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.


(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:


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

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. 



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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  1. Katie on May 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    AMAZING post! I never knew I could love you more than I do! I agree to all you said! I used to pick my body apart long ago , especially when modeling, but geez I am just lucky to be alive and to have a body that lets me walk, dance, and exercise! I am just grateful for my body, no six pack, cellulite on the booty, I love it!

    We all should embrace our bodies more! SO important, no time to waste a day hating it or feeling down about it, just be grateful every single day! <3

  2. Laura J. on May 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I can’t believe some people can be that blatantly rude! Blows my mind. You look amazing and your positive attitude is so refreshing. Livi is lucky to have such a smart mama with a good head on her shoulders 🙂

  3. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries on May 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    i love this post!! you are such a role model to other moms out there, and i admire that. you look beautiful!

  4. laurin on May 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    You look fabulous!!

  5. Brittany on May 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Well said Gina! I really enjoyed reading this post.

    “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”

    This phrase is so true – something all of us should keep in our pocket. 🙂 You look lovely, btw! xoxo

  6. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on May 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    This is such a wonderful, beautifully-written post, Gina. Livi is so fortunate to have you as a mother; your attitude about health and body image is really inspiring and will be so encouraging for her throughout her childhood and well into adulthood. And you look AWESOME!!!

  7. Azka on May 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Love this. Just love this.

  8. Kim on May 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    So beautiful and honest. I love that you are so level headed and, most importantly-healthy. I read a few fitness blogs that make me feel totally self conscious and like I need to always look thinner, more muscular etc. Your blog is the best kind of inspiration. Livi is such a doll!

  9. Samantha on May 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    This is a beautiful post. You should be so proud of you, your family and your body <3 I hope every new mom reads this post and remembers what great things our bodies are capable of, no matter what they look like.

  10. Sarah Anne @fear-no-food.net on May 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    One of the best posts you’ve ever written. 🙂

    xo and lots of <3

  11. Kristen on May 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    1. I love the nickname Livi.
    2. Your last two paragraphs got me choked up!

    Have a great first Mothers Day!

  12. butternutrition on May 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Beautiful post! Happy Mother’s day 🙂

  13. Rebecca on May 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Can’t believe how rude people are! Any picture I’ve seen of you post-baby, you look fab!

    I’ve still got a tummy, but it is slowly shrinking. I really don’t care though. It will go away eventually, maybe.

  14. Sarrah on May 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Oh that post made me tear up! My baby girl is 4 months old today and I’ve spent a lot of the day reflecting on how wonderful my little family is. Two kids later, my body is definitely looser and I have a kajillion stretch marks, but it carried and nourished two healthy babies.
    I teach GroupEx classes as well, and have VERY self conscious teaching again. I have to give myself a pep talk before each one, “fitness comes in all shapes and sizes and you are a great instructor”. It’s tough because I don’t want to start each class by saying “sooo, I’ve just had a baby…”.
    Anyway, thanks for this. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

  15. Jenna on May 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Good deal, beautiful attitude, and for that matter…I thought you looked FABULOUS in that pic of the belly dancers. 🙂

  16. Aubrey on May 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve read your blog forever now and never commented but I had to today due to the sheer inspiration it gave me. I’m 19 I’ve never heard of such an amazing approach to Beth and getting to know your baby first and foremost and about food balance. After struggling with an eating disorder this is amazing! I’d recommend this post to anyone. Thanks:)

  17. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on May 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    As you know I don’t have kids, but when I was 17 I had a 10+ lb ovarian cyst which made me look very much like a preggo. I was huge and the cyst went all the way up to my ribcage, squished off part of one of my kidney’s and was overall just a big pain, literally. Anyway, I obviously had to have abdominal surgery to remove it which left me with a 5 inch long vertical scar that runs up the middle of my belly and take a weird detour around my belly button. As a result of the way they “put me back together” my stomach has never looked quite right since.

