Hello lovelies, well I think it’s been a while since I sat down and wrote a proper ‘wordy’ post! For new readers, this is basically where I put all my brain out into a blog post and give a big chunky update on my life and everything I have going on in my head, which is usually a lot! So grab a cuppa and get comfortable, here we go!
Holy crap I did not fully appreciate what motherhood was really going to be like. I keep saying to people that there’s nothing anyone could have said to me that would have fully prepared me for it. It feels like I’ve been turned inside out and back again. I never believed it was possible to feel so utterly exhausted, fed up and sick and tired, while also feeling on top of the world with a heart bursting with more love than I ever knew it could hold. That’s the paradox of motherhood, it’s hard, but it’s absolutely amazing right at the same time. Now that Fin is 10 months old, looking back at those first few weeks is surreal. Obviously we had a lot of problems to deal with and I think I’ve only just come to terms with all of that. Looking back I feel like I was a different person. I loved him so, so much, but I was broken. Poor James really saw me at my lowest, sobbing in a heap on the floor because Fin wouldn’t stop crying, the nights of less than 3 hours sleep, the constant cycle of breastfeeding, tube feed top ups and expressing milk to keep my supply up. But in amongst that were wonderful shining moments of happiness and joy. Such is parenthood!
I think most mamas get this as well, but for the first few months I really struggled with feeling like I had lost ‘me’. It was like this new ‘mama Laura’ had been jammed into me and had pushed everything else out. It took a while before the ‘mama’ part of me became more like a transparent layer, allowing everything else back in, but underneath it and encompassed by it.
Over the last couple of months things have truly come together, and if I’m honest, having Finley in nursery a couple of days has been a big part of that. Yes, I may be blessed to be able to work from home, but I would rather have days when I can completely focus on my business and days when I can completely focus on Fin. It works for us, he seems to enjoy nursery and the day with his Grandma, and I can work on building my biz – more on that in a moment!
Having a more local network of friends who also have babies has been vital for me. I am so thankful for them, I honestly think I would have driven myself crazy if I didn’t have them to share experiences with! It’s also lovely to have friends in my community, and although I’ve lived in Durham for over 10 years, I’ve always still felt that Gateshead and Newcastle was my ‘home’. Now I’m starting to let magnificent medieval Durham get under my skin.
Health and Body
I can say without a doubt I’m in the best place I’ve ever been with regards to my body acceptance. I haven’t weighed myself in several months because I don’t hate what I see in the mirror, so why let a scale change that? I know I could be slimmer, more toned etc, but as I’ve said here on the blog and to clients many, many times is this: healthy living is a bit like a balancing scale, if I wanted to be thinner and more toned, that would mean I would need to eat differently and exercise more. Currently, I am happy with my healthy living practices and I don’t feel that the changes in my body are worth altering the way I currently eat and exercise. Ultimately, I recognise that I am a fairly new mama, who is still breastfeeding and who has limited time for exercise and preparing elaborate meals. This is the phase of life I’m in, and I’m accepting and embracing it wholeheartedly. Haha I just had to ;-)
I don’t have ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods. I don’t binge. Ever. I sometimes overeat a little, I sometimes eat a little too much of the foods I know are less healthy for me. However I don’t beat myself up about it, I know how to get ‘back on it’ with ease.
For a while, as I shared here, I was really having some issues with sugar. While my sleep is up and down I know this is something I need to keep an eye on. I have also become aware that my immune system is screwed. I think a mix of the stress we had a few months ago, lack of sleep, added exposure to viruses via Fin’s nursery, and if I’m honest, not getting enough proper rest, had left me depleted. It’s these signs that remind me to up the game nutritionally rather than being hyper focused on my weight.
In terms of my body post pregnancy I’m really happy with it! Yes I have a looser belly and a few more stretch marks but I don’t look that different to what I did before I got pregnant. I’m back to my pre pregnancy size, all my clothes fit and I’ve even had a few ‘have you lost weight’ comments which are always lovely. I’m a size 12 / 14 which I’m pretty happy with right now. In future I may well be ready to work harder to get to a comfortable size 12 and I’m very confident that I’d be able to do that with a bit of effort, if / when I feel like it.
One big thing I’ve had to deal with is being a little larger than the average healthy living blogger / coach. Pretty much everyone else out there is very slim, ‘perfect’, famous, rich etc, and wasn’t really sure if I had any place within that community (I’m not talking about many of the lovely bloggers that comment here, more the guys on Instagram etc). It really did upset me for a while, and I had a few ‘what the fuck am I doing’ moments. However, I know when I feel like that its all about something in me, and nothing to do with those people. It was my own insecurities coming to the fore.
The bottom line is, I am not like them. I’ve been super skinny, exercising loads with food and exercise being the most important thing in my life, and it totally sucked! I’ve gone through that and out the other side. I also know that for some of us, just eating healthy food is not always enough to lose weight and feel great either.
