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 Asking for Help

I hired a cleaning lady yesterday. I can’t believe I paid someone to clean my house. But only because it adds to the judgments I feel on mothers … on me.

I should be able to do this myself. 

During my post partum depression, I did not know how to clean. I didn’t have the energy or mental ability to think about emptying the dishwasher. It was too daunting. I couldn’t fathom what it would take to pick up the dirty laundry and put it in the wash…it was all utterly overwhelming and the tasks consumed me every day; taunting me. Mocking me. 

I didn’t even know how to put my son down and have a shower. I can’t tell you how many times I wound up sobbing on the bathroom floor, naked and wet, holding my son while the hot shower filled the room with a heavy blanket of steam and depression. 

My house was not just messy, it was dirty, and I was completely ashamed. I hated when people visited. 

I was overwrought with the thought, “I should be able to do this.” 

My mom, my amazing mom, would come over and clean my entire house from top to bottom. She would scrub walls, toilets and bathtubs…and I would sit and talk. Incapable of knowing how to even begin helping. Feeling guilty as ashamed to not be helping … and she just cleaned. Never asking for anything in return, she just wanted to help. Words will never be enough to thank her for her help. She knew. She just knew. She gave me a space to feel relaxed in. A few days peace before it was all headed for ruin again. And she didn’t ask. She just did. I pray I will be that same kind of mother, of person, for my kids, that she is to us. 

But since joining a challenge group, becoming an online personal health and fitness coach, taking my fitness and ultimately my life back, I’ve been able to tidy. I’ve been able to start building habits that lead to a cleaner, healthier home environment. 

But I can’t catch up. 

I didn’t ask my mom for as much help as I should have, because truth be told I was ashamed in front of her as well. She raised me. And I failed at an area she excelled in. She kept a clean home. Raised two kids. And I couldn’t. So I didn’t ask for help from someone who would always give it without judgment. 

Because of this, there’s still layers of grime around my home that need attention. A home deserves to be taken care of. Not perfect, but it’s my home. And I now can take pride in caring for the place we raise our kids. Not in perfection, but not in filth. 

So I hired help. And it was weird. 

I still passed judgment on myself … should this be where I spend this money? Is it worth sacrificing other things? Am I that person now? 

And just who is that person that I had such a hard time becoming? The mom who’s home so much and still doesn’t get her house clean. What does she do all day anyways? The mom who can go get her nails done but can’t seem to get the walls and windows washed? Must be nice to afford such a luxury

And then I realize, who am I to judge others, but most importantly, who am I to judge myself? I think mommy wars are waged inside…not just out. 

I think they start with us. 

I think they start with a lack of honesty. 

Well, here’s me being honest.

I can’t do it all. I haven’t figured it out yet. I was depressed, and I needed help. I asked for help. 

I prefer to cook all our meals, and buy very little pre-made food. I’ve even begun experimenting with granola bars. Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a crunchy mom.

I prefer to workout before I scrub the toilets. I put eating well and fitness above other things. Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a fit mom. 

I like to spend time outside with my son, I like to have coffee and read books while he naps instead of folding laundry, I like to catch up with friends and arrange play dates and set up fitness groups for pregnant moms because my passion is to help.

Hello. My name is Michelle, and I am a real person. I am a real mom.

And sometimes, I need help.

The Wagon – Getting on and Falling Off

It is so easy to be fit and healthy when it’s new and exciting, but what happens when life happens?

Right now, I’m falling off the wagon. Life has gotten busy, and I’m struggling to find the motivation hit play on those workouts every day.

What are we supposed to do, to find that motivation? I’m a mom … I work part time out of my home and also am building my fitness coaching business at home. I feel so incredibly busy sometimes.

I have a house to clean; one that has been neglected through 17 months of post partum depression and the clutter and mess get into my brain and cause frustration and anger.

Baseboards are visibly dirty. There’s dirt on the walls that you can easily see when walking through the house. There’s milk on my sons floor that dried and I didn’t clean it up, only for me to see a few days ago. Yes, I have left things on the floor for a long time. Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, I just cleaned our toilets for the first time in a long time a week ago. Yes, our backyard is COVERED in dog poop. It’s embarrassing, and it’s disgusting, but it’s real.

