A few months after the birth of my second child, I was walking up the stairs and realized I couldn’t catch my breath halfway up the staircase. At the top of the stairs, I had to stop, catch my breath, and take a moment to get my bearings. Sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, and 20 extra baby-weight pounds were starting to take their toll on my body (fine, it was more like 30, or 40). It was becoming apparent that I needed to do more exercise than just arm curls with my wine glass on my couch at night.
Being out of shape was embarrassing for me, and what was worse, I couldn’t stand the thought of dragging my mom body to the gym to run on the treadmill next to the very fit women and men in their brightly colored matching Spandex with exposed midriffs.
Plus, I’d recently given up my full-time job to stay home with our children and money was tight. We weren’t hurting, but we certainly didn’t have the extra cash to spend on a pricey gym membership. Not to mention the fact that just thinking about the logistics of corralling both kids into their car seats and schlepping a bag full of snacks, diapers, and toys through the parking lot to the gym child care room made me tired.
So I decided I would make an effort to get in better shape at home. Both of my kids loved taking walks in the stroller, and the weather had become warmer and I felt brave enough to venture out and make my health a bigger priority. As I contemplated my new “Lose The Baby Weight and Get Healthy AF” plan, I realized that I was going to need a few supplies to get me started. I mean, my breast-milk-stained yoga pants were fine for inside the house, but if I was going to feel good about getting healthy, I was going to need to have a healthy spending accident.
The first thing I splurged on was a good pair of running shoes. Several of my friends had recently started running and they looked totes adorbs in their brightly colored skips, and I knew my feet would thank me in advance for being kind to them. And bonus: My shins didn’t hurt when I was building up my walking mileage because my feet were happy.
I threw in some fancy socks and a decent pair of running tights to round out my “Get Healthy AF Outdoor Look.” And I yanked my unwashed mom hair into a super cute running cap every time we hit the pavement. Also? If anyone is wondering, I did not put vodka in my cute AF new water bottle. But it was tempting, I promise. Entertaining two monsters in a stroller on a walk is not for the weak and should be a job for booze, amiright?
Because I was breastfeeding, “the girls” needed to be contained, so I invested in a sturdy, no joke running bra. Without adequate support, I was bound to have two black eyes in less than a 1/4 mile. Making sure to pick a bra that was the right size, fi, and comfort level was key. Thankfully, I was able to go to a local running shop and explain the need to keep my tatas in check, and the saleswoman couldn’t have been kinder. And she didn’t laugh too hard when she heard me wrestling myself into the sports bra in the dressing room. Bless her heart.
Though I planned on utilizing walking as my main source of exercise, I knew myself all too well. I was going to be a fair-weather exerciser, which meant I was going to need a Plan B if the weather was too yucky to take my daily stroller walk. My mom abs were in a sad state of affairs, so I bought an exercise ball that came with a DVD in order to whip them back into submission. I’ve always loved the The Biggest Loser and when I saw that they had a collection of yoga DVDs that were a perfect nap time duration, I was sold. Twenty minutes to a healthier me! And naturally, I needed a yoga mat because I needed something to protect my feet from the Legos that decorated my family room floor.
Exercising at home wasn’t always easy but it was worth it in the long run. Over time, I became stronger and my walks turned into runs. I met a great group of friends who had the same health and exercise priorities, and we became a little mom exercise gang. We held each other accountable, and because of their support, I completed my sixth marathon last year.
I feel exactly zero guilt when I treat myself to a new pair of running shoes or a fun running accessory now and again. And frankly, I’ve earned the right to treat myself now that I’m 40 pounds thinner than I was when I started, thank you very much. Taking care of myself helps me take better care of my family, and that’s an exercise plan that’s healthy for everyone.