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4 month PDB

Every night during my last time pumping before bed, I pin things on Pinterest and lurk Facebook. It’s my “waste time on the computer” 20 minutes of the day, and while perusing around last night, I saw this.

image

(It was on the “Sexually Deprived for Your Freedom!” page, to which I’m a proud “liker”)

And the photo pretty much said everything I’ve felt.

This is my belly, a week after we got home from the hospital:

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(and my first week in a very long time with less than a solid hour of sleep)

MY OTHER RECIPES


Underneath the shirt, it looked very much like the photo above.

When we first had Livi, getting my “body back” as they say, was pretty much the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to get to know my baby girl, instead of spending time with the gym equipment that I’m already familiar with 😉 I soaked up every second smelling her baby hair, feeling her breathe on me as she napped, paying special attention to never forget her soft coos and sighs, and took more time than I needed to get back into the gym. Like many other things, it just didn’t seem that appealing. It was like my life flip-flopped, and everything else I used to care about so much suddenly didn’t matter.

We spent every moment making sure Livi was fed, dry, burped and comfy. We didn’t sleep at all, and it was seriously challenging and absolutely beautiful at the same time. It was the first time I saw my husband rock our baby to sleep, my first time singing lullabies and feeling her snore against me in the Moby, our first time all sleeping together as a family, and so many other moments that I’ll never forget. It was also when I spent a lot of the time crying, had enough anxiety for 4 people, and felt sick, exhausted and discouraged with all of the breastfeeding problems. Needless to say, exercise was the last thing on my mind.. until I needed something to help me feel like myself again.

When I was recovered from birth, I took my time getting back into it, but found that I really needed some “me” time time during the day, even if it was just 20 minutes to pedal and read on the elliptical. When you’re breastfeeding and changing diapers around the clock, it’s easy to feel like a milk maid, and getting back to the gym helped me feel like I gained some of my identity back. The endorphins were missed and it felt good to shake my legs out a little.

Eventually, I got to the point where I felt like I could push up the intensity –and had to, since I’d soon be going back to work and wanted to be able to walk after my first week back- and I was excited to start focusing on bringing my body fat percentage back down. I still looked slightly pregnant, and I’m going to put it out there: when you teach fitness, you are judged by how you look. Is it fair? Of course not. Some of my favorite fitness instructors didn’t look like fitness models and if you consider the fact that when you teach a LOT of classes, it’s easy to overtrain, burn away muscle and look a little softer. However, most gym-goers don’t think about this, and neither do all of the guests at work.

This would probably happen anywhere else, but I’ve had some distasteful things said to me (“Oh, you’re pregnant! Thank goodness. I thought you were just getting fat!” For real) and even when I tried to brush it off, it would still sting a little, especially since I was overweight in the past.

So over the past month, I’ve worked a little harder during my few gym sessions each week, kept my calorie intake high, emphasizing protein and fats to promote a good milk supply, and stopped eating boatloads of cookies for “energy” and “because I’m breastfeeding.” Portion control is back -if I want a cookie, I have a cookie, just not three of them- and I’m focusing on the fresh foods that I love. The amazing thing is that my milk supply is so much better when I get my calories from healthy foods –in the very beginning I was eating handfuls of chocolate-covered acai berries all day and my supply sucked- and I feel pretty good, or at least to the point where I hope I don’t get rude comments while I’m teaching….

 me and liv

And here’s where I’ll most likely stay, until I’m no longer breastfeeding, and that’s ok with me.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s still not my body until Livi is weaned and I’m hoping to keep doing what we have been (breastfeed, pumped milk, formula) for the first year. We’re going to focus on a day at a time, but even 6 months of breastfeeding is a victory to me, when I told myself in the beginning that I’d keep at it for just one more day.

After I’m done breastfeeding, I’ll probably lose the last bit of body fat that my body will hang on to in order to produce milk.

Even though I ate well and exercised throughout pregnancy, gained an appropriate amount of weight (34 lbs)

and have lost the weight- most of which happened within the first couple of weeks, after that it was much slower-

but my body is different.

My stretch marks are fading and my belly is starting to firm back up – I’m using a combo of coconut oil and Jergen’s Natural Glow firming lotion on my belly- but my muscle density and shape are different.

