I’m 42 years old and a first time mom of 10 month old Noah. I’ve been exercising since I was in my early 20’s. I was never overweight, but I could always stand to lose a few pounds. Thinking back, the reasons I worked out now are far different from what they were 20 years ago.
When I was in my 20’s, I went to a gym and did step aerobics. I remember loving the class because it was most like dancing and I love to dance. I also remember lifting weights, but I didn’t know what I was doing when it came to how much weight, how many reps, how many sets, which exercises to do, so much of that time was wasted with no results. I bought things such as the Thigh Master, Billy Blanks Tae Bo, and Yoga videos on VHS. (I heard that yoga was becoming popular and thought it would get me into the best shape of my life.) Back then, I ate Creamette noodles frequently, because on the box it said that it was fat free. No fat! Sounds good, right? I had no clue about nutrition. I worked out because others did and I felt like I had to fit in. I didn’t love it, but I liked it enough to continue.
When I was in my early/mid 30’s, I still went to the gym, just less frequently. I paid $1k per year for a gym membership. I went because everyone else did. I didn’t love exercise, I still hate sweating. I also didn’t love wasting my money, so I forced myself to go. I always liked classes. I liked having someone else tell me what to do because I was clueless unless I hired a personal trainer. Bootcamp, weight lifting, Pilates, step aerobics I tried it all. I hated Spinning with a passion and I still do. I worked out, again to keep up with the joneses. I was single and living in the city and if I was going to find and keep a man, I had to keep myself in check. Back fat and summer sundresses don’t go well together. Plus, there were single guys at the gym! Hearing myself say, “I went to the gym” made me feel better about myself. It made me feel like I was accomplishing something. It made me feel like I was in charge of me when in reality, I was spinning around just waiting for the next best thing to come around. I came home from the gym and would have a healthy fish dinner and then back it up with ice cream, a glass of wine, and sometimes a cigarette.
In my late 30’s, I had moved to the suburbs and found myself in a very un-motivating health club, on the treadmill next to a dude who was wearing jeans, talking on his cellphone, and walking at about a 1.0 pace. I thought to myself, “I’m never going to see any kind of results at this place. There is nothing here that is motivating to me.” Summer was coming and that uncomfortable feeling about putting on a bikini was quickly approaching. I felt like my hips were too big, my thighs were fat and my rear end wasn’t look-worthy. I got tired of complaining about the same thing every year so I decided that I’d do the cabbage soup diet to lose a few pounds quickly. It would at least give me the short-term confidence that I was craving. I lost eight pounds and gained it back within a few days.
I started to workout at home with at-home fitness programs. It took a long time for me to commit to this because when I thought “at home fitness,” I thought Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, etc. “That’s ridiculous. No one gets results at home.” What was different about this, was that I had everything that I needed to succeed. I had a workout calendar that would tell me which workout to do on which day. I had a nutritional guide which helped me to make smarter choices in the kitchen. I had a team of supportive friends behind me and they cheered me on when the going got tough. In 60 days, I accomplished getting up at 05:30 every morning to do my workout (which is a small miracle in itself). I worked out 6 days a week and only missed 2 days out of the 60. I learned about food and using it as fuel vs satisfaction. I learned what it took to lose 13lbs and 13 inches. I felt this new confidence in me that I never had before and I liked what I saw in the mirror. I was not only changing on the outside, but on the inside too. I was finding myself again after being lost for so long. I rocked my bikini that summer and felt better than I ever had before.
I continued on my at home fitness journey and still do to this day. I had my son in August of 2015. I was 41 years old, 8 weeks post-partum, I was ready to get back at it. I WANTED to work out. After having a baby, my hormones were going crazy, a totally new life was staring me down, I was scared shitless about being a new mom, and I wanted to get back to some sort of familiarity of my existence. I found what worked for me and I went right back to it. I think I used to always lose steam because nothing that I tried actually worked. This did and I continue to feel fantastic day after day after day. I don’t hate exercise. I’m addicted to the feeling I get after I exercise.
The one thing that’s different now versus before baby, is that I’m no longer trying to have this rock star fitness body. I want to be the healthiest that I can be. I want to be confident, mentally strong, and healthy for my family. I want to live a very long life, medication and pain free. I have a saggy belly and I don’t care. It’s a sign of the life that we’ve created. My hips are wider and I had to go a size up in my jeans even though I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I still workout 6 days a week and focus on making good nutritional choices. I want my son to look up to me as someone he respects and admires and I want to be able to teach him how to make good choices himself. I want to continue to live a healthy lifestyle, because I know that he is always watching me!
Jen Thatcher started her fitness journey in July of 2012. She became addicted to beach body after loosing 13lbs in sixty days and transforming her body and her life. She now helps other people unlock their potential as a beach body coach. Follow her on Facebook.