What I Didn’t Expect While Expecting: My 4-Year Journey To Losing The Baby Weight

Where were you four years ago?
March 2009

My husband and I were preparing ourselves for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe.

7 countries in 18 days

It was an amazing trip and we were fortunate to meet some awesome people during those two weeks.  We even stay in touch with a couple we met from Australia.

Hi Peter and Natalie!

It was something we had saved for… something we wanted to experience before we had kids.  We experienced cities like Amsterdam, Venice, Assisi, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Lugano, Lake Lucerne, and Paris…just to name a few.

Oh and did we eat!!!  I actually gained about 5-10 pounds while we were over there!  Whoops!  Not what I wanted to bring home with me…

The best souvenir we brought home though?

5240_533701686859_147801674_31535627_5494626_n

Yep, that’s right!
We found out in Paris that we were pregnant with our first child!
We were so excited!!!

Four years later and I have a beautiful daughter who has brought so much fun and joy into my life.
She has also brought the realization that I have a big task on my shoulders.
SHE is going to value HERSELF as much as she sees ME valuing MYSELF.
Let that one sink in!

Whether I like it or not, she watches me…
All.The.Time.

She watches what I do…
what I eat…
what I say…
how I talk about my body…

This is a HUGE deal people!!!!  I am teaching my daughter how to view her own body whether I like it or not.  This realization was one of the big factors in changing the way I view and take care of myself.

My lovely daughter is also responsible for another thing…the start of my adult weight gain problems.  I love her with everything, but carrying her for nine months did quite the toll on my body.  And for someone who was already struggling with weight issues, pregnancy was not friendly nor nice to me.  I carried my pregnancy weight all over my body…all 35/40 pounds of it.  I know that there are some of you out there who gained more, but an extra 40 pounds on my 5’3 frame was not easy!

Seriously…

18055_540813719289_6103122_n

I recently started looking back at pictures from that time and I cannot believe I was “ok” with where I was at!  Sure, I complained…blamed it on my daughter…said it was too hard to find time…said it was too expensive to join a gym…claimed I didn’t have anyone to watch my daughter so I could exercise…said I was too tired…Man, the list goes on and on!  So many excuses!!!!

Since 2009, I have also had another child (June 2012) and although I was a bit healthier, I still gained weight and he totally took over my body!!!

540454_649629386819_1939644759_n

I know what you are thinking and yes…it was uncomfortable as it looks!!!!

Anyway, it’s been nine months since giving birth to my son and almost four years since getting pregnant with our daughter.  After those numbers were put out there, I no longer felt the “it’s just baby weight” excuse was useful or accurate anymore.  I know, right?  It’s the easiest excuse in the book!!!

It was time to wake up!!!!

So four years later, I am very excited to say that I have now lost ALL my baby weight!!!!

I still have a long road ahead of me.  There’s still at least another 10-15 pounds of unwanted weight on my body, but I choose to focus on the small victories.
And this is a huge small victory!!!

So what have I done?
I’m continuing to monitor what I eat…choosing healthier options even for snacking.  I also recently started working out.  I do not have a lot of time nor do I have the money to join a gym, so I put out a call on Facebook for any suggestions for at-home workout DVDs.  My good friend, Rachel, said I could borrow one of hers.  I am loving it!  It’s three different workouts plus a core stretch/yoga section.  You alternate what you are doing during the week.  And the best part?  Each segment is only 24 minutes long!  Y’all…I can exercise AND shower all while my youngest is napping!!!  I know you mommies out there understand how important getting both of those done during a week is!!!!!  Click HERE for the link if you would like to know more about the DVD.

Once I establish better workout habits, I plan on adding other things to the mix like Zumba and kickboxing!

Another good thing about doing something like this…my daughter is watching me work on my body and appreciating it.  She is doing them with me and it’s so much fun for us!  She asks every day when she and Mommy can exercise.  Isn’t that great?  What a thing to start teaching her early!

I do not have an after picture ready right now, but I’m hoping to in the next couple of weeks and don’t worry…I will TOTALLY share it with you when I get the chance!

Until then, thank you again for your never-ending support and I hope to continue my road to health all while being an example to my children.

~Jess Elaine

The Contributor

Tonight, while on the way to get some dinner, we passed a homeless man near our McDonald’s parking lot.  He was in a wheelchair.  He was dressed in dirty clothes.  And many people were passing him by on their way to get dinner.  My husband was in the back seat with our daughter and a conversation started up, “What do we do?”

Let me rewind a little bit to share my former perspective on this issue.
Homelessness scared me.  I got nervous when I saw people sleeping on the streets and I am ashamed to admit it  Maybe others struggle with those feelings too, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.  I always felt guilty when I would pass people on the streets without helping them.  But I’ve learned and grown a lot after dealing with this issue for several years.  The turning point came when a woman came to our church to talk about a ministry she started called, The Contributor.  This ministry distributes a “street newspaper.”  As their website states,  “Street Newspaper is a term for a newspaper that focuses on the issues surrounding homelessness and poverty and is sold by homeless and formerly homeless individuals on the street as an alternative to panhandling.”  When she finished talking about and showing pictures of her ministry, my heart slowly began to change.  I knew this was for me.  Knowing this ministry existed was so exciting for me.  I decided I’d take action that day.  Since then, I have kept some cash in my car for whenever I see one of these vendors.  I have vowed that (whenever possible) I will always stop and buy a newspaper from a vendor.  These men and women are working hard selling newspapers to make their lives (and their families lives) better.  And to me…that is admirable.

Fast forward to tonight and back to my story…
As my husband and I passed this man on our way to get dinner, we noticed he was selling The Contributor and my mind was made up.  I knew I would pass him again on our way home so I immediately asked my husband to get out some of my money.  We pulled into the parking lot and I got out.  The man started to smile (which still brings tears to my eyes as I’m writing this.)  His first question, “Are you the girl who is training for the roller derby?”  Now, for those of you who know me, this might bring you a small laugh 🙂  I laughed and said, “No, you must be mistaking me for someone else.  Maybe I was a roller derby girl in another life.”  This brought a laugh from him and sparked about a five-minute conversation.  He was one of the nicest people I have ever met and I probably would’ve stayed and talked with him for much longer.  On my way back to the car, newspaper in hand, he called out, “God Bless!”  To which I replied, “God bless you too!”

I know that this one small thing has changed my life and perspective and I pray that it helps my daughter see one small way she can help others and serve the Lord. 

1 Corinthians 4:11 (New International Version)
11To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.

Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message)
 37-40“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

Starting Small

For me, the key to becoming domestic is to start small.  In order for me to want to continue my quest, I have to celebrate the small things.  I’m still not going to magically wake up on morning and decide I’m going to clean the whole house.  Please!  I have to relish in the small accomplishments.  To many of you, my accomplishments will seem ridiculous.  But to me, accomplishing these things is a big deal.

Part of being domestically challenged means that I don’t want to cook, clean, do laundry, etc. I think part of my problem is laziness and that’s going to be the hardest hurdle to jump over.  I think the other problem I have is confidence.  Confidence that I can do these things and I can be a good housewife.  By celebrating my small victories, I believe I can gain the confidence I need to continue my journey. 

Here’s the first way I’m starting small.  I’ve invited my best friend and her family over once a week for dinner.  I’m going to cook something new every week (pretty much they’ve agreed to be my guinea pigs).  They have agreed to be honest about the meal and offer up any suggestions that might make the meal better.  Of course, if the meal turns out horrible, I’m going to have a frozen pizza in the freezer just in case!

I’ll blog about these meals and let you know if they turn out good…or bad!