I think many people look at pictures of me now and assume that I have always been thin, fit and healthy. Although I have been thin, fit and healthy most of my life, I have also run most of my life. The only time that running was not a big part of my life was when I had children. It was not planned that way – I assumed I would be like many of my college running friends that could run a marathon in the morning and pop out a baby later that afternoon, then be back to running the next day (a little exaggerated – but you get the idea). No, my story didn’t turn out that way. Unfortunately after losing my first little baby girl – I discovered the strict limits that I would be placed on to have children. I had a condition that required close monitoring and subsequent inactivity. It felt awkward to be so sedentary by “doctors orders” to eventually ending up on bed rest completely non-active and even unable to sit-up unless I was eating (and the heartburn – uugh!). As you can imagine, I gained a lot of weight despite eating healthy. My body was just not used to a sedentary lifestyle nor did I enjoy the inactivity. Mentally I was frustrated and I missed exercise very much! However it was all worth it when I looked at my newborn little healthy baby boy. I continued to have three more babies (two boys and finally a little baby girl) so all of the doctors visits, surgeries and stress tests must be worth it. I also developed gestational diabetes and was on insulin on top of the other high risk complications. So pregnancy was far from a piece of cake for me.
Between each pregnancy I managed to get the weight off knowing that I would be putting it back on again. That was discouraging because many that knew me didn’t recognize me when I was pregnant, and couldn’t believe how different I looked when I was not. It was also hard to start and stop running over and over. It always feels good to be in great shape, but it takes a while to get there. It is not easy to start from square one and completely out of shape. But I am living proof that it can be done over and over even if you have to lose 50 plus pounds over and over. I did it four times and am happy to say that I plan to never have to do it again (if I have a say in it). I know the frustrations of seeing the scale not budge even though you have worked your butt off (and luckily I tracked my body composition/body fat and measurements so I had other measures of progress to keep me motivated). I know what it is like not to recognize the person staring back in the mirror. I have felt the impatience of wanting results now. I know the self-doubts of ever getting back to where I used to be or where I was before. In many ways I am still here; wanting to get back to where I used to be, and in some ways knowing that in due time I will be able to achieve my full potential. Each day I try to enjoy the journey and embrace the fun of living. I am so thankful that I can exercise once again.