It has almost been a year since I gave birth to Levi, and I wanted to share an update on how my body has changed in hopes it brings encouragement and a real perspective to motherhood. Being someone that is entrenched in social media, I often see other moms or celebrities "bounce back" within six months to their pre-baby bodies. Not me. It takes me longer, and it takes the majority of people longer than six months. 

This is my second pregnancy, and both of my pregnancies I gained 35 pounds. I lost that baby weight gradually over the course of a year. Back in March, I shared pictures of my body taken 4 months post-partum in size 12 pants and weighing 148 pounds. I'm now wearing size 8 pants and I weigh 134. You can see a side by side above.

My pre-pregnancy self was 127 wearing size 4, but I was also working out three times a week at the gym. I have not been able to exercise at all since the birth of Levi because I have had a flair up of arthritis and my Hashimotos disease has caused my thyroid to get out of whack. We are still working on finding the right dosage to reduce the inflammation in my body, but once I'm pain free I'll get back to the gym. 

But regardless of working out or not, these are just numbers and pictures. How do I really feel about myself? Do I feel normal now? 

I feel great about myself now, and, yes, I feel normal now. I finally feel like I can invest money in clothes I love and not just wear a cheap postpartum wardrobe from Target. I don't find myself self-conscious about my stomach anymore. I also feel confident to wear a swimsuit again. (Below, is an un-edited picture of me 9 months postpartum.)

Is there room for improvement? Of course, but muscle tone is totally different than just simply wearing clothes that feel like you and being in sizes that feel "normal" to myself. Can I wear all of my old clothes yet? Nope, but I'm not discouraged by that. It takes time my friends, and it will take more time for me. Give your bodies grace. It took a year to grow a human and it takes a year to feel and look like yourself again. And it may take even longer than that (like me) to get back to your pre-baby self. I just want to tell you that it's NORMAL. What's not normal is getting back to your pre-baby body in six months or less. That's amazing! Congratulations to the women that can do that, but it's not the norm. Don't put that pressure on yourself.

Be patient and realistic with your body. In time you will feel like yourself again, and in the meantime, pat yourself on the back for creating a beautiful baby.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer. All photos of my body are un-edited to give an accurate depiction of my body.


This is a post I have been wanting to write for several months now, and I'm so glad it is a topic that is part of the Real Mom Series that some other female bloggers will be addressing today as well. Please be sure to read their personal stories as we shine some light on how we are trying to take care of our bodies and minds while balancing the role of motherhood: Effortless Chic / Sarah Sherman Samuel / Apartment 34 / The Refined Woman / Parker Etc. / A Daily Something / Our Style Stories / Sacramento Street

This is me four months postpartum. I'm 148 pounds in this picture and wearing size 12 jeans. I took these photos knowing that I wanted to eventually discuss this topic of caring for your body and mind postpartum because this is probably the hardest thing for me to do for myself. In fact, loving my body and mind well has been hard for me to do all of my life, but motherhood definitely makes it more challenging. (Click here to read about my past body struggles). My hope is that any mom that reads this and feels similarly knows that she's not alone and that she is completely normal.

Motherhood forever changes your body and mind no matter if you have carried a child or not. Worries that were never there before race through your brain, sleeping through the night is a rarity for months, and time for yourself seems to be scarce. And, if you have had the gift of carrying a child in your body (I purposely say gift because I recognize that not every woman gets this chance even if they want it), you know that your body changes drastically during and after baby. This change is something I felt anxious about before I got pregnant with Elle and it returned when I was pregnant with Levi.

The funny thing is that my body was in better shape after Elle was born. I was thinner, I started to eat a lot better and go to the gym 3-4 times a week, my stress levels decreased, my strength increased, my energy increased, my mind was able to relax, I started sleeping better and my clothes fit better. (See my 30 flirty and thriving process). So, after bouncing back better than before, why in the world would I be anxious again about the changes in my body for my second pregnancy? 

Well, I have even less time juggling two kids, my business has grown since my first pregnancy and I'm older. That's reality, folks! Is having another child the greatest gift in the world? YES! Would I trade it for anything? NO! Would I go through this again? In a heartbeat! That doesn't mean my struggles to love my mind and body go away. That doesn't mean I should just automatically feel like celebrating these stretch marks, loose skin and added pounds. Especially, given my profession as a style blogger, it's incredibly hard to stand in front of a camera time after time posing myself in looser clothing to hide the muffin top.

