Being a mom is hardcore. Your workout shouldn’t be.

Here’s the thing people, being a mom is effing hard.

It doesn’t matter how badly you wanted your babies. It doesn’t matter how much you love your children. It doesn’t matter if motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to you or the worst.

At the end of the day, being a mother is a hard job.

It never ends, there are no real breaks.

The “breaks” you do get are just illusions. You either spend your “break” catching up on a million different things you haven’t gotten around to OR you relax and then the very second it’s over you remember the long list of things you were supposed to be doing and then spend the next interval of parenting feeling guilty, stressed and distracted by the growing list of responsibilities you now have in the back of your mind but can’t get to until your children are in bed.

Now let me interrupt myself. I have to point out here. I have to be very clear. I complain about my kids. I’m not perfect. I refer to them as little jerks and call them wild animals and I whine about having to do 10 loads of laundry a week.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE being a mom. That doesn’t mean I want my life to be any other way. It doesn’t mean my kids are actual jerks and I don’t actually keep them in cages. I love being smothered with their attention. I’m honoured to be their number one.

Is it exhausting? Is it the hardest damn job in the world? YES.

Are my complaints a secret coded message saying I want the circus to stop by and pick up my kids? NO.

I just want to workout in the morning, drink my coffee while it’s still hot and have enough energy at the end of the day to do more than pass out in a pile of drool and laundry on the living room floor.

BUT

I’m pregnant with my 3rd child. That’s not going to happen for a long time.

But don’t take me too seriously. I also want to live in a climate where I don’t need snow tires or even a car with a roof for that matter.

I want to eat macaroni and cheese with all the butter and none of the calories.

I want to drink a couple bottles of wine with my girlfriends ( preferably on the beach ) and wake up without a hangover.

I want a private jet.

I want a teleportation device between mine and my family member’s house.

See my point here?

Wanting my kids to sleep in so I can have a cup of coffee is actually the most reasonable hope I have to hold onto.

I think I need to to get back to my point here.

Motherhood is hard. And time consuming. And exhausting. And sometimes, soul-sucking.

It’s HARD people.

So the other stuff we do in our lives, the other parts of us that we manage to fit in in between all the mommy stuff. That stuff needs to be easy.

Exercise, nutrition, meal planning, socializing, THAT stuff needs to be easy. Effortless even. It needs to slip seamlessly into our days because let’s be honest here ladies, it is already too hard for it to be hard to do a workout. Let alone to do a hard workout.

My friend, coach and all-out inspiration Jessie Mundell reminds all her mama clients ( she is the go-to for all things pre & postnatal ) that:

 

“When life stress is high, exercise stress should be low.”

-Jessie Mundell of Mundell Lifestyles

This is a simple and brilliant concept. It’s 100% true. And yet somehow the media, or the industry, or whoever else is making money off of our misery has convinced us that we are supposed to “rise & grind” in the first year as mothers and “bounce back” into optimum shape ASAP following childbirth.

And yet, if we are listening to Jessie’s advice – which we all should BTW seriously go check her out here – then we should spend at LEAST the first year (if not the first 4 ha!) of motherhood practicing low-stress, low-impact, gentle, loving, restorative, nurturing exercise.

We should not be doing 21-day fixes or Body Makeovers. We should not be running races.  Or running anywhere for that matter.

Yet year after year, month after month, and day after day, every time we turn on a television, open a magazine or browse social media we are bombarded with images of women who we are “soooo impressed by” and “sooooo proud of” because they bounced back from the horrible atrocity that is pregnancy and childbirth.

Why are we villainizing the bodies that gave us babies? Why are we hating on the vessel and home of our babies on their journey into this world?

I won’t do it anymore. I’m done. At 19 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child I am DONE hating on this super sweet baby making machine that is my ever-loving body. It took too long, I’ll admit. But I’m done. From here on out, I only love it with tender kindness, share it’s knowledge and experience with other mamas, and give it the support it needs in order for it to be the support I need.

Let’s remember what Jessie told a few hundred words ago(I may have gotten a little ranty and off track up there :D) ..

 

“When life stress is high, exercise stress should be low.”

So there you have it mamas. And daddies. And teenagers and seniors and who ever else is reading this.