And I’m more happy than I’ve ever been.

I didn’t have a baby so that I could go back to my pre-baby body as quickly as possible. I had a baby because we’ve been aching and praying to add another member to the family. And now that she’s here…. well, I can’t even explain how amazing it’s been. How amazing she’s been. I’m still in awe that my belly carried her for 40 weeks and now my body is what provides most of her nutrients. It’s a pretty incredible thing and while I was definitely self-conscious in my jingly bellydance bra last night, I felt proud of what the two of us have been through together.

When Livi looks up and smiles at me, I know she’s not judging how I look, or thinking “Mama, your body fat used to be ‘X’ percent. Sheesh.” There’s no reason why I should do that, either. It’s so easy to pick yourself apart –and I did this before I had a baby, too- and it’s not worth it. Life is short and when I’m old, I’m not going to remember that one really awesome weights session I had at the gym. I’m going to remember coming home and feeding our baby before bed – the glow of the fish tank in the nursery, her Jewel lullaby CD playing, and her happy sigh as soon as she’s finished. At the same time, I hope that my dedication to health helps me live a longer life so I have even more of those beautiful moments to enjoy. It’s all a balance.

So for now, I’m keeping on keeping on. I’m going to keep hitting the gym if I get the chance to workout during naps or at night because it’s something I do and enjoy –plus, that’s how I come up with workouts to share on the blog- and I’m going to try to be the best mama I can to our little one. When I take a little time for myself, feel like I have more to give to everyone else. 

xoxo

More:

My two week PDB

Two month PDB

-How my workouts changed in the first, second and third trimesters

Changing eats and third trimester eats

Belly pic slideshow

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104 Comments

  1. Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables on May 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    LOVE this post Gina. You look so beautiful and you’re absolutely right-you should be so proud and awed by what your body is capable of.

  2. Juliene on May 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I struggle daily with not having my pre baby body back yet(I have a 9 month old) but then I see his face and realize that even if I never do it was worth it. He’s the best and most amazing thing my body haves ever done and worth an extra 5, 10 or 15 lbs. it’s just nice to know other new moms think about the same things! Happy mothers day!

  3. Lala on May 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Inspiring post. You look beautiful in both photos, although in the 2nd one it’s impossible to tell what your actual 4 month post pregnancy body looks like since you are wearing a loose top and holding Livi in front of the belly. lol. But maybe that was the point. Anyway, good luck with starting work again and don’t listen to the negativity out there. It is obvious you have a LOT of people supporting and encouraging you! 🙂 You are an inspiration to me since I haven’t had kids yet.

  4. Julie @ Running and Riley on May 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Aww, Gina! Thanks for sharing this post! You just touched on something that crosses every mother’s mind! Thank you for being so open and honest about this!

    Also, as a sidenote, I can’t believe someone would actually say outloud that they were happy your weren’t fat and were just preggers. Put the filter on, then speak. 😉

  5. Heather on May 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    This hit home for me today. Love it.

  6. Heather on May 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    You are gorgeous both inside and out. Your daughter is very lucky to have you as her mommy!

  7. Faith Teo on May 11, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Thank you for this. It’s so what I needed to hear. I’m 23 weeks now and feeling conscious that I look fat! Time to refocus on what’s important and amazing – having a wee soul in me.

  8. Mrs. T on May 11, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Very touching! I am a soon to be mom and it’s so nice to read and hear about other people’s journey during pregnancy. : * )

  9. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Beautiful post; fitting for a beautiful baby & mama!

    And I’ve said this before, but you look FABULOUS in yellow (and that you have great hair) 🙂

    • Sara on May 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      I always wanted thick, long ‘snow white’ hair too, but I’ll just never have it… So jealy.

  10. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on May 12, 2012 at 12:07 am

    This was so inspirational to read, thank you for being so real and honest about the experience and your thoughts on it. Livi is very lucky to have you as a mom!

