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Running Towards a New Normal

AmandaLaTorre_SaintMarysCenterforHealthandFitness

Today’s sponsored post from our partner Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center features Amanda La Torre, a fellow mama and the Fitness Director at Saint Mary’s Center for Health & Fitness. Amanda knows exactly what it’s like to deal with post-baby weight and try to gain your energy, stamina and  your “normal” back.  

Hi, Reno Moms Blog mamas!

I’m Amanda, and I work at Saint Mary’s Center for Health & Fitness as the Fitness Director. Having committed my life to helping people experience the power of exercise, I walked the walk. Actually, I ran the run, per se!  I ran 15-25 miles per week, competed in various half-marathons including the Reno Tahoe Odyssey and other local races.  I loved to run.  I ran with friends, by myself, with my dog.  Running was an outlet; a time to release stress, clear my mind, and to process information.  Running was a naturally occurring part of my life.  I didn’t think twice about doing it every day.  I did this while working full-time and pursuing my Master’s in Public Health at UNR.  I think most importantly, running made me feel good about my body. I was confident in my body’s ability to accomplish the tasks I demanded of it and satisfied with my appearance as a result of all of my hard work.  This was my normal.

Then along came little Miss Sofia, my daughter, and my whole life changed.  I stopped running about four and half months into my pregnancy.  It just didn’t feel right. However, I did continue to work out.  The whole time I was pregnant, as I am sure most of you know, people like to chime and give their “tips or advice.”  One of the most common things I heard was, “enjoy the time you have now, because once she arrives your life will never be your own.”  When someone would say that to me, I would think, you don’t know what you’re talking about; you just NEED to make time for yourself.

Sofia arrived on March 12, 2013, and guess what?  My life was not my own.  After she was born, I was recovering from an emergency C-section and

La Torre Family
Mom and Sofia

I felt like my world revolved around when Sofia’s next feeding was.  It was easy to lose track of me… some days I didn’t even get to shower!  I felt like normal no longer existed.

I returned to graduate school after taking three weeks off, and this is when the mom guilt started.  You all know the feeling, deep in the pit of your stomach, wondering if this is the right choice for you and your child.  I was torn.  I wanted to be spending time with my daughter, creating and nurturing the bond that had begun.  But I had commitments to finish school, I had a house to clean, dinner to cook, bills to pay and dogs to walk, let alone fitting in some “me” time.  Nine weeks later, I returned to work.  Being in the fitness field, I was so frustrated and disappointed in the fact that three months postpartum, I still had nearly twenty pounds to lose.  I hadn’t lifted weights in almost three months because I could not find the time to go to the gym.  I eased my way back into a full-time work schedule while going to school; again struggling to find some sense of normalcy in my life.

It quickly became apparent it wasn’t going to be as easy as it once was to find time to fit in exercise.  I constantly felt pressured and rushed: dropping the baby off at daycare, rushing to work, pumping, working, pumping, rushing to daycare to pick the baby up, rushing home to cook dinner, preparing for work the next day, then crashing in bed completely exhausted.  All to wake up and do it over again. I was constantly rushed and stressed. I began to wonder, is this what my life is going to be like from now on?

Amidst all the chaos, not only did running become a low priority because I wanted to spend my precious free time with Sofia, it also became a low priority because it hurt!  I had lost so much of my fitness during pregnancy and recovery from the C-section that it actually became frustrating to run because I knew I couldn’t perform at my pre-pregnancy level.  Running was no longer enjoyable, and often times I would feel guilty for taking the time away from Sofia to work out.  I felt like my normal was GONE.

After getting so frustrated and disgusted with myself, on a whim, I decided to join a small group personal training class at Saint Mary’s Center for Health & Fitness, where I work.  It was convenient and my thought was if I was paying for it, I wasn’t going to skip out. After a few months of this class, I realized a few things. First, I needed to make my health my priority, because if I wasn’t healthy then I could not be a good mom.  Second, I noticed on the days where I had to miss my workouts, I was cranky, impatient, and stressed.  On the days that I did work out, I felt more productive which I realized contributed to my overall well-being.  On these days, I was a great mom.  The days I took time for me, I could give more.  After participating in this class for about four months, I was stronger and more confident, but still struggling to check everything off on my to-do list with some time left over to hang out with the growing, more interactive little one I had at home.

So, I began to think, what do I want my NEW normal to look like?  After all, I am the only one that can change my life; I am the only one who can create my normal.  I want a productive normal where I can contribute to all of my priorities (work, school, family) and be confident in my ability to do each one well. So how do I do this?  I have to take time for me, every day, and not feel guilty.  I give myself one hour per day to focus on me, whether it’s running, lifting weights, or stretching.  This time is built into my day, it is a priority, and it is non-negotiable in my mom contract with myself.  Because in the end, it makes me a better mom, wife, employee, and co-worker.

So, what are you going to do to create your new normal?   What are your priorities?  There is no better time to change than now.

If you’d like to hear more from Natalie and other fitness coaches at Saint Mary’s, make time for their FREE Open House event: You Deserve a Break Today – child care is free, too!

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This is the latest in a year-long series of posts from Saint Mary’s on everything you need to know to become a healthy mom and help your family thrive. If there’s a topic or question you’d like Saint Mary’s to blog about here, send an email to: editor@renomomsblog.com.

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renomomsblog
The Reno Moms Blog is a community resource connecting Northern Nevada moms to each other and local resources both online and offline for nurturing, education, friendship and support.

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