When you aren’t getting enough sleep, when you are physically overwhelmed with healing, when you are emotionally overwhelmed ( hormonal or otherwise), when you are worrying 24/7 about the health and well-being of one or more tiny humans under your care then the exercise you choose to integrate into your hectic life (because let’s be honest, SOME exercise is good for us) MUST and I mean MUST be low-stress.

Now, when I say low stress, or easy, I want to be clear about what I mean:

  • It should NOT be painful for your body to perferm your exercise.
  • It should NOT be difficult to fit your workout into your day (20-30 minutes).
  • It should NOT be exhausting or make-you-wanna-puke exertion.
  • It should NOT strain or stress the parts of your body that you are currently healing.

And on the other hand:

  • It should be enjoyable.
  • It should promote healing.
  • It should fit (relatively) easily into your day.
  • It should be relaxing and/or energizing.

This is what we are missing here mamas. We are putting our bodies through hour-long(ew, or longer) strenuous, “hard-core” workouts in the pursuit of goals that are ultimately unnecessary to a new mom. What we need is energy, healing, love, and a little fun.

So, please, stop with the running, jumping and other intense exercise torture you are putting yourself through. Let your body get better. Find a program that’s made for moms. Find a program that has your and your body’s best health at it’s core. Find a program that’s enjoyable, and most of all sustainable.

 

I searched for the perfect program and when I didn’t find it, I decided to create it myself. The program for moms who want to exercise, eat well, reach their goals and have fun. All while respecting the boundaries of a pregnant/postpartum body.

Enter the Better Fit Sisterhood. I have created a program around safe and effective workouts that fit into your busy day. No more than 20 minutes and so easy to follow that they REALLY only take 20 minutes. I’ve included recipes for you and your family that are both good to eat and fun to make with your kiddos, too. Most importantly, I’ve added a mindset element that is exactly what we need when we are trying to reach a goal. It digs deep into our “why”, and helps us discover our path to “how” we will make it all happen. You will be stronger not only physically, but mentally where the changes really count. A strong, empowered mind is what will truly allow you to reach your goals, create sustainable habits and never lose sight of the reason you started in the first place.

Get all the info and grab your spot in the Better Fit Sisterhood by clicking over to jillianbrittany.com/bfsisterhood. But hurry! Registration closes Friday at Midnight.

See you there,

xo JB

 

It takes a village – or at least a sister

I didn’t know what to expect when I was expecting. I don’t know that any one does. And that book does nothing to guide you, except terrify you all the possible ways your pregnancy, birth and delivery can go wrong. But don’t worry, they wrote one to keep you panicking through the first year, too, if 9 months of torture wasn’t enough for you.

A couple of books, one conversation with a distant friend who had a one year old and a lot of cable television made up my knowledge of motherhood. I wasn’t exactly off to a great start.

I had a diaper bag, giant panties, soft pants, and enough maxi pads for an entire highschool of girls.

I had been a baby once, albeit a long time ago. I have had a mother since before I was born. So how hard could it be? In terms of parenting I do believe I had the best, so I would, of course, float through the first year with flying colours.

Plus, I’d never really been bad at anything. I excelled at every job I ever had. I was a great student. I was an even better teacher. I had been promoted to management in almost every job I’d ever held.

I mean, women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. If anyone can handle this, it was me.

I’ve got this. 

Except I didn’t got this. I didn’t got this at all. I was far from it.

And my expectations were probably a big part of that. I thought I would be a superhero and it turned out I was painfully human. 

But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was what I put myself through after my son was born.

The Dark.

I had a horrible time being a mom until I was about 6-8 months postpartum. I continued to struggle for another year or so, it wasn’t easy to change all the negativity I had created or the habits of self doubt, but I was learning. I consider the first 6 month a “dark” period. Partly, I lived way up north in Alberta and most days had less than 8 hours of sunlight. It was literally dark. But I was also dark. My thoughts, my feelings, my self was dark. There was no natural light shining from me. I was in a black hole. I had no family and no friends around. Like for at least an 8 hour drive I had no one. My husband worked 14 hours a day and was rarely home for the baby’s awake hours let alone my own. I was by my damn self all day. every day.