    And random question but are those chocolate covered acai berries from Trader Joes? If so they are amaaazing, and I totally understand the obsession! ;p

    • Fitnessista on May 12, 2012 at 12:11 am

      no, but i love those ones! i was going after the giant costco bag haha

  11. Gina on May 12, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Great post. Keep rocking on, Gina! You looked gorgeous in your recital videos and in the pic with Livi! One day she’s going to watch those videos and be like “Mom, is that you?! You did that?!” She’ll be amazing at you 🙂

  12. Lisa on May 12, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I absolutely love this post Gina. I am not a mother, and don’t have plans to be for a while. But I just love how passionate you are about being a mother, and how it is your most important aspect in life. It is so refreshing to hear someone in the fitness industry like you say this. Instead of instantly wanting that pre baby body back. You should be so proud of what your body did and created in those months. And now you have a beautiful treasure from it, that is much better than anything in fitness could give to you. You are a fab mom already!

  13. Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction on May 12, 2012 at 1:07 am

    You are so inspirational! And you are a GREAT MOM! Good for you to put this out there. Woman are so hung up on their image nowadays (me included) and it’s true, it’s just not worth it! As long as we eat healthy and exercise as much as we can, then there is really not much more we can do. Our body will find our happy weight, and whether we like it or not, that’s where we are suppose to be. I think your daughter is going to learn a great deal from you and your awesome attitude! I commend you, have a great mothers day!!!

  14. Ellie @ healthy belly ellie on May 12, 2012 at 3:33 am

    This is a beautiful post. Happy First Mother’s day as a mother 🙂

  15. Catherine Smith on May 12, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I’ve been following quietly for a while, but I just have to comment on this post. Thanks for sharing this – it’s both inspiring and encouraging. As Stellina says, eating well and keeping fit is all we can do, beyond that we have to celebrate the miracle that is our body!

  16. Katie @ Pop Culture Cuisine on May 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

    You put into words exactly what I have been thinking at almost 8 months postpartum…there are days when I get down that I am not exactly the same as I was, but then I see my little girl smile and me and all those insecure feelings melt away. It’s amazing how you can love a little person so much and it’s truly hard to fathom what life was like without them. Happy Mother’s Day!

  17. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig on May 12, 2012 at 7:02 am

    What a beautiful post. I haven’t had a baby yet, but I’m sure my approach will be similar to yours. There are too many people who become obsessed with getting their pre baby body back, when that should not be the focus after you’ve just had a baby. Even though I spend a lot of time training and striving for a certain physique, there are some things in life that are more important than hitting the gym! You are beautiful, inside and out 🙂

  18. Laury on May 12, 2012 at 8:50 am

    This post really made me choke up a little because it hits home so much! Every single bit of it.

    PS–where’s the yellow tank from? I love it! I want!

  19. G.G.R on May 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I am not pregnant or a mother but I find it very comforting to know that someone I look up to fitness-wise also doesn’t “eat right” all the time either. It’s so easy to portray to the world that eating “right” is no problem, working out “right” is no problem, and weightloss/gain is no problem – especially after a pregnancy! – so it’s refreshing to hear that it’s a slow process to get back to normalcy sometimes and that’s okay. I’m totally going to go have a piece of my homemade snickers now (oh god they are so so so good – just dark chocolate, some butter and peanut butter. So so easy and so delicious). I got up at the asscrack of Saturday morning for a round of body pump (AND I added weights to some parts) and an elliptical session so you know… actually might have two pieces.

  20. Kalli on May 12, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Gina, I rarely comment but read all the time. I also have never had children and most likely will not. But you are an incredible lady and incredible mom. You have your focus in the right place. Not only that but you are beautiful and healthy and so is livi. Please don’t change a thing! And honestly who cares about a little fat around the middle or anywhere for that matter? Life is just too darn short to worry about that! Have a wonderful mothers day 🙂

  21. Traci on May 12, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I know you have issues with past cysts but I think it’s worth pointing out that anytime you supplement with formula, your body produces less milk. Over an extended period of time, this affects your overall supply, making it difficult to breastfeed for an extended period of time (6 months plus). There is nothing wrong at all with using formula, and if it works then great. But your readers should be aware that it is almost impossible to produce enough milk to breastfeed for a year if you are supplementing, especially supplementing half the time from 2 months on.