It’s also a reminder to me of the hell I went through, and the hell I’m picking up the pieces from, as I trudge my way through this messy thing called healing. And I choose to share this, and not be embarrassed, because I KNOW other women are going through this, and I want to talk about getting back on the wagon, over and over and over again, and how I’m doing it, because I know it will help others too.

So what do I do?

Firstly, and yes, this is apart of my job, is I make fitness and nutrition a priority in my own life. Working out brought me out of depression and into a life I recognized; a person I recognized. It hasn’t been easy, but I believe firmly, even if you don’t want to be skinny, or buff, or whatever, that fitness is an absolute must in life. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. It decreases your chances of diseases, lifting weights decreases your risk of osteoporosis, and it aids you against aging yourself into assisted living when you’re old, because you can’t lift yourself off the toilet. My job is to workout up to 5x a week, and to constantly learn about food, portions and supplements, to ensure I am first and foremost making myself better each and every day.

Secondly, I point people towards the programs and supplements I have used to get me to where I am. I help my friends, family and strangers, who turn into friends, pick a program and I help them use it. I hold them accountable to it. I encourage them on hard days, I am a phone call, email, text or FB message away when someone needs help, has a question, or just needs a word of encouragement. I’m here to make your goals my goals. I’m here to help change peoples lives by helping them get the nutrition and fitness into their lives, in simple ways, that create lifelong changes for the better.

Lastly, and this is the one I’m always scared to share, but the one that has genuinely impacted my life the most, is I’m here to run a business that is setting my family on the path to financial freedom, and I’m here to give that same opportunity to others.

My fears in sharing this are numerous. Why? Because I’m not certified in anything. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a personal trainer. I’m a mom and a hairstylist with a passion for fitness and a passion for bringing others on the journey.

But that’s kind of the exciting part…you don’t need to be in shape to coach people. You don’t need to know it all, to encourage others to start making healthy changes in their life. You don’t need to have a personal training degree. All you need, is the passion to share your story, the commitment to daily changing your life, and the courage to invite others to join you.

All this circles back to me getting back on the wagon. The big thing that has changed my life is coaching because I am accountable to others to stay on track. I can’t just stop. I have to find a way to keep going. I have to have a strong why, which I wrote about in my previous post, in order to get my butt in gear when I’m losing steam. And I have to revisit that why daily, sometimes hourly. Because if I lose it, I lose credibility, I lose my business, but most of all, I lose myself. And I will not go down that road again.

This is not a get rich quick scheme. This isn’t a diet. This is a way of life. This is choosing to have a new side hobby, which lets you pursue your full time career and still stay healthy and in love with yourself and getting paid to do it.

This is choosing to fire your boss, and start building something on purpose, for you and by you, that you can look proudly on and say “I did that.”

This is choosing to be apart of a team, just to keep you accountable if nothing else, that will lift you up and encourage you every step of the way.

I don’t have all the answers. In fact I have very few of them. But I commit to learning more about what I do every day. I commit to my challengers, I commit to my coaches, to be on the journey together.

This is what is getting me back on the wagon.

This is what’s keeping me accountable to myself.

This is what’s changing my families life.

This is what I want to do, every day, for the rest of my life.

So here’s to #kickingmybrass and getting over how sorry I feel for myself, getting over my excuses, and getting to the core of the thing.

I’m putting on my running shoes, and I’m going the distance.

I want as many people running behind me, with me, and passing me as possible; we rise by lifting others.

Don’t let these opportunities pass you by.

Wherever you are at in your journey, this is for you, just as much as it is for me.

Being a woman isn’t about having the perfect body, clothes and hair.

It’s about being strong of heart when everything is crumbling around us.

It’s about being strong of body to lift our kids, to go for that hike, to backpack through Europe, to have adventures and life abundantly, not in how the world views us, but how we view ourselves.

It’s about being strong of soul. To be grounded in who you are, in what you believe, and in what you’re headed for in life.

I want to do this together. Because together we will sweat. Together we will fall and get back up again.

Together, we will rise.

Send me an email at michrgross@gmail.com if you’re interested; I’d love to connect and discover your goals, your story and your passion.