I was lonely. I was scared. I was miserable. I was a new mom with WAY too much time on my hands that I spent in totally uproductive ways. I would scour the internet for health conditions my son and I might have. I would browse YouTube during his waking hours for new workouts videos to try when he napped so that I wouldn’t waste one minute of a potential workout and opportunity to burn some of those evil calories from my toast that morning which I had just spent hours obsessing over the damage it may have caused along the way.

I was really unhappy. I was totally alone. I was not myself and I don’t need to say it but I was not any fun. And I love fun.

The Spring.

I often wonder and more often speculate on what exactly it was that changed that for me. And as I sit here writing it it comes to me. My sister’s son is six months younger than mine. So when I was 6 months into motherhood, I finally had a sister in motherhood. My own sister was my first “mom friend”. I wasn’t the youngest mom ever but I was 25 when I had G and I didn’t have any friends who were having kids at the same time as me. I was totally alone and knew nothing of what to expect. From my body, to the changes in my relationship, to the actual parenting part. I had no idea what I was up against.

Those first 6 months I took everything so seriously. I didn’t know you could laugh about your baby rolling over and hitting his head. I didn’t know you didn’t have to cry every time you changed a baby that had shit all up his back and down his legs. I didn’t know how to laugh at and enjoy the strange and squishy phases of my post partum body. I didn’t know anything. And I had no one to ask.

But once my sister had her son, I finally had someone to talk to.

Looking back now, she probably thought she was asking me for advice. For example ” did G ever do___” or “did your body ever —– after birth?” For her, I was being reassuring and commiserating. For me, I was understanding how NORMAL all the things that I had been experiencing were and that they were OKAY. They were kinda funny. They were definitely common. She was reaching out to me for help and I was finally getting the reassurance I had needed all that time. I didn’t know that I was doing okay.

They say it takes a village, and I do believe that. Because we all need someone to lean on. In good times and bad. But I think having a sister is just as good. She doesn’t have to be a biological sister. I was lucky as far as that goes. But a sister in motherhood. Someone who can commiserate and celebrate with you. Someone who has scrubbed as many shit stains as you have this week.  Someone who has just as much lower back pain as you. Someone who’s watching the same shows on Netflix while they’re newborn naps because “sleep when the baby sleeps” is a brilliant piece of advice until you actually have a baby.

The fact is, I was always cut out for motherhood. I am a superhero and I am in fact, capable of excelling at anything I can put my mind to. Whether that’s raising children, reaching my fitness goals or starting my own business. I can do it all.

What I learned that first 6 months and have tried to teach to everyone I meet since then, is that I can do it, and so can you, but you, or I, or anyone else, can NOT do it all alone. We need to help each other. We need to ask for help. And when help is offered, we need to accept it. Whether that is someone watching our kids, inviting us to share a meal, or just commiserating over a crappy day.

I needed my sister, and when it comes down to it, a sister is exactly what we all need.

———

That’s where the Better Fit Sisterhood comes in.

It’s a place where we can all find support, laughter and the tools we need to make our dreams a reality, no matter what they are.

Easy, at home workouts with minimal equipment. Simple nutrition and recipes you can enjoy with your whole family. Yoga flows + stretching routines to make your body work better and feel better. Plus a community of women cheering each other, celebrating each others wins and working towards our goals as a team.

Click over to the Better Fit Sisterhood to find out more about the Better Fit Sisterhood what it can do you for you, and why it’s just what you are looking for.

 

I Cared More About The “Baby Weight” Than The Baby

Three hours a day. At least. 10k a day. At least 50 km a week on a treadmill but likely more. Abs abs abs. Get the body back. Pre-pregnancy body. Pre-baby size. Bounce back. Three hours a day. At least. Every time my son shut his eyes I was finding some way to burn calories. Obsession. I was obsessed. With exercising.

I was my own worst enemy.

No matter what progress I made, no matter what great accomplishments I had covered in early mother hood, in postpartum recovery or any other part of my life, I told myself I was a failure. Because I couldn’t “lose the baby weight”.

I cared more about exercise than literally anything else.

I was more focused on my body and changing the way it looked than I was on the amazing miracle of a child I had just given birth to. I was more concerned about the things my body couldn’t do, or hadn’t done well enough, than of the AMAZING things it had done for me in the last year.

