On What Saved Me? Fitness or Jesus?

I can’t seem to figure out how to word this. I’ve tried blogging this for months and it endlessly falls short of the words I would love to give it.

But I keep saying fitness saved me. I was depressed. I was so low I quite seriously contemplated letting my family adopt my son, as I was clearly unfit to be his mother. I laid in bed crying. My house was filth because I didn’t even know how to pick up a plate to wash it; I literally was overwhelmed by every little aspect of life. I couldn’t deal.

And as most of you know, I rediscovered my love of fitness, and newly discovered a love for a nutritional supplement called ShakeOlogy. The first time I had it, it was like a drug. My mind was totally clear. I should find the video I recorded … I was in absolute tears because of how incredible I felt. Awake, energetic, like a fog had lifted. I finally understood what getting all the nutrients my body needs daily looked like, and I was hooked.
Fast forward from there and I was working out again with a program called CIZE, and I just cried at the end of every workout. The release, the joy…I suddenly was me again. Fitness and nutrition saved my life.

But shouldn’t I be saying Jesus did? After all, I’m a Christian who believes Jesus saves… I was depressed. I still struggle on the day to day.

And I struggled with this thought for months. I would dive into books every day on personal development and not once did I touch my Bible; and somehow I felt I was growing closer to Him. But on the other hand I felt shame.

How could I, who loved Jesus so fervently, give so much to fitness and reading books and not Bibles, not getting up early to pray but willing to roll out of bed to hit play…how could I say fitness saved me when Jesus is the one who saves?

Simply put, I find my freedom in fitness. I find Jesus there. It’s meditative for me. Clears my head and heart. It paves the way for me to see Him who gave me eyes to see.

My son asking to read the Bible with me the first time he’s seen me read it

I just started reading my Bible daily 3 days ago. Because I didn’t force myself to. I didn’t tell myself I was a bad Christian for not doing it. Because I didn’t let legalism dictate my actions. I let my heart, which I trust God resides in, guide me.

I didn’t let the lies fill my heart. I didn’t let them stop me. Because it has in the past. I force myself to believe I should read the Bible and not other books or get up early for other things and it always derailed me leaving me a failure, again.

But here I am. Believing that it is ok to say fitness and Jesus are one and the same for me. This is apart of who I am, how I was made. And that it’s ok for Him to speak to me in a workout and in the Bible and in other books that aren’t “Christian books”. Because God can speak to us anywhere, any time, we just need to listen, and be ready to respond.

God pointed me in this direction so He could speak to me. I started exercising again so I could hear him. So I could escape the prison of my mind telling me to give up. That motherhood simply wasn’t for me.

We were created to move. We were created to be free. He freed me to move. Fitness freed me to listen.

So did fitness save me? Or did Jesus?

My answer?

Yep.

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No Perfect Bodies; On Why You’ll Never Look Like Me

Unless I’m standing straight…I get rolls.

You don’t see that on Instagram or Facebook. And I want you to see it. 

I have rolls, cellulite and love handles. 

Stuff doesn’t fit. 

So what is the perfect body?


The perfect pregnant body is one that carries, sustains, and sometimes sadly, loses babies; yes, you are still perfect. It can birth naturally, via c-section or with the assistance of drugs and tools. It can breastfeed, it can bottle feed and give skin to skin for comfort, and loving caring arms. It can sag or tighten, wiggle or not. 

The perfect pregnant body is not one without stretch marks, fat rolls or weight gain. 
My desire is to embody a healthy pregnancy, not give an unrealistic idea of what anyone can or should look like. This is my journey. Mine. You can’t actually have it, because you are not me. Your body will look different. 

I hear a lot “you have the perfect little belly!” and while this has made me feel good in the past … it’s starting to make me a little uncomfortable when said. Because if I have the perfect belly…what does that say about someone who doesn’t look like me? Was she not perfect? Is she not the embodiment of feminine, God given, life sustaining perfection without the “perfect round little belly”?


I have seven years of fitness behind me. I have a small frame. I have exercised through two pregnancies and have eaten well for myself for the better part of a decade. 

Simply put, I love health and fitness. 

It didn’t take me being overweight to realize I needed a change, I was always more into health food than anyone in my family, like the real earthy hippy kind of food. Yea that’s me. I was always in sports, and when sports died out after high school I moved into running, hot yoga and the gym. It’s ebbed and flowed but essentially had the same projection for most of my life…

This is me. 

