen this happen time after time, and the best recent example was in November when I hit the end of BodyShred and felt like I had no external payoff but was much fitter, then took a recovery week and was down a full pant size. Hmmm…
So, where do I go from here? Forward. I keep eating well, keep leaving everything I have on the floor when working out, and match that with intentional rest and recovery. The recovery is the hardest part for me, because I have a strong tendency to think I just need to "do more" and "work harder", and that leads to overtraining, under-eating, being overtired, and all sorts of unhealthiness. Sometimes, in fitness and in life, it's a hard thing to do just what you can, and step back and trust that the change will come. Actually, this sounds a lot like what I'm learning in other areas, doesn't it? Go figure.
I have seen so many Body-Positive posts over my journey, some I agree with and some I don't. One particular type has been catching my eye lately: the ones where the mom talks about learning to live and enjoy where she is with her body for her kids' sake and get out there and into the pictures on vacation, just as she is. The kids won't care that her body isn't perfect, but they will care that she was present and had fun with them. They will care that they have pictures with and of her to remember this time when she was pouring into them. This morning I realized that there are only two pictures of me from our vacation last year, and I'm
going to improve on that this year. I'm going to keep working hard for what I want, but if I don't enjoy where I am now, I'm going to miss out, and so is my family.
Besides, all you need for a bikini body is a bikini and a body! 😉