By Liana Jacob
MEET THE FIT MUM-OF-FIVE who is proving that you can maintain a healthy figure post-pregnancy without ever leaving the house.
Health and wellness coach, Jessica Ralston (34), from California, USA, grew up in a big family, being the second child of seven.
She has since given birth to her eldest daughter, Diane (9), in 2009, a son, Robert (7), in 2011, was surprised with twins, Raechel and Olivia (4), in 2014, and her youngest, Kathryn (2), in 2016.
Before she had any children, she was insecure about her 10st 5Ib body and didn’t incorporate a self-care routine. Throughout four out of her five pregnancies, Jessica’s weight increased to 11st 11Ib, except when she had twins, her weight rose to 12st 12Ib.
Since she overcame post-natal depression following the birth of her youngest, she began a healthy journey to cleanse out the toxins in her body. Jessica started with an at-home fitness programme that lasted 30 minutes long.
Since her new discovery, she shed her pregnancy weight and reduced back to her pre-motherhood weight of 10st 8Ib, despite being five-months pregnant with her sixth baby.
“I was self-conscious about my figure before kids. I had a nice figure, but I never thought about loving or caring for my body. I definitely took it for granted that I would also be active and healthy,” Jessica said.
“Throughout a lot of my kids’ births I was extremely busy with work and lost a lot of my muscle strength I had when I was an athlete in high school and college.
“I became very thin and developed unhealthy eating habits because of lack of energy. After my fifth baby those eating habits caught up with me and I began to gain weight even after delivery.
“I went into a depression after my fifth baby was born; I had no self-care and I had no energy. I felt very trapped at home with five kids aged six and under.
“I started my health journey because I thought my only problem was that I was thirty-five pounds overweight. Now I realise it was so much more than that.
“I didn’t prioritise myself at all. Being able to incorporate self-care into everyday tasks, even if it’s just twenty minutes has helped my self-confidence and my mood tremendously. Being mindful that I’m eating because I LOVE myself has been life changing.
“That was when I knew I needed better health habits and signed up for an online accountability group and at-home workouts.”
Since her revelation, she started working out within the comforts of her own home and it has helped her maintain a healthy mind as well as a youthful-looking figure.
“I began with an at home fitness programme that was thirty minutes a day. At the time they were viewed on DVDs. Now there is an online membership,” Jessica said.
“I also started a portion control programme that taught me about what foods were missing from my diet and what I was overeating.
“I also learned how to improve the quality of food I was eating and feeding my family. I drank superfood shakes daily to help me fill in gaps in my nutrition and give me tons of energy.
“All of this combined with an online community for support gave me everything I needed to be successful.
“Having a process and a team to plug into when I’m struggling has helped me through the struggles, I’ve encountered in the last two years.
“It’s so easy to get back on track when I see bad habits creeping back in. As new programmes come out; my team goes through them together. It keeps things fresh and keeps me excited and motivated.
“Being able to be confident through postpartum, and now pregnancy has been an incredible feeling. I know I’m doing what I need to do to take care of myself.
“I’m proud to be setting a positive example of self-care for my children. As I gain weight during this pregnancy, I have no worries because I knew how to care for body through all the seasons of life.
“I’ve never been more confident in my whole life. I can honestly say people never commented much on how I looked before.
“I would have also avoided compliments because attention drawn to myself made me very uncomfortable. Now I get comments like, ‘you don’t look like you have five kids?’ or ‘these can’t all be yours!’
“I would say do what you can maintain, because you need to change your lifestyle forever if you want lasting results.
“Time is a magic ingredient. If you just make one small change each week, they’ll add up to be huge and reach out to a coach or community.
“We have insight to offer and it’s wonderful to have someone to talk to for advice and encouragement.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/messyjessyralston/