35 weeks with baby 2

Does my life sound similar to yours? No? So stop comparing yourself to me. Stop feeling bad for not being where I am. You might get here, you might not, but where you get to isn’t less because you aren’t naturally small. 

 

I hope this doesn’t come across arrogant like I think everyone wants to be me, I’ve just heard a lot of people say they wish they could look like me. And I love that I am privileged enough to show people what a fit and healthy life looks like, but don’t make me out to be perfect. Because if I’m perfect, and you can never be me because I’m me and you’re you, you have set yourself up for complete and utter failure. And that’s just not fair to yourself. 


I want you to see that you could inspire the next generation. Your kids could be little freaks like me! Imagine, little grass munchers haha Craving fruit and enjoying avocado ice cream and matcha teas, not because we have to but because we want to. Do you see though? It’s not about what we look like, it’s inspiring others to live healthy fit lives. It’s being healthy and fit just because it makes us happy and healthy. 

So when you are looking for some inspiration, I am grateful for the opportunity to provide that; I’m grateful and humbled. It’s an honour to share my life with you and to bring you on this journey with me. 

But please, for heavens sake, if you’re looking for someone on whom you set goals after, make sure it’s someone who has a similar body type to you; if that’s me, I’m flattered. Because aside from what I was born with, I have worked very hard to maintain and strengthen this body. I am proud of my muscles and my ability to run and chase my family.  But please remember this when looking to the Internet for the next “Pinspiration”…

Aim for healthy, aim for strong looking women, aim for the fittest your body has ever been. And be proud of your body however it looks when you fuel it, work it and rest it. 

There is no ideal. My goal is to coach you into a healthy relationship with food, exercise and self acceptance. 

You should try it. Contact me and let’s join hands. 

On Sharing the Real Pictures…

 

These two photos were taken the same week. Guess which one I didn’t share on the world wide web?

Yep. The left. The one that shows my squishy tummy. The one that made me cringe, and cry, because it’s been 7 years since I looked any different from the picture on the right, and I placed my value on it.

At this point in my mom journey, I was 6 months post partum and diagnosed with Post Partum Depression, which I had refused treatment for. I was and am scared of medications, but I was mostly scared of admitting I needed them, and couldn’t fight it on my own.

My fitness and how I look has been huge to me, for a very, very long time. I’ve struggled with my weight a little bit, but mostly I’ve struggled with accepting myself as I am, and just enjoying working out and eating well for the sole purpose of just that, being healthy. Being strong. I have a definition in my mind for how I should look, and I beat myself up if I don’t look that way.

And I didn’t.

And here I am, 3 weeks out with baby number 2 and have become a health and fitness coach, have been sharing my fitness journey this pregnancy on social media like crazy, and am now faced with the sudden reality that soon I will be sharing my post partum fitness journey.

No more pretty belly selfies.

No more “wow, you have like, the perfect pregnant body!” comments …

It’s about to get real.

Our culture LOVES pregnant women. Honestly I get stopped all the time. Talked to all the time. And I hate being pregnant so imagine how fun that is 😉

But what about post partum? Have I been basing my worth on how I look this pregnancy? Maybe. Probably. Sometimes. Not always. I work on it. I am doing my best to embrace the love handles, the cellulite and the thickness that weighs me down and frustrates me. I can’t say I fully embrace it because I am afraid of the after.

In fitness, it seems the truest successes are the ones that have flat tummy’s post partum and say “see, if I can you can.” which is sort of ridiculous because … every single body is different. Where we started is different. Where we are going is different … so how does that equate to us all being able to achieve the same goal?

It doesn’t make sense.

And yet here I am, with my post baby goals being things like, walk across the stage in Nashville at the Beachbody classic, and in my head I have the perfect body. And that’s the only reason I’m brave enough to consider it. Because I’m fairly certain I’ll get to where I want.

But what if I don’t?

What if I don’t look how I think I should? Will I still compete? I say yes…but this is going to be a very challenging period of learning to love the new me. Because our bodies are just different after babies, and I never accepted that. I tried to cheat it by sharing only the photos I wanted to.

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I shared this photo last summer, but I didn’t share that I undid the top button most of the day and sucked in my baby ponch most of the day because I couldn’t stand how my own body felt.

