Monday, March 23, 2009

Inspiration Through Visual Torture

Back in September I decided to face facts. My child had been out of the womb for close to 4 years, and I still looked like I had just given birth. I had not been taking care of myself, and wasn’t setting a good example for Laura. Inspired by my friend Angela, I started running on September 29th, 2008. I followed the Couch to 5K running plan. It’s so simple, and starts out so slowly (60 seconds of jogging followed by 90 seconds of walking) that even I could handle it. In 9 weeks you are supposed to be able to run your first 5K. I did my first one on December 5th. But even with all the running, I wasn’t really losing any weight, and I didn’t feel much healthier. So at the end of December, I stopped buying Pepsi for the house.

Now if you know me, you know I love to drink pop (soda for all of you who are confused and don’t call it by the right name). I especially love Pepsi and was usually drinking a can with lunch, and sometimes another can for a snack. So once I finished that last can in December, that was it. I haven’t bought it for the house since. Of course I always have some if I go out to eat, because I think complete deprivation is both cruel and unrealistic. It was so hard at first. Every day at lunch I missed it terribly. But about 5-6 weeks later, I realized I had stopped thinking about it so much. These days I couldn’t even imagine having it at lunch.

On top of that, I stopped eating out so much, and stopped buying candy for the house all the time (horrors!). And guess what? Six long months later, I finally notice a difference. I’ve shed a few pounds. One of my pairs of jeans is too loose to wear and still look respectable. And the absolute best thing is that the Army Man stated he thinks I definitely look skinner.

I’ll be honest-when I bend over, there’s still plenty of skin bending over the top of my pants with me. I imagine, thanks in part to having been pregnant and in part to my own laziness, that will always be there. I haven’t dropped any sizes in clothing. There is no six-pack, four-pack, or even ½ pack appearing on my stomach. My thighs still slap together when I run (my father-in-law’s wisdom is that the noise one hears while running is people clapping for you, which I wholeheartedly agree with).

But I will let the Internet be my judge. I am about to share two pictures with you, both of which are horrifying and embarrassing. They are my “before and after” pictures, in a sense. I hope that in a few more months I’ll be able to share another “after” picture with you, when that six-pack finally makes its appearance. For now though, you’ll just have to settle for me in all my glory.

The first picture is from May 2007. I debated for a while about whether to share it, because it’s usually preferable not to embarrass one’s self in view of the entire world, and even worse, in view of one’s parents and in-laws. But I hope that everyone (including myself) understands why I’m sharing it. I’m sharing it to show how far I’ve come, to remind other mothers that most normal people don’t lose the baby weight in 6 weeks, and that sometimes, once you’re a mom, you never get back to how you used to be.

So anyway, this picture. Laura is about 2 ½ and me? I look horrible. Yes I know I’m sitting in this picture, and I’m slouching too (sorry Dad!) but you can’t deny that I don’t look all that healthy. This is actually pretty much my most hated picture of myself, and when I first saw it back in 2007 I almost deleted it off of the computer. I’m not sure why I kept it, but I guess I’m glad I did. I only share it with you know because it’s late and my good sense has gone out the window. Please turn away if you are faint of heart.Now, to erase that memory from your mind, my newer self. I also look pretty silly here-odd smile, pale white stomach, weird hair-basically your typical Claire picture. But a definite improvement, right?Is there anyone else out there who needed a little push in the right direction? Did my pictures help? Or are you now throwing up in the bathroom? If you survived this post, check out the Couch to 5K link; it’s really easy to follow and can turn anyone into a runner. Just remember, it took me almost 6 months to really notice a difference. I made a few food related changes as well, but nothing too serious. My overall goal was to have made a noticeable difference in my life in one year, and I think I’m on the right track. If I can do it, you can too! Seriously.

13 comments:

RandomWonders said...

You look amazing! Seriously- great job! I see major definition on your stomach! Inspiring, definately.

Julie said...

You look great! I am so proud of you Claire. You are an inspiration to me. Keep going to meet your personal goals but I think you look very fit.

Patty said...

Wow! you look amazing! Andrew and I agree that crunches have to be involved. If the running did all that for you then I am doing it wrong. Keep up the good work.

Martha said...

I'm proud of you!! You and your daughter are just beautiful, Rock On!!!

Kurt said...

Show off....I think I would need a lot more the 5k to get my stomach back into shape.

Anonymous said...

You look great and I do see some abdominal muscles. Good Job!
- she's the one

Michelle said...

You look great!! Really, you do! Now me....I've got some serious work to do. I might have to check out that Couch to 5K.

Claire said...

I am so flattered by everyone's compliments! I forgot to mention in my post that yes, I started doing crunches and push-ups (girly ones!) about a month ago. I think they are definitely helping.

I fear though that I may have deceived everyone-the definition you see on my stomach may be a bit due to actual muscles, but mostly it is just the center of my stomach protruding farther than the rest of me. From the side, I don't look quite so slim. I only share this so that when I see some of you in person you are not bitterly disappointed that I don't have a six-pack!

Patty said...

We will definitely have to hire that photographer then!

Three Dog Days said...

There is definition there, for sure. You do look very good. As you know, you got me started on the Couch to 5K also. Thank you for that. I am lucky in that I like Diet Coke. Recently I was bad and bought candy and (eeek) ice cream and I gained 2 pounds. :(

I need to do crunches. I am jealous of your stomach.

Kate said...

Claire,

You look really great, and like everyone else already said- I can totally see some abs!

that couch to 5k thing is super inspiring! I never seem to have enough motivation to stick with things like that. Good job!

Rachael said...

you look great, i'm so glad that you have cut pepsi out your life. soda=bad addiction!

p.s. it doesn't matter how many crunches i do, my stomach is always a "one pack" as i like to say! ;)

Bethany said...

LOL Claire you are hilarious! And no matter what you say, I definitely see some sort of pack there. You look fantastic!

I ran several half marathons in the two years before Estelle was born (actually, I ran my last half the weekend E was conceived). I haven't run a block since she was born (and I was forced to do that to catch the bus) and I've started feeling the urge to get back into it. I'll have to check out the couch to 5k. Thanks for the inspiration!