Not Alone – Thank Goodness

I received the following comment/question today on my last post about HIIT and more intense training and I feel it deserved to be replied to as part of a post, since I know others may wonder about this part of my life right now as well. Jennifer asked:

How do you keep yourself feeling positive about your body image? I’m in a similar position to yours; I had to gain 20 pounds and cut way back on my running in order to conceive my first baby; now I’ve put the weight back on and am cutting back the exercise in order to get ready to conceive my second baby.
Most of the time, I am good at positive self-talk in order to keep my mind on the right goal, but sometimes I just look in the mirror and want to cry, or read about long runs and want to cry.
Do you have any sage advice for getting through this TTC time?

First of all, I want to THANK YOU for posting this question. It showed me that I am not alone. Something that has been very hard for me is feeling like no one understands this process. I know many women struggle with their appearance, but they may not understand the feeling of not being able to do anything about it. Or sometimes I feel like many don’t understand why I had to put on weight and cut back workouts to be able to try to conceive. I’ve had people ask me with confused looks “Oh really…your doctors wanted you to GAIN weight??? But that doesn’t make sense!”. And then I feel judged like they don’t believe me or think I use it as an excuse for putting on this much weight after my show.

image from cdn.sheknows.com

Now, to answer the question. I am going to be honest and say that I struggle with this almost daily for at least a few moments. Some days are better than others. Today was a tougher one. I was missing more intense workouts and when I went to try on some capris and things that are back in my closet after my shower today…nothing fit comfortably. I immediately felt fat and wanted to cry. I thought “please God just let me be pregnant so I don’t have to worry about this anymore”. And then felt sick to have prayed that, because being uncomfortable with my body is NOT why I want a pregnancy. Growing my family is.

Mi Familia

And that is how I combat those negative feelings. They definitely still pop up, but when I consider WHY I am going through this, the reality of it helps overcome the struggles. Also, looking at this beautiful face…

….helps remind me that the first time I went through all of this (yes I got heavier to conceive that time as well) it passed. And I was able to spring back and get in shape and enjoy it for a time. I also try to really focus on how I am still honoring my health. I do workout; and even if its at a lower intensity, it is what is good for my body. I still eat healthy and a way I enjoy. I have a healthy relationship with food…something that others struggle with. So I should be happy about that.

Basically, I try to look at the positives in all of the negatives. And I pray. Oh, you better believe I pray. Another tip, I actually came up with today, is to go shopping. Or at least be sure you have clothes that fit your body well right now and you can feel confident in. I have noticed that not fitting well in some of my clothes can be a big trigger in sparking negative moments. So, I will be shopping soon. Unless two pink lines show up in the next week. Or maybe I should go ahead and go and see if it triggers the “Bathroom Break Law”. You know…when you take a bathroom break at a restaurant and it seems your food is always there when you get back? Maybe if I go shopping, it will work for me. 😉 Okay, sorry for the tangent.

I know my input on this isn’t necessarily anything life altering, but it has helped me. And you know what? It is OKAY to have off days. And that is for all of us. It is okay to feel upset, angry, hurt, frustrated, sad, etc. God gave us those emotions and they are real. The key is to find ways to help turn them around. And reaching out to a companion going through the same thing, is helpful too. So thank you for helping me today. I hope I returned the favor at least a little bit. 🙂

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26 Responses to Not Alone – Thank Goodness

  1. lessonstolearn says:

    Great post! Since getting pregnant, I have learned that sacrificing for your child begins before birth and even before conception. You do what you have to do to bring a beautiful baby into the world. I am still working out and have some tougher workouts in the mix, but as soon as I don’t feel well, I have to stop. No more pushing through. It makes me feel weak to not power through, but I have to remind myself that the baby comes first, not the workout. Its hard, especially as my belly gets bigger, but it will all be worth it in the end.

  2. Wonderful post, Tina, and great tips on dealing with body image. I’m kind of going through the same thing, but for a different reason. Having to gain weight after suffering from an ED has been a little hard to accept, but I do my best to focus on the positive things that come out of it instead of focusing on the negative. You’re right that some days are harder than others, but overall it seems to help 🙂

    Your little girl is so precious, though, that you’ll see it was all worth it when you get to add another gem to your family 🙂

  3. Vee says:

    I want to hug you and tell you that it will all work out. I appreciate your honesty and I am sure a lot of us can relate. You have such a beautiful family and are able to see the bigger picture – good luck Tina. You will prevail and I can not wait to hear the good news sometime soon! Thinking of you and sending prayers your way.

  4. I have to ditto Vee on this – I want to give you a hug too. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share. My mother had to gain upwards of 15 lbs before she ever conceived either me or my sister. My sister struggled to conceive her first child for 3 yrs, and I now suspect her weight played a role b/c she had her 2nd child within 19 months as she had not lost all the weight and was not working out the same as before.

    I would never think that you’re using conceiving as an excuse for being a little heavier than you’d like. From the pics you post, you look great, you look happy and healthy (healthy is a key point here).

  5. laura dishes says:

    Great post. I think that you’re beautiful and M is cute as a button!

    I admire you for actually looking after your health and making sure that you’re as healthy as you can be- I know that the alternative (winging it and hoping for the best) could be easier and is probably sometimes tempting. (I hope that made sense!)

  6. Morgan says:

    I am going through body image issues for a different reason, but everything you said rings true to me. This is for a good reason, and if I have to do some shopping to feel good about myself, well, so be it!

  7. I love the name of your blog. Keep up the great work. phil 4:13.

  8. Kelly says:

    This was a fabulous post Tina. Thank you for such an honest and open glimpse into your life!