    It’s been 12 years and while it doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to, in all honestly I still don’t like it. I see girls in my classes who are bigger than myself and envy their stomaches, not because they are super fit, but because even with more abdominal fat their stomachs still look nicer than mine. I think I may feel differently about it if I had got a baby out of the deal, but I didn’t . It’s like I need a t-shirt that says, “I had an ovarian cyst and all I got was this stupid scar” 😉 I’m so glad for you that you are already able to overcome the insecurites body changes leave us with. It just shows what an awesome and strong woman you are <3

  18. Jules on May 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I love your attitude so much!! You’re amazing and you look like healthy and so happy!! And after losing weight (55 lbs, still not yet to goal but only 25 away) I hear people say such rude things about fat people and such and it still hurts me. I’m like “wow, did you think about me when I was big?”Unless you have walked in their shoes you don’t know how it feels and it’s not cool to judge people anyway.

  19. Amy on May 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    This is a great post! I don’t have a lot of stretch marks- a lot of it seems to be genetics, even after having 4 kids my mom did not have a lot either, but i do have these two little pockets of pooch on either side of my belly button that even after 10 years have not gone away. If i were a supermodel, i would consider getting them lipo-d out. but im not. im an account manager who sits on her rear for most of the day. Motherhood passes by so quickly, i can barely believe i have a child who is in double digits.. let alone even being a mom! we shouldnt have to be worried about snapping right back into shape like a celebrity does. because lets face it, even jessica alba said that she basically starved herself to get back in shape- plus she was breastfeeding- how healthy is that? you are doing the right thing by pacing yourself and taking your time. we as moms need to realize that it took 9 months to gain all that weight its not going to be an overnight hollywood cake walk to get it off again. my abs will never be the same, but thats where i rested my bowl of strawberries and ice cream for a late night snack.. and thats where i put my headphones to let my Livvy listen to music.. how can i expect they would be a six pack when they turned into marshmallow to let livvy grow and stretch? enjoy mommy-hood.. and happy first mothers day!

  20. Melissa on May 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    You have the best head on those shoulders.

  21. Rachel on May 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    You have an amazing heart on your shoulders. That’s not a typo. Enjoy the weekend with your beautiful family. I <3 this blog and all your stories/thoughts.

  22. Amber L on May 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    You are doing an awesome job. And you look radiant! Motherhood looks great on you. 🙂

  23. Katie on May 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    You are simply amazing, inspiring, and beautiful inside and out!

    Happy Mothers Day to you….

  24. Hillary on May 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I’ll keep it simple: I love your attitude, and I think you look fabulous. That’s it!

  25. Amy R. on May 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Beautiful post. I teared up when I read that first image…I’m 25 wks pregnant :).

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  26. meagan on May 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Beautiful 🙂

  27. Lyndsay on May 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Love it.

    Also, Happy ‘Military Spouse Appreciation Day’ !!!!

  28. Meghan on May 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I almost never comment on blogs but this post is so genuine and touching. My daughter is a couple days younger then Livi and I can relate to everything in this post. And that statement about stretch marks makes me cry every time I read it. “It held you until my arms could” is instant waterworks for me.

    My body may never be the same again but it made something beautiful and precious. So what if I have extra stomach fat that may never really go away.

    I’m grateful that you’re sharing such a balanced philosophy toward health after having a baby. They are only tiny for a short time and no one should miss that because they feel they should be spending hours in the gym “getting their body back.”

    I hope you enjoy your first official mothers day and many more to come.

  29. Maria on May 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I almost started crying when I read that poster 🙂 This post was very beautifully written!!!! You’re a great role model for new moms and moms to be out there. You look fantastic!

  30. BeccA on May 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Really enjoyed this post. I am only 4 months pregnant And I often wonder how my body will change. Thank you for this! You are wonderful!

  31. Lauren on May 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    What a great post!! Amen!! Took me a year, and I didn’t push it. I atensuper healthy, but larger qualities and my milk has always been superb (my daughter has never complained! Lol). I did feel pressure though and still do. My mother in law:” if you eat right, you only gain in your belly..”. Apparently, she was perfect. Ha! Anyway, happy mothers day! Livi is lucky to have you!

