I remember after having my first son in 2012, that I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight by 6 months. I wasn’t really doing anything special, my body just seemed to bounce back! Because of the amazing first experience I was banking on this happening again with my second kid.

Nope, not even close. My youngest is 3 and I’m still hanging onto about 15lbs (which was 20lbs just about 2 months ago – slow moving progress, but progress nonetheless).

This post isn’t about weight loss though.

What I want to share with you is the fact that I believe…no I know that the reason I bounced back so quickly the first time was because I under much less stress the first time around. When my son was 6 months old I was leaving my full-time job to work part-time. I was stressed while home on my maternity, but I only worked for about 6 weeks before I got this part-time gig. I didn’t spend a significant amount of time working full-time.

This post isn’t also to say that you need to work part-time in order to lose weight either.

But I promise I’ll get to why I’m sharing this story with you.

I returned to full-time employment when my first son was 18 months old and I was newly pregnant with my second son (great timing, huh? LOL). Don’t worry they knew I was planning to have another kid pretty quickly when they hired me, although I don’t believe they anticipated that quickly.

This time around I was in a job I enjoyed so after my second son was born I went right back into full-time work and was excited to go back. Yet this time my body did not bounce back as I hoped. I didn’t worry about it until he was about 9 months old and I was ready to do something about it.

I did a nutritional reset challenge which got me bloated and constipated from all the raw veggies. Got over that and tried some new workouts. T25 was huge for me a few years ago so I gave it another go, but just wasn’t feeling the intensity of it. Then I tried cutting back on the cardio and lifting more heavy weights. With this I definitely got stronger, but still no movement in weight or my figure (*ahem* I was waiting for the fat loss that never came).

After about a year and a half I was pissed and frustrated. I hired a hormonal nutritionist that gave me some great advice, but still no change. Then I started to notice that I was constipated and when I was constipated I looked like I was 6 months pregnant.

Finally the light bulb went off!

This wasn’t a weight issue, it was a digestion issue.

I got on a daily probiotic and saw minor improvement. I became obsessed with digestion essential oils, using them multiple times a day with only minor improvement. I turned to prunes and prune juice, then to detox teas. If there was a solution for constipation I tried it. They all helped in a minor way but nothing was solving the issue and it just kept returning.

My frustration only grew as each solution proved to work only temporarily. I began to realize that this is beyond what I’m eating or drinking or how I’m moving, it’s because I’m stressed.

I had been keeping an eye on a natural healthcare practitioner in my area, and decided it was time to make an appointment.

There I was desperate to make this go away, and here was my solution.

Let’s go!!

It was not an immediate resolution, but as I continued to go I began to notice minor changes in myself, not just physically but mentally as well. I was able to handle stress easier, I was breathing more deeply throughout my day and not just during meditation in the morning.

Then I decided to leave my full-time job and start my business. I continued going to the doctor and I continued to see improvement. Little by little I was getting better. My constipation was occurring less often and when it did occur, it didn’t linger for days like before.

I’m eating more cheese and gluten foods now, and am rarely constipated and bloated. I actually went for a lactose test today, even though I figured it was going to be negative. I made the appointment about 2 months ago so I figured I’d go through with it anyway.

Since August I have lost about 5lbs, but even more than that I feel better. I no longer look 6 months pregnant constantly. My clothes fit better and I can feel a waistline returning.

I’m still stressed, because trust me being an entrepreneur and giving up my income stability was not an easy decision. Living off of one-income for a family of 4 is tough, but yet that stress isn’t bothering my digestion.

My digestion is better because I am living in alignment.

My work/life balance is as it should be, as it was 5 years ago when I working part-time and felt amazing!

Our physical body reacts to our mental health. When we are in an unhealthy place mentally, our physical body will show us signs. For me that sign was in my digestion, and trust me when it creeps in I can tell it’s at a time when there is high-stress in my life. Luckily for me I continue to see my natural health care doctor, but I also have the tools on my own to recognize what is happening and correct it.

You would be amazed at how the mind and body are connected. If you are feeling ill, or not well, it might not be that sushi you ate (I mean it might be), but even a minor cold as I had this weekend can be a sure sign that your body is telling you to sit down and relax. It is your body’s way of forcing you to do what it needs done in that moment. If you listen for the signs early on, than you can avoid the much larger ones that will scream at you instead.

I’m finally ready to lose the weight!!!

Three years ago my second son was born and ever since I have been stuck at the same weight. Unable to shake this last little bit. For most of my life I’ve gone between 125lbs and 135lbs, spending my 20s in that 130-135 range. For reference I’m 5’1” (5’2” according to my license though, lol) and have always been super active. I played sports year round through college, I danced and after college continued to crave movement.

