Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Not Letting it All Go

Why do I work out?

1) To get a mental break and feel so good about life in general.

2) To be healthy.

3) To stay attractive for my spouse.  

Wait, whaaaaaaaaat????  Isn't that a sexist and belittling reason to stay in shape?

Well, allow me to explain.

"Get ye to the gym, woman!"....is not what he commands.
You see, back when Phil and I were dating, I was already a very physically active person who made exercise time a priority.  Phil loved to play sports and worked an active job when he wasn't in class, which kept him fit and healthy.  We both loved to eat and enjoyed delicious meals and yummy treats, but we were burning calories and had young metabolisms, and were able to stay fit without too much effort.  Oh boy, did we eat a lot of pizza and fried mozzarella sticks back in the day!  

We cleaned up our eating habits a bit before our wedding, because you know, looking good on one's wedding day (and night!) was a normal goal to have.  We were pretty pleased with our results for the big day and left for our honeymoon in the Caribbean with our suitcases packed with bathing suits, and not much else.

Rehearsal Dinner 2002

I returned home from our honeymoon about five pounds heavier, we managed my parent's ice cream shop that summer (and ate our weight in ice cream), and I got pregnant with John-Paul a month after we were married!  Needless to say, the pounds started adding up, the exercise started slowing down, and Phil was putting on sympathy weight right alongside me.  Four kids in four years left us both looking and feeling a little bigger than we liked. We had officially let ourselves go.


And you know what happens when I don't feel good about the way I look?  I'm much more withdrawn and unavailable to Phil because I don't want him to see me.  I feel depressed and ashamed when I know there's something I could be doing to change it, yet choose not to.  Does Phil make me feel that way?  Of course not!  But during times when I'm out of shape,  I feel that there's no way he could be attracted to me. 

So I made exercise a priority once again, trained for my first half-marathon, ate real foods and smaller portions, and eventually I looked like this:


I would love to get back to that level of fitness again, I felt so great!!  And having a wife and mother that feels great about herself only benefits the family.  I don't think that marriage should be an excuse to let yourself go.  In truly loving someone, don't we want to give them our best, and shouldn't they want to give us their best?  I'm not talking about the worldly viewpoint of a "perfect body" full of botox and plastic.  I'm talking about a normal, healthy body that is treated with respect as it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Pregnancies, postpartum, breastfeeding, illnesses are all times that we may not be able to look a certain way, but we can still try our best to make healthy choices.  I think our spouses deserve it.  Yes, we promised each other for better or worse, in sickness and in health...but don't we want to give them the "better" and the "health" parts of that deal while it's in our control?

So I'm back on the bandwagon to lose this baby weight, feel good about myself, and be a happier person overall.  I'm starting small, with walk/jog intervals or bike rides and this 7 minute workout (which can be repeated 2 or 3 times):

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest 10 seconds between.
I want to feel good mentally, be healthy, and feel attractive for my husband.  Who's with me?


36 comments:

  1. We need to find a race midway between us and run it together!

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    1. OK, but you're in way better running shape than I am, so give me until the Fall!!

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  2. I agree totally! When I am not in great shape, I am less "available" to my hubby, mainly because I am not comfortable with myself. I am also a big proponent of "you body is a temple" . . . marriage and babies aside, God gave us our bodies and gifts and we need to be good stewards of them.

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    1. I think when I realized how thankful I was for the body God had given me is when I actually started viewing healthy eating and exercise as something I needed to do, not a luxury.

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  3. When you described how you feel when you don't like the way you look, how you are more withdrawn and unavailable to your husband because you don't want him to see you--that perfectly explains how it is with me when I feel lumpy and out-of-shape. And it's not my hubby--he loves me at any weight, and I know that. But I feel like a better wife when I feel good about how I look for him.

    Right now? I've let 10 lbs. creep back on, and I've slowed down on my work-outs because I have a sore shoulder. This post has gotten me motivated to push through and get back into shape. Thanks!

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    1. Our husbands are amazing and see us as beautiful at all shapes and sizes, but I hate telling him "Don't touch my belly, don't put on any lights, don't look at me, don't don't don't!" I want to give myself completely to him without constantly thinking about myself and the way I look. So yeah, I get it!

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  4. Oh yes. Healthy Lifestyle FTW! :)

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    1. Michelle, you are an inspiration to me!

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  5. The story of my life up and down...
    Trying to get my MoJo back is certainly a challenge.
    I started with a protein shake for breakfast, thats a start right?

    Good for you Colleen!!!!

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    1. I always feel good when I start with a healthy breakfast too!

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  6. Oh I love this and it is slightly depressing me since I'm officially at the stage of mourning that I won't be able to even attempt running for quite a few more weeks. BUT I have a big goal of training for a 10k once I can, and possibly a half marathon instead because, why not? (Insert crying/laughing smiley face here)

    But seriously, your point is so well said. I am so withdrawn when I feel large. Everyone is happier when mama is running.

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    1. Yes, even if I'm not actually in better shape after a workout, I FEEL like I'm in better shape, so I'm much happier to be around!

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  7. Yes! And I really do find that when I practice self control with food and exercise, then I have more self control when dealing with my children. And really, everything you said is true. :).

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    1. You are so right - the discipline it takes to eat well and exercise will certainly improve other areas that need it!

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  8. I'm with you! My husband says he loves my body right now just the way it is. UGH! Well, he might love it but I don't! I finally managed a slow two miles this morning. It was ugly but I did it. I've been exercising and limiting my food intake for 2 weeks now and the scales haven't budged a bit. It's very disheartening and I feel like I will never drop these 23 extra pounds! At 44 years old, it is so much harder to drop a few pounds than it was even at 40 - much less 30! But, I'm not going to stop trying. Not for my husband, but for me!

