My Journey | My body from childhood to motherhood
At age four I started playing soccer, and fell in love with team sports. During middle school and high school I won athletic awards and built a lot of my identity around my athletic prowess and achievements. Playing sports as a child and teen taught me how to be confident in my body, learn the benefits of hard work and determination, and how to be a leader and work with other people.
When I was pregnant, my relationship with my body changed, for the first time in my life I was afraid to push myself physically, and I wasn’t sure of how to move my body in a way that was safe for me and my baby. My relationship with my partner was also causing me a great deal of stress and making it difficult for me to prioritize my exercise and health. During my pregnancy I turned to food for comfort and by the end of my pregnancy I had gained over 80 lbs.
After I gave birth to my daughter all of my energy was consumed with taking care of her. I was on-demand- breastfeeding, and co-sleeping at night, my entire life revolved around her schedule. My daughter hated strollers so our walks were short and unsatisfying. I began to slowly lose weight just from the breastfeeding, but I began to feel like in taking on my new role as mother I had been disconnected with my former self and the joy and strength I found in my previous athletic body. When my daughter was around 8 months old I decided to actively try to lose weight and get fit. I reeducated myself on holistic nutrition and started working out slowly by joining some Zumba classes, finding other mothers to walk with and doing yoga videos in my living room.
Around my daughter's first birthday her father and I separated, this was a very stressful time in my life and I had a lot of anxiety around being a single mom. I turned back to team sports as an outlet and joined a women's soccer team. After several months I began to see glimmers of my former body poking through, but what was more amazing for me was how much better I felt mentally, I had more patience for my daughter, and was able to deal with all the curveballs life throws at you with a measure of grace, and quell a lot of my anxiety.
When I went back to work full time, I wasn’t sure how or when I would find the time to work out. I spent several months not working out as I couldn't figure out how to fit it into my schedule. What I noticed is when I wasn't working out I didn't feel good about myself, my actual body was only slightly different but i just didn't feel strong and full of energy, also my patience for things outside of my control was very low. One parking ticket or problem at work could ruin my whole day. I decided I needed to get back to working out even if I had to take my daughter with me, so for several years that is what I did. I took my daughter to Capoeira class 2 nights a week and on Saturdays. Sometimes after a long day my daughter would cry and say she just wanted to stay home, but I told her, for me to be the best mom I can be I have to be healthy and I need to go workout.
Sometimes if I got a 30-minute break in the middle of the day or the afternoon I would go do a quick stair work out, because as long as I broke a sweat, I could handle anything! Often times my mom friends would ask me, how do you find time to work out, you are a full time single mom with no help from your child's father, and you have a full time job??? I would explain that it wasn't an option for me, that working out is what enabled me to be full time and stay sane and positive. Exercise is my therapy! it is my active meditation, it is one of the only times in the day that I'm so focused on my physical environment and movement, I can't think about anything else, I can't check my to do list in my head, or wonder how I'm going to pay my bills, or when the next dentist appointment is. This is also the reason I have been drawn to high intensity workouts like soccer, Capoeira, stairs, kettlebells, olympic lifting, TRX and interval training. Working out is active meditation!