The good old days!

My body has changed from that of the 17-year-old young girl in high school. As a student athlete back then, I took for granted the time and ability I had to focus on building a strong body for playing basketball and running varsity track for four years.

My metabolism was in full effect, and I didn’t really need to watch what I ate; I specifically remember my Nana telling me I was going to learn once I reached my thirties and yep, she was right. Now 36 years old with a little extra thickness in these hips, stretch marked thighs and saggy skin on this belly, I’ve embraced that my body went through
trauma during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

After birthing three handsome sons naturally, I know for a fact that I can do ANYTHING. Some days I might need a little more reassurance than others, but I stand on the scripture, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So why are we mommies so hard on ourselves?

Picture of Perfection Where?

The images we see and narratives we hear have us thinking that a week after birth we are to “snap back” to our pre-pregnancy bodies. But most of us mommies know, that is far from our realities.

My first pregnancy I was not prepared for what motherhood was getting ready to serve me. My husband and I had been married for ten months when I found out I was pregnant.

I was trying to get my bearings in being a new wife, while finishing up my last semester in college, serving in ministry at church so, my plate was pretty full already.

During pregnancy I didn’t eat the best, I didn’t exercise, and ended up gaining 50 pounds. My 5-foot 3 inches frame was carrying 185 pounds the day I delivered in October 2009. Postpartum depression hit me hard, and I wasn’t prepared for the work I should have done to rebuild my pelvic floor and heal my diastasis recti.

I was so lost in trying to survive being a new mommy that I didn’t focus on me.

The Second Time Around

The second time around I was a little more prepared. I tried to watch what I ate during pregnancy, stayed a little more active (running after an active three-year-old helped with that) and focused on my mental health as well.

I did better only gaining 35 pounds to the date of delivery in March 2013. But my overly stretched body from carrying two eight-pound babies was done.

Just like a yo-yo, up and down!

Throughout the years while my two older boys grew, I did the bare minimum to stay active. I was still in my mid-twenties, so my metabolism was still semi-active and running around with the boys kept me on track with my daily steps.

It wasn’t until the approach of my 30th birthday that I set the goal for myself to lose the lingering baby weight; I wanted to be snatched for the party I was throwing.

I committed to two workouts a day, meal prepping and sticking to a clean eating plan, I drank my water, I did all the things and reached my goal by my birthday. I was so proud of myself and everyone else saw the changed too.

But then I got comfortable, busy, had no time, tired, blah, blah, blah…and then a piece of brownie here, a scope or two of ice cream there, to “I don’t feel like working out today”, had me gaining back 20 pounds!!! Again, I found
myself not satisfied with how I looked or felt.

The push I needed

In 2017, a friend of mine convinced me to try a trial run at a popular gym called Orangetheory (OT). Very hesitantly I went and to my surprise ended up signing up after my very first class. I also challenged myself to train for and run in my first 5K with the goal of under 30 minutes.

I sacrificed and committed to 5:00 a.m. workouts at OT. A year in, I was working out six days a week, shedding fat, building muscle, and loving the whole process of pushing myself. I achieved my 5K goal (running it in 28 minutes and 57 seconds). I lost those 20 pounds and was on track to where I FINALLY wanted to stay…145 pounds, toned and fit.

Well damn!

PREGNANT! That’s what the pregnancy test read in October 2018! Excuse me what?! Yes, I said pregnant! Okay, a total shock but I was convinced with my new fit lifestyle I was going to work out my whole pregnancy and “snap back”.

I was so wrong because the pregnancy fatigue and morning sickness hit me in the first trimester, I could barely
walk let alone run on a treadmill at 12 mph speed for one min intervals which I had trained up to at OT.

Then came the issue of my weak pelvic floor and untreated diastasis recti that felt like my insides were going to fall out when I stood for too long.

As pregnancy progressed and I found myself cancelling workouts, I gave up my OT membership. My OB/GYN put me on a modified bed rest due to preterm contractions that started around 28 weeks; baby boy’s head was pushing on my cervix and the pressure was painful.

With the limited ability to be active, I gained a little over 40 pounds by the time I delivered at 35 weeks in June 2019.

Enter 2020

After my six-week checkup I was cleared for physical activity and I started small with walking, working on my core and nutrition. I did what I could while balancing the three boys.

However, 2020 brought on something none of us were prepared for…the Global Pandemic resulting from the
Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Lockdown got REAL; Teleworking, while facilitating distance learning, while caring for a baby and still trying to maintain a connection in my marriage brought on so much pressure that I found myself stress eating and BOOM, I started putting on weight on top of the pregnancy weight.

At one point I got on the scale, and it read ‘187’ and tears rolled down my face. How did I get back here? I had no answers, and I desperately needed a solution.


During lockdown, I came across a “Don’t Rush” challenge video which included all these beautiful black women. Some I recognized and others I didn’t, but I was so intrigued by what the logo on the shirt they passed around meant.

That day I started following @mommination on Instagram. I joined Cycle II of the Fit Mommi Challenge and loved
every bit of it. Because of my previous fitness journey, I joined the Fit Mommi team. I even won a prize at the end of the challenge.

Fitish Mommi

So, when Cycle III came around, I was ready, but felt like the Fit-ish Mommi team better suited my current fitness journey. It was during this cycle that there was a shift in my mindset about me and the high expectations I was holding over myself.

Through the VIP sessions I really got to see that there were other women outside of my immediate scope that looked just like me, were struggling just like me and experiencing many of the same obstacles just like me.

The weights of having to be picture perfect started falling as my sisterhood with these ladies developed. I saw them and they saw me; it was and has been a beautiful experience!

Out of My Comfort Zone

MommiNation and the Fit Mommi Challenges have brought me out of my comfort zone in so many ways and this community has been a safe space for me to shed some of my deepest fears and anxieties.

I’m still very much a work in progress, in all aspects; physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. But I’m so thankful to have been scrolling IG and found MommiNation at just the right time I needed it.

To now be amongst an awesome group of black women as a Mombassador, inspiring other women to be their most
authentic selves is far more than I could imagine for myself.

God works in such amazing ways, doesn’t He?

Cycle IV

As Cycle IV of the Fit Mommi Challenge is upon us, I am standing secure in that I’m a Fit-ish Mommi and to me that means I have grace to be the version of fit I need to be in that moment.

The term “Fit” is just that, a term and doesn’t define my abilities as I progress to the version of Shamika that brings me ultimately peace within myself. As long as I’m doing something for myself that will make me better for me
FIRST, then I can be better for my family, friends, my community, my Mommi friends!

I’m pleased and proud of myself right where I am and you should too fellow Mommi!


Mommi Shamika Payne