  32. Annette @ FitnessPerks on May 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Great post!! I love this. I am so glad you’ve taken it all in and enjoyed the moments with the little one. It is sad when ladies just leave ’em at home to work on themselves. Kudos to you for being a great example and role model!

  33. lindsay @ prettylittleparadise on May 11, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    i really your admire your positive perspective on so many things that others can make negative or unhealthy: pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, fitness, balancing life, and so much more… thank you for the inspiration and the many doses of positivity!!

  34. Emily T on May 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you for this. It perfectly sums up how I’ve been feeling.

  35. Bree on May 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    What a great post! I am almost 3 weeks post partum and have lost all but about 10 of the 50 I gained (twins!). I lost a lot of leg muscle from being on bed rest, and my stomach is jiggly, but right now I don’t care. I know my babies are happy and are getting most of their food from me and that’s all that matters.

    I have the rest of my life to get back to racing and lifting 🙂

  36. Claire on May 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    You look so pretty in that last picture! I like your hair like that. And I really like this post…you have a great attitude about health.

  37. Holly on May 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Oh my goodness, what a BEAUTIFUL, heart felt post. It had me tearing up. (darn hormones 😉 )
    This is the BEST thing to read while pregnant. Sometimes the whole ‘getting back to pre baby weight’ is emphasized too much…by myself. I know I should not be so concerned, but I feel like I’m going to be ‘that woman’ that will never lose her pregnancy weight. What a silly thought! Just reading this puts SO MUCH into perspective!!
    (& thank you for linking up previous posts you have written about these topics, I love going back to re-read them 🙂 )

  38. Kelly on May 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Beautiful post and you look amazing! I have never been pregnant but am quite overweight and have been criticized publicly for my food choices. People can be very clueless and rude.

  39. Sarah on May 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve read your blog for a few years now, but I rarely comment.. however, I just had to let you know that this is probably your best post ever. I hope you save this for Livi to read 🙂

  40. Tara on May 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Happy Early Mother’s Day to a beautiful mother! You are such an inspiration. I’m 30 and do not have kids yet, but when I do decide to take that road, your blog is going to be the one I refer to a lot. I already forwarded your post about how you got pregnant to a friend of mine who is really struggling. You are awesome! Thank you for sharing yourself to us. 🙂

  41. Mallory on May 11, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Your body did an amazing thing, and the fact that you took such great care of it thought pregnancy (which I imagine wasn’t always easy), is even more amazing. You should feel strong and empowered and most of all BEAUTIFUL!

  42. ash on May 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Beautiful post!!

  43. Michaela on May 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    what a beautiful, beautiful post!
    I have nothing else to say than thank you for writing this.

  44. Mae on May 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Beautiful! I am 10 weeks pregnant and already a little scared of what might happen to my body, but this is a great and helpful perspective. I know that its all about being healthy and providing the nutrients my baby needs to grow. Thanks for sharing!

  45. fitness with spice on May 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    You look great Gina! Being positive and happy with everything in your life will get you to where you want to be sooner than you know it 🙂

  46. Ashley on May 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    You two are GORGEOUS! <3

  47. Lauren on May 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Great post! Your daughter is GORGEOUS!

  48. Ali on May 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    You are astoundingly beautiful. Love that your perspective is what it is. Your body is a miracle maker and that is how it should always be viewed.

  49. Danica @ It's Progression on May 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    love this post…your attitude is inspirational and words so very true!

  50. Jennifer on May 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that I felt 100% comfortable with my body. For years I fought hard to stay thin and strong…worried about how my legs, arms and stomach looked. I have such a new appreciation for my body and what it can/has done. I’m thankful I was fit to have an easy labor and recovery but I’m more thankful that my body was able to grow and deliver a healthy baby. I’m not so worried if my arms aren’t as toned as they used to be or that my stomach still has a little jiggle. Instead I focus on how my body performs and each time I look at my little girl, I’m so grateful I was able to produce her.
    Great post and great attitude!

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