This is a post for 31 Days about making it as a mom. Check out the intro post if this is your first time here!
Today's post is written by Rachel Baldridge. I met Rachel through her Mom, Marty, who is an adoptive mama mentor to me. Rachel has some great words to share with us about her journey to better health and fitness!
When my sweet friend Katie asked me to write a post about the things I do to help me cope as a new mom, I was not only honored but instantly knew what topic I wanted to share. Something I’m (newly) passionate about - fitness. Wait wait wait! Don’t stop reading yet! It’ll be worth it, I promise. First I want to tell you my story so it will all makes sense, then I’m going to share with you 3 reasons that fitness can help you be a better mommy!
I married the love of my life in October of 2011. I was a size 4 skinny out of shape girl with an unhealthy relationship with food. Soon after our wedding I switched to a desk job and within four years had settled into the fluffy and happy stage gaining 75 pounds. We got pregnant and I had my son in December of 2014 after gaining another 25 pounds. When he was six months old I was STRUGGLING. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and felt guilty even thinking that. I had no energy and was juggling a part time job outside the home and being mom and wife and all the daily duties that come from that alone. I struggled to walk up steps without becoming winded. I broke a sweat just walking to the mailbox. I was a size 16 and was battling depression and anxiety and was feeling very overwhelmed by the stress in my life. My husband was a worship pastor (of a church plant he’d been at for 10 years) and our finances were in the toilet because the church was slowly dying. Every day I was just plain old sad.
Around that six month mark I was desperately seeking for something to take away the heavy weight I felt each day. I was watching my sweet beautiful baby boy start to crawl and become more active and I didn’t want to miss out on a single moment. I was unmotivated and unable to hold strong connections with relationships with those around me. I had dug myself a pit and didn’t know my way out.
I was introduced to fitness around this time. I’d tried and given up every fad diet there was and was one of THOSE people who signed up for a two year gym membership and went MAYBE 20 times in that two year span. My cousin introduced me to a company that provided at home workouts and eating plans and in the past year I have lost 77 pounds and gone from a size 16 to a size 4.
Do I love my new body? Of course. But here’s where I’m going to pour out my heart to you...I want to share with you how I FEEL now. I feel in control of my emotions. I feel strong and capable of going throughout the day with purpose. I have the tools to deal with the stress in my life. I have an outlet for my anxiety. I have more energy now than I ever had pre-baby or even pre-hubby! By investing 30 minutes each day until some kind of active “mommy time” pieces fell into place for me. Coming from someone on the other side of the fence now, reflecting on my journey over the last year, I want to give you three reasons we mommies should prioritize fitness in our daily life!
It lifts your mood. As moms we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Our brains never turn off and we are constantly running through the to-do list that never ends. There are always dishes to wash and laundry to do, boo-boos to kiss and messes to clean up. It can be too much some days, trust me I know! Moms should get a superhero cape and a spa day at least once a month just saying. Working out releases endorphins that help you combat anxiety, worry, and stress. It allows you to take out the frustrations of the day instead of it bubbling up inside you.
When you workout, you are more likely to improve your nutrition. If you’ve spent 30 minutes pushing that heavy stroller full of toddlers and cheerios it’s much less likely you’re going to have a donut as your post workout fuel. You invested the time that day and would be less likely to instantly grab that not so great food choice, whereas if you hadn’t worked out you increase your chances of filling your body with unwanted calories. Here’s why this is important - nutrition is a game changer for how your body FEELS internally. I never understood this until I (over time) cleaned up my diet. When I eat fast food or junky snacks I feel sluggish and am more prone to mood swings! Working out helps you battle those cravings and makes you feel good about yourself.
If you don’t prioritize YOU, no one will. By nature, mothers are the most selfless and giving people on the planet. We put the needs of others before our own over and over and over again. We sacrifice our time, energy, health, and money to make sure our children have all that they need and as much of what they want as we can give. The problem lies when no one is filling YOU up. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to invest in YOUR health and YOUR goals and YOUR body and mood….it’s worth it. I have found because I invested in my health I became a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better daughter, and a better person. I am happy with who I am again and feel like I took back my identity and am no longer just “Aiden’s mommy” anymore.
I hope this provides encouragement to you. There are so many avenues of fitness and I challenge you to find something you enjoy. You will never regret a workout, I promise. If you ever want support on your own health journey please feel free to contact me, I have since become an online health and fitness coach and I work with many moms across the US to help them learn how to invest in their health. You are worth it! Contact me at [email protected] or on Facebook.
Are you inspired by Rachel's story? Have you made fitness a part of your mom life? Let us know below or on Facebook!