Welp, there it is. I've never worn a bikini in public, and here I am at six months post-partum in a bikini for the entire internet to see.
I have always been overweight. I was over 11 pounds when I was born, so believe me, I've always been overweight. From my teenage years through adulthood, I've been stuck on a cycle of gaining and losing weight. Binge eating junk food until I decided to make a change, and then dieting and exercising until I got close to where I had been. Each time I repeated this cycle, I always ended up five or ten pounds heavier. And then I got pregnant!
After my son was born last September, I lost a good portion of the pregnancy weight pretty easily, mostly due to breastfeeding, but had 15 stubborn pounds hanging on. Additionally, I had some bad eating habits from my pregnancy that I needed to kick.
This TT challenge came at the perfect time for me to recommit to my health and set a good example for my son. When he starts talking, I want him to say things like, "Mommy is strong" and "Mommy cooks good food" and not "Mommy eats a whole box of girl scouts cookies." I want him to grow up knowing that health is a priority and our bodies will respond to how we treat them. And I'm excited to have the strength and stamina to keep up with him.
Due to breastfeeding, I had to be careful not to lose too much weight too quickly, but I'm excited with my results from this challenge. Not only can I see the difference in the photos, but I can feel it. I don't need to take antacids every day for heartburn or ibuprofen for general aches. Many of my pre-pregnancy clothes are too big! I can do 10 standard pushups in a row, and I've never done standard pushups in my life! Most notably, my body fat percentage is the lowest it's ever been.
I've learned from these past 12 weeks is that I CAN change my personal brand. I don't have to be the woman who has always been overweight. I can be fit. I don't have to be the woman who eats an entire pizza and hides the box from her husband; I can eat a great salad that I actually enjoy. I don't have to be the woman who makes up any excuse to skip the gym; I can be the woman who looks forward to her workouts. And I can wake up every day at 5 a.m. not because I have to, but because I want to.
Meal planning and a 30-minute workout are not just another thing I have to fit into my already-busy day. I know that these two pieces of a healthy life are what I need to make all other parts of my life possible. When I make healthy choices, my marriage improves, my performance at work improves, and my general demeanor improves. I am committed to being THIS woman.
- Emily Rendall-Araujo