I built shame and guilt inside of me when I was trying to build muscles and strength.

I claimed I was trying to “get in shape” and “get healthy” but the things I was doing were hurting me more than helping. I was less healthy in those first months postpartum than I was when I was eating oreos and cheeseburgers for dinner while I was pregnant.

I alienated myself from other people and I ruined relationships.

I told myself I was alone. But really I was pushing away everyone who was close to me. I pushed my husband away, my family, and the few friends I had. I didn’t want anyone to see what I was doing to myself. I was alone mentally.

I was obsessed.

 

My exercise obsession was all about control. I had a newborn, I had a relatively new relationship, I lived a new city, I was off work for the first time in my adult life, I wasn’t earning money and my body was changed in ways I never fathomed and I wanted control.

I didn’t feel like I had control of anything in my life and I wanted control of something, anything. So I tried to control my body. I tried to control its size, shape and ability. I tried to make it recover way faster from birth and pregnancy than it ever should have.

I was pissed off when I couldn’t have control. I made control my ultimate goal and when I couldn’t make it happen I decided I was a failure. I decided. It was an illness of the worst kind. The kind that lives in your mind and takes over your ability to function, your ability to see the real things that are going on around you.

Let it go.

I spent almost a year of my life in this haze of misery. I spent way too damn long being obsessed with exercise. I got sick and fucking tired of hating myself. There were other factors of course. I hired a coach, I made some friends, I saw a counselor. But mostly, I just got fed up.

I didn’t want to live another day being angry at myself. That wasn’t me. I didn’t feel like me, I didn’t act like me. Who cares what I looked like when my mind and personality were completely unrecognizable. I just wanted to be myself and I just wanted to feel better.

And here the story changes.

All that time I was trying to be in control and I was spiraling out of it. So I took control, of the things I really could change.

I changed my mind. I decided to be happy. It wasn’t always easy. Most days it was really fucking hard. But I did it. I remembered I had a child and I wanted him to have a happy mother, not a miserable one. I wanted to have a good relationship, so I behaved like I was in one and in no time things were back to normal.

I changed my behaviours. I no longer exercised to punish my body. I no longer spent hours a day exercising. I exercised to feel better. I used it to love my body and show it appreciation. I worked hard enough to feel better and no more.

I changed my habits. I ate food. Real food. Good food. I savoured and enjoyed every bite. No more diets, no more low-cal, low-carb bullshit. REAL FUCKING FOOD. And I stopped craving junk. I was satisfied by my food and didn’t need to indulge in nightly binges anymore. And if I did, no biggie. Like none at all. It’s all good.

I stopped hiding. When I let go of the shame, of the guilt of all the things I couldn’t do, I was ready to be myself again. I had forgotten how to be me. I got back to myself and I was proud of what I done and more importantly what I had been through. I was no longer ashamed. I was happy to have come out of the darkness and see the other side.

So what now?

This was a hard question for me to answer. If I wasn’t trying to be perfect, what was I trying for? What was I working towards if the object of my desires wasn’t perfection.

I have to go back to my “why” to answer this. Why do I want to exercise, eat right, and live a healthy lifestyle?

It’s for my family. I want to set the best possible example for my kids and my family. That means making smart, healthy decisions. That means teaching them healthy habits and showing them how to love and respect their bodies.

I want to live a long life. I want to try everything. I want to be young forever.

I obviously can’t do everything, or be young forever, but I can feel young. I can be in good enough shape to try anything I want to. I can be a confident and life loving parent who teaches her kids to take risks and reach for the stars.

So those are my goals. That’s what’s now.

  1. I want to be strong, so I can run races, face challenges, have babies and so much more.
  2. I want to be energetic, so I can keep up with my kids and stay awake through date night.
  3. I want to be a role model. For my kids, my family and friends and for other moms.

And that means I have to walk my talk. I have to live the life I preach. I have to stand in my truth and be myself. Mistakes and all. Dark past and bright future. You will always get all of me.

 

There’s more where this came from, in the #BetterAfterBaby community. More realness, more rawness, more pain, and more triumph. A judgement free zone for moms to be OK with where they are and to want better without feeling bad about it.

 

 

 

Why Am I So Tired?

