CHALLENGE: ARE YOU REALLY LOVING YOURSELF?

I'm afraid I've done all of you a disservice. I haven't been truthful. I've been preaching "self-love" on this blog for awhile, and to my defense I thought I had reached a point of loving myself. But here's the thing... I haven't been taking care of ME. If I've been neglecting ME, then how is that an act of self love? It's not.

Here's the deal - I have not felt like myself in two years.

Before we got pregnant, I had gotten myself into a good health routine. I was taking care of myself, eating clean, working out 4-5 days a week. I felt amazing. Then, suddenly, everything changed.

What you're about to read is how I have decided to do a full on LOVE YOURSELF TRANSFORMATION. But before I get into that, I want to tell you a little about what's been going on with me and why I've decided to do this. 

I had terrible morning (all day) sickness when I was pregnant with Emaline. I was nauseous all day, every day, and the only things I could hold down were the items I had worked so hard to cut out of my diet: bread and cheese. 

There was one point during my pregnancy where I felt amazing... that lasted 3 weeks. So I started eating healthy salads and cutting out the bread and cheese. The result? I ended up in the ER for low blood sugar and the doctor said I simply wasn't eating enough. At this point I had gained 40 pounds already. I was about 5 months pregnant at that time. I laughed in his face and said, "you have got to be kidding me! I have to eat more?!" So, needless to say, after that I was just eating to feel okay. 

All in all, in my 41 weeks of pregnancy, I gained 75 pounds. I worked out twice a week until I was 7 months pregnant and literally felt like I was falling off the spin bike (haha!) so I stopped. I stuck with Pure Barre until 8.5 months. I didn't go out of my way to indulge (ok, maybe sometimes) but I really tried to remain conscious of what I was putting in my body. 

I tried not to be hard on myself because I knew I was growing a human, and that is an amazing thing. But the first time I saw the stretch marks on my stomach I died a little on the inside. They didn't show up until I was about 32 weeks, and I was devastated.

My "plan" after having Em was to start working out again once I got cleared by the doctor. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. We didn't know that our sweet baby girl would have heart problems, which led to a very traumatic few months (you can read more about her story here). I spent months literally only caring about her, and no one else. My body, health and wellness were the last things on my mind. 

Once things started to calm down, I did a little barre here and there but finding the motivation to actually go do something for myself was extremely difficult. I'm not sure if some of this is PTSD or if it is a normal thing that new moms go through (I would love your feedback on this) but I found myself not actually wanting to leave her. As soon as I got out of the house to go do something for myself, I immediately missed her. This made it harder and harder to make myself a priority. 

When E was 6 months old, I decided to take a 6 month job (I'm a freelance costume buyer for the film industry). I don't regret doing so, but by doing this - I put off taking care of myself even longer. When that job ended, I spent the next couple of months flying up to see my aunt who was losing her battle with cancer. I also juggled a few freelance jobs here and there and started this blog. Over the summer, I decided to take another gig. That job just ended. I haven't really stopped and taken a moment to breathe and I definitely haven't taken the time I need for myself.

Which brings us to now.

I have not made my physical, mental, or emotional health a priority since becoming a Mom and I'm ready to change that. 

I am ready to get my health back on track and prove to myself that I can do something challenging. I talk so much about self love on my blog, and I truly believe that any sort of transformation starts on the inside. However, how can I be of any sort of inspiration to anyone else when I am not truly loving myself? 

For the first few months after having my daughter, I would cringe in the mirror. I still do that sometimes. My body is completely different than it was before. It feels like someone took over my body. Most of the time now, I can look in the mirror and give myself a pep talk, like: "Hey there, weird body that doesn't look familiar. You had a baby. Your husband loves you. Stop caring so much. You are beautiful." That helps, but the thing about it is... I haven't TRIED to take care of ME since I became a mom. I've been so concerned with making sure everyone else is okay, and I've neglected myself. So, again I ask: how is that loving myself? It isn't. It's time to show myself some love.

I have decided to share this on my blog in hopes to inspire and encourage all women who can relate. It doesn't matter if you're a mom or not - we are all women who struggle with body image issues and self love. So, here I am inviting you to come along with me on this journey to health & wellness. I've done big lifestyle changes like this in the past, but they were never for the right reasons.

I am giving myself THREE MONTHS to do this transformation.

GOALS:

1. WORK OUT 3x/WEEK

2. TRACK MY FOOD DAILY

3. TAKE MY DAILY SUPPLEMENTS

4. EAT A CLEAN, PALEO-ISH DIET (and cut out all foods I'm sensitive to)

REASONS WHY I'M DOING THIS:

1. My anxiety is out of control. I think it is something I have always struggled with, but never knew thats what it was. More recently, I have been seeing physical health side effects which is the major trigger for me to finally do something about it. Physical exercise and eating right is the first step to getting my anxiety under control.

2. I don't feel good. I haven't felt good in 2 years. I have joint and back pain, my hips hurt, and I feel weak. I am easily out of breath and always tired. I have reflux, indigestion, etc etc. 

3. Mental satisfaction. I am easily discouraged and depressed, but when I prove to myself that I can actually do something REALLY HARD... the sky is the limit! I am ready to inspire and be inspired. 


PHASE ONE of the #HODloveyourself transformation: 

the workout


For years, I've loved doing spin and barre classes. But this time, I need something I've never done before. I almost need to do something extreme. I still have 40 pounds of baby weight holding me down, and a lot of stress I need to work off.

To do this, I've decided to partner with BARRY'S BOOTCAMP! I am going to be doing a class there 3x a week - and giving you an update (with photos) every 4 weeks. 

Why Barry's? First of all - I have no willpower to go to a gym and workout. I need a class. I need a sense of community. Most of all, I need a positive environment. Barry's is a high energy studio workout that is super hard, but the instructors are not intimidating. Barry's is a combination workout consisting of cardio and strength, guaranteed to show you results. I'm pumped! And terrified!

I am the least athletic person EVER, and of course I'm a little nervous to step foot in that door this week but I know that they have my back. When I first started talking to Barry's one thing we both agreed on was how important it is to work on loving yourself from the inside out.

This transformation I'm doing is not to get skinny. I have no goal weight. No amount of inches I am trying to lose. I just want to be healthy and feel good.

I want to raise my daughter to be healthy and proud and not to be concerned with her shape or size. But I have to get to that point within myself. 

I am going to track my progress with before and after photos and measuring inches, just to keep myself motivated and to hopefully inspire other new moms out there that have the same struggles as myself.

So when I say I'm doing a "love yourself transformation" - that's what I mean. I've worked a lot on the inside, to actually love my new mom bod (read this post if you haven't). Now I'm ready to take care of myself again, on the inside and out. 

Follow along on my journey, and if you're local to Atlanta... come join me for a class! 

If you came to my pop up event at Bloomingdale's last weekend, than you already know... Barry's is a TOUGH workout! I can't believe I'm about to take this on... but I'm excited to see what is going to happen, on the inside and out. 

By the way, our Barry's Bootcamp pop-up event with Bloomingdale's raised $500 that went straight to the Susan G. Komen Foundation! What an awesome turnout! Here are some photos from the event. 

I'll be sharing Phase Two of my journey later this week - it's all about nutrition! Thanks in advance for sticking with me through this! If you want to show your support or need some encouragement, use the #HODloveyourself tag on Instagram!

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 This partnership with Barry's is sponsored; I only partner with companies that I truly believe in. 

This partnership with Barry's is sponsored; I only partner with companies that I truly believe in.