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Fitness

Working On My Fitness: Part 1

bethany sandoval

At the end of 2015, I was 3 months postpartum, and tired of being overweight. I had gained 30lbs with my pregnancy. While not terrible, when added to already being 25lbs over my goal weight and a mere 5ft tall, I was very uncomfortable. I have never before reached my goal weight. That elusive number I set for myself over 12 years ago was always a number I wanted to see on the scale but I was never willing to actually put the work in to make it happen.

I highly recommend this book if you need help laying out a plan-of-action and goal setting.

I highly recommend this book if you need help laying out a plan-of-action and goal setting.

After my 2nd child was born in 2013 I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. That year, I discovered the No Excuse Mom movement. The founder, Maria Kang, had posted the photo of herself with her 3 small children with the caption "What's Your Excuse?" that had gone viral. And you know, that was exactly what I needed to hear, a little tough love. It was a bit painful to examine myself and really figure out what was holding me back. But once I took ownership of my journey, my excuses, stopped blaming genetics or circumstances, lack of time or energy and recognized that it was simply MY choices that had me where I was, things started to change.

My before and After from the 2014 No Excuse Mom Transformation Challenge. I lost about 12lbs.

My before and After from the 2014 No Excuse Mom Transformation Challenge. I lost about 12lbs.

September 2015: Delivery day! 40 weeks :)

September 2015: Delivery day! 40 weeks :)

I joined a 12 week transformation challenge in the fall of 2014 and worked hard to deliver results. I lost the last of the weight that I had gained with my 2nd pregnancy and was only 25lbs away from that ultimate goal weight when I found out I was pregnant with number 3. I'm not going to lie, I was frustrated at the timing. I had wanted to hit my goal before we got pregnant and now I was about to start gaining again. But I switched gears from losing to staying healthy and active.

This last pregnancy though, was by far my hardest. I had gestational diabetes so I was tracking my food and testing my blood sugar 4 times per day (I am terrified of needles so this was a challenge for me). I was extremely tired ALL THE TIME but I had a very energetic 2 yr old and a kindergartner to care for and I also suffered from some fairly significant pregnancy depression (I didn't even know that was a thing). I had my heart set on having a VBAC after having 2 c-sections but due to some complications, I had to have a 3rd c-section. God had a better plan and I'm glad. Oliver was born happy and healthy and he is perfect.

As soon as I was released to exercise, I started running again but didn't lose much weight in the first 3 months after Oliver was born. I was exclusively breastfeeding and I am NOT one of those lucky moms who's pounds melt away with breastfeeding ;) In the past, that had been one of my excuses. "Well, I'm nursing so I just can't lose weight right now". Not this time. I was determined to keep my milk supply up but I wasn't going to let that stop me from making progress toward my goals. I prepared myself mentally that losing weight would just require a slow and steady approach and some trial and error with my calorie intake. 

This is my current home gym setup. It shares a space in my bedroom. You don't have to have a ton of extra space to make home workouts possible! I have my fitness calendar and one of my vision boards by my treadmill. Surrounding yourself with positive affirmations is a really powerful tool. I have written thingslike "disciplined", "consistent" and "The plans of the diligent lead to profit - Proverbs 21:5" as reminders for myself.

This is my current home gym setup. It shares a space in my bedroom. You don't have to have a ton of extra space to make home workouts possible! I have my fitness calendar and one of my vision boards by my treadmill. Surrounding yourself with positive affirmations is a really powerful tool. I have written thingslike "disciplined", "consistent" and "The plans of the diligent lead to profit - Proverbs 21:5" as reminders for myself.

I created two vision boards to help me stay motivated. One of them is hung up in my kitchen and the other is next to my treadmill so I can see it every time I workout. Pinterest is an resource awesome for finding inspiration.

I created two vision boards to help me stay motivated. One of them is hung up in my kitchen and the other is next to my treadmill so I can see it every time I workout. Pinterest is an resource awesome for finding inspiration.

I was ready for change and I officially began my fitness journey on January 1st, of this year. I WILL be reaching my goal weight in 2016. I started by creating a plan-of-action with simple daily goals as well as long term goals to strive for. I dug deep and found my "whys" for doing this. I try to remind myself of these often when the going gets tough. I posted my fitness calendar next to my treadmill. I wrote my goals out, and found motivational pictures and quotes to put on my calendar (I created a free fitness packet if you'd like a tracker of your own!). My husband and I had decided to save up and buy a set of free weights as our Christmas present to one-another and he set it up in our room with my treadmill. I do not have a gym membership and really, I don't want one right now. I save so much time by working out at home and this allows me the flexibility to squeeze my workouts in when I can during my day.

I am giving up my excuses and it is making all the difference. When I do start making excuses and my progress suffers, I take ownership of those choices that I've made and try to work towards doing better. I am learning to forgive myself often, to keep moving forward and to love the body God has blessed me with. He created it just for me. My goal is to be a better steward of what He has put in my care.

Goal setting has been a huge part of my success thus far. The basic goals that I work toward daily are:

  • Drink 1 gallon of water
  • Track my calories (I use MyFitnessPal)
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes

Disclaimer: I do NOT hit these goals every single day. If I did, I know I would already be at my goal weight, but giving myself some grace is part of the process. This has to be a sustainable lifestyle change. I still eat pizza (omg I love pizza). I still eat cake and ice cream at birthday parties. I just measure and track as best I can so that I can see where I'm spending my calories. This helps prevent mindless eating. Being aware of portion sizes and calories goes a long way in helping you make a good decision. Also, knowing that I don't really have "off limit" foods helps me stay sane and I feel less deprived. I do however, strive to eat a clean, real food diet so that the majority of my food is nutrient rich. Plus, you get to a eat a whole lot more food when you are eating lots of vegetables and fruit ;) I try to fuel my body for my workouts and so I can stay active with my children.

Along the way, I have had to adjust and grow some of my goals so that I can continue seeing progress. It is definitely an ever-evolving process. I now have specific calorie and macro-nutrient (protein, fats and carbohydrate) goals I work toward. I add mileage and speed goals to my runs and I have set goals to incorporate more strength training in my workouts. I want to always be learning, always be striving and always be growing in some way. 

I am 2 weeks postpartum in the top left picture. If you are on a fitness journey, take pictures!!! I don't love my before pictures but I do love seeing how far I've come! There were some weeks when the scale wasn't budging but I could see a change in the photos. It is another great way to measure progress.

I am 2 weeks postpartum in the top left picture. If you are on a fitness journey, take pictures!!! I don't love my before pictures but I do love seeing how far I've come! There were some weeks when the scale wasn't budging but I could see a change in the photos. It is another great way to measure progress.

So here is my progress report. Since giving birth in September 2015, I have lost about 40 pounds and am 10lbs away from my 12+ year goal. I'm finding a lot of satisfaction in the journey and am becoming less concerned about that number on the scale and more focused on how my clothes fit and leaning out while building muscle. This journey is still a daily struggle and requires focus, effort and consistency. Learning to make the better choice is hard work but it is slowly getting easier.

While I do love seeing the scale number go down, some of my non-scale victories have been even better. My workouts have helped my mental and emotional health enormously. Even my husband has noticed a change in my overall mood and emotional well being. I am more confident. I get more done. I feel like I am a better wife and mom when I workout daily. Who doesn't love a more patient, less irritable mom?! Working out is like a free antidepressant with only positive side affects!

I'm currently participating in the 2016 No Excuse Mom Transformation Challenge and will update my progress at the close of the challenge later this year.

Thanks for stopping by! Are you on a fitness journey of your own? What have you learned? Any tips or inspiration for those of us still striving?