I’m an overweight personal trainer. And I’m glad. Want to know why? I have my reasons.
I became a personal trainer at seven months pregnant with my second child. Now at seven months postpartum, I’m a personal trainer whose body fat percentage is technically considered obese.
That means that my body fat percentage is over 30%.
Yep – I’m an overweight personal trainer.
But I’m okay with it. In fact, I’m glad. That is, at least for now.
For a long time, I thought that becoming a mom caused me to lose parts of who I am – or was. I felt like the ghost of my former self – the accomplished, social, 125-pound version that seemingly disappeared somewhere on the journey of motherhood.
I was never an extremely skinny person, but I did exercise. I was healthy by medical standards, but always on the higher end of the suggested weight range for age and height. Admittedly, my motivation to exercise in my late teens and early twenties was quite a bit more vain than it is today. I wanted to look good, not be healthy. (Sound familiar?)
But after becoming a mom four years ago, I developed severe postpartum depression. Within a few months after giving birth, I lost all forty-five of the pounds I’d gained during pregnancy. Unfortunately, I’d go on to gain it all back over the course of the next two years.
Being a stay-at-home mom didn’t help.
Neither did the fact that I’d gone from the idyllic freedom of my early twenties to new mom before any of my friends or family did. Despite feeling a bit ostracized by my own choices, I was committed to staying home. I felt that it was important to my daughter’s development after studying early childhood education and child psychology in college.
But the feeling that I wasn’t enough was insurmountable. I wasn’t able to breastfeed, and I’d had a c-section, although I was a diehard natural birth fan. (Things just don’t go as planned in motherhood, and that was a hard lesson to learn.)
Plus, mentally, I felt capable of much more than endless diaper changes, laundry folding, and vacuuming up my own postpartum hair loss. Then there was the financial part. Not contributing to my family’s financial situation felt terrible.
For a whole year after having my daughter, I dealt with my depression on my own. I took it out on myself, except for the times when I threw things at my husband and cried when my daughter was inconsolable. I didn’t sleep through the night for the entire first year.
After a year of torturing myself and my family, I decided to get treatment.
I went to my doctor and told her what was going on. She prescribed me anti-depressants. They seemed to make me feel better mentally, but I was physically fatigued a lot. After a few months, I decided to try a different medication to see if the side effects would be milder.
Not only did I feel the same, I had this nagging feeling that there was a better solution out there. Taking anti-depressants made me feel weak, as though I wasn’t strong enough to control my health on my own.
So I decided to get back to basics. I looked back on my life at times and seasons where I was happy and healthy.
That’s how I ended up an overweight personal trainer. Well, there’s more to it than that.
First, I went back to the gym and hired my very own trainer.
I started working out hard 3-5 times per week. I loved my trainer because not only was she a mom, she was good at showing me that I was capable of more than I thought I was. For the first time in a long time, I felt good.
I got back into a routine.
I started eating better.
I started making exercise non-negotiable – and simultaneously started to feel like myself again.
I did that for a long time. I went through two personal trainers and learned a lot about how to plan workouts. But I remember a very defining moment in what got me here.
I distinctly remember showing up to the gym one sunny morning and thinking, “This is my place. This is what I need to be doing every day.”
I remember texting my husband during my warmup to tell him that I might want to become a personal trainer. He said, “Go for it!”
So then I started researching how to become a personal trainer. There are all sorts of certifying bodies and all sorts of schools you can go to – but I ultimately chose to go straight to the source. I became a NASM certified personal trainer after taking the course they offered in November 2017. (You can read more about that challenge and how I finally made it happen in this post.)
Why Being an Overweight Personal Trainer is Something I’m Grateful For
When I decided I wanted to become a personal trainer, I was still hanging on to 15-20 pounds of baby weight from my daughter. When I actually became a personal trainer, I was seven months pregnant with my second baby.
Basically, there wasn’t one point in this two year time period where I was at an ideal weight. I wasn’t sporting a six pack, and you wouldn’t have caught me dead in a bikini.
I struggled to stay healthy during this time, let alone lose a lot of weight. I battled depression off and on, and pregnancy made it harder to stick to a routine.
Now, I’m a certified personal trainer who needs to lose up to 30 pounds. According to my last body composition assessment (you can see it in this post), I need to lose 20 pounds to be considered healthy, but for my height, I’d personally like to lose 30.
But don’t let that fool you. I’m an overweight personal trainer, but I’m healthy as far as cholesterol, blood sugar, and from a cardiovascular perspective.
Here’s why I’m glad that I’m an overweight personal trainer:
1. My struggles make me relatable.
There are some wonderful fitness influences and trainers out there who have never been overweight. That’s cool, but it’s not a story that most of us can relate to. I already told you that I didn’t grow up playing sports. Really, my parents didn’t really place any importance on fitness or mental health. So I had to learn how to be healthy on my own when I was much older. I’m still learning. I think that all of my struggles have helped me relate to others, especially moms and women who have experienced mental health issues.
2. It’s forced me to learn more about the science of fitness & weight loss.
Because I struggled and wasn’t raised learning about health, I had to go out of my way to learn about it. I have to chose to educate myself. And because of that, I’m a little bit more passionate when I dive into a subject. Specifically, I’m super interested in learning about prenatal and postnatal exercise, since I’ve personally needed information about it.
3. It’s helped me learn about what demographic I want to work with.
I’ve learned that exercise before, during, and after pregnancy is super important. Moreover, I’ve learned that it can help combat postpartum depression and many other mental health issues. Now that I’ve experienced my own postpartum issues with body image, PPD, and weight loss, I want to support other moms! Being an overweight personal trainer and mom has helped me focus on this demographic.
4. It’s led me to operating this blog, where I share my story for accountability.
I started this blog partially as a business, partially for accountability, and it’s working. Every time I think of quitting, I remember that I’ve shared everything with you guys and I need to keep going. Blogging has become an important part of what I do and without the struggles I’ve encountered, I wouldn’t have much to say! You guys have given me a lot of feedback that encourages me to keep sharing.
5. I’ve connected with others just like me who have struggled.
I’ve been blogging for awhile, but when I shared my postpartum pictures, you guys left me so many nice comments. Most of you could really relate. Even though I’m considered an overweight personal trainer, you guys jumped onboard with me because you know what I’ve gone through. I know what you’re going through too, and we’ve created some community around that. That make’s me so happy!
Long story short, I wouldn’t be who I am without all of these struggles! They are all learning experiences and I’m super grateful for them.
All of that being said, now it’s time to get to work. Being overweight isn’t a good thing, although I can really learn from it. Thanks for stopping by, I do really appreciate it.