Get in Shape, Girl

(Title of this post borrowed from the brand of exercise toys I had in the late 1980s.)

Having gestated, birthed, and nursed two babies now, I can see there's a definite pattern. I get pretty darn big by the end of the nine months, gaining quite a bit more weight than you're supposed to. And then the vast majority of it melts away by the time the newborn can hold her own head up. I don't actively try to lose it. I eat a lot of really healthy stuff - I swear, I spent half the summer with a knife in hand, cutting up vegetables. And then I eat enormous bowls of ice cream. Sometimes two in one day.

Granted, nothing is as it was before the pregnancy. Even though I currently weigh about five pounds more than my normal weight, very few of my clothes actually fit. This may be a bit of a problem, to be honest. The maternity stuff is almost completely boxed up, but the fall/winter wardrobe I invested in last year - after having run myself into the best shape I've ever been in my life last summer - is Not Gonna Happen. But I don't want to buy too much new stuff, because I'm fairly confident I'm going to be back in those jeans before Thanksgiving.

I ran today for the first time since the day I found out I was pregnant. (I ran four miles that day in November, wondering the entire time why I felt like I was going to keel over.) I was extremely active throughout this pregnancy - walking, mowing the lawn, etc. But I never worked hard enough to generate sweat or endorphins. And oh, did that first hit of endorphins feel good. I think I'm an endorphins junkie. I feel them, and I just want more. Which is how I ended up rollerblading a couple hours later - albeit slowly, since Juliette was along on her new scooter, and on account of my rusty balance.

I've come to the place where the point isn't how I look, but how I feel. (Believe me when I say I was not always at this point. Anyone else remember how jittery ephedra made you feel?)

But now, I'm just so excited to feel strong again, to feel energetic and powerful and healthy. And if there was any doubt that this is how I think - and therefore talk - about my exercise regimen, when I was getting ready to go to the gym last night, Juliette excitedly told me that when she grows up, she's going to go to the gym with me so she can be strong and healthy. Only it was more like: so I can be strong! and healthy!!

I hope and pray that the girls in this house keep up the pursuit of strength and health, of energy and, well, practically speaking, pants that fit. And that we steer our stationery bikes far, far away from some of the other reasons girls can get really fixated on working out.

Here's to strong and healthy. (And enormous bowls of ice cream.)

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