The Unprofessional Athlete

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MisterE and I were once, long ago, known as “the fit couple.” Good times, good times. 

We played tennis a few times a week, woke up at 5am to go running together, and visited the gym often enough to justify the exorbitant membership fees. 

When we got married we started the tradition of running at least one half-marathon a year. It made sense at the time… What other activity embodies the spirit of long-suffering endurance required to build a successful marriage? 

Our first Half-Marathon, the Houston Half in October of 2014. Would have helped if we actually trained for it!

Even our vacations were endurance sports. We climbed, crawled, hiked and swam in all sorts exotic locations, all in the name of fun. 

And then one day — and quite suddenly — we aged. 

After our runs we started comparing aches and pains instead of stats and milestones. Visits to the gym were punctuated with visits to the chiropractor. We slowly started eating more and moving less, but we still looked good in our clothes so we thought nothing of it. 

Unable to leave well enough alone, I decided to start having children. For twenty-six weeks, pregnancy number one went swimmingly. I balanced all my meals, worked out regularly, and walked miles and miles with my mom every weekend. But then I had a pre-term labor scare and was told to stop with all the exercise already! That’s when the weight began to pile on. 

Feeling halfway into Hurricane’s pregnancy. A few weeks later I was put on modified bedrest and tripled in size

By the time Hurricane was born at around 42 weeks, I had gained a total of 65lbs. Sixty-five. Take a moment to count from one to sixty-five and let that sink in. I thought, “Welp, I’ve had a good run. This is where my fitness ends.” 

Embracing MisterE after my first post-baby half marathon in 2018. I was emotional for the entire last mile.

But believe it or not, by the time I returned to work at 12 weeks post-partum, I was more or less back to my pre-baby weight. My muscle memory kicked in, and with round the clock breastfeeding, the weight had just melted off. Hallelujah! 

I was feeling myself! 

Apparently MisterE was feeling me too, because we got pregnant again… 

The second time around the pregnancy was rough from the start. I stopped exercising by 10 weeks because of recurrent bleeding. The most physical activity I got was wrestling with Hurricane to get her teeth brushed every night. At some point I couldn’t even climb up the stairs, so I’d just pray for MisterE as he headed upstairs to brush Hurricane’s teeth. What’s more, I ate any and everything that crossed my path, because  why not? 

Surprisingly, I only gained 25lbs this time around. I thought, “Pssshhh, I’ll be back to fighting weight in 6 weeks.” 

4 days before delivering Chief. Guys, I really thought I’d bounce back from this in a day!

I have never been more wrong in my entire life. 

It’s been over three months and I’ve lost no weight except the 7lbs that was my son. And not for lack of trying. 

About two months after giving birth I got a miraculous 4 hours of sleep, so I was feeling like superwoman. I decided it was time to get back in the saddle! Back in my fit days I used to say “I don’t lace up for anything less than three miles,” so I decided I was going to run a 5k through the neighborhood before the household woke up. 

I was so pumped I didn’t notice that my running tights were so snug that I was restricting circulation to my feet. I stepped into the Houston humidity and it felt like I was breathing pure water, but I was determined. I fired up three different running apps, and off I went… 

The first quarter mile was amazing. I felt alive. Invigorated! Electric! And then, in the blink of an eye, my body realized what I was up to and began to protest. My milk-filled tatas were so heavy they threatened to tip me over. My butt, which had doubled in size during pregnancy, kept dragging me backwards. My thighs rubbed together so much my pants nearly caught on fire. It was entirely a mess. 

I know miracles happen because I somehow made it home in one piece. 

I showered, ate, and then slept for 12 hours straight. When Chief got hungry, MisterE would just pull back the covers, latch him on, and then pick him back up when he was done nursing – all without waking me up. I vaguely remember Hurricane pulling on my arm, begging me to please wake up, and me whispering back, “It’s ok, I’m alive.” 

The next morning I had MisterE check the windows and doors because I was convinced someone had broken into the house and beaten me in my sleep. Everything hurt. Head, legs, back, spleen… it was not a pretty sight. I spent the day on the couch begging MisterE to bring me snacks. 

Two days after my near death experience jog, I could hardly feel my body, but I had another workout scheduled. I kept praying MisterE would forget, but he has the memory of an elephant so he asked me, “Aren’t you supposed to work out today?” 

I knew my only hope of escape was to fake an illness, so I blurted the first thing that came to my mind. “I can’t, I’m pregnant.” 

He squinted at me and said in his calm, measured way, “You’re not pregnant.” 