When all I do is sleep?

I asked myself over and over again. And wondered how I might ever survive. And how the other moms did it. And if I would ever shave my legs again.
 –
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In the year after my my first child was born, I was going to bed shortly after him, around 8 pm, and sleeping until he woke up (don’t hate me he slept through) around 6 am. And then he’d go back to bed an hour later and so would I. And then we would wake up for another hour or so. And then when he’d nap I’d exercise. For an hour or so. And then the next nap I’d workout, for an hour or so. And then before dinner I’d take him to the daycare at the gym and I’d run on the treadmill, for an hour or so. And with all this time I spent exercising, I had very little time for eating, so I ate only on the fly most of the time. A handful of this, a piece of that. A salad for dinner while my husband ate steak and potatoes. And an hour later my son went to bed and I shortly followed suit.
 
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Looking back now, the answer is so obvious.
 –
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Why am I so tired when I’m sleeping 10-12 hours a night and sometimes napping during the day?
 –
 –
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The answer comes clearly to me now. But I was in a haze back then. I was in a fog.
 –
 –
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I was EXHAUSTED.
– 
I just had a baby, I was starving myself, I was working out way too much, I was mentally and emotionally OVERwhelmed. The list goes on.
 –
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And yet I can’t figure out why I’m tired.
 
 –
– 
My body just made a baby. In 9 months it built a human where there wasn’t one before. And my body pooled all of its energy resources to birth that baby. To bring it into the world healthy and happy and screaming for life.
 
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Why is that not enough? Why did that feel like something I had to “make up for”? Like despite that fact that I had just done all of that, I still looked pretty good and that was something to be proud of. Why did the way I looked have ANYTHING to do with it.
 
 –

Why did the way I looked have EVERYTHING to do with it?

This overwhelming pressure from where-the-fuck-ever it’s coming from to “get our bodies back” after baby is making us hate ourselves, at a time when we should be LOVING ourselves. Unconditionally.
 –
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But instead, we’re sitting around thinking about all the things we are doing wrong, or not doing, when we should be snuggling our newborns and eating HEALTHY, WHOLE and DELICIOUS foods.
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Whether you had a baby two weeks or two years or even ten years ago, I am talking to you. Your body did something amazing. Let’s take a moment and applaud that.


Now, can we stop talking about what our bodies look like?

 

 And start talking about how we feel?

I spent a whole year exhausting myself, over exercising, under eating, and hating my body for not being what I thought it should be.

 –

And all that time I ignored, hushed, and silenced how I FELT.

 –
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I was tired. I was sad. I was confused. I felt like a failure.
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Those feelings were a result of how I was treating my body.

So if restricting my diet and exercising 3+ hours a day wasn’t getting me the results I wanted physically, and was actually leading me down a path to depression, why on earth was I doing it?

I wanted control. I wanted to be in control of my body, my weight, and my life.
 –
 –

But here’s the thing. I had a new baby, and there’s no way to control that.

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My body was trying to heal from having that baby, and there’s no way to control that.
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And then I went and over exercised to the point of exhaustion where even 12 hours of sleep wasn’t enough.
– 
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I wasn’t controlling anything. I was doing just the opposite. I was sending my self into a tailspin.
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Not only was I not in control, but I wasn’t getting any of the things I wanted. I didn’t even know what I wanted.
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So. I had to reassess. Which meant having to relinquish that “control” I thought I had. I had to actually let go. I had to change my thinking in order to be able to recieve the changes I really wanted. And to be finally be “in control”.

I hired a coach, to help me with my workouts, and help me safely heal all the damage I had done running and crunching my postpartum body.

And then I looked inside. I worked on myself. And asked myself..

Why was I doing this?

What did I really want?

