Having a baby is a crazy, life altering, mind numbing, ecstatic time in your life. Shortly after you emerge from the baby bubble and resume normal life, everything just falls into place and life goes on…right?

Yeah, not so much. I honestly thought I was busy all the time before baby #1. Once Lena was born, I didn’t find any time for my self or my personal well-being. I was equal parts elated, exhausted and emotionally drained. That’s all with a reasonably “easy” baby. I mean, what new parent isn’t constantly wishing for a nap?

Baby #2 brought much the same, with a whole new level of sleep deprivation. Five hours of interrupted sleep is sufficient for most anyone, right? During the day she is a happy, easy going kid so I can hardly complain. Those few occasions I got a straight six hours I should have felt amazing…but I didn’t.

I’ve always fought this constant battle with feeling tired and run down. Having gone through two pregnancies, I just wasn’t feeling like my old self. I used to play sports, take long walks and was a rather energetic individual. Now, I felt like my body just wasn’t responding the way it should and I had aches and pains that made it that much worse. I had no energy for anything beyond our day-to-day necessities. Once the kids were in bed, we’d collapse on the couch for some TV and then call it a night. Something had to give.

My husband and I made a pact to start eating better. We both have a sweet tooth so we started eliminating dessert and making an effort to curb our sugar intake wherever we could. The next step was cooking more and avoiding take-out, I’ve written about one of our strategies here. Next up? Exercise!

With an infant and a toddler, we had mismatched nap schedules so getting out of the house for a decent walk was problematic on the best of days.  I’d tried and failed at so many home workout programs and getting to a gym was out of the question. A friend talked me into giving one more program a try. Twenty one days, half an hour a day. I could do that. With a huge assist from the hubbie, I made it work. I couldn’t go on feeling like I did.

Fast forward to today and I am so glad I took the chance. I have energy again, I sit down at the end of the day and five minutes later I’m up again doing something to prep for the next day. Not only that but I’m pushing myself to do things I haven’t in ages! Reading, writing, swimming, meeting up with friends occasionally. It’s still a work in progress, but at least I know I’m on the right track.

A few things I’ve learned?
1. Be ready to change bad habits. 2. Take small steps, make it fit your lifestyle.
3. Be realistic and make changes that you can keep long-term.
4. Find your motivation! (Mine was finding energy for myself and my family, but that’s only part of the story…more to come.)

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