Tizi Talks With Tatiana Karanja
If you have been skeptical about working out during pregnancy or ‘bouncing back’ after giving birth, this feature will put your concerns to rest. A few months ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Beauty & Brains panel discussion courtesy of Madora Kenya where I got to meet a vibrant group of women who unapologetically embraced self-love. In case you missed it, click here to see what happened. One of the panelists caught my eye with her infectious positive energy and holistic approach to self-care.
Most people know her as ‘Mama Olive’ across social media where she blesses our feed with stunning pictures of her babies and impeccable photography skills. Only at the age of 27, Tatiana is a successful talented photographer by profession and a blogger; if you haven’t come across her blog called 'Tatiana Karanja', you need to check it out. Although I had known of her prior to the event, I was pleased to discover that on top of wearing a number of hats and being a full time mother of two, Tatiana still finds time to stay active which explained her great physique!
Being active had always been part of Tatiana’s lifestyle; she was the sports girl in school where she played rounders, hockey and netball as well as securing national swimming records. This earned her a sports scholarship giving her an opportunity to study abroad. Although travelling was a great opportunity, discovering McDonalds led her to acquiring unhealthy eating habits and eventually gained 15kgs within two terms.
As she was pursuing her university studies in the Netherlands where majority of the beauty standards promoted skinny bodies, she decided she was tired of being depressed about her weight. She started working out, eating healthy and even shared healthy recipes on social media to inspire others to do the same. It made her feel strong, happy and comfortable in her own skin.
Although she experienced periods where she wasn’t active, she hugely attributes her progress to Coach Wilson from Crossfit Kwetu who kept her motivated after she gave birth. During her first pregnancy with Olive, she was able to stay active throughout by going for walks and doing a bit of crossfit which helped with her labour.
During her second pregnancy with Marley, she struggled to stay active despite trying really hard. She described how she was always in pain, felt sick and was constantly exhausted which led her to add a great amount of weight. Not being able to stay active also had a huge impact on her emotional health because she would always feel down. However, she advises all pregnant women to listen to their bodies and do what feels right; “If your body can’t handle it, don't beat yourself up about it, you’re making a whole human being and your body needs all the love it can get!”
After giving birth, she started working out as soon as she was allowed which was six weeks post-partum because she wanted to be the happiest and healthiest version of herself. Getting back to being active helped increase her confidence, attain different goals in every aspect of her life, kept her happy and enabled her to keep up with the demanding lifestyle of raising an energetic toddler.
“Keeping up with Olive is a serious task, and Marley will catch up soon so there's really no space for being unfit.”
On bouncing back to great health, Tatiana explains that dedication and hard work is key. However, she also added that she couldn’t have done it without assistance from Coach Wilson, her nutritionist Coach Roseanne and constantly chasing her playful energetic baby girl.
Being a freelance photographer and a full time mom doesn’t allow her to have a fixed routine but she tries to workout in the morning after Olive goes to school. Her preferred form of exercise is crossfit and playing a game of squash! She strongly believes that young women can have good health, a successful career and still be a great mother.
Tatiana doesn’t believe in cheat meals or the idea of being on a diet. Since she embraces a holistic healthy lifestyle which is inclusive of healthy meals, she will have a cookie, cake or even a burger if she feels like it. Being a food photographer also allows her to attend many food tastings where she gets to try new things and explore new cuisines. Since her meals are mostly balanced, the less healthy options fit perfectly into her lifestyle.- Major Key Alert
As we wrapped up the shoot where she nailed an intense workout, I asked her what she would say to someone who has never workout before...
“Just do it. But in all honesty, speaking from experience, I would say start somewhere. Starting is always the hardest part but once you notice all the positive changes to your body and mind, you'll be hooked!”
Behind The Scenes
Yours In Wellness
Editor: Loise Machira
Photography: Brian Koome
Location: Crossfit Kwetu