It’s totally normal to put weight on when pregnant, but considering that I’m only 5'2", that was a lot more than expected.
I continued to work out throughout my pregnancy, but still managed to gain 47 pounds.
It’s totally normal to put weight on when pregnant, but considering that I’m only 5’2″, that was a lot more than expected.
So after my son was born, I was anxious to get my body in shape, and feel like myself again.
The only problem: I just couldn’t find the drive or motivation to stick with anything at that time, whether it was breastfeeding or exercising. Despite entering the greatest phase of my life—motherhood—I was struggling deep inside.
Like most new moms, I posted pictures of everyday moments with my son—from his baptism to just the cute things babies do. A lot of the time, I was in these pictures as well, but avoided being front and center.
One day, though, I saw there was a new DM in my inbox. It was filled with nasty comments from a family member’s ex’s new partner, and she didn’t beat around the bush: She said I was fat, ugly, that my teeth resembled Mr. Ed. She blatantly called me out on my postpartum weight, too.
New moms out there can surely empathize with the distress of this—my body had, of course, changed during pregnancy. But to be not only called out on these changes, but also in a way that made the miracle my body achieved seem like a negative—I was beside myself.
And even though I knew I should’ve brushed off the comments, I let her get in my head. I started to believe what she said about me, which shot me further down the path of destruction, yo-yo dieting, and inconsistent fitness routines.
1. A friend inspired me to find fitness again.
Luckily, a few months later, a friend’s postpartum transformation caught me at the right moment, and inspired me to get active.
I followed exactly what she did: During my son’s nap time, I started streaming workouts on my Apple TV like dancing and kickboxing. Soon, I was working out five to six days a week, doing my “Naptime Hustle.”
My friend also introduced me to an amazing support group of women on Facebook who encouraged me to keep it up.
And it worked. Within six months, I lost 47 pounds, which was actually 12 pounds more than my initial goal. I couldn’t believe it.
But despite conquering this huge hurdle, gaining new muscle, and having a new tribe of amazing, strong, fit new mamas on my team, my cyber bully’s comments still had ahold of my thoughts.
2. I thought getting abs would make me forget my cyber bully for good.
At the beginning of 2018, it had been two years since her original comments, a year and a half since losing the weight, and I knew I couldn’t live with her in my head. Clearly it wasn’t just about a number on a scale, so I had to find another way to banish her hold over me.
Up to then, I was doing 25 to 40-minute workouts, almost exclusively cardio, and with little or no equipment. I decided to start a new at-home workout program, one that included more weights, focused on shaping the booty and strengthening the core, and required top-level commitment.
Of course, as superficial as it sounds, I wanted abs so badly to prove to my bully she was wrong. I thought that was really what would solve it.
But what was really cool about the program I started (80-Day Obsession with Autumn Calabrese) was that it also emphasized self-care and the value of loving your body.
So for three months, I hit every workout for 45 minutes to an hour. Each was so intense and no two were the same—the videos were filmed live and each workout was different to avoid plateauing. They used all range of weights, but also resistance loops and sliders, materials that were new and exciting for me coming off almost pure cardio. I was excited to do the longer workouts and push myself harder.
I also dove into the self-care. I started taking Epsom salt baths and getting acupuncture to help my body rest and heal faster from the tougher workouts. I took time during the day to read and journal. Between being a new mom and working out so hard, it was so nice to nourish my body and my mind.
Slowly, the mix of all of this together began pushing every doubt and negative thought far from my mind.
3. Fitness helped me become more confident than ever.
After 13 weeks, the commitment definitely paid off. I gained muscle, got more toned, and scored those abs!
But the biggest change to me was the outrageous amount of confidence I gained. This program not only worked my body but my mindset—it was like a personal development course within a workout. I finished it feeling better than ever, stronger than ever, and more confident than ever.
And guess what? That cyber bully was finally out of my head. The fitness routine reminded me of my value and my worth. (The abs were just a bonus.) I took back my life. Those mean words had been replaced with true self-love.
I got into fitness wanting to prove something to someone else, but I ended up proving things to myself—that I can reach goals labeled as “unachievable.” Taking the time for my workouts, nutrition, and self-care taught me to love myself no matter where I am in my journey. I am worthy, I am capable, and I can do hard things. The way my body has changed is just an added bonus.
I haven’t heard from my cyberbully since posting all my transformation pictures, but I actually ran into her while shopping. For a moment, I considered saying something, but instead I just walked past her with a smile on my face, letting my results do the talking for me.
4. Here’s what my workouts look like now.
My week is pretty chaotic with a toddler, so I still take advantage of the “Naptime Hustle” to guarantee I get a workout in, without taking time away from my family. I’m currently wrapping up a 60-day intense cardio conditioning program that I stream through my Apple TV, with 30-minute workouts, five days a week. Next, I’m going to get after another streaming program that’s 12 weeks and a mix of HIIT and weight lifting.
And, just as importantly, I still maintain my self care. “Me” time is so valuable and something no one should compromise—just taking some time each day for yourself—whether it’s for a workout or personal development—really helps shape all aspects of your life.
Of course, sometimes I miss naptime, and on those days, I’ll work out with my toddler around—but he joins in on the fun, which I absolutely love. It’s important to me to set a good example for him and be my best for him.
5. Find your ‘why?’
Find that fuel that’s deep down inside. There will be bumps, but you have the strength in you to fight it. For me, that fuel was my son and wanting to be the best version of myself for him. Use that fuel to bring out the fighter in you.
Follow Gabbie’s journey @fab_fit_momma.