Pilates Changed The Game For Me

Pilates Changed The Game For Me

I was so determined to get in the best shape of my life postpartum. Gaining an extra 25 pounds after I got pregnant, when I was already overweight was not a good look and wasn’t healthy.

I was blessed that I didn’t have any additional complications, like preeclampsia, that would have been a danger to our baby and myself. I actually had a wonderful, seamless experience during my pregnancy and scheduled C-section, but by no means was my experience conventional.

Lemme give you some background info before I delve into my weight loss journey and Pilates experience…

See I had already had Type II Diabetes for 8 years prior and had struggled with weight loss and health management way before I met my husband and birthed our healthy son. I had struggled with intrauterine fibroids and had undergone invasive surgery about 6 years prior to that.

I also had suffered four spontaneous abortions a.k.a. miscarriages with my husband prior to the miraculous birth of our healthy, full-term son. Won’t He do it? Thank you Lord.

With all of the health issues I had endured, and then becoming pregnant again in my 40’s, put me at high risk. After advocating for myself with my health issues and with already being fully aware of the disparities in healthcare for black women, I was able to find an OBGYN and high-risk OBGYN that teamed up together and monitored me extremely closely during my pregnancy. 

Fast forward to my postpartum journey, I was able to lose a whopping 70 pounds, and am still able to keep it off and maintain a healthy weight and am currently almost at my goal of putting my diabetes into remission. But, that’s a story for another time.

Losing my postpartum weight was definitely a struggle!  With intermittent fasting and high-intensity cardio workouts, the pounds did melt off and I felt healthier and stronger. I had always thought that continuing the workouts that made me feel drained and exhausted and only pleasurable afterwards, were the ones that would get me to my weight loss goal. And they actually did initially, but it would cost me later.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later, I realized that my intense cardio workouts, from spinning on our bike or doing an at-home intense step workout, that I was putting my nervous system in this state of fight or flight and I would start to induce anxiety and  trigger panic attacks. I was at a lost because I loved my routine and didn’t want to modify it, but I had no choice. I had to really scale back on the duration and the intensity of my workouts.

But, I craved that feeling of nausea to the point of feeling like I'm gonna vomit or collapse or getting the feeling of accomplishment after you get your butt whipped after an intense workout. Because, it’s like, “but did you really do it”, if you didn’t feel like passing out afterwards?

When a Pilates Reformer Studio opened up, just 10 min away from our home, I decided to go to their Open House and take a free 30-min Intro Class and I was hooked.

See, <a ‘lil more background info>, after I got pregnant, I left my 15-year career as a medical professional where I was constantly on my feet for 10+ hours a day.  It wasn’t until after I got pregnant, and left my career, became a SAHM, started my small  handmade business and developed a healthy obsession with day trading and investing, that I found myself sitting majority of the time throughout during the day. (You can read more about my personal journey to entrepreneurship here.)

Working from home, sitting at my desk and staring at a computer majority of the day was so unlike the lifestyle that I had been accustomed to prior. And the Rehabilitation Medicine background that I had, I could tell that my posture was poor, along with my gastrocnemius (calf muscle) and Achilles tendon (heel cord) were shortening and I had more of a difficult time transitioning to standing from sitting all day to walking because my muscles were tightening and weaker.  Being a former PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant), I made the necessary adjustments at my desk/chair set up to help remedy some things, but adapting to this more sedentary lifestyle was hard.

Attending pilates reformer classes was the remedy for me on so many levels. What I learned about my nervous system is that it loves when I move in slower, rhythmic but coordinated patterns and how it craves the timing and control of my deep breathing during these movements. I learned how weak my core had become from my C-section and couldn’t endure the long periods of sitting despite my ergonomic adaptations at my desk at home.

Taking these classes not only has strengthened my core, the endurance of my postural muscles and upper body have improved to allow my body to withstand longer periods of sitting, standing, or walking. I'm getting stronger and I'm gaining muscle and toning with using my own body weight and lighter hand held weights, and I don't feel stiff all the time. 

Once I started prioritizing this more pleasurable movement, I found the power of release and have become more self-aware of my body and its limitations and I know when not too push myself too far physically or to get myself stuck in flight or fight for longer stretches of time.

And the great thing is no matter your age or level of fitness, there are always options of doing mat pilates and taking other classes that will address your fitness goals. I also love the fact that I can schedule my own classes right from the portal on my phone to fit my unconventional schedule and get her done! Pilates has truly been a game-changer for me and probably has been one of the greatest investments I've made. 

I'm still a work in progress and have much more to learn and achieve. Since starting this new fitness journey in March of this year, I have completed about 55 classes and usually attend 2-3 classes per week. My goal is, by the time I reach 100 classes, that I will be ready to join level 2 Pilates Reformer classes and will be strong enough to deliver that level of skill. I'll give you an update when that happens. 

I hope I've given you some helpful information about Pilates and low impact workouts. I can only share what has empowered me. Always in hope that you too will be empowered. Would love to hear about your fitness journey, goals and struggles so, please feel free to comment below.

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1 comment

Hey Sunni I’m definitely struggling with weight issues. As you know being my former physical therapist I still struggle with my knees. I now have arthritis in both knees, hands, shoulders and feet. I’ve joined the The Y for strength training and movement. It’s been a struggle but, I’m moving. I would really like to lose a significant amount of weight for my health. Thankfully my blood pressure is good and I don’t have diabetes but I am pre-diabetic. I guess that’s not either.

Tonia Twine

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