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    1. I know, good hubbies love us no matter what!

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  9. This has been the longest I have not been pregnant since getting married (8 months strong). I think the c-sections really wiped me out in the time in between as well. Both Aaron and I have taken quite seriously in the past couple of months our health, now that we feel we can catch our breath and do so! Aaron is doing crossfit, and I am doing weight watchers and regular exercise. He's down about 30 lbs, and I am done 14, with the goal of losing 50 by our next pregnancy (dec- ish, or maybe Fall, then it would be 30 lbs). It feels good and you are right, taking care of our health has relationship consequences as well. Good stuff!

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    1. the relationship certainly benefits when we are taking care of ourselves - that's why I keep getting in shape, and then immediately getting pregnant :)

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  10. Yes. Love this. I've found that my fitness/body image not only affects my relationship with my husband, but my self confidence in pursuing friendships as well. I was 7 months pregnant when we moved across country where we knew not a soul. I was afraid to leave the house for a while, but that's another matter... Now that I am back to my pre-preg size (well, a couple pounds off, but we give ourselves a couple for the new boobage, right?) and I have a little bit of a tan on my face from running outside I have the confidence to go out and MAKE ALL THE FRIENDS. Took a long time, over half a year to get to that point, but better than living like a hermit indefinitely!

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    1. I'm hoping each boob gives me a 5 pounds allowance ;)

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  11. This was great. I totally agree. Before I ever had kids, I promised myself that I wouldn't put on a lot of pregnancy weight and that I had to the lose all the pregnancy weight before another pregnancy. Not just for my husband, but for me. I think being over weight is the cause for a lot of Americans depression. Obesity and depression seem to be on the rise in our country. Makes sense. If you don't feel good about yourself and your body, you get down.

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    1. Yes, it's so easy to let yourself go when you're pregnant. Then you have the baby and wonder why you still have so much weight on your frame! It's much better to reign it in for those 9 months!!

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  12. Great post, Colleen! I've had such a better pregnancy this time around and I think a lot of it has to do with faithfully exercising from 11 weeks on. It helps me so much mentally too. I've always struggled with low self-esteem but when I'm exercising regularly and reaching fitness goals, I don't allow myself to wallow in self pity. I can't wait to get back to running after this pregnancy. Hopefully in September I'll be able to lace up again!

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    1. Yes, exercise makes me feel like a million bucks after, even if I don't look any different. It's such a high!

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  13. My problem is that I eat well and exercise and have done so pretty much consistently since I was about 20....and I still feel overweight and fat most of the time. I've exercised consistenly throughout all pregnancies, starting again at 2-3 week pp, I eat healthy and I still have problems losing the baby weight. That's the problem with being healthy and execising consistently...it stops working or stops causing any body changes after a time...at least for me. My husband still thinks I look good but I definitely wish I was smaller.

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    1. I know you are super healthy, Amelia, better than me! I think for people that already eat healthy and exercise, the only way to lose weight is to honestly watch portion sizes. We can still eat too much healthy food, you know?

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  14. I am definitely with you! I exercise for me, for Kirk, for the kids, and also for God to take care of this body that he has given me.

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    1. And you look good doing it! :)

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  15. Amen!! When people comment quite often about me being 'so skinny' (as compared to what I once was, but hardly overweight at all) I assure them that A) I do eat and that B) I exercise 5-6x a week. I do this because, like you, I feel better and I really do notice the difference mentally. Being healthier allows me to feel comfortable in my own skin and enjoy feeling good. I did finally reach the point where I just don't feel 'myself' if I've missed a couple days of exercise. Thanks for the inspiration! You really were one of the people I aspired to be like and be active over the last few years.
    Now, I need to try out that exercise routine above and if you've got some belly bulge miracle exercise you'd like to share or explain why my belly bloats by days end (nope, not preggers), oh wise one, I'd like to hear it. :)

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    1. The best ab workouts I've done are planks. Regular planks, side planks, and mountain climbers. But I think having lots of babies just makes our ab muscles weak and stretched out and hence the bloat you are talking about.

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    2. I figured baby blessings were also part of the bloat but it just became more noticeable lately. I just wanted to see if this was normal before going into the doc sounding like crazy-freak-out-woman. ha I will trust my Bestie/fitness coach and plank/climb away!! :)

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  16. Yes! I am a lot more irritable when I don't exercise. I read in one of Fr. Jacques Phillipe's books that if you find yourself overreacting and unduly anxious, something is amiss spiritually. For me, that "something" is almost always the failure to treat my body as a temple.

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  17. Colleen!!!! I've missed you, my friend. I've been away so so long :( Congratulations on Mr. Declan! How exciting!!! I'm still trying to get Jeremy on board for baby #5, but no such luck yet! You always look amazing, so happy that you're making exercise a priority. I need to do the same. Hugs and love to ya!

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  18. I totally agree with this. I'm 3 c-sections in and have started working out 5 days a week. I feel so much better about myself and even though my husband thinks I'm amazing and beautiful, I exercise for myself and for my family. It's silly but I know I'm going to need to continue exercising to remain healthy in order to care for our autistic daughter long term. So anytime I want to quit mid workout or not workout that day, I think of my daughter. And that picture of you running your half marathon, those legs! Oh my gosh you are strong!

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  19. This is a great post, Colleen! Thanks for this.

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