The past eight months since the birth of Mya has been QUITE the rollercoaster. Being a business owner means that mat leave does not exist and layer on top a PhD, travelling to teach continuing education, being a healthcare provider, an athlete… oh and did I mention trying to figure out this parenting thing? To say this eight months has been a challenge would be extremely accurate but it has also been some of the most joy filled months of my entire life even with sleep deprivation and stress. So you might ask… why are you trying to gain weight?!
The balancing act of being the mom, entrepreneur, educator, physiotherapist, weightlifting PhD candidate.
The piece of my life I have had the most struggles with has been my athletic life. For those who don’t know me, I am a national level weightlifter in the 64 kg weight class. I competed in Nationals placing 10th in 2018, got pregnant and had Mya in 2019 and here we are in 2020. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there have been MANY times when I have contemplated quitting weightlifting. When there are so many things demanding your attention, it can seem hard to justify. But in the same breath, as soon as I consider quitting I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness that shows me that I am not ready yet.
Even before becoming pregnant, I probably should have been a 71 kg lifter. Weightlifting is more suited to someone who is shorter. Less weight in bones means you can put on more weight in muscle in a given weight class. I sat a couple inches higher than most of the other girls in my 64 kg class at Nationals.
Coming back postpartum is hard enough without trying to lose weight. During my pregnancy, I was able to keep lifting but not at the same intensity and volume as before. I had to take time off immediately postpartum as well. So I lost some muscle mass. Not to mention that my midline stability had been altered due to my abs stretching out as Mya grew. All normal things but things that needed to be re-established if I wanted to lift heavy things like I used to.
I had a serious talk with Nick about going up a weight class after my first meet back. I competed as a 71 kg lifter but weighed in at 65.3 kg. From a strategy perspective, you want to weigh in as CLOSE to 71 kg as possible. The heavier you are the more you can lift in theory. So after that meet back I made a promise that I would try to gain the weight to fill out that weight class.
BUT HERE IS THE THING… TRYING TO GAIN WEIGHT IS REALLY REALLY HARD TO DO.
Before you say, “yeah right Christina!” hear me out…
Gaining weight is mentally DRAINING
Trying to put on weight as a woman (and I’m not saying guys can’t have the same struggles) is just hard. I feel like diet culture is so engrained in us. Even for me who really attempts to avoid that side of things and focus on health. To purposefully let the scale go UP was mentally taxing on me.
My clothes don’t fit.
I was 62 kg before I got pregnant with Mya. I am currently sitting around 68 kg. That is over 12 lbs. My legs are bigger, I have more abdominal fat, my lower abdomen is more distended having carried a child to term. It was really hard to feel good in my new (I know stronger) skin when I felt like nothing fit me.
It took me awhile … but I went and bought new clothes that made me feel more comfortable.
Everyone is focusing on LOSING the baby weight.
Every diet you see, every exercise plan, focusses on getting back to pre-baby weight. But that simply isn’t my goal. Even with my doctor they ask you how much weight you have lost since your pregnancy. In my case it is purposefully still on. I am ACTIVELY eating to keep it on. My goal is performance. I want to be strong. I want people to say “LOOK HOW STRONG HER LEGS ARE” not “look how good her butt looks” (though I don’t mind that comment either ahahah).
But what have I learned?
It has taken me eight months and a lot of work but I am slowly gaining weight. I am NOT doing it by eating a bunch of sweets (though I’m not completely avoiding them either). Making sure I get enough protein is a priority. Having a young one at home, I sleep as much as Mya lets me haha. I am taking creatine to help me recover.
Ladies, I’m feeling FREAKING STRONG. Do you know how good that feels?! I am starting to feel STRONG in my skin. Sure I have some days where I pine for my six-pack. But then a lift goes up and it feels so easy that I think to myself “this is worth it”.
I’ll keep you updated but right now I don’t foresee me going back down to being a 64 kg lifter any time soon. Time will tell but right now my coach and me are on course to hit some new PRs (personal records) soon.
I’m going to finish this post off with this. Your goals are exactly that… YOURS. A number on the scale does not define you. If you wish to lose weight, that is your goal. If you want to gain weight, that is a good goal too. Do you want to say forget the scale, let’s get freaking strong?! That is a goal that I can DEFINITELY get behind.
Just because I’m an athlete doesn’t mean I’m immune to some of the negative body image thoughts that can permeate into our brains. I’m human. Remembering my why and focussing on how I feel goes a long way though in making me feel better.
Keep flexing ladies 🙂
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