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The Shape of Our Hearts (Christina Plant)

June 1, 2011

age: 35
pregnancies 3
births 3
childrens ages: 14, 12, 9 (all boys!)
(this makes me nine plus years postpartum)

There is a fire in all of us. Sometimes I only have enough to keep the pilot light on. Sometimes I’m a torch. A bonfire. Sometimes, I am a wildfire- unruly and all-consuming.

I’ve been a mother for almost 14 years- I suppose it’s more accurate to say almost 15 years- how could I leave out the 9.5 months of my first pregnancy! I have three sons and the age span between the oldest and youngest is less than 5 years.

Today I am on fire! High and blazing. Excited and eager to live and breathe and make each day count. I make fitness a high priority, but I find that the aesthetic benefits are just a side affect of what taking care of my body does for me. I like feeling good in my own skin and when women ask me how it is that I am in such good shape after having 3 kids I do not hesitate to say “I work my ass off” with a totally straight serious face. That is exactly what I do. I’m a runner. I run about 20-30 miles a week. I MAKE the time for it- it’s as important as wiping my butt, or brushing my teeth or taking a shower. While we could survive without doing these things, if we fail to do these things regularly, we put our health at risk. I feel the same way about exercise. It’s an important part of maintaining your life. I also watch my diet- I make healthy choices and enjoy treats and indulgences about once a week. I keep anything that I absolutely love devouring out of my home.

I can’t help but notice that I’m in better shape than most of my oldest son’s female friends. I’ve heard people say to him “is THAT your mom?” and I must admit, it gives me a confidence boost.

There have been times when my fire was weak. I was that down, self-deprecating out of shape woman that looked at fit women and wondered if I would EVER feel or look as good as they do. I thought they had some special gift that I did not. Genetics. Will power. Money to hire a trainer or a personal chef. Blablablabla. But they aren’t special. They’re no better or worse than you or I. You cannot see inside their hearts. They may be fit for the wrong reasons. None of us are perfect. The photos you see that show flawless bodies are like a mirage. They aren’t real. What truly matters is what is in your heart. How is your fire? Does it burn for you and your passions and your goals, whatever they might be?

You can’t show the “shape” of a person’s heart in a photo. But if we wanted and if we are brave, we can show our hearts by showing who we really are. Some of the “worst looking” photos of me capture priceless moments. Who cares if it’s taken at a bad angle or my hair is unkempt? Did you ever stumble across a social network profile and notice that EVERY photo of that person shows them with flawless makeup, perfectly groomed, at their best angle, or smiling just perfectly? What does it mean when we hesitate to share our “real” moments- the ones where vanity and image are irrelevant because we’re too busy uhm… living???

I am not afraid of “looking” bad while living well. Upon finding this site, I too quickly realized how easy it is to see and believe photos like this:

or this:

Not bad, right? That’s me! I am 5’3″ and had 3 babies. The first one was 10 lbs 1 oz. I was 206 lbs right before delivery. The second one was 8 lbs 13 oz. Since I was chasing a toddler through that pregnancy, I only weighed in at 170 lbs before delivery. The third one was induced EARLY and weighed 8 lbs 3 oz and I was well over the 200 lb mark 2 weeks before his due date!

But we forget that there is NO such thing as perfection and here is the proof:

My tattoo is almost 16 years old and has some impressive battle scars, don’t you agree?

Here is a side shot of my lower abs and thigh:

What CAN’T you see in all of these photos? My heart. My fire. My passion for feeling alive. You can’t plainly see it from the outside on anyone can you? There is no way- perhaps because it is beyond what our eyes can see. The shape of our bodies and what we see in the mirror shouldn’t be the most important thing. We need to nurture the shape of our hearts.

Updated here.

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28 Responses to “The Shape of Our Hearts (Christina Plant)”

  1. amber Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 7:33 am

    OMG – i absolutly LOVE this post…. love love love… you are beautiful and have made me feel sooo good about myself as well. i posted blessed and tortured— i love my SHAPE i just couldnt get over how i could have such a great shape and then all these sags and wrinkles… its beautiful! i am learning to love myself because of this site and ppl like you!