I also grew up without a scale in my home (thank you mom and dad!) so I never knew what I weighed and I also never really cared. It wasn’t something we talked about in our family and since I was always so active I was thin my whole life. I also love to eat and never was even tempted to try and control my food intake. Seriously, I gave up chocolate one Lent and on Easter morning I got a basket of chocolate and my husband told me to never do that again, hahahaha.

This isn’t to say I was super confident about my body, but it is to say that I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about it.

Because of all this even the thought of saying “I’m going to lose 20lbs” sounds ridiculous. Yet, for some reason it’s helping me get my motivation. I may not lose 20lbs, and I’m not even going to focus on the number, but I’m finally ready to step up my game a bit. Plus my husband and I are going on a hiking trip in a few weeks and I want to be prepared as much as I can.

If it’s not about the number, why in the world am I even writing this blog?

I’m doing it because over the last three years I haven’t been ready to push myself physically. In the past 8 months I backed off exercise on purpose. I was at a crossroads in my life and even though I was working out my body wasn’t responding. My morning exercise time turned it into meditation and journaling instead. I went from working out 4-5 times a week to 2 at the most. I went from running and high cardio to only Barre3 on the weekends.

Taking that time for me to get clear in my head is what propelled me to make these recent major shifts in my life such as leaving my full-time job to pursue entrepreneurship. Not only did I make this decision, but I made it with faith and confidence.

I’m still meditating and journaling but I got the itch to start moving my body with more high intensity workouts. Breaking a sweat, jumping high, breathing heavy….yup that’s what I need right now. I actually forgot how good those kinds of workouts can make me feel.

Why 20lbs?

Well I went to the doctor recently and the scale read 150lbs, which I wasn’t surprised at because that’s where I’ve been at the last three years.

It’s not about the number, but that number gives me a goal. Whether I reach that number or not is honestly irrelevant.

Instead I will be looking at how my clothes fit, my muscle tone and how I feel. The number is more symbolic than anything.

As I write this I wonder if I’m even explaining it clearly, but in my head it makes sense so I’m going with it!!

FYI – You won’t see progress pictures either because I’m not totally comfortable with them. This is a journey for me and for me alone. Yes I’m sharing my story, but not for the congratulations or the “you look great comments”. I am beautiful the way I look now and no offense I don’t need anyone else to tell me that!! This weight loss journey is about moving my body in a way that makes me feel happy. It’s about being in a clear head space where I can focus more on my body. It’s about being comfortable in my skin and being strong of course…always about being strong!!

Holding back tears in a public place because you don’t want people to know your upset, or ask questions.

Really excited about something and just want to scream and dance but can’t because people will think you’re crazy.

Super angry at your spouse but just give them the evil eye because you can’t have an argument in public for fear of what others will think.

Seeing a theme here?

Showing emotions in public is something we fear. We worry about what other people will think. Whether we’re sad, happy or angry we don’t want to show it. Then when we see someone who is showing strong emotions in public we ignore or walk away.

Why is this? Why is showing emotion so shameful?

The other day something happened that I was clearly upset about it in a public place. It was nearly impossible to hide it, but I definitely tried. I was embarrassed to be so upset over this thing. I’m learning that feeling these emotions and expressing them is good for you. There I was at a crossroads of wanting to just run away to my car and cry, but also wanting to sit with these emotions.

To be more specific I was at my Barre3 studio, and was auditioning to be an instructor….again. This was my last shot to get it right and start training to be certified at the end of July. Unfortunately I was just not ready. This is something I truly want and something I know I can do, but more than that it’s something I feel I’m meant to do. When it didn’t go the way I was expecting I was disappointed in myself.

What happened? What am I doing wrong? Can I fix this? Will this ever happen for me?

I auditioned right before a class I was planning to attend, and I was torn on whether I should stay for class or get out of there. I opted to stay because being in that studio just makes me feel good. It’s a place where I can work out my body, but also get clarity within my mind. This is likely why I want to be an instructor so badly, because I want to help others feel the way I do when I’m in class. Swollen and red eyes, I decided to stay because I knew it would help me feel better.

I was ashamed of being so upset and wanted to put on a strong face that I’d be fine. It was a full class so there were a lot of women walking around. Out of the few women who I ran into before class while sitting in the bathroom or while I was in the studio before class texting my husband and friends, only one woman asked me if I was ok.
Yes, I was embarrassed and didn’t want to talk to anyone, but I appreciated her acknowledgement so much. I kind of wanted to explain myself, but all I could say was “I’m not ok, but I will be. Thank you for asking.”

Then I wondered if I would have said something if I saw a stranger visibly upset before class. Would I have the courage to ask if they were ok?

