This 719mom was brought to our attention because of her amazing motivation. She is on a journey, one that we all understand; a journey to lose the baby weight.
“I think every mom looks in the mirror after having a baby and wonders if she will ever have her body back. After having two babies in 13 months I was questioning if I would be able to recover.”
Jessi Hendrix came to Colorado Springs in July 2011 when her husband was stationed at Fort Carson. They love living in Colorado, “but you would have to be crazy not to!” Jessi exclaimed in our interview.
Jessi talked to my719moms about her ongoing weight loss/fitness journey:
Tell us about your family: I have been married to my husband, Chris, for just shy of six years. We met in the Army, and it was one of those things where you just know it is right. Together we have two girls, Eden is turning 2 this week and Shiloh is 10 months. I also have two teenage step children who don’t live with us most of the year but are still a huge part of our lives.
Are you a working mom or stay at home mom?: I have been a stay at home mom since moving to Colorado Springs, but I have to admit that this question causes so much anxiety for me! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t debate whether it is best for me to be at home or working. Before becoming a mom I never would have considered staying at home, but right now I just feel blessed to be able to spend so much time with my girls while they are so young. Also, being a military spouse adds a degree of difficulty to having a career. You either need a job you can do from home or you have to be willing to look for a new position and new childcare every time you move.
Tell us about your fitness past. Have you always worked out?: I had always been an active person. In high school I was a state qualifying athlete and I did several years in the Army after college. Staying in shape was just a by-product of my lifestyle. I’ve never had to exercise for the purpose of losing weight. Then I started working a desk job; my activity level decreased and weight increased. When I got pregnant with my first baby I was already the heaviest I had ever been. My second daughter was born just 13 months after the first. Having babies so close together had taken its toll in more ways than weight gain. My body was wrecked, and my confidence had taken a huge hit. I knew I had to devote myself to getting back in shape, but finding the time and motivation is difficult when you constantly have two babies in tow. I needed a workout regimen, but I didn’t even know where to start.
How does your husband’s job (and deployment) impact your weight loss/fitness journey?: Because my husband’s job requires him to be physically fit, exercise is something that we bond over. We load the girls into the stroller on the weekends for family runs, and we share exercises that we think would benefit the other. We even ran the Spartan race together when I was only four months post-partum. I wanted to prove that I still had an edge even after two back-to-back pregnancies, and although I didn’t expect Chris to go slower on my account, he stayed with me the whole race. Watching my diet is the hardest part of losing weight for me, and being separated from Chris, whether for training or deployment, is an added challenge. I am more accountable for what I eat if there is someone around to notice if I have eaten the last of the cookies, or pizza, or [enter guilty pleasure food here]. I also tend to cook more balanced meals when the whole family will be eating; if it is just me and the girls I tend to skip the salad.
You talk about needing a workout regime and being held accountable, where did you start?: I heard from a friend that a Stroller Strides was opening in my area, so the next day I loaded my six week old and 15 month old into the stroller and attended my first class. The most intimidating part of starting an exercise regime for me is having others judge me, but there is none of that at Stroller Strides. The other moms were at similar fitness levels or had recently been in the same situation, so not only do you have an exercise support group, but also a motherhood support group. The first two weeks were the most challenging. I was already tired from sleepless nights with the baby, and the addition of exercise to my routine exhausted me, but my energy levels quickly improved. After a few weeks I felt confident enough to run on my own, and to my surprise I was able to run three miles. This motivated me to exercise on my own more often. My husband took notice and we started working out together on the weekends. I love that I get to take my daughters with me while I exercise, but I love even more that they get to see me bond with my husband over exercise, and that working out and being healthy is something we do as a family.
Can you give us your Top 3 ways to stay motivated?: I can give you four!
- Busy kids are happy kids. I know a lot of moms who tend to stay home when their kids are cranky, but I find that my girls are better behaved when we are on the go and they are more stimulated. Getting out of the house, getting some fresh air, and keeping busy is a fantastic mood boost for the kids and I both.
- Exercise with a group. I take Stroller Strides classes and I love it! When you exercise in a group there is accountability, and exercising with friends makes a tough workout seem a little easier. Plus, Stroller Strides is a great way to meet other moms.
- Reward yourself. I use food as a reward for being active. I find that I have to have a strong exercise habit to counter my love of food, and I have the best weight loss results when I am tracking my calories and exercise.
- Set small goals. Even if I want to lose 30 pounds, I start by just trying to lose five. Losing 30 pounds sounds daunting, but five sounds reasonable. Each time you meet a small goal, it gives you a little more confidence toward that big one.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a mom on the move?: Being a mom on the move means that my girls are always having new experiences, and watching them make new discoveries is just awesome.
What is your biggest challenge as a mom?: My biggest challenge as a mom is being my own worst critic. I find myself questioning everything from what products I am buying to how I discipline my girls and if I am being a good enough role model.
What do you do for fun?: I love to read, although I don’t get the opportunity nearly as often as I would like. Before moving to Colorado I spent a lot of time at the beach, but since that’s not an option anymore I now have found a new love for hiking and I hope to learn to ski this winter.
Where are you at in weight loss goals?: I currently have been attending Stroller Strides for over 7 months. I don’t know my exact weight when I started, but 25lbs of weight loss would be a conservative guess. I now fit into clothes that I haven’t worn in years, and when I look into the mirror I like what I see. I still have more to go, but Stroller Strides has given me the tools to continue improving my fitness, and the confidence to get out and be active again.