But the voices around me sometimes pile on guilt for having this frustration and dissatisfaction with my physical state. I hear, "How dare you complain for a second about these changes when you have the gift of children when so many women don't?! How can you complain when you have all of your limbs, a working heart, no cancer?..."

Thankfulness for my children and body is so evident in my words and actions, but knowing that I have the potential to feel and be better than I currently feel haunts me every time I look in the mirror and see a tired face, weak, and out of shape.

It's a process and it takes time. That's what I remember about my last pregnancy and that's what I have to constantly say to myself this time around. "Be patient with yourself, Alex. You will feel like yourself once again." I can't really rush it as much as I want to. Some of it isn't even in my control. Levi is still having a hard time kicking the 4am feeding, but I know he will eventually get there and that this is only a season. In fact, I'm now 142 pounds and a size 10 two months later. Change has been made, and though I feel weaker than ever due to some complications with my thyroid, it's an encouragement to me that progress is there. 

So, to all of you mamas who might be in the same place or even ten years postpartum, it is possible for us to feel the best versions of ourselves. If there is a normal reason for dissatisfaction with our bodies that is in our control and within healthy expectations, let's remind ourselves that progress is possible even if it comes slowly. Just be patient with yourself. 

If you are someone that is dealing with unrealistic levels of dissatisfaction and trying to control your body in unhealthy ways, please seek help with a counselor. I'm more than happy to recommend some if you live in Arizona. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

Health & Fitness Goals for 2015


This post is sponsored by Mountainside Fitness.

I know I might be jumping the gun by talking about my New Year's resolutions before Christmas has even happened, but I'm a planner. I just can't help myself. Not to mention, I'm kind of anxious to kiss 2014 good-bye and start fresh. There are many things to be thankful for this year, but emotionally, 2014 has been a hard one for me. So, here are 5 things I'm looking forward to doing in the next year to help my body.

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1| Drink 3 glasses of water a day, every day. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but I hardly drink any liquids that aren't coffee. I'm dehydrated and I live in the desert. This can't be good for my skin or my body, so I'd like to change that by starting with an attainable and manageable goal of 3 tall glasses of water a day.

2| Run a 5K with my husband. Running a 5K is one of my husband's goals, and so I've made it one of mine as well. I'd love to accomplish such a big goal together.

3| Try TRX classes. I've been really interested in TRX training, and I would love to try out a class. I think it's going to be my new favorite workout style.

4| Try a spin class. I haven't tried a spin classes either. I'm intimidated by them, actually, but it's time to get over that fear.

5| Start using anti-aging products morning and night. All I do for my skin right now is wash it with soap and apply SPF in the morning. I'm starting to notice some deep wrinkles, and it's time to do something about it now.

Photos by Sarah Gray Portraits

30 & Thriving Challenge


In exactly two months and one day I will be kissing my 20's good-bye and embracing my 30's. I'm am really excited about this new season of my life. My 20's have been great in many ways, but it was definitely a decade of figuring myself out. I went from single to married to a baby in a ten year span. I also graduated college, bought a home and held five different jobs. I have learned a ton about myself, and I can't wait to learn more. There's one thing though that I really feel like I have failed at my whole life, and that's taking care of my body. I wrote a post a couple of months ago about my journey with self image, and in it I shared that I have really come to a place of accepting and embracing my body. However, I am not doing the best job right now by keeping it healthy. There's a saying that I saw on Instagram that has stuck with me, "Friends don't let friends get skinny fat." I'm skinny fat. On the outside I might look great, but I don't exercise AT ALL. I have not even attempted to exercise since 2011. Three years ago!!!  The truth is I feel really weak and I want to feel strong. I want to know that my heart is in shape and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes that plagues my family. I want my 30's to be a time of thriving and strength now that I have discovered what kind of man I like, what my passion is, etc. It's time to thrive!

To help me, Mountainside Fitness is sponsoring my wellness challenge for three months. I will be sharing weekly updates on what I am learning and doing to start my 30's off on the right foot. You can follow along via the blog, facebook and Instagram, as well as the hashtag #30thrivingchallenge


Photos by Liz E. Studio. Satin headwrap by I Wear the Headress