So despite external pressure from well-meaning friends and family, I made the executive decision to stay true to my values and my commitment to my son. I simply ignored the comments such as: "When are you going to slim down?" "Are you pregnant again?" Even my dad's, "Wow, you've never been this fat before, ever!"
I never got mad or even commented. I just remained focused and patient, knowing I was making the best choices for myself and my son.
Besides, everyone who knows me knows that whatever my size, I have always maintained a healthy sense of self-esteem - almost to a fault, according to some. No matter what others said, or conventional wisdom dictates, I always beat the drum to my own rhythm. Period.
That's why I decided to share my personal journey back to a fit body with you, Daily News readers. I want to encourage all new mothers to be led by their intuition and not get sucked into or influenced by Hollywood celebrities and their rapid post-pregnancy slim-downs, or well-meaning friends and family who think they know what's best.
Don't expect to have a sixpack six weeks after giving birth. Not only is that unrealistic, I think it is downright unhealthy, too.
Instead, I say, trust your gut. I trusted my inner guide knowing that it would direct me to the appropriate time to return to my optimum weight. So, in mid-February of this year, as Darius' third birthday approached, I began to wean him.
Once he was totally weaned, I discovered, almost miraculously, I simply needed less food. My appetite was no longer what I considered voracious, and I realized I was truly satisfied with less.
I was always confident, despite my advanced maternal age - I was 45 when Darius was born - that once I stopped nursing I would start to slim down. So far, I've dropped one dress size.
Now, I've decided to up the ante. For the next 12 weeks, I'll share my personal fitness and eating habits with you. Each Thursday, along with my column, I will post my exercise routine, inspirations, meals, recipes, and more.
That means walking my own talk, following the ABC plan of no alcohol, bread (or doughnuts or bagels), cakes, cookies, candy, chips or crackers.
My short-term goal for is to drop two dress sizes. My long-term goal is to finally make peace with my wicked sweet tooth, improve my pull-ups and conquer my fear of free-form handstands.
With a clean diet and consistent exercise, like the little blue engine, "I think I can" do it!
So, if you're ready to take on the challenge, I encourage you to work toward your personal health and fitness goals with me and transform your body and your life, too.
Are you a recent mom who's been working to lose her "baby fat"? We'd love to know how you're doing it. Send me a brief (250 words or less) description, with a photo. I'll be sharing some of your stories in the Daily News, and you'll be eligible for a random drawing to win a membership to 12th Street Gym in Center City, plus three complementary personal-training sessions with me.
Send in your story by June 23 to the email address below or mail to Kimberly Garrison, the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Include your name, address and a daytime phone number.
Kimberly Garrison is a certified personal trainer and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia (www.1on1ultimate fitness.com). Email her at email@example.com. Her column appears each Thursday in Yo!