My Post Partum Body

I’m finally ready to share before and after photos of my body just after giving birth, and now. For someone who has struggled with body image issues for my whole life, taking a picture with my stomach exposed and sharing it with the world is facing a big fear for me. But even in writing this I feel proud to have overcome it!

Before I get into what I did to get myself feeling strong and healthy over the last eight months, I want to say that while this “after” body makes me feel healthy and powerful, it is just one body. It’s not meant to make anyone feel bad about wherever they are, just meant to be inspiration to live your healthiest life and to feel your best, no matter what shape you are, what the scale says, or what size you wear.

My after picture might be someone else’s before. And my before might be someone else’s after. And no matter where you are in that process, I hope that this post empowers you to eat and exercise in a way that feels healthy and right for you, which may not be what worked for me.

That is one value that I know I want to instill in my daughter. I want her to be proud of her body, no matter how it looks. I also want her to take care of it and treat it with respect. If I have issues in my own skin, she’ll pick that up, and that is not happening under my watch.

So here is my journey. I may never have a six pack, but I’m as strong as I’ll ever be. And I’m proud of my body for growing my daughter and creating a warm and cozy home for her for a while there.

Exercise During Pregnancy:
When I was pregnancy with Amalia, I worked out with my trainer, Madison (who works for my husband at Countdown), every week up until my last two weeks of pregnancy. At that point I was just too big and tired to do it. Instead, I just made it a point to walk every day which I tried to do throughout the whole pregnancy. It was hard to do that, especially in the winter months, but it was one of the few things that made me feel physically better during that time. It was good for me and the baby, so I just made it happen. My doctors were convinced that all the walking also helped me have a fast and easy labor. Who knows but I like to think it helped!

Diet During Pregnancy:
Diet? What diet? I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and it was amazing. I had bad morning sickness in my first trimester so whatever I wanted was mostly bagels and ramen. In my third trimester, I had terrible heartburn, and she was sitting on my stomach, so I threw up almost every day which was really rough. People would tell me I needed to gain more weight but I had to eat tiny, bland meals, so that just wasn’t possible. In the end, I gained a healthy amount of weight and the baby was thriving so I tried not to worry too much.

Post-Partum Exercise:
I started exercising at around six weeks post-partum and it was brutal getting back to the gym on no sleep and after taking six weeks off. But I knew that in the long run I would have more energy and feel better if I made it a priority. The first few sessions with Madison were slow, as she eased me back into it.

At the time, I thought that wasn’t enough so I also started BBG with the Sweat app. I loved it for about two weeks then got really bored and realized I just didn’t have the time to do it daily with a new baby so I dropped it. I went back to walking every day when I could in addition to my weekly workouts.

The workout that Anel teaches his trainers and does with his clients is different than most. It’s all done with very slow movements so that each exercise brings you to muscle failure. It’s only 30 minutes once a week but it’s the hardest 30 minutes ever. If you want to kind of get the feel for it, try one of his at-home workouts for free.

Diet:
I breastfed for Amalia’s first four months and ate #allofthecarbs and #allofthesugar. Whenever I tried to stop, my supply would dip, so I basically continued my pregnancy diet of eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, except for the things that gave Amalia gas (like broccoli and beans). It involved a lot of bread and cookies! Once I stopped breastfeeding, I went back to my “normal” healthy diet of 80% clean eating and 20% whatever I wanted.

But this winter, my sinuses really started to act up, so Anel and I gave up gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol in an anti-inflammatory diet to see if I could clear them out without surgery. It definitely helped but obviously didn’t work well enough considering I got the surgery anyway. I digress, but the point of this is that when we gave up all of those inflammatory foods, I ended up shedding the rest of the baby weight unintentionally. After about two weeks of eating that way, people started asking me what I was doing because I looked so different.

Eating clean not only helped my sinuses and contributed to weight loss, but it also cleared up my skin and gave me so much more energy. If it’s something you’re considering for any reason, I can’t recommend it enough! We now try to stick to that diet most of the time but aren’t crazy about it.

Lifestyle:
To feel my healthiest self post-partum, exercise and diet weren’t enough. I wrote about it before, but I also started therapy this year which has made an incredible difference in my life. I’m sleeping better, I can communicate my feelings better, and I’m learning how to deal with my anxiety in a powerful way. It has been a true life changer for me, and out of everything I do for my health and wellness, it has quickly become the most important.

Especially given the loss of two great icons in the last two weeks, talking about and dealing with mental health issues has been top of mind for many people. If you’re going through something that’s bigger and harder than you can deal with, look up local therapists and get help. Therapy is often covered by insurance, so check with your provider to see how it works.

Before & After Photos:
These photos were taken in September of 2017 and May of 2018, exactly eight months apart. They are not Photoshopped (except for cleaning up dirt on the ground and walls because I’m a crazy person) even though when I look at them, I can’t believe it’s the same person.

I’ll end this post with the most amazing note from my photographer, Julia, who was there to experience how nervous and anxious I was to take these photos and post them. Her words of encouragement were: “You should be proud of yourself. No Facetune, no Photoshop, stay true because you’re also damn good at doing that too. You look like a 25 year old without having a kid yet. YOU. NEED. TO. SELF. LOVE. AND. BE. PROUD. ” Good point, Julia, good point! Perhaps become a life coach while you’re at it?

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  1. Love this post and you look amazing!

