The thinner mom inside
Boxing helped me to get my body back after having kids, says this mom of two.

I did all the right things when I was pregnant – I exercised and I ate good, healthy food – but my weight kept creeping up, between pregnancies and after the births.

I couldn’t bring myself to hate my body. This was the same body, after all, that had not only carried 2 beautiful boys but also made it through 2 labours, 2 natural births, 4 years of breastfeeding. It was a strong body. But it didn’t look like mine, anymore. I’d catch glimpses of myself in the mirror, sometimes, and wonder at the stranger I saw.

After my second child was born I made a couple of half-hearted attempts to get back into exercising – resigned to the fact that I would almost certainly never get my pre-mom body back, I hoped I could at least get fit. My body, stubbornly, resisted my best efforts. I tried going back to yoga and hated the way my belly got in the way of twists and compressions.

Eventually I went to see an acupuncturist who helped me with my low energy levels. A combination of therapeutic needling and Chinese herbs gave me the kickstart I needed. I began re-engaging with people and projects that nourished me rather than drained me. I started going out – at night! With grown ups! And as I started to reclaim my life outside of being a mom, I started thinking about reclaiming my physical space – my body – too.

Mom goes boxing

Earlier this year, one of my friends mentioned that he trained at a small gym with a group of professional boxers. I was intrigued but thought it might be too much of a man’s world… until he told me the person who managed the boxers was a woman, a mom like me. So I called the manager and set up a training session.

I started training twice a week; then, when I began to feel stronger, more energised, I increased it to 3 times a week.

And the strangest thing happened: I started losing weight. It was subtle at first – my clothes became a bit less tight, I looked… firmer, better. I certainly felt a whole lot better.

Regular exercise – and exercise I loved – meant I was getting a big-time endorphin rush every time I trained. My eating habits changed, too. As my body, my metabolism, started functioning better, I lost interest in eating crap; I ate smaller portions without even trying to. I need to point out that this wasn’t a diet: I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. But my appetite changed, as I got fitter.

My face lost some of its roundness. I dropped 1, then 2 clothing sizes. My belly retreated. My shoulders and arms gained definition. I started running on the treadmill, as part of my warm-up routine, and discovered that with the right soundtrack I actually enjoyed running… 

When I finally climbed onto the scale at the gym, I worked out I had lost somewhere between 10kg and 15kg between March and October. This sounds impressive, but it should come with a caveat: I’m not skinny. I am, now, the right weight for my height.

The strangest thing, however, that’s come with getting my body back – a body that is, aside from stretchmarks, better than the one I had before kids – has been how radically the physical shift has impacted on me emotionally, mentally.

It’s taken me until now to realise how stuck I was in many parts of my life, how I allowed myself to remain overweight, unhealthy and ultimately invisible outside of being ‘mom’.

I’m still coming to grips with where I was, then, and where I am and who I am now. But when I look in the mirror, I see a woman who looks just like me. And I like her.

Are you still sruggling to get back your pre-pregnancy body?

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