Here’s what I found:

1) I want to like myself. Regardless of what my body looks like.
2) I want enough energy to keep up with my kids.
3) I want to be active every day.
4) I want to enjoy the food I eat.
5) I want to be surrounded by supportive, like-minded people.
And I set out on my journey to create that life.
Here I am, two years later, with experience under my belt, and ready to share it all with you.
I no longer restrict what I eat. I no longer spend hours a day exercising. I have two kids and I’m expecting my third, I sometimes go weeks without a proper workout. I never feel bad about that. I miss it, but never feel bad.
I get joy from helping other moms. From encouraging them on their journey to self love and satisfaction with their lives. Being a mom is the most amazing experience in life and it brings me intense joy to help other women see through the difficulties of motherhood and postpartum into the incredible experience of raising little ones.
I was in the haze for too long. But I won’t ever go back there. The year I spent “not being good enough” made me person I am today. The mother I am today. And if it had been any other way I don’t think I would have the same appreciation for motherhood and its challenges that I do.
That being said, I don’t ever want another mom to waste a minute or even a second of her children’s precious lives worrying about her size or shape or weight.
And so I’m here. I’ve created a 15 Day Feel Better Challenge for you and it’s here now. I’ve put together the building blocks of what changed my life around and I’m sharing them with you, so that we can grow together.
I want you to find happiness, ease, self-love, support, health and become the kind of mom and person you want to be. That’s what this challenge will do for you.
Join us now and let’s do this together.

Your Diet Is Never Going to Work… and I Know Why

 

We are constantly dieting, in one section of our lives or another.

 

I never bought into diets, or at least not in the conventional sense. I certainly got good at restricting my eating like a madwoman, and then bingeing like crazy once I had reached goal weight, fit into the bikini for vacation, gone to the event or whatever it was.

 

I never bought ( in the literal sense, as in exchanged money for ) a diet system. I would read a little, or hear about something new fad, and decide “hey I can do that!”.  I would use their tactics, like not eating after 6 pm, only eating between 10am and 4 pm, no carbs, two a day workouts, etc. Then I’dd add in some of my own brilliant ideas, like running 10 km races, hardcore workouts 7 days a week, and trading food calories for wine.

 

This may shock some of you so I hope you’re sitting down…
BUT…

 

None of them ever worked!

 

Not for more than a week or two at least.

 

And I’m pretty sure the genius who comes up with these plans hopes they will last at least a little longer but they never do.

 

I definitely had some deeper issues I needed to deal with. Beyond food and exercise. But that’s for another story, kids.

 

Once I became a mom and starting feeding food to another human, I started realizing just how wrong I had been in so many ways. The “food” I was eating to stay in shape or lose weight or whatever wasn’t even food most of the time. I would certainly never give it to my child. I wasn’t getting enough nutrients, or protein, or food in genereal for that matter.

 

But wait – I was trying to be healthy. I was doing all of this because “my body is a temple” and being in killer shape would make me the epitome of good health! That’s what being in shape means, right?

 

Get thin, get fit, and you earn your “healthy” badge and move on to the next level.

 

Or maybe not. Maybe I was doing it wrong.. could it be?

Was there a HUGE EFFING difference between fit and healthy that I had been missing all along?

 

And here’s where it changed. When I had to sit there and break down every peice of food my child ate to make sure what he was eating was nutritious enough, I realized just how shit my own diet had been and for how long!

 

I wasn’t even really overweight, or really underweight, but it didn’t take major weight loss or gain to do major damage to my body. Between having babies and changing career paths, I had to completely overhaul my diet and lifestyle, not to mention “unlearn” some of the most idiotic things I had thought would get me “into shape”.

 

But the biggest thing I had to change, at the end of the day, was my goal.

 

If my goal was to be skinny, wear a size 2, have abs or a thigh gap, I was never going to get there. Because as super-duper as that would be, it was never going to be important to me. It would never have real meaning to me or increase my quality of life. It would never impact me or my family in a way that would make us better. And I knew it.

 

So the goal never mattered, which meant the method didn’t matter either, I wasn’t going to stick to any program that made me feel like I was depriving myself for a goal I wasn’t even really interested in.

 

When it did come time for me to make changes in my body, lifestyle, and eating habits, I had to change the goal.

 

And I had to change it to something I actually wanted to achieve.

 

So I did, and guess what, when the WHY was important, the HOW didn’t matter, I was going to do it,

because I valued the end result.

 

So if my goal was to add a daily yoga practice to my life in order to achieve more calm, and be a better mom, I was all in. Even if one day I didn’t really want to do it, I knew first of all, that I was choosing to do it, and that the result was only going to come if I was consistent.