As much as I’d like to think I would, I honestly think I would have ignored her. Talk about disappointment in myself! Just a few words can be so much to someone and I would have been so uncomfortable in that situation that I wouldn’t have said anything. Geez!!!

How do we change this about our society?

How do we embrace our own emotions?

How do we let others know it’s ok to show emotions?

Unfortunately I don’t have the answer because this is something I’m clearly working on.

I’m starting with myself, with being ok to show my own emotions. It’s also something I am strongly trying to teach my boys. At the ages of 5 and 3 they have very strong emotions and I don’t want to hinder them from showing them at all. I let them cry, I let them yell and get angry.

Especially because I’m raising boys I want them to know it’s ok to cry and it’s not something to be shameful about. I also want them to be comfortable around others when they are upset. When someone is upset in our house we work on first asking if they are ok, then asking what we can do to make it better.

I saw this just today as my 3 year old got hurt and my 5 year old came over and asked if he was ok. Then we all sat on the floor and my 5 year old put his hand on his little brother’s back and rubbed it. Then he said he wanted to be silly to make his little brother happy. If my heart could have exploded with joy it would have right there!

Let’s not hide our emotions, let’s feel them in all their ugliness and all their joy! Don’t hide, don’t run away, don’t scroll on your phone to numb the pain. Feel it, embrace it and then learn from it!

When you see others showing emotion in public whether they are adults or children, give them a smile, ask them if they are ok and acknowledge their emotion. I was appreciate that someone asked if I was ok, I didn’t give her my life story or say what was wrong, but even though I was embarrassed I was thankful that she asked me.

How Do I Meditate?

Meditation has become such a buzz word lately. So many people are talking about it and thankfully they are because that’s how I came to know meditation. I was listening to podcast after podcast that would talk about the value of meditation. Eventually I decided to give it a try.

I reached out to my friend who I know meditates and asked her where to start. She suggested an app called Calm so I tried it. It was good, but I had trouble staying consistent. There’s a calendar on the app and it keeps track of when you meditate and I could not get 3 days in a row. It just didn’t seem to be working for me.

I decided to forgo the app and try just googling meditations, unfortunately that didn’t work either. Eventually I just gave up and thought this isn’t something for me right now and I’ll try again another time.

That’s what I did. I went months without meditating, but I certainly thought about it a lot.

Then in the fall of 2017 my mind set started shifting and I started searching for more in life. I began a self-development journey that probably started a few years ago, but it seemed to go into overdrive suddenly. By January 2018 I was ready for a change in my life. I set a few goals, and one of those was to give meditation a try again.

This time it clicked! I don’t know where I found breathing meditation (but I sure wish I did so I could share it), but this quiet meditation focusing simply my breathing feels great.

Meditation quickly became a habit for me, and if I didn’t spend even a few minutes in quiet meditation my day felt off.

After a few months of meditation most mornings (mostly weekdays, I like to sleep in on the weekends) I started to see slow trickly affects in my life. Not only was I starting my day in this calm state of mind, but I was seeing more patience in myself. Patience especially with my kids.

Before meditation I couldn’t control my anger and I would fly off the handle at the smallest things. It would take me days to sometimes I realize what went wrong and apologize. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I started meditation.

Here are the 3 things Meditation has given to me:

  1. To recognize my feelings and emotions, how they make me feel inside my body. For me I very much feel emotion in my gut. I get a tightness in my stomach (um…hello constipation due to stress) and I get butterflies when I’m nervous.
  2. Now once I feel my feelings, I can redirect them. I have to recognize them, figure out why I feel this way and then change directions. This isn’t me ignoring my feelings, it’s realizing they are there, saying a quick hello and then moving on. I use to just push my feelings away, but now I sit with them and I feel them. Meditation has taught me that this is ok and actually good for me.
  3. To have more patience and more calm in my life. This is especially apparent with my husband and my kids. They can push my buttons like no one else, but thanks to meditation and recognizing my feelings I know pretty much right away when I’ve gotten angry for no reason or yelled at them because I was stressed out. Meditation has helped me to look inward to see a reflection of myself. When I get angry it’s not about the kids, it’s about something I’m dealing with at the moment. I know one day I’ll get to the point where I can redirect my anger before it happens, but the fact that I can recognize it and apologize pretty much right away is a huge step for me.

Have you thought about meditation?

Have you tried meditation before?

If you never have or you have and like me didn’t really see much benefit, I highly recommend trying again. Maybe a different way to meditate would be helpful. There is no right or wrong way, it’s just the way that works for you. I imagine my meditation practice will change and evolve as I continue to grow and evolve.

These are some of my favorite breathing meditation:

5 Minute Breathing Meditation

Sympathetic Breathing Meditation

Counting Breaths Meditation