Before children, I used to be the person that worked out for an hour or so 5 or 6 days a week. I wasn’t necessarily a gym rat, but I was a regular at the gym. Working out was extremely important to me because I was overweight from puberty until my late teens. I’d worked hard to lose the weight and was determined to not gain it back. Before having my daughter, working out for me was 100% for vanity purposes. The only reason that I worked out was that I enjoyed being thin and thanks to my slow metabolism, the only way that I was able to stay thin was by exercising. I was even able to stay active during my pregnancy. I worked with a personal trainer for part of my pregnancy and walked 4 or 5 miles a day up until the day that I went into labor!
Everything changed when I had my daughter. I wanted to work out, the will was there, but the energy was not there. After my husband returned to work, I was at home solo with her and if she was sleeping, chances were that I was sleeping as well. If I wasn’t sleeping, I was trying to tackle one of the trillion tasks on my to-do-list. I became that person that complained that I didn’t have time to work out and settled quite comfortably into my new sedentary life. It was easy to do too because in all honesty, I never really wanted to work out. Like ever…I had to work out to stay thin but I never really enjoyed it. It was a means to an end.
I loved the way I looked and felt after doing it but every single day that I worked out, I had this internal argument with myself where I had to convince myself to go. Having a child and being permanently exhausted was the perfect excuse that I needed to finally be able to take a break from working out without feeling guilty.
But eventually, I had to be honest with myself. After giving birth, the first 20 or so pounds melted off, but within a few months that came to a halt. I started to complain because I wasn’t big enough to fit my maternity clothing but I wasn’t small enough to fit my pre-pregnancy clothing. I got to a point where I either had to do something to get back to the old me or pony up some cash to buy a new wardrobe. I decided on the former and resolved to become more active.
That being said, it wasn’t necessarily easy to make this transition. As much as I say that I used having my daughter to not work out, in reality, I did have less time to work out and finding time to work out for me meant that I had to totally change the way that I thought about working out. I used to be able to go to the gym for at least an hour but that just wasn’t going to happen now. I had to learn to be content with 30-minute workouts that were more efficient.
For the first time, I had to think about convenience when it came to working out. I was never disciplined enough to do a work out at home before having my daughter but now that type of exercise fit better with my lifestyle and I had to force myself to do them the same way I used to drag myself to the gym when I really didn’t want to go. I also had to get used to getting it in where I could fit it in. That might mean that I took the stairs some days instead of the elevator, parked a little further away from the store than normal or ran back and forth in the house just to get a few extra steps in.
Last, I had to change my thought process around why I worked out which helped me to stay motivated. I used to work out to stay skinny and while that still factored into my purpose, I was also doing it now to stay healthy for my daughter and to help me feel more confident about my postpartum body.
The truth of the matter is that you make time for what’s important to you and you find excuses to do the things that you don’t want to do. If you’re able to watch that extra hour of your favorite show on Netflix, then chances are you can make time to work out. And if you don’t want to exercise, that is fine, just take personal accountability for not wanting to do it instead of blaming it on your kids!