"But being part of a group made working out fun...and also saved my sanity."

By Deb Gibbs
Stephanie DeAngelis

I had all kinds of body changes during my first pregnancy with my son Desmond, now 5. It felt like I’d gain 15 pounds just from looking at food. After he was born, a lot of the baby weight hung around. I wore maternity pants for six months afterward; eventually, the elastics gave out. Though I didn’t have a name for it then, I now realize I was also suffering from postpartum anxiety. I would start crying hysterically every sunset, terrified of another night waking up every 45 minutes to nurse Desmond.

We had just moved to a new city, and an acquaintance suggested I join a local Fit4Mom Stroller Strides class as a way to make friends. Some moms have the internal motivation to work out. Not me. I’m the mom who thinks, “Wait! There’s a new show on Netflix.” But being part of that group made working out fun and kept me going back. During the classes, your baby stays in the stroller and you work out beside him. The instructor weaves entertainment for your baby into the workout so he won’t get bored. The moms there also saved my sanity. They gave me the courage to talk to my doctor about treatment.

When Desmond turned a year old, I signed up for a more intensive Fit4Mom program called Body Back. The classes were at 5:30 a.m., but the allure of kid-free time got me out of bed. As part of the program, I learned to log my food and got better at portion control. I saw big results in four months. I lost 14 pounds, gained lots of muscle, and went from a size 12 to a size 6. I was proud of myself.

My second son, Carson, was born three years ago. Remembering that being part of the group helped me during my own struggles, I recently became a Stroller Strides instructor. Now my focus is on staying strong and healthy. And I think my stretch marks are kind of cool. They are a tattoo you don’t have to pay for.

Parents Magazine
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