    Having a baby is so life changing in every way. Taking control and getting your body back is something to be very proud of because it is so hard especially when you are so very tired!

    But, boy does it help make you feel so much better while taking on life’s challenges when you feel good about yourself!

    So inspiring Julia as usual!! XO

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Prudence!! You’re so right about everything. Love you!

      6.13.18 · Reply
  2. Katie said:

    You look incredible!!!!!

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Katie!

      6.13.18 · Reply
  3. Allie said:

    You look amazing! And you have such a positive attitude about it too. Sale love and be proud- that’s going to be my mantra for today. Have a wonderful Tuesday! xAllie
    http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

    6.12.18 · Reply
  4. Kendra said:

    You look incredible!!! Love your posts

    6.12.18 · Reply
  5. Brittany Cerminara said:

    You look amazing! Kudos to your hard work!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  6. Taylor said:

    This is amazing, Julia! Not only am I inspired by how hard you worked both during and after pregnancy but just overcoming this fear is a huge deal! Thank you for sharing your story and advice. I will definitely be saving this post for future reference!

    Taylor | http://www.livingtaylored.com

    6.12.18 · Reply
  7. Monica said:

    You look amazing, Julia!! Thanks for sharing your story…even those of us who aren’t mamas are so inspired by you!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  8. Colleen said:

    Way to go momma! Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing what it is truly like! I hate it when people pop out babies and are wearing their regular jeans a week later. I love your honesty and appreciate you sharing your journey with us. You look incredible!

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I don’t understand how it’s even physically possible to do that! And thank you so much xx

      6.14.18 · Reply
  9. Alyssa said:

    You look great, and more importantly, you can tell that you feel great!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  10. Julianna said:

    You look amazing! Loved this post and your unedited pics!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  11. Lisa said:

    You look awesome! Good for you!! After having my son 5 months ago it has been a rough road both mentally and physically. You definitely helped give me a push and I finally made an appointment to see a therapist myself!

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Oh good! Best of luck. It’s the hardest and most rewarding thing in the world to be a mama. And asking for help is the smart move.

      6.14.18 · Reply
  12. Katia said:

    Hello,

    Well done!!!!you look amazing!!!!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  13. McKenzie said:

    Thank you for sharing!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  14. Ashley W. Clark said:

    Looking FANTASTIC LADY! I’m 7 months PP and I am proud of where I’ve come from, but not sure I’d have the courage to share my pre and Post body with the world. So GO YOU!!!

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      It was scary!!!!! I still can’t believe I posted this haha

      6.13.18 · Reply
  15. Angela said:

    Thank you for sharing! You look incredible and have such a great attitude- Amalia will learn from the best! Thanks for always being real and relatable 🙂

    Angela | Cue the Coffee
    https://cuethecoffee.blogspot.com/

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Angela! That means a lot 🙂

      6.13.18 · Reply
  16. Katie said:

    Thank you for sharing and I am inspired by you doing so. I am a new mom….well she’s 20 months 😉 and I am quietly harsh to myself about all the little body imperfections I see in the mirror. I def need to embrace my body and be happy that I am just about where I was before baby…maybe 1 size bigger. But I am ok with that.

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Good for you! Embrace it, love it, and be grateful for it if you can. It’s incredible what the female body can do, and we don’t give it enough credit!

      6.13.18 · Reply
  17. Alexandra said:

    Thanks for sharing! Such a vulnerable moment, but you rocked it! I’m also a big proponent of anti-inflammatory foods so I liked how you phrased that the weight loss was almost a bonus. Usually our bodies are telling us they need help in other ways (poor sleep, allergies, discomfort, etc.) so when we clean up our diet not only do we feel better, but we end up looking better, too!

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Totally! It was a big wake up call, I’m so glad we did that.

      6.13.18 · Reply
  18. You look amazing!!!!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  19. Jen said:

    You look amazing! You should be so proud of yourself, it’s no easy feat- it’s so hard my youngest is 7 weeks and I keep telling myself tomorrow
    Anyway love your posts! Amalia is adorbs!!!

    6.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Congrats on the new baby! You’re still in the thick of it so be kind to yourself. You can start next week 🙂

      6.13.18 · Reply
  20. jess said:

    You look strong and amazing! 🙂 You should feel proud!

    6.12.18 · Reply
  21. Morgan said:

    Thank you SO much for sharing! Its so important that people realize that bodies don’t bounce back IMMEDIATELY after babies and it takes a lot of self care to get in shape again. You look FANTASTIC, but more importantly you look happy and healthy!!! Good job mama!!!

    6.13.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      So true. I was shocked at how long it took to lose the weight. No one told me! And thank you so much!

      6.13.18 · Reply
  22. Lauren said:

    Proud of you for sharing! I’d love to know more about the relationship side of fertility. Any tips on how to keep yourself as well as your marriage healthy and upbeat while you are trying to conceive?

    6.13.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      It’s so funny that you’re bringing this up now. I talked about this exact topic in therapy this morning! The truth is, our miscarriages almost broke our marriage. I was depressed for about a year and just wanted to run away from everything in my life including my husband. We went to couples counseling and that helped a LOT. Best of luck to you!

      6.13.18 · Reply
  23. Kelsey said:

    Love this so much – thank YOU for emphasizing strength and feeling beautiful, not necessarily the numbers on the scale. You look amazing!

    6.14.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      So important! Skinny isn’t pretty. Healthy and happy is pretty! In my book anyway 🙂

      6.14.18 · Reply