Monday, Day 25 - As it was my 2nd to last day I was super keen to get going and have a great session (see tomorrow for that feeling running out quite quickly!), I had the pilates and strength session from week 12 to do today which included a stronger flow of pilates to wrap up the whole progress we’ve made from start to finish of the programme. It feels great to be challenging myself and knowing that the work I’ve put in so far has helped me to be capable of these moves.
The strength exercises are:
1) Band pull through legs - looks weird but you tie the band low onto something - bed post, table leg, playground climbing frame etc - and then hold both ends tight at the start then stand strong and quick, pulling the band up in front of you to hip height. It’s like a deadlift movement.
2) Band lateral raises - with the band tied low, take just one end of the it, turn side on and step the near side food under the band, and then the outside foot step on top of the band, pull your hand to hip height with the band and then kick your foot out to the side.
3) Pull up preps - I did have band pull downs in the workout but as I had a playground there to do this move I took the opportunity - hang on a bar, then shrug your shoulders up to your ears and then draw them down your back, repeat.
4) Bow and Arrow with mini band - make like you’re pulling a bow with an arrow in by bending one elbow with the hand in front of your chest, and stretching the other arm out to opposite side.
After I had done this and we’d all had breakfast, we piled in the car (Roald Dahl again, hurray!) and drove to one of the many fairytale castles in the Black Forest, this one the ancestral home of the Royal Family of Prussia (yep, it’s stretching my history to work out where Prussia is too, even after we visited there!) who also ascended the Kaiser Wilheim clan and our lovely Queen Vic, and quite marvellously magical it is too. Perched on top of a hillside with 800m of ascent half drive, half walk to get up there its a beautiful building steeped in history. We had a lovely walk around, checking out all the little details in the doors, windows and architecture and the incredible views around then had a great little tour of the inside rooms. We were fairly late getting back to the campsite so it was a little BBQ thing for dinner and then showers.
That evening while we were showering together Big La La nuzzled up to my belly and said, “I love your belly Mummy, it’s so soft and beautiful”, it was a wonderful moment that really made me stop in my tracks and check what I was about to say in response. After having 2 kids, and a large diastisis recti following the 2nd, which didn’t heal due to the adrenal fatigue, I don’t have such a great relationship with my belly. Pre-kids it used to be strong and tight (possibly one factor in the DR), and I had plenty of confidence in wearing a bikini or and t-shirt top, but now I’ve been working for what seems like so look on improving my confidence by slowly realising that I can do as much as I can but actually my shape is part of my story now. My reasoning behind Love Movement is that as mothers we need to be encouraged to fall in love with moving again - our bodies are not just given up for somebody else’s use any longer and we don’t have to let it be a spiral down into movement limited to driving, standing to cook, picking up kids and laundry baskets or bending down to extract lego from under the sofa. Our bodies are so much and are capable of so much more than that, and part of the thing with that is we need to ignore and question every image we see of women “snapping back into their pre-kids shape”, or getting “beach body ready” - both phrases make me feel sick and want to punch the man who wrote them! If my daughter can love my body and tell me so then that’s good enough for me, after all my belly housed and protected and nurtured her for 9 months, she knows how precious that is. My response could have shut her lovely words down “oh no I don’t want it to be soft” or “oh it’s not beautiful”, that would have told her that what she sees as beautiful isn’t good enough - well she’ll get enough “scarcity”, as the wonderful Brené Brown puts it, in her life I don't need to start her now at 7 years old. Thankfully I managed to look at her very sincerely and simply say “thank you”.
I am reading the incredible and hugely important “EatSweatPlay” book by Anna Kessel at the moment, a book that is putting into words things I had thought about the world of sport and exercise but couldn’t quite articulate properly, or had not even questioned having been brought up in a sporting household with the male dominated paradigm firmly in place. One thing that really struck me in the chapter I just read is that girls need to see women in exercise and sport as the norm, not something that only men go out and do. I feel hugely encouraged that in the doing of this blog work my kids have been a direct witness to me making this commitment and carrying it out. My daughter has taken the photos for most of the last week or so of exercises and so both of them have seen that their Mum as well as their Dad prioritises exercise and movement as part of their life. My daughter loves my belly in whatever shape it is, and sees that I exercise because I enjoy it and it gives me strength, I hope she ties both of those things into her growing brain as one that comes from another. I also hope, just as importantly that my son knows that any images of “perfect” bodies of girls staying motionless in order to show their perfection do not tally with the image of his Mum moving, enjoying exercising and being strong and capable. My hope is then he wouldn’t put unrealistic expectations on any girl he meets and that he’d expect and want to see women around him moving their bodies, exercising and taking part in sports. That’s one of my hopes anyway.