 

If I wanted to do a workout, it was because I knew it would make me stronger and give me more endurance for playtime. So it was easy to choose it over Netflixing on the couch with a bag of potato chips.

 

When I went to eat a meal, I could eat anything I wanted. Because my goal wasn’t to lose weight, or burn a certain number of calories, it was to FEEL BETTER and fuel my body to get the most out of every minute of my day. With that goal in mind, it was a “no-brainer” to choose nutrient-dense, filling, fresh foods to eat at every meal.

 

The WHY or the goal was the difference.

 

Trying to lose weight just sucks people.. It’s not fun. It’s not interesting as a goal, it’s not really challenging to our minds, it goes against our human nature to survive.

 

Stop dieting. Stop trying to lose weight. Decide what you really want in life. Write it down even, make a list. What do you REALLY want to get out of the life you’re living? Is it to be a better mom? Or to lift weights with the best of the best? Is it to get a better job and make more money? To be a role model in your family or community? Do you want to be able to beat your husband in push-up competition? Do you want to ditch the late nights in front of the TV bingeing on anything you can find in your pantry?

 

Your lifestyle can make all of these happen. But I’m telling you, jumping on a quick-fix diet to lose a bunch of weight, will NOT.

 

Your WHY has to be bigger than the number on the scale. It had to go above and beyond. It has to go deep. The desire for change has to come from your heart and your mind. Not from some obsession our society has with skinny people and big butts. You have to want real change, and you can make real change happen.

 

Finding out your WHY is the first step in the 15 Day Feel Better Challenge that starts August 10th. If you want to make real changes in your life for the right reasons and you want an amazing group of women cheering you on then you NEED to join the challenge. I promise, in 15 Days, you are going to FEEL BETTER.

 

See you there!

I lost 45 lbs and My Self Worth

I was trying so hard not to “let myself go”, that I completely let go of myself.

 

I had my first child at 25. That’s old to some, young to some, and the same age a lot of us start our families.

To me, it was young. Looking back I definitely ready to have a baby, to be responsible for a baby, and to take care of that baby.

What I wasn’t ready for was to take care of me.

Up until then I had been reliant on three things to build and hold up my self worth.

They were:

 

  • My ability to work & make money.

It was really hard to let go of being an income earner. My independence had always been connected to my ability to earn and maintain myself financially. I was a successful hairstylist and at anytime I needed more cashflow I would pick up a bartending job to make ends meet.

But when I had a child and I was at home making zero dollars but working harder than I ever had in my life.

The reward of being a mother is enormous but it is hard to recognize especially in those first and often trying weeks of motherhood.

Not even a smile for 6 weeks?? I mean whose idea was that. That is the true test. If you can make it to the first smile it all gets better from there.

But it was still hard for me to equate baby giggles to my ability to earn. There is no dollar figure attached to the job of being a mother. And there shouldn’t be, because it is literally priceless. But I didn’t learn that right away.

My self worth was dwindling with every scream that child let out. With every nap that was not “on-time” and every milestone that was not perfectly timed.

  • My social interactions.

My friends and my friendships had always boosted me up. They made me feel strong, powerful and useful.

Not only was I in a completely new town when I had my child, I had no friends, my husband worked 14+ hours a day and I knew no one – not even back home where I had friends still – who had a baby in the last 12 months who could sympathize with me over the trials of new motherhood.

I was alone, isolated, and feeling worthless.

Even when I did catch up with someone, or see a friendly face, I was so ashamed of the way I was feeling I couldn’t bring myself to tell them the truth about how I was feeling.

So I was left with shame and worthlessness. And I was all alone. Even if there were people around I wouldn’t have been able to see them or hear them through the walls I had built up.

  • My appearance.

Here’s the thing, as most anyone who has had a child knows, all those things change drastically if not totally disappear when we have that first baby.

My appearance totally changed. From the shape of my body, to the feeling of my skin, to the amount of time I had to spend being concerned and focused on my appearance it all changed. I didn’t look like me anymore, I didn’t even remember what I looked like.

I had identified with myself as “attractive” under such specific guidelines that I didn’t allow myself to be beautiful in my postpartum state because I didn’t recognize it.