“HOW CAN WE BE SURE?!” I screamed hysterically. I may have started crying. It was all a blur. 

I’ve since realized that it’s probably in my best interest to ease back into the whole fitness thing. 

Lesson learned! I spend more time on my mat and less time on the trail while my body recovers from delivery.

I’ve done a few workouts using the Nike Training Club app. I’ve gone on a couple of other slow jogs, and done a bit of yoga here and there. Oh, and I’m being more conscious of what and when I eat. One day I even ate a celery stick. Granted I also ate 9 buffalo wings and a plate of potato wedges at that meal, but gosh darnit I ate celery. 

I still haven’t lost a single pound. But at least I can say I’m trying. 

What are you all doing to stay healthy, especially in these days of endless quarantine? 

Have fun!

Hey there! I am...

Chioma Ikoku sitting on a velvet green couch, gazing out of an unpictured window.
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A homebody with wanderlust striving to balance the thrill of travel with the comfort of home. On the road, I am a photographer and storyteller. At home, I am an interior designer and personal servant to my two kids. In all cases, I seek out good food and belly laughs.

If you're looking for ways to tap into your spirit of adventure - with or without a suitcase - you've come to the right place!


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  1. Chebay on August 27, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Trying counts. I’m battling and when I win the battle in my mind, it feels like my body is against me and one part just malfunctions to ensure I can’t put anything more than a 2 week streak together. Dieting it is 😦

    • texaschi on August 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      Stay encouraged! Those two week streaks are better than 0 week streaks! Keep trying, I’m behind you all the way 🙂

  2. Ari on August 27, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Ease into it is the correct term…I’ve been easing into mine for 3 years🙊🙊🙊….but YOU know you got this.

    • texaschi on August 27, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Lol 3 years as a mom equates to the blink of an eye. I’d say you’re right on track

  3. SophieC on August 27, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Quarantine has done a number on my body but I am gradually getting my life back by employing dietary changes and I plan to add some YouTube exercises as well. Learning to give my body more grace and appreciate all it has gone through during these stressful times has changed my perspective. You are doing very well. The extra pounds will come off in due time but for the time being love on your self and your babies. ❤️

    • texaschi on August 27, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement! The fact that health is a priority for you means you’re on the right track! Quarantine times are crazy times, we are all just trying to make it!

  4. Derm_mama on August 27, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    I am NOT eating hahaha…not good I know, but so busy with the kiddos I often forget… Looks great on the scale but lost weight so fast that everything is droopy lol…booty/boobies everything lol. I think you are doing it the right way! Take your time, exercise and eat better (as you are doing) and it will all work out! Just remember, things will get easier as he gets older! COVID isn’t making it easy though *sigh* but hang in there mama! U got this!

    • texaschi on August 31, 2020 at 3:35 am

      Oh no, mama! You’ve got to eat so you have enough energy to keep up with your kiddos! LOL at droopy! I’m with you there; I’m losing the fight against gravity :D. Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Fee on August 27, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Currently doing insanity on a not post pregnancy body and I crash too. Especially during part 2 of the whole thing. Running might be a good next thing to pick up again. Do you think you’ll be able to mummy and train again soon?

    • texaschi on August 31, 2020 at 3:36 am

      Wooow, Insanity! I’m too scared to try it! And too lazy to commit to it lol. I’m hoping I can start running again in the next two months. Things should have leveled out a bit by then!

  6. Koko on August 28, 2020 at 4:57 am

    Ease into it…the lesson I continue to learn. Building the appetite to workout progressively really does lead to the desire to keep up with the habitat. I love the reminder to be kind to yourself. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    • texaschi on August 31, 2020 at 3:37 am

      Thanks for reading and for the encouragement!

  7. Tshyro on August 31, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I make small adjustments. Eat clean at least one meal a day. De clutter all snacks etc…There’s a time for everything, just make small adjustments for now!
    Did I say how much I enjoy reading your blogs!!!
    Keep them coming 😃

    • texaschi on August 31, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Aww thanks Tshyro! I like your approach! I read a book recently called Atomic Habits that recommends that exact approach! I guess it didn’t stick because I’m still inclined to make major overhauls lol. I think I’ll try the one clean meal a day approach in September, thanks for the idea.

  8. Loui on September 7, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    I have definitely put on a few pounds since this quarantine started. Joe has slowly started getting back to the gym life. I decided it was time to join him as well to get my pre-quarantine body back. All I can say is, i almost had a heart attack.

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