  9. Thank you SO much for this honest post. I do hope to have kids one day, and I won’t lie…this is something I’m a little scared I’ll have to do, too. However, in the end, having kids is *so* worth it. I think about all of the wonderful couples in the world who can’t have children, and I know I would truly do ANYthing to have that. 🙂

  10. Nelly says:

    SO TRUE ..I just gained 10 pounds to regulate my cycles and it worked…now ready for the baby 🙂 It makes sense…the baby needs all the nutrition!

  11. Lindsey says:

    Thanks for posting that, Tina. I really think your blog is the best “Healthy Living Blog” there is! You are so real and upfront! I love it! As women, we need extra body fat to have babies…we’re not meant to be stick thin skinny minnies! (well, perhaps some women can be due to genetics…but the rest of us, probably not!)

    Can’t wait to meet up this weekend! 🙂

  12. i’m actually really REALLY glad you posted this. yesterday was exactly this kind of day for me…i exploded into tears for an hour because i hate how i’m limited in my abilities to work out now that my knee is hurting. i am just so SCARED that all of the hard work i’ve put in to losing weight is going to just crumble away.

  13. homecookedem says:

    Great, great post!! I’m kind of in the opposite position where I’ve actually gained too much weight and I need to lose some before becoming pregnant. I just want to have the healthiest possible pregnancy and get rid of these extra pounds. I’m so glad that you are honoring your health and getting ready to conceive for the right reasons. I continue to pray for you!! 🙂

    P.S. You are beautiful!!!!!!

  14. lisaou11 says:

    I COMPLETELY agree with buying clothes that fit. I know women can be so apprehensive about buying clothes in a bigger size, but once you put them on and once you feel how they fit your body, a lot of those negative feelings will go away, at least for that moment.

    nothing is worse than wearing something that isn’t meant for your body anymore.

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  16. janetha says:

    this is a fantastic post and thanks for copying that comment over! i couldn’t agree with you more. the worst mood-killer is trying on old clothes that no longer fit. i don’t know why i do it sometimes! it is just a recipe for a bad mood!

  17. Tina, you are so fabulous. I admire you so much for sharing this honesty with everyone. I’m sure there are tons of women in similar situations who you’ve helped tremendously. And even at a basic level, the notion of accepting your body and the changes that happen in life is positive and affirms that there are so many greater things in our world than our weight. I’m so happy to have read this post, thanks!

  18. This is a wonderful post – one I must bookmark if I ever get pregnant. It IS something I think about – like what if I can’t lose the weight? What if I”m not okay with undoing all of the work i’ve done?? I like to think i’ll have your attitude/outlook!!

  19. This is such a beautifully honest post, and I love it. I worry about that and I’m not even married yet. But when the time comes, I pray that I realize, as you did, that growing a family is much more important than being physically immaculate.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this Tina!! I am sure that there are a lot of women out there who can really relate to you. I can relate, but for different reasons. It kills my self-confidence to not be able to work out and seeing my body go from toned and fit to.. well what it is now, it’s hard. But like you do, I have to do what’s best for me right now.

  21. Jennifer Rahn says:

    Thank you.

    Your post bolstered my willpower and commitment to maintaining a slower pace in order to prepare my body for our next baby. You reaffirmed my faith in my own ability to handle this with grace and a smile (most of the time). You reminded me how important it is to be kind to myself, and how everything pales in comparison to the glorious gift that I will get out of these temporary lifestyle changes.

    Most of all, you made me feel connected to someone who is going through a similar experience. You helped me see that someone else sometimes falls in this experience, but that she too sees that the important part is in getting back up. That is what I needed, and I thank you for giving me that gift. I thank you, my family thanks you, and our baby-to-be thanks you.

    Through faith and proper perspective, I know that we will receive the most precious gift of all.

    – Jen

    • Tina says:

      Thank you Jennifer. This comment gave me strength as well. I love how you say with faith and perspective things will be alright. That is so true and I prayed about those same things this morning. I also said a prayer for you and some others I know are going through a hard time. Email me whenever you want to talk things out. I give you and your family my best. 🙂

  22. Jennifer says:

    Very good post Tina. I know that my husband and I are looking to start a family in the following year, and I have often wondered how I will respond to the effects of gaining weight. Either it be the dr. telling me to gain in order to get pregnant, or just pregnancy weight in itself. It scares me a bit and I question myself if I would be able to get back to my pre-baby body. But you are so right by showing a picture of daughter because that is what really matters. And me hopefully delivering a safe and healthy baby is more important than my own body image issues.

  23. inmytummy says:

    So true that you need to have clothes that fit you now. I have some clothes in my closet that are too tight but still wearable. But when I wear them, I feel bad about myself. I feel much better and confident when my clothes fit properly despite the size on the label.

  24. Leah says:

    Hey Tina, I just caught up on this post …. as my family have been visiting it’s been hard to read blogs on a regular basis! I just wanted to say that I appreciate your honesty and I think that you are doing the best thing for you at this very moment. I also agree with the statement that you (or anyone going through weight gain for whatever reason!) need to wear clothing that fits properly. I remember at the beginning of my second trimester I was putting on more and more weight and the pre-preg clothes were getting tighter and tighter. I complained once to my husband and he so kindly reminded me that I was pregnant and he would be worried if I wasn’t putting on weight. The things our bodies go through are just amazing at these different stages in life and I am learning everyday to just roll with it and I always think about the life I am bringing into this world. So what if my booty is looking a little rounder these days, you know?

    Each woman is so different… some women are told not to gain too much weight during pregnancy, some women are told to gain some before & during pregnancy.. it’s amazing how we all differ.

    I will pray for you and I really hope you see those two little pink lines soon like you are hoping and wishing for!

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