I was, in short, a fraud.

And maybe I still am. I’m able to accept my body right now because this is the way it’s supposed to look.

Will I be able to share with you all, when it gets really real, and I’m on the other end of this pregnancy?

I know I will force myself to, because it will force me to grow. And I want to grow. I want to be real.

But know that I’m just as real a person as you, I have feelings, fears and I struggle with my own set of issues. And if you say things like, I have no reason to feel those fears because I look great, you’re missing the bigger picture.

The point is that no woman seems to be able to love themselves fully. Regardless of how fit we are, I guarantee you, ask the fittest woman on the planet, I bet she hates her nose or something.

If you think because I have this body I have that I should have no reason to not love myself, then you’re struggling to. Because you have an idea in your head of what perfect looks like, and unfortunately, none of us stack up.

So here’s to not stacking up.

Here’s to being ourselves, and having fit goals but still enjoying life and love all the while.

Here’s to eating a piece of pizza because we have plans that have held us up and we can fall back into the next day.

Here’s to balance, here’s to healthy babies,

and here’s to the next 3 weeks of being as healthy and fit as possible as an act of love to myself, and respecting the results whatever they may be.

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On Birth, Fear and Strength

I am scared.

Labor scares me. I had a C-Section with my first so I am considered a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and am currently with a group of doctors that feels they know my needs best and are quite rigid in their methods, leaving me feeling as though I have very little say and that I will have to fight for myself the whole way through delivery in order to deliver.

Lately, I have been consumed by fear. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, maybe it’s the never ending tantrum my son seems to be in…maybe it’s that I’m 35 weeks pregnant and still working and it’s kicking the crap out of me. Maybe it’s everything. But the truth is, I talk strong to combat the fear.

I don’t like the idea of someone telling me what’s best for my body when I know I know it best. And I don’t like that they seem very uncomfortable with me voicing my opinions if they conflict with theirs.

I’m not a pushover, and confrontation does not bother me, but I don’t want to go into my first labor experience knowing I’m going to have to fight to have my voice heard.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Doctors, and I’m pro safe baby. I value input and opinions, but I also value someone who will take their knowledge and match it with my preferences, and who will ultimately consider my opinion and wishes as highly as they consider their own.

I consider myself to be extremely body aware. I know myself, I know my strengths. I have spent my entire pregnancy exercising and taking care of my body in preparation for labor and here I am 5 weeks out, tired and massive and so done … just wanting someone to hear me and to validate my birth wishes.

I wanted a midwife with my first desperately and in my province, as it’s publicly funded, it feels impossible to get in with one. Come the second time, again, it was too late by week 6 of my pregnancy and upon hearing from my Dr’s that I’m considered a high risk birth, I was told a midwife wouldn’t take me. I now know I was misinformed and wish I had been contacting midwives this whole time.

You see, I’ve never had a contraction. My water has never broke. I never lost my mucus plug. I got nothin. And that contributed a lot to my post partum depression, having so desperately wanting to experience labor and get through birth knowing I am strong and capable.

Yes, I’m one of those.

I don’t care that my vagina is fully intact after a c-section. I don’t care that I didn’t have to worry about tearing. I don’t care about any of it.

I cared about something I felt was a right of passage that I was robbed of, and I’m not interested in fighting for my birth my way, even though I might have to. What I am interested in is someone to come along side me and say, you can do this, you are safe, you know your body. Tell me what you need.

If you know me, I have all the feelings, all the time, and it takes endless words for me to typically make sense of them …

And I’ve come to this conclusion having written this far …

I’m praying for a Doctor or a Midwife who will take care of my heart. Who will give me their professional opinions on keeping the baby safe, but all the while respecting me as a woman and a mother capable of making her own choices, and having them valued and respected.

I am a reasonable person; I will never choose a natural birth over the life of my child.

I will fight for my VBAC. I will fight for my birth, my way. I will exercise, and eat healthy and drink water every single day to prepare for this fight. Not only because it will make my body strong, but it makes my mind strong.

Fitness is a test of the muscle in our heads and in our hearts, and I’m about to prove to myself and my doctors just how strong that muscle is.

Because I am smart.

Because I am capable.

Because I am a woman made in the image of God, and God is a warrior.

And as such, so am I.