Weight gain, post-baby bodies and pressure to look a certain way are changes many women confront when entering the world of motherhood.

Vicki Carter understands what it’s like having to adjust to physical changes. As a proud mother to three girls aged five, seven and 15, the 42-year-old struggled to lose weight after her third baby and fell into a period of unhappiness. Despite spending a year in the gym and seeing some progress, Vicki admitted that getting hot and sweaty wasn’t a feeling she enjoyed. “I put on a lot of weight after my third child,” says Vicki. “I felt invisible, I didn’t feel confident, I wasn’t happy.”

Being surrounded by the message ‘Be the best you can be’ also played a part in Vicki’s desire to feel fit again. The determined mother isn’t one to buy into the ideology that there is a point where you can’t regain fitness, that it’s too hard. As a Swim School supervisor, Vicki sees mums come into the facility every day who are able to juggle large families while maintaining a sense of vitality and energy. “There was a period where I wasn’t doing much after I had Ruby and I didn’t feel like I was the best version of myself. I decided I was going to change,” says Vicki.

IMG_7542 (Large)With the weight refusing to budge, Vicki decided it was time to modify her fitness regime. In 2016 she set herself an ambitious goal, to lose 20kg. Vicki knew the journey would be challenging, so she broke it down into small achievable parts. 20kg to lose, one kilogram at a time. “I knew where I wanted to end up but made sure I did it realistically,” says Vicki

A self-confessed overthinker, Vicki kept reminding herself that it was simple, to eat less and to move more. Not long after setting her goal Vicki found herself in the National Aquatic Centre, flotation belt in hand ready to jump in for her first Deep Water Running class. That session was a catalyst for a journey flooded with fun and inspiration. “I found my exercise. It was something I enjoyed and it worked for my body. With Deep Water Running, I noticed a difference within weeks,” recalls Vicki.

Exercise preferences range from person to person. Some thrive off high-intensity circuit training while others favour a long, slow jog. Discovering why somebody exercises and what inspires them can mark the difference between short bursts of motivation and lifelong habits. For Vicki, the pool was a place where she felt energised and motivated, it was her happy place. “I would just jump in, well actually do a big bomb, float down to the bottom and it was like I could escape everything,” says Vicki.

Almost a year since that first class, Vicki is now a regular member. Her love of Deep Water Running has run so deep she now coaches one class a week. When asked what advice the participant-turned-coach would give to anyone thinking of trying the class, she replies, “I would tell them that it works for everyone and that there’s a huge sense of camaraderie within the group. You don’t have to be fit and strong to start. There’s such a range of ages.”

And what about Vicki’s ultimate goal of losing 20kg? As of April 2018, Vicki Carter has lost 15kg. She smiles and says in a voice filled with confidence, “And I’m not done yet!”

If you’re interested in learning more about Deep Water Running please email Kiri Price kprice@autmillennium.org.nz or visit National Aquatic Centre Reception.

Vicki Carter DWR

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