It’s these experiences that make me, me, and make me the coach that I am. What’s the point of eating kale fucking brownies or whatever if you are missing out on LIFE? Now I know I’m not fat, far from it, I’m healthy and curvy and a breastfeeding mother, and running my own business doing something I adore, enjoying my life and doing my best and this is where I come out. Shitty immune system aside, I feel pretty fabulous! I’m working on my own version of success, and that is what I need to focus on rather than letting my inner bitch talk me down.
Ooh this is a new one for me to talk about here on the blog. I am not religious, but I am very spiritual. It started for me when I was in my teens watching The Craft and reading To Ride Silver Broomstick. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of guidance from a former manager who is a Reiki Master and she helped me get my head around lots of new ways of thinking. I guess I’m mentioning it here as I’ve felt a big shift in me to reconnect with all of this and now I’m meditating and visualising almost daily, using my Oracle Cards and really upping my game in terms of inviting positivity into my life. I really do feel that like attracts like, so without being forcefully positive, or faking positivity, I am bringing more of it to me. I’m working slowly through Denise Duffield Thomas’s Manifesting course too.
Running a biz
There is not a single day that goes by when I don’t feel buckets of gratitude for being able to make a good living doing something I’m head over heels in love with. Helping women feel more fabulous not only though nutrition, but through self love and self care too, absolutely rocks! I think that getting my head around that comparison trap I mentioned and remembering where I’ve been and where I am now in my healthy living journey has reinforced my will to support and inspire other women too. I think there’s definitely space for a more curvaceous health coach preaching body positivity right alongside healthy eating, healthy weight loss, self care and self love that fits in around having an actual life!
I have a post planned for a more behind the scenes look at Uniquely Healthy Ltd as I know a few of you are interested in that stuff.
Exciting things coming up here include a brand new designed from scratch Wholeheartedly Healthy website! I am sooo excited about this one! lauraagarwilson.com will be going and everything I offer including the blog will be here. I’ve wanted to do this for ages, and I’m really investing in something that is going to be amazing. As part of that I’m getting some new photos of me taken (cringe alert!).
The Fabulous YOU course will be starting again in September. The ladies who did the last round have really had some amazing feedback and I can’t wait to share the course with more fab seekers soon!
Considering I didn’t know what I would write when I sat down to this post I think I’ve just got a lot off my chest!
Do you ever feel like the ‘odd one out?’ Other Mamas, can you relate? Anything specific you’d love to see in a new Wholeheartedly Healthy site?
Brilliant post! Completely agree about the motherhood thing – being in the first few weeks myself, I never realised I could have days where I’d be sitting on the sofa crying with exhaustion and overwhelm, then having belly-aching laughs when baby does something funny. It’s freakin’ hard but it’s like any adventure – full of highs and pride too.
Also, re: not being like other health bloggers, that’s why we love you! You make it seem realistic and achievable, and as someone who has been doing the Fabulous You course, I know how refreshing it is to look at your relationship with how you feel as much as what you eat. Your course helps people change from the inside out, not just focusing on scales and saying no.
Excited to see the new website :)
Thanks Emma! Glad you are enjoying motherhood, it’s roller coaster ride!
Love this :) I know what you mean I sometime feel like as a health coach I really should be super slim and have no jiggly bit or love handles but i love life as it is right now and I am more bothered about healing my body that fitting in – well most days any way:) Cant wait to see all the changes that will be happening on your site – eek!!!
Thanks Kezia, I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves don’t we!
Laura I loved reading every bit of this, you really are a big inspiration for me. I too can compare myself to all the blogging nutritionists out there who look perfect and are super skinny and lean etc. But I also remind myself that I am not them, my body is not meant to be super skinny, been there, done that and it was not pretty. I am starting to begin to really accept my body and the shape and size it is supposed to be, as long as I am healthy and I feel great then thats all that matters.
I am also super grateful you have just talked about your spirituality on here too. I am also not religious but in the last few years I have been drawn to spirituality, and connecting with this has been really helping my life in such good ways. I am actually going with a group of college girlfriends this weekend to learn reiki which I am super excited about. So this is a long and soppy comment, but seriously, you rock and you are a massive inspiration for me (and I am sure so many others) in how much you love and accept yourself. I have faith one day I will get there too :)
Thanks for such a lovely comment Lauren! Hope you enjoy your Reiki weekend, I really do find that being more spiritual, without being too woo woo(!) has helped me in every area of my life. Have a great time!
What a brilliantly open post! I love it! I was like ye..ye..ye lol all the way through. You know what, seeing someone like yourself who has glowing skin and curves is a breath of fresh air! You look bloody amazing! Considering everything you are juggling in your life.
