It’s been 2.5 months since I had Pearl Jo, and I’m finally starting to feel kind of normal. With that also comes the normal anxiety and the self love/body image struggles. To be honest, it really doesn’t have anything to do with having children. I mean… SURE. I’ve gone through the pain and heartache of losing the body that you thought you knew so well to pregnancy and having to adjust not once, but twice to a new and different body.

But these issues have been with me since I was young and long before having children. And I’ve spent the past two years trying to get myself to a point of true self love, whatever that may look like. It’s been a journey, to say the least. And I feel like I will always be figuring it out, but moving forward at the same time if that makes any sense at all!

About a year and a half ago, I went through some hard things and finally found myself at such a high point of anxiety and health problems I was FORCED to put my self care first. I ended up changing my nutrition completely thanks to Jessica at More Than Food, and I started working out at Barry’s to prove to myself I could do something hard and to challenge myself. Here’a a recap of that journey… READ HERE. Wow, I look a lot different don’t I? It’s okay, I’m okay with it.

So…. here’s the thing. This was never about weight or jean size. It was about how I felt on the inside and I wasn’t okay. I fear I’m slowly diving back in to that mental space and I’m trying to stop it before it gets too bad.

During that time, I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was putting everyone before me, which is so easy to do as a working mom. I would go all day without eating, then binge eat a cheeseburger and throwback a few glasses of wine every night. I’d wake up in a rush, always in a rush… grab CFA breakfast or skip it all together and not eat until 3pm. It was chaos. Everything was chaos. No wonder I started having panic attacks. As my physician put it: my body had started to internalize and manifest all of the stress.

After changing my nutrition and doing something for myself every day, which was working out at Barry’s, I slowly but surely pulled myself out of it.

I only had about 4 months of that before I got pregnant with Pearl Jo. I was SO sick with her from week 4 until week 20, and it caused major hormonal depression as well. I couldn’t work out. All I could eat was Zaxby’s salads at first and bread. I could barely leave the couch. This did a number on me.

Long story short, I let go of the mental stress of caring about nutrition too much with this pregnancy because I felt like it wasn’t doing me any favors. I had to take a step back and do what my body was telling me to do… like take it easy all day, which kinda killed me on the inside. I gained around 55 pounds with Pearl and right now I’m about 25 lbs away from what I was pre-pregnancy, and I’m fine with that. I just want to feel like ME again and take care of myself. My body hurts and aches and I don’t feel good… like ever.

I decided a while ago that I am not good with scales. The scale is my worst enemy. I literally become obsessed and it affects my entire day. Up a pound? Starve until tomorrow because you don’t deserve to eat, Ashley. This is the kind of behavior I’ve engaged in my whole life and I’m happy to say that I feel like I’ve moved beyond that type of thinking. It’s like… for some reason we grew up thinking food and eating was a reward. I’m working really hard on changing that and feel I’ve come a long way.

Now, I’m almost 3 months postpartum and my body is craving exercise and proper nutrition. Mentally, physically and emotionally I know this is what I need. I’m not sure what I’m going to do exactly yet as far as working out goes, but I know that as far as eating… I like to keep it clean and not too rigid. I don’t succeed with extremely strict eating plans. Working out seems to knock out my anxiety/depression which I am feeling at an all time high right now to be honest, so I can’t wait to get back in to a routine.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated (more frequently through my instagram) on my body love journey… A part of me feels like I’m starting over but then I realize I’ve still come so far from where I was before. I used to not be able to look at my body in the mirror. A year ago, it was SO HARD taking photos in public in just my sports bra. Last week when I took these photos, it wasn’t easy… but I was so confident. And to think - my body isn’t even close to being as healthy and in shape as it was last year. I think this still means I’ve come a long way.

This is a bit of rambling. Sometimes, this is how I like to write. I hope you can relate! xo

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