Fit Parenting – Reality and Balance (by Kara Gibbs)

Kara is a friend of mine who does an outstanding job being a fit parent. She has a perfect perspective. Enjoy!

Prior to getting pregnant, I was committed to diet & exercise. Some called me obsessive. Others crazy or just plain disciplined. I exercised 6x a week for an hour and a half — cardio for an hour or so & then strength training. I felt at the peak of fitness level…a lean 120 pounds.

Getting pregnant wasn’t planned for my husband & I. A brith control “fluke” & it happened. While Jacob wasn’t planned, WE WERE THRILLLED. I kept up my running regimine until relaxin gave me shin splints & joint weakness. Then, I hit the gym and used either the eliptical machine or incumbent bike. After time (and a huge belly), I would get fatigued but would still work out at least 45 minutes. I even strength trained. I did all of this up until the day before Jake was born.

My doctor’s told me, “If you were this intense before pregnancy, it’s OK to safely continue.” So, I did. I was determined to NOT be a whale. But, despite my healthy eating & exercise, I still gained 35 pounds. 😦 Naturally, I lost 25 pounds day within a few days after Jake was born.

Then, healing had to take place. I had a c-section. MAJOR SURGERY. The frustration of being sore & unable to work out for 6+ weeks scared me. Unless sick, I NEVER MISSED A WORKOUT. Because of the low intensity that I had to do closer to the end of my pregnancy, I felt like I was starting from square 1 at the gym. FRUSTRATION set in. I also had a hard time easing into sit-ups because of the incision.

Now, let’s add being a new mom…adjusting to naps…NURSING with big, full breasts….HELLO!

I had to learn to be flexible. My NEW priority wasn’t myself, my body, my routine. It was Jacob. I had to LEARN to be OK with that. I had to start out slow. Unless you are famous or leave your child with someone, at times getting a work out into the day can be impossible.

For me, I had to rely on going when Jake was napping. This meant maybe on 20-30 minutes of cardio. It meant running with engorged breasts that hurt with every step. It meant doing a quick ab workout while Jake slept or was entertained in his swing. It meant a couple days of NO EXERCISE because THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS.

The older he got, the easier it was to take him with me in the jog stroller. Some days he wouldn’t last long — crying his lungs out — so it would be a short run.

If you are like Amanda & me, you will want to get fit RIGHT AWAY. We want our prebaby bodies. At least I did. (Shoot, I still do!) But due do genetics, body composition, age, lifestyle, for some this may come the day you walk out of the delivery room, for others it may mean hanging onto a few extra pounds.

I have fallen in the few extra pounds category. And, I HAVE to be OK with that. Ohhh, some days I fail. Some days I want to be thin again. BUT, where are my priorities? Jake is too precious for me to compromise spending time with him for a vain pursuit! 🙂

Thankfully, the CU gym opens early. I have been able to do an hour of cardio, get home, shower, dressed, prepare his breakfast — all before he is up at 8am. 🙂

What’s the moral to this loooooooong diatribe? HAVE YOUR GOALS BE REALISTIC. You may NOT be able to exercise for the length or intensity you used to. And, that’s OK. Exercise when and if you can!

BE BALANCED. If you are neglecting your baby, husband, and home to be something you used to be …. you need to recalibrate. 🙂

Want to ask me questions? Have a comment? Feel free to email me at karakara31 at yahoo dot com. 🙂

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