We don’t all want washer board stomaches and perfectly toned arms and tans, being comfortable with who we are is far more precious. Your doing wonderful work and I’m sure you are inspiring many people to look at their life ‘wholeheartedly’ .
Keep being you Laura! Your showing them how it’s really done x
Oh thanks so much Emma! What a lovely comment, made me smile from ear to ear!
Yay for so much positivity!! I absolutely wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy you talked about in terms of what you’d be happy (or not happy) to sacrifice in order to get to the “perfect body”. Like you said it’s absolutely a balancing act. You (general “you”) could get slimmer by not eating certain foods, but what does that do for actual quality of life? Is it worth it?? For some people it is for health reasons and I absolutely agree with that, but for losing a few pounds just to look a tiny bit slimmer but it would mean no cake, no chocolate, no going out etc…to me that’s just not worth it at all.
And I think you’re a perfect health coach. If I wanted a health coach I’d want someone like you, not some skinny bimbo eating kale with a handful of almonds. Noooo thank you!
Absolutely Anna, it’s a personal balancing act isn’t it. Thank you so much for those kind words though and I have to admit I laughed at your skinny bimbo comment lol!
These are my FAVOURITE posts of yours. So raw and so honest. I have to follow on from Lauren’s comment and reemphasise what a huge inspiration you are. Wherever I am with my body/health journey etc I feel as though you have been there too and that’s pretty darn impressive, and bloody reassuring too. Yours was the first blog I ever read, without clicking onto your site that day I don’t know if I’d be where I am at all in my life. How you feel about your body has a huge impact on how you conduct your whole life – with confidence – and your support and guidance pretty much saved me in that aspect, I can never thank you enough. Plus, I was inspired enough to start my own blog and with it make a tonne of new friends and find daily inspiration from around the world.
So basically what I want to say is that the work you do and the life you lead MATTERS. And that’s because you are you, not some ‘perfect’ famous whoever as, personally, I’d never find much inspiration in that. So thank you. Xxx
Thanks so much Pip, this comment made me totally well up! YOU are fabulous!!!
I always love how honest you are in these posts and I’d take that over a “perfect” health coach any day. x
Thanks so much Lily!
Well done you for telling it(parenting)like it is, Laura!
Well done you for telling it(parenting)like it is, Laura!
Oh Laura, you are in such a great space. Not only did you have a newborn but the health issues also. As someone who has had a newborn I always left no expectations and have myself a full year to dedicate to not working and milly. That year has been wonderful but now I am working part time again it’s lovely. I have tried to look upon this journey as a chance to find my new self- honestly I haven’t changed loads my old self are very much one and the same I just have a new priority. I still want to work ( full time in the future), travel, eat well and work out. I find it easy to make this a relative priority but not in any extreme sense as I am a role model now for a special little someone •. I found my body image is less about how I look but being fueled and energize and strong to cope with life. Once I am in my sweet spot my body will reflect that ( perhaps this will be a little squidgier than before). As for comparing yourself- you are so very real and your program is about finding your own balance so you are the perfect advert. Keep up the great work, the future sounds exciting. I promise one Finn is sleeping more it will help a lot also xx
Thanks for this great comment Hayley, it’s great to hear from another mama. I think it’s brilliant that you gave yourself that year, I really wish I’d been more realistic about time and needs. I definitely agree that their is a shift in body image that comes with becoming a mother!
I loved this post so much. You were also the first health blog I ever read, and you introduced me to a whole new world of self-love, health and feeling good, not just healthy eating. The exact reason I chose you as a health coach is because I knew you would get me, and that you had been through the same things and would be real with me. I also love the concept of being healthy fitting into my lifestyle. I’m starting to realise that I wasn’t put on this Earth to be skinny, that no one else cares what I look like as long as I’m happy, and that feeling good and living by my values is what’s most important. Thank you for inspiring us all!!
Thanks so much for such a lovely comment Rachael! You are awesome!
I love these posts from you, Laura!
I think imposter syndrome is something that a lot of people have to deal with, but I can imagine in your line of work it can be heightened, you are your own brand after all. I think it’s great that you’ll talk about it though; knowing other people have days where life is difficult has helped me see past the gloss of social media and I appreciate honesty from people more by the day.
I can recommend a great podcast from Kaila Prins called Finding Our Hunger, she’s an absolute inspiration and I think you’ll relate to and like her work.
Yep Alex, that’s it, I cringe when I think about the fact that I am my own brand but I know that’s what I am at the end of the day. Going to check out that podcast thanks!
I’ve no experience of the pregnancy/motherhood bit, but what I CAN tell you is that your inner bitch is way off the mark my darling. You’ve inspired me tonnes to look after my body and sort my diet out properly, not just how to do it but how to love doing it. I’m so so excited to do your next meal plan!