    • Fitnessista on May 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

      It was a tumor, not multiple cysts. And you’re right, every tine you give a bottle, your supply goes down. That’s why I try to pump each time she gets a bottle. I didn’t go into that because it’s not the point of the post….
      I’m just going to keep doing what we have been for as long as I can. If we make it a year, great, if not, at least I know I did everything within my ability

      • Megan on May 15, 2012 at 3:47 am

        Yep, nothing wrong with supplementing, that’s what we do and believe me, my daughter nurses at least 12 plus times a day. My supply is still adjusting/may not really catch up because of her time in the NICU. Breastfeeding is NOT easy at all for me and a lot of other ladies. Any breastfeeding a mother does is to be celebrated. 🙂

        • Fitnessista on May 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

          amen to that my friend

    • johna on May 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Yes, using a pump is not the same as the suction your breast gets from the baby so your supply will more than likely not be able to keep up 🙁

      • Fitnessista on May 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        i understand that, but i’m not all sad face about it. i’m doing what i can.

  22. Elizabeth on May 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

    That was an amazing post — and I don’t have kids and we aren’t sure if we ever will.

  23. AER on May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

    This is a really important post and one that everyone could benefit from reading. Thank you! You are an amazing role model for your daughter.

  24. Gurminder on May 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    That pic of you and Livi is gorgeous!! You look so beautiful. Thank you for this post….I’m not a mother yet but have always struggled with weight/body image issues, and have often wondered how I will feel about my future pregnancy and post-delivery body.

    • Fitnessista on May 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      thank you, lovely <3

  25. Jenny on May 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Gina-
    Thank you so much for that post!! I have a 7 week old and am starting to feel a lot of internal pressure (and some external) to get back to running and return to my post preg body. Reading your post reminded me to focus on why my body is different (because I carried and gave birth to a wonderful baby girl) and on nursing and good nutrition, not how I look. THANK YOU!!!

    • Fitnessista on May 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      amen to that, and congratulations on your 7 week old. before you know it, she’ll be rolling and laughing like this little one 🙂
      xoxo

  26. Katie on May 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! 🙂

  27. Sara on May 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I feel like every woman who is pregnant or wants to be pregnant and is so worried how her body will change or how she might gain weight (and really husbands who are afraid their wives will get “too fat”) should read your posts about your body update. They are a very healthy reality of pregnancy and post pregnancy . It drives me nuts to hear my friends say that they are afraid to get fat and that their husbands think they should be on the treadmill everyday not bc its good for the baby or her but bc they don’t want them getting fat. Thanks for posting!

  28. Rebecca Meier on May 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    What a lovely post. The quote in that top pic makes my cry (<– I'm a sap – post baby – hormones??). I'm a mommy to a 3-1/2 month old boy who I just love so so SO much! (Can't even imagine now how I ever lived without him.) But anyway, I luckily didn't get any stretch marks, BUT, even if I had, it wouldn't even matter to me. A woman's body is a truly amazing thing and to be able to successfully carry, deliver, nurse and RAISE a healthy happy baby is beyond incredible, so kudos to you for being less hard on yourself now (than you were pre-baby) and concentrating on the things that matter the most, like your amazingly gorgeous little peanut and wonderful husband. You are so blessed and a great role model to future moms 🙂

  29. britt on May 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    i think this is beautiful! you are such an awesome role model. oh, and i love that yellow shirt btw. where did you get it?

    • Fitnessista on May 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      thank you, britt <3 it's from j crew

  30. Abby on May 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Do you feel like the coconut oil is helping?

    • Fitnessista on May 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      i think/hope?

  31. Delishhh on May 13, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Awesome post. My little one turns 12 weeks today and I have about 10 lbs to go. They are not really coming off right now since I am breastfeeding and not working out as hard as I used to. This was awesome reading!!!!

    • Megan on May 15, 2012 at 3:48 am

      Yep, those last 15 are not coming off easily for me either, I think my body’s holding onto fat for breastfeeding.

