I had hit my mid-thirties, have had my children, and have weaned off my youngest child from It was time. I had hit my mid-thirties, have had my children, and have weaned off my youngest child from nursing. In other words, I finally came to the point where I had the capacity to take care of myself.
It was time to start taking care of my body, my health, and my mental state.
At the end of December 2021, on new year’s eve, I made up my mind to start making the change in my lifestyle. It was then that I started working out, eating better, and started goal-setting for my personal growth.
It was a turning point, and it was now or never because I had been complacent for so long that I would most likely have continued being where I was longer since it was so comfortable just staying there. It had been over six years of putting myself second, to have my children and prioritize them when they were in their infancy, the season where they needed me the most. Things were shifting now.
I was not happy with the way I looked, I had gained a lot of weight in my last pregnancy and it was stubbornly sticking to me. Not to mention I had a 2–3cm ab separation that came from my pregnancies, also termed as diastasis recti and it had not closed, giving my tummy a bulge, a ‘mummy tummy’ appearance.
To be honest, I did not think I would have to work so hard to get back in shape. I always assumed that I would be able to snap back into shape after I was done having children, by exercise alone and by sheer willpower. So I took my three pregnancies for granted, I ate whatever I wanted during each pregnancy and while I was nursing each of my babies, and had gained a lot of weight as a effect.
To be fair, I had managed to lose the pregnancy weight naturally after my first two pregnancies with minimal exercise, but my third pregnancy was different. I gave birth in the midst of a pandemic in 2020, and was confined at home mostly after that. Working from home did not help as I then had a very sedentary lifestyle, and yes, I ate a lot again. I kept thinking that it was fine, I just had a baby, I was breastfeeding, and that I would lose the weight later on, just like my first two post-partum experiences.
But this time, the weight did not go away. One year past the birth of my daughter, I still looked like I was 5 months pregnant. I had to buy new clothes that could fit me, that would hide the belly. It was really a blow to my self-confidence.
Eighteen months on, I still looked pretty much the same, and I no longer had the excuse of being in my post-partum stage of life. In fact, after I weaned my daughter two months ago, I decided enough was enough, and I would now intentionally start working on my body to get fit again, if I could. I craved to feel healthy and fit back into my old clothes. I had other motivations as well, but what was mentioned here was motivation enough for me.
I worked on my ab separation first. I knew I couldn’t just do the usual crunches or any regular ab I worked on my ab separation first. I knew I couldn’t just do the usual crunches or any regular ab exercise, as that would make the diastasis worse. I learned the type of exercise that would work those abs to bring them back together, and I started doing these exercises daily. Eventually, the gap between my abs started to reduce.
I then bought a treadmill and I started jogging. I started using it once a week at first, then twice a week. At the start of January 2022, I started to jog daily. I would find time before my work on weekdays, and before the kids woke up on the weekends. Some days I could only fit in 15 mins, other days I managed a 20 min run. I also pick up badminton again, and on that one day a week that I do get in a 2-hour badminton work-out, only would I would skip my daily run. The point is to get in a work-out daily.
It was not easy, it was a real commitment to keep up the routine, while juggling full-time work and kids. It meant I had to wake earlier every day to fit my work-out time in, consistently despite how tired I felt.
And what about my diet? My eating habits?
I did not go on any strict diets, but I started to cut down on sugar and carbohydrates and increased my fat intake instead. I knew whatever food change I took on had to be sustainable, so I continued eating regularly but I choose better food options. I stopped binge eating and snacking late at night. I also started taking a mix of lemon water and apple cider vinegar once a day after my last meal to help regulate my blood sugar levels.
So how long has it been since I changed my lifestyle?
6 full weeks, and counting on to 7 weeks.
I can say already that although it may not have been a very long time since I started this routine, but I have managed to close my ab separation down to 1cm or less, and I have toned down my tummy bulge. I have got a long way to go still, but there have been improvements to my form. What’s more, I feel stronger, both physically and mentally.
As mentioned, one effect of changing my lifestyle was that I felt mentally stronger, because I now knew that I had the ability to control and push myself to keep up with this new healthier lifestyle. I had the ability to say no to certain foods and to push through the pain of exercise. The exercise itself, over time as my body got used to the work-outs, begin to get easier.
In other words, I could do it, I can change my habits and keep up with the new routine consistently. Also, exercise generally makes you feel better as your body releases endorphins, it then helps stabilize your mood and reduces anxiety, so that’s another plus point. Finally, looking better and just being able to fit into your old clothes gave me a confidence boost. The icing on the cake.
There it is, the gist of the intervention I made on my life lately, and how it has been going so far. This one-act was part of an over-arching plan I had come up with at the end of 2021 when I started to feel like I had hit an early mid-life crisis. It was then that I had decided to start achieving the things I wanted but had been putting off.
I hope this encourages any of you who are reading this, to start to make the changes to achieve what you want to see in your own life, with intentionality, and persevere through it. It will be worth your efforts.