You’re a goddess and a trailblazer Laura. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing :) xxx
Haha thanks so much Lea, this comment totally made my day! Hope you are looking forward to the next meal plan chick x
Great post, Laura :) I have recently been through an ‘unfollow’ mission on Instagram and Facebook. People who make me feel bad or guilty or whatever. I now only follow positive people who inspire me every day (you’re one of them!). Being health bloggers we are bound to compare to others but we have to try not to get caught up in it and do what is right for us. I realised that I was signing up to races just to keep up with other running bloggers – then I realised I am happy running 5k twice a week and that’s that. I love yoga the rest of the time and am happy to do 20 mins at home on my own.
That’s great that you’re finding your groove in meditation too. It’s become a massive part of my life too – but it took a while to realise that! I kept putting it off thinking I was odd for having to do it and that everyone else was relaxed all the time! But connecting with my breath and my crazy thoughts and having some quiet time is crucial for me.
Anyway, now I am rambling, but thanks for a wonderful read, as ever :)
Glad I survived the social media cull ;-) I think it is so important for us all to connect to what makes us happy, with so much ‘media’ in our lives it’s easy to get lost I think x
You’re absolutely not like those types of bloggers, and that’s what makes Wholeheartedly Healthy one of my favourite places to come & chill out with a cuppa.
When I got back from Durham the other week, and Ant asked me how it went, I said something like, “really well, actually – felt a bit like having lunch with someone I already knew!”
I think that’s a testament to your blog. It’s you – authentic, honest and awesome. You tell it like it is, and provide your readers with a realistic view of health. For me, that’s so much more motivating than anything of that other stuff, and something to be very proud of! xx
Ah thanks Bexx! That’s lovely of you to say – something I’m quite proud off, everyone I’ve met offline after being online have said something similar and it makes me chuffed to bits!
Hi! I’ve been absent from reading blogs for quite some time, but suddenly, at this 5am hour, I became curious as to your state, and this entire post made me smile! So wonderful to see that you’re in such a good place and that your business is thriving!!
Haha thanks Nicole, hope you and Gwendolyn are doing well :-)
The reason why I think you are so popular with your blog is because you are real- you are not some photoshopped image, or someone who goes to the gym for hours on end, because you actually have a life and who has time for that? I think people can relate to your struggles, and celebrate your successes, because they feel by reading they have shared the ups and downs with you.
I feel like that sometimes with running- I do it because I enjoy it, but I am obviously not a fast runner, so compared to lots of other running blogs I am not in the same league. But if I catch that thought, I try to push it away.
I think what you’ve said about me is just as relevant for you – I love your blog because your a ‘real’ runner and I can relate to your experiences of running, even if running is not my fave ;-)
BrilliNt post Laura. I can’t imagine how tough and exhilarating motherhood is, I find having a puppy is hard enough!
I totally know where you’re coming from on ‘health experts’ on Insta etc. I’ve done a full recently, I was just getting depressed seeing all the abs. It’s not my life and not where I am, why beat myself round the face with it every time I go online?
Great news on your business, can’t wait to see the website and see all your amazing work in one place xx
Thanks Claire! Totally agree on the Insta thing of course, good for them but I think it can trigger so rubbishy comparison stuff!
An excellent post, dear Laura! xxx
I totally relate to you too on the feeling the “odd one out”, in the blog world, but especially in life. I guess pretty much everybody feels that way too but without honest exchanges/interactions with each other, we can never really know for sure. I admire you for creating your business and I appreciated your take on “spirituality”. Bringing more positivity in my life is something I try to work on on a daily basis but it’s not something that I achieve well.
Well done on everything,
Thanks Clem, the online world is brilliant, but can also be lonely, I guess with something still so relatively new, we are all still figuring it all out!
Laura, what a great post. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I finally made it and am a new mum and a health coach, too and I know exactly what you are talking about. I’m still in the early stages of motherhood – Amy is 3 months now – and “being a mum” is almost all there is right now. I am still ok being in this bubble but I know that it will have to change sooner or later and that I will have to take some time to look after myself and my soon to be health coaching business. :-)
Oh, and the thought of not being skinny enough to be a Health Coach – I had that yesterday and started panicking. Almost gave up on everything that I have planned. Thankfully I managed to calm myself down and it is great to read such an inspiring blog post today :-)
Love these posts Laura. “kale fucking brownies” rofl!! When you mentioned you had come down with a head cold again recently, I was thinking your immune system must be pretty low- I guess all you’ve been though over the last year and of course picking up bugs off the little one has hit it hard. Do you take a probiotic? I always find that really helps me, as about 70-80% of the immune system is in the gut.
Thanks Lauren, glad you liked the brownie comment! Yep I take a probiotic, although I think the previous few weeks have been so busy I’ve forgotten to take it a few times. Back on it now thankfully!