  32. Liz on May 13, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Love this post! So true as I sit here holding my 6 month old daughter. I do workout for me time most days (even if just 20-30 min), but am so not concerned with toning every inch. Back in my pre-preg clothes, if just a little softer in the middle… For a wonderful reason :). Thx for keeping it all in perspective

  33. Pam on May 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Gina, Thank you for such an honest post! By the way, you look gorgeous and your Livi is such a doll!
    My husband and I are in the talking stage of family planning so this is really wonderful to read, you have answered so many questions I have and so many questions I didn’t know I had!
    You are so inspiring as a mother and it makes me very excited to one day become a mother too.
    Keep on keeping on momma and Happy Mother’s Day to you!!

  34. Diana on May 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I know I never chime in anymore but I’m a faithful lurker and I thought I’d take this opportunity to pop by and wish you a belated happy Mother’s Day!

    Also wanted to share that I’m really grateful that you are such a responsible blogger and human being. As a fitness professional and aspiring mom myself (one day, I hope!), I would not hesitate to call you a role model–not a term I throw around lightly. Many thanks for setting a great example.

  35. Jerri on May 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Well said and beautifully written, Gina! Livi is a lucky little lady, indeed!

  36. Amy@healthyhungryhappy.com on May 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    u look great girl!! love that pic of u two!

  37. Steph @ funnygirltales on May 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I’m catching up from last week but I wanted to say that this post was absolutely beautiful and so moving. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Christianne on May 17, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Love.

  39. Jen on August 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple (few?) years now! I’m not even sure if you will get to read this. But I had to write something to you anyway. As I sit here on my lunch break at work, holding tears back. I really hope to be as positive as you are about your body above. I’m having my second baby this october. I struggled with body image my whole life, still do. I remember having Evan (my first) and thinking, all the weight gain, and streching was so worth it… I feel like it was easy to say it was worth it. I didn’t get any strech marks and bounced back so quickly.

    Not sure why but this preg. is different and at 28 weeks I see the signs of strechys and I’m nottttttttttttt ok with it. Infact, it upsets me beyond what is reasonable. Haha. I should just soak up that I’m having a little, and I’m having a happy healthy pregnancy… but then I find myself in the bathroom with ugly tears rubbing on vitamin e oil and the tummy butter I thought saved my the last pregancy. Wondering what is different this time? (it is super weird, because besides being two years older… it is very much the same!! I’m no bigger than I was before… and I’ve stressed about them a lot less about getting them, I was positive i wouldn’t because I hadn’t the first time, up until the faint light pink lines threating to turn into the picture above popped up over night)

    Anywho, I’m bookmarking this page to know that I will be able to come back from any strech marks/body changes I may make this pregnancy. I appreciate your honesty and hope rereading this can remind me it is allllll worth it. I thought to myself after Evan “had I gotten stretch marks, they would have been worth it” – yet now that I might get them I don’t feel the same 🙂 lol.

    Again, not sure if you realize how much your words mean to other people <3 so I thought I'd share a bit how you touch my life, and help keep it positive. I'm sure I'm not alone!

    • Fitnessista on August 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      thank you so much, jen. sending lots of love to you. it IS hard to see your body change, especially when you’re active and healthy. it’s funny you wrote this, because i was wrapping up after the shower and shot a glance at my stretch marks shimmering at me in the mirror. they’ve faded a ton, but they’re still there. and i thought “wow, that’s really pretty” as they kind of sparkled in my reflection, and i felt thankful. i’m sure yours are beautiful (and let’s be real, pregnant women are totally gorgeous anyway), and over time, they’ll fade. just wanted to let you know i’m thinking of you and so excited for your growing family <3

      • Jen on November 21, 2014 at 6:56 am

        You are so great! Thank you for responding to this, again you don’t know how much your words touch people! He is here! He is beautiful and my new tiger stripes (I have several) were totally worth it, I can’t wait to get back at it and pull up some of my fav youtube videos courtesy of you as well as grab your book! For now, rest and snuggles 🙂 – There is nothing like looking at your baby, reminding you how awesome your body really is, when it accomplishes something it was meant to do. Thanks again for being so wonderful and inspirational! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

        • Fitnessista on November 21, 2014 at 7:45 am

          that made my heart so happy to read this morning! congratulations! so happy he’s here <3 enjoy all of those newborn snuggles and baby smells. he'll be yelling, "MOM I WANT PANCAKES" before you know it. 😉 sending lots of love to you!

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