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?

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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…

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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!!!

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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

How To Date Your Husband

Almost six months ago, we were blessed with our second child.  A beautiful baby boy!  What a joy he is and we have enjoyed it so much!  Our daughter, who is almost three, has been an amazing big sister as well. 

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This also means that my husband and I haven’t been on a real date in at least six months. =)  While I realize that it may have been a lot longer for other couples, we were blessed to have friends and family around during the past couple years to watch our daughter so we could go out even if it was just to dinner.  Therefore, we were a little used to having some time to ourselves.  Once our son was born, we found it a bit harder to find someone to take care of both children.  Especially since one is still an infant. 

After several nights of “marital discussions,” we realized that we REALLY needed to find a way to spend more time alone together.  The problem came with how.  We went through our typical night.  Husband gets home at around 5:15.  Dinner is eaten and cleaned up.  He plays with the kids until bedtime ( which I find awesome since he hasn’t seen them all day).  Both kids down by 8:30-9.  I start getting tired around this time and am usually in bed by 10 which means that we only have an hour to an hour and a half of “alone” time.  And that’s if both kids stay asleep!!!!  And what do we normally do during that time?  We are on the iPad, computer, watching something on DVR, etc.  What we are NOT doing is being with each other.

This is where we had to figure something out.  We knew it wasn’t a lot of time each night, but we knew something could be done to spend some time together.  We talked about what we could do to change things…to be a couple again.  Here’s the solution we came up with:
One night a week, we would turn off all electronics (cell phones on vibrate and only answered if urgent) and have a game night.  We would include coffee (decaf for me of course!) and maybe some dessert.  We would choose a Pandora station and pick a game!  Last date night, we played Sequence.  If you haven’t tried this game, I highly suggest it!!!  So much fun!

You don’t have to necessarily play games, but you get the point.  We are solely focusing on each other and it is allowing us to TALK!  And not about the kids =)  We are able to focus on each other without distractions.  Of course, the last game night also included our children getting up several times, but we were still able to be with each other which is the more important part.

So, whether or not you have children, you have had children for a while or are expecting…please know that “dating” you spouse even after marriage is SUCH an important part of a relationship.  One thing my husband and I agree on is that…after our personal relationships with God… our relationship with each other is the next most important one because if our relationship is strong, then our relationships with our children will be equally as strong.  We also agree that once the children leave, we don’t want to be left looking at each other and asking, “Who are you?”

My husband and I may be in the “early” stages of our marriage and life as parents, but we are trying to make sure that we still remember why we fell in love with each other and decided to have our lives intertwine.  I must say…I’m enjoying it just as much as when we were first dating.

Here’s to continuing to strengthen marriages and families!  What would you choose to do for your next date night?  Let me know!  I love suggestions!
~ Jess Elaine

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Photo courtesy of Candice Lynn Photography