The day my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child was a day full of joy, excitement, and uncertainty. During the months to follow I read every book I could find about what to expect in taking care of myself, and my new baby.
Prior to my pregnancy, I was not athletic and knew almost nothing about nutrition. I did a little cardio here and there and tried my best to eat healthy, or so I thought.
After we brought home our beautiful and healthy baby girl, life soon got back to normal and our same old routine was back on track. However, I very quickly realized that my body did not do the same! Before my daughter I had a little bump in the back, my belly was flat, and my legs were slender, but not anymore! I no longer had a butt, it had completely fallen flat, my belly had excess skin and a pooch, and the back of my legs were unrecognizable. I think anyone who has had a baby can identify with what I am talking about. I decided that I did not like what I saw in the mirror and I was not going to accept it as my fate. I was going to take control and not let the “I have kids” excuse take me down its path. I hired a trainer, started a new nutrition plan, and set goals for myself.
My very first goal was to compete in a fitness competition. I definitely had no idea what I had signed up for. It was difficult for me, the diet was completely foreign to anything I had ever done before, and the workouts were more strenuous than I ever expected. There were times during my competition prep when I wanted to quit but I knew I had to follow through and finish for “me”. That night of my first competition, 7 months after I had my baby, I brought home my first trophy. The feeling of accomplishment and pride in what I had done was overwhelming. When it was all over I realized how much I liked the challenge and seeing the results of my hard work and dedication.
Since my first fitness competition I have competed in two additional shows and also picked up modeling along the way. I have learned a lot about myself through fitness and also gained a lot more confidence. I would never have believed you, if you told me 3 years ago, I would be where I am today in fitness. Honestly, I feel God has shown me more about myself in the past 3 years than I ever learned in the previous 25. I have become stronger, more assertive, and I feel I have finally found my true passion.
As time has gone on, and my passion for fitness has developed, there have been new and exciting opportunities, but with the opportunities has also come the lesson of learning balance. I receive emails every week asking how I manage to stay in shape while being a wife, mother, maintaining a career, modeling, and vigorously pursuing my passion of fitness. The answer is really very simple, I prioritize. Now actually putting that into action isn’t all that simple.
Initially finding balance was a very big struggle for me. I had anxiety if I missed even one workout, my family was upset with me because I would pass on pizza night, my work was lacking my attention, and I was full of guilt. I knew I wasn’t being fair to myself or my loved ones.
One of my favorite quotes is by Zig Ziglar, “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be a success in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”
So I took a step back and reevaluated my life. I began prioritizing and getting organized! I started making my meals ahead of time, so I can stay on track with my diet, I wake up earlier to fit in my cardio, and I weight train on Saturday and Sunday, because a few nights a week I have other obligations, and when my family wants to go out for our weekly pizza night, I am right there enjoying a few slices with them. I found my balance! Yes, there are times when things come up and put a snag in my schedule, but I move on and get right back on track!
I of course believe everyone has to find their own balance and that will vary depending on each individual, their priorities, and their lifestyle. I just want to show women, in particular mothers, that it is possible to pursue your passions, care for yourself and your family guilt free!
I can have my cake and eat it too.