I’m 15 months postpartum. (Can you still even use the term postpartum at this point? Probably not. Let me try again… I have a 15 month-old. How’s that?) I’ve always been fairly thin. I was an athlete in high school but never found the groove with a fitness routine as an adult. I guess I wasn’t really motivated enough. I’d do it here and there for months at a time and then life would happen and I’d completely disappear from any semblance of a fitness routine.

Even without the regular workout schedule, I still stayed fairly thin even if wasn’t putting in any work. But, there’s a difference between thin and fit. I didn’t have something that I had worked for that I could be proud of. I was just used to my body the way it was and I was okay with it.

Throughout my pregnancy, my belly grew and I gained 30 pounds but I never felt insecure about it. In fact, I loved watching my body change and I felt beautiful. Huge, but beautiful. I was told the pounds would melt off, especially since I was breastfeeding.

Two weeks after giving birth, I was within 5 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight. So I guess in some ways, the pounds did kind of melt off. But somehow I just didn’t feel the same in my skin. What everyone failed to mention, was that even if I fit in my old jeans, I wouldn’t look the same in them.

I wasn’t happy with my postpartum body. It wasn’t what I was used to and I kept waiting to feel like myself again, thinking that it would just magically happen.

It never did.

At about 9 months postpartum, something finally clicked and I decided that if I wanted a change, I’d need to make some changes. I decided I was ready to take control of things and put the work in. Since then, I’ve put in somewhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour of time at least 4 days every week. Does my body look like Jennifer Aniston or Cameron Diaz? Not even close.

In fact, some of what motivated me was seeing everything that my body was capable of during pregnancy and then delivery. When the comparison game starts up in my mind, I remind myself that I’m not working out every day to chase a sexy figure. I’m working out every day to gain strength. I’m putting in the time to set a good example for my daughter. I’m waking up early so that I can take care of the body that God gave me. The body that I pray houses more children one day.

I recently came across a picture from 5 or 6 years before I was pregnant (thank you, TimeHop). I was standing on the beach in a bikini. Even though I wasn’t regularly working out at that point, I looked better in a bikini than I would if I put one on right now. But you know what? That flat stomach of pre-baby me didn’t require any sweat. I hadn’t worked hard for something that I can now be proud of. Now, I see physical changes in my body but I also notice that I can do more pushups today than I could a week ago. And for me, that’s what keeps me going.

My focus is on how much stronger I’m getting not how much better I look. My goal is to glorify God with what He gave me. I’m thankful that I have a body that has the ability to be pushed to new limits.

For me, consistent exercise started when I got my mind right.

Claire Hoots

Claire is a wife and mom taking on her second career. She spends her days out-and-about with an opinionated one year old. While the little one sleeps, she pounds on the keyboard. She’s a big fan of the crockpot, netflix, and gratitude lists. In her free time, she loves exercising, shopping, and reading. She believes that the perfect evening is spent drinking wine with girlfriends.