My postpartum body is one of my favourite things about being a mother. Biceps and abs are great but nothing is as impressive as a core that’s stretched to hold now my third child and returned to a state of relative normalcy all the while holding the rest of me together.

Here’s the thing ladies: I didn’t always feel that way. I still don’t always feel that way.

In that first 6 months, that first year after I had my son, my first baby, I was trying so hard not to “let myself go”, that I completely let go of myself.

I lost my self worth and 45 lbs. And it took longer to get them back then it did to gain and lose them in the first place.

I spent day and night worrying about my weight. I spent all my time thinking badly about my body. I left no room for self love. When all I really needed was a little love. But it couldn’t come from someone else. It had to come from me. I had to decide that I was good enough, that I was worth fighting for NO matter what I weighed, what I got paid, or what my friends thought.

So you know where I was. Maybe you’ve been there, too. Maybe you’re there right now.

Where did I go from there? How did I become this confident, life-loving, dream-chasing, do-it-all kind of mom?

I’ll tell you my secret. Because there is no secret. I’m just being me.

For some reason, I thought when I became a mom I had to also become someone different. I thought I had to dress differently, talk differently, act differently in order to “be a mom”. But it turns out, all I had to was squeeze an 8lb baby out of my hoo-ha and BAM I’m a mom.

And me, whether I’m a mom or a carefree teenager, is a confident, life-loving, dreaming-chasing, do-it-all kind of gal.

What I needed to be all along, what I needed to hear and what I had to learn on my own the hardest way was that just being myself was the best way to be happy.

So I lost myself for a little while, it sucked.

To the point that I went and talked to a family counselor. My husband made the appointment for me because he was worried about me.

I didn’t want to go. In come the shame. I didn’t want to need help. But there is in fact strength in needing help. And even more in asking for it.

So I went, and I talked. Okay I sobbed. For a full 60 minutes I spilled my guts. The feelings, the actions, the sadness, all of it. I said all to a complete stranger. She listened as I cried and my 8 month old pulled every book off the shelf and emptied the contents of her purse onto the floor.

And the she asked me something, that I never even considered before she said the words to me.

“What makes you feel happy?”

The simplest question. The simplest answer required.

It was so easy to reply.

“Yoga, being outside, hanging out with friends.”

She said “okay, can you make that happen?”.

“Yes, I think so.”

But inside my heart, my brain, my soul were screaming: “This is it! She’s broken the glass! We have arrived! How did she know? How did she know what we needed? Who is this sorceress? Let’s get out of here before she realizes she wasted an hour of her time on a girl who already had the answers the whole damn time and just didn’t know it. Run! Grab the kid! Get out of here! Honey, start the car!”

When I got home I sat outside. Made small talk with a neighbour. And then at nap time I did a short workout in the sun.

I tried no harder than that. I sought no further accomplishment than to make those 3 things happen every day.

Interact with other adults, move my body(gently and with love), be outside.

And every day it got easier, until it became a habit that I didn’t even have to try for.

My son was about 15 months when I made friends with another mom who had a child the same age. She loved the same things I did. We laughed together over the trials of the first year of motherhood.

I felt like a person again.

But I would have never made that friend if it wasn’t for the work I did on myself to become my self again.

After I had my son, I lost the 45 lbs I had gained. I also lost myself.

In the years since then, I have lost and gained weight and gained another child with a third on the way.

Most importantly, I had become more myself than I ever thought possible. The me I was before I had kids IS me, and I’m even more myself as a mom. A fun-loving, hard-working, reach-for-the-stars kind of mom.

I needed three things to find that self again. And those things were:

  1. Kind, considerate exercise. A way to move that showed my body love and affection, not pain and disappointment.
  2. Social interactions. Talking to other moms who had been through similar experiences, as well as ones who had been through totally different ones. I needed to know I was normal.
  3. Self love. Self worth that came from inside me. Payment in the form of acceptance. Letting go of the dollar figure of an income earning job in order to feel the real reward of being a bad ass mama and seeing my kids grow being all the payment I needed.

I found these things, it took me years.

I don’t want you to have to look that far. So I’m putting them all in one place. And that place is the  #betterafterbaby community. In the community you will find self love, body love, friendship and compassion. We will laugh, learn and grow together. No more shame, no more loneliness. Let’s do this together.