  2. Bryana Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 7:59 am

    This post is soooo inspiring. You’re right, we all have the power to do what we want and need to do, but we don’t always have the fire.
    Thank you for sharing. It was truly inspiring! And your body is amazing.

  3. Breeana Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 8:51 am

    your only 35..you SHOULD look this good, I have seen many younger women 25 or so and they just let themeselves go, when they should be fitter than you or I (im 40) i look damn good too, flat stomach, toned butt and arms :) way to go, you look awesome!

  4. Dee Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Very inspirational. Thanks for sharing your story. It shows that anybody can look good and more importantly, live a healthy life, if you just make the time and put in the effort. You are a very strong woman and although I can’t see it, I’m sure the shape of your heart is beautiful. :) . I posted My New Self. And you look great, battle scars and all.

  5. Mina Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Christina-thanks for the post. Breeana…I find that to be a hurtful comment. I wish we could all cheer each other on without needing to put someone else down.

  6. Meghan Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 9:40 am

    AMAZING!!! I love you!!! I, too have 3 children- ages 8, 5, and 3 1/2. I have been 250 pounds at delivery of #3 and now I am 140 pounds at 5’8″. I make fitness a high priority and people often judge me. What they don’t realize is how hard I have worked or that I have been on the full spectrum of weight and sizes. When I lift up my shirt, it looks so much like yours, except worse. But you give me hope that if I keep on keepin on, when my kids get to be your kids’ ages, I will look closer to your picture! I love your attitude! I love how blunt, truthful, and honest you are. I love how you really are a kickass momma!! Thank you for this post!!

  7. Karla Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    love it!

  8. meredith Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    i wish everybody in the world could see this website. posts like this make my day. you ROCK mama!

  9. sam Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Bookmarking this!
    Go mom!

  10. Proud Mommie Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and courageous story. My stomach looks identical to yours when I lift up my shirt. However, I have a nice “body” when my shirt is down…lol. Thank you for being such a strong hearted-woman. We need more women like you to help the world see that it is okay to be imperfect. We let our GIRLS know that it is okay to be different (race, color, size,etc.) then what is protrayed in the multimedia (tv, internet, magazines, etc.). Thank you, thank you, thank you. We should start a revolution of newly empowered and strong hearted women who are not prisoners in their own bodies.

  11. sarah kata Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Ahhhhhhhh LOVE your post!

  12. Kris Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Christina, thanks so much for posting. I love reading stories like yours and your confidence is inspiring. Oh, and your body is amazing — You look strong and fast! You do rock. From, a fellow mama runner.

  13. Len Says:
    June 2nd, 2011 at 4:38 am

    My fire is a very low flame. I too have 3 son’s. 9,3 and 4 months. Tiredness is my problem. I have started to do the 30 day shred and it is hard work. I feel a mixture of elation at exercising and doing something about myself and disappointment because the weight will not shift. I am breastfeeding as well.
    But you represent the type of woman i want to be in four years time(i am 31). Toned, fit, athletic, healthy with a positive attitude and a bright fire.(And hopefully with a regular full nights sleep!)

  14. shannon Says:
    June 2nd, 2011 at 6:57 am

    You look so great! I hope I look and feel that good soon! I am almost 25 (I have not “let myself go” as Breeana puts it…I have simply had 2 children, 2 cesareans, and suffered the loss of my first baby when he was only 19 months old), and I work out almost every single day…I am trying to eat clean, and I just signed up for a 12 week transformation challenge (I hope to win the cruise!). I am also short, 5’2″ and 127 pounds. I feel healthy, but want to lose more fat, and tone a lot! You are very inspiring :)

  15. Kat Says:
    June 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 am

    You are such an inspiration! I get crap for eating super healthy and I get those “skinny bitch” looks. My kiddos are 5, 3.5 and 11 mos. The reason I fit into smaller than pre preg clothes is the same reason you look so awesome! No magic pill or *luck*. Just a clean diet and staying active. I, however, have the same loose skin and stretchmarks. Your body Is beautiful! I love your attitude! You are such an amazing mommy. God bless!

