So there comes a time, for me now my little one was ten months and I’m weeks away from my wedding, where you think you should probably get serious about your fitness. I’ve been swimming for quite a while once a week and we’re both members at the gym but actually finding the time (and motivation) to go has been another thing! The other week I thought it was probably the right moment to actually get my arse into gear and I finally went out on my first run on Sunday just gone.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with exercise. Mostly hate until 2012 when I started going to the gym and swimming regularly, somehow managing to drag myself through the Birmingham Half Marathon in October 2013. I dropped two stone from my heaviest weight and then it stayed fairly stable for a couple of years (aside from when I was super ill with my mental health and I dropped another half stone, ironically when I got the most compliments about how I looked despite the fact I was so unwell!) and then I gained about a stone and a half between starting to date Dylan in July 2014 and finding out we were pregnant in January 2015. I mostly have Ben and Jerry’s to blame for this! I’d started going back to the gym a few weeks before the positive pregnancy test but stopped doing most exercise then apart from walking.
I put on 2.5 stone when I was pregnant, which is about the average from what I’ve read (you have to bear in mind about a stone of this is baby, fluid, placenta etc) and then within ten weeks had lost four stone (so essentially my baby weight plus the extra stone and a half I’d put on before getting pregnant). Obviously I don’t recommend the route I took to lose all that weight so quickly! And because it was such a drastic thing it’s meant I’m still nowhere near the same shape I was before I had Alexandra.
When I was exercising I still had a flabby tummy but my legs were nicely toned and, especially at one point when I was swimming loads, my arms were getting nearer to where I wanted them to be. After Alex, because I’d also lost a huge percentage of my muscle mass alongside the fat, I was basically a blobby tummy on matchstick legs! I’ve worked really hard to build up the muscle on my legs again by basically walking, walking, walking, but there’s still a lot of excess fat on the top of my legs, belly and arms.
I’m not kidding myself that I’ll ever be a size six or look the way those cool people on Instagram look, but I did used to enjoy going to the gym and swimming – it’s a ‘me’ thing that I can do that isn’t completely focused on being a mommy. I think everyone gets to that stage really where they need to separate themselves from being ‘so and so’s mom’ – you know when they say babies don’t actually realise they’re a separate entity to you for a long time? I feel like it works the other way round too! (That’s a whole different post though). Plus I think it’s important to be a good role model and show your child that a balanced lifestyle is key, eating right but still enjoying treats, doing some exercise etc. Obviously a huge goal is to actually fit into my wedding dress in nine weeks’ time also!
So with all that in mind, I decided the Couch to 5k programme was the way to go, downloaded the app, got my half-marathon trainers on (as if that was somehow going to make it easier because I’d once managed to run 13.1 miles in them!) and headed off while Alexandra was out for the afternoon with my mom. For those who don’t know, it’s a nine-week programme that aims to get non-runners covering 5k by the end. You do three runs a week and the first week consists of a five minute brisk walk then alternating 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking before a cool down. I found that the first 20 seconds of running I was like ‘yeah this is great, I’m basically Paula Radcliffe, I can do anything’. The middle 20 was like ‘wow a minute is a really long time’. The last 20 was ‘oh my god I’m actually going to die’. But overall I managed to complete it and came home in one piece!
I may pop back with a post about fitness from time to time, although please don’t be expecting those lovely ‘here’s me doing press ups with my baby sat on my back’ pictures any time soon!
Harriet and Alexandra x