  16. tara Says:
    June 3rd, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    You have said it so well. And you show us how we can still look great to others, even though we have imperfections. We all have them, we all hide them but they are what make us who we are. I love how the stretch marks in your second picture look like flames!!!

  17. Lauren Says:
    June 3rd, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Wow!! You rock and are so inspiring. Thank you for a wonderful, powerful, and positive message. :)

  18. Tessa Says:
    June 5th, 2011 at 10:57 am

    You look great! Unfortunately, some of us work hard, and still get nowhere. Been working out for a year and only lost 20ish lbs. Been doing P90X for SIX weeks, and not lost a single lb, and less than 1/2 all around. Must be “fat genetics” and my very, very, very slow metabolism.

  19. christina Says:
    June 6th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    THANKS EVERYONE!!!! Your words are treasures to me. Priceless.

  20. Brenda Says:
    June 6th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Tina~ You can feel the size of your heart in the passion you share with your words. Your story is beyond inspiring, it’s honest. You’re focused for all the right reasons, most importantly YOU. May the blessing continue to unfold for you. I envy your battle scars, for they are the result of 3 amazing sons. I have no children, but that’s God’s choice. Having someone “REAL” to support these women that have or are struggling, with your BURNING desire of love, dedication, and not kicking anyone to get yourself up…You are a shining star. I’m grateful to call you friend, honored to virtually be a part of your training and dedication. Life is about action. “Can’t” isn’t a word in your vocabulary. Anyone who reads this will be touched. How would I describe you? it’s quite simple… Phenominal woman.

  21. BEVERLY Says:
    June 6th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Tina. You are a woman with tremendous self esteem, self worth something very few of us posess at any point of our lives, your blog is proof of that. I am proud to be your mother in law. You have 3 outrageously wonderful sons and an awesome husband that can only happen because you made it happen. You look awesome (especially after having 3 sons) you inspire me!! Love, Beverly

  22. christina Says:
    June 7th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I would never judge a woman based on her physique or her level of fitness. I’ve been leaner than I am now, and at that time, I was completely lost and sad. It truly is all about where your heart is at.

  23. Mariah Says:
    June 8th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    This is so inspiring! You are where I HOPE to be once all of my own baby-making, and bearing are all done!

    Thank you so much for posting this!! You have an inspiring fire and a wonderfully shaped heart. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!!

  24. Amanda Says:
    June 9th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I loved this! You are amazing.

    Thanks for sharing your passion and heart with us.

  25. Linda Says:
    June 9th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Tina,
    WOW, you are an inspiration to us all! You are right… You have heart and guts and self confidence! Something I lack and that just made me feel empowered! You should be damn proud of yourself! You have so much determination and it shows! That was an amazing blog. Keep up the great work. Those pictures may not show your heart, fire and passion but it shows your bravery and pride. YOU GO GIRL!!!
    Linda

  26. L Says:
    June 21st, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I have similar stretch marks and I hope to one day have a tummy like yours. Im a beginner runner just getting back in after my two kids. I love it but im definitely not a long distance person but good for you. I was very encouraged and inspired by your post. Congrats on your boys and they are lucky to have a determined strong beautiful mama!

  27. christina Says:
    July 12th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you all. Runner moms are the toughest!!!

  28. Tasha Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    OMG I am so floored by this post. First of all, as a mom of three boys 7, 5 and 2, and only 2 1/2 years post partum, I have dreams of having your body. I am truly inspired, especially because you prove the point that the exercise the fitness the healthy living is about feeling good and living strong, not so much about trying to banish the physical evidence of pregnancy and childbirth (something you can’t actually do without a scalpel). Thank you for helping my perspective to shift tremendously!

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