As I mentioned in my post last week, I am great at gaining weight during pregnancy. Yes, I’m humble. It’s one of my many talents. 😉 So how did I lose it?
Before I had my daughter, I knew nothing about nutrition, serving sizes or anything of that nature. Like many, I gained a bit after marriage & picking up some of my husband’s habits, particularly since we worked opposite schedules and lived in a city close to many restaurants. We ate out way.too.much. I also went from being active all day walking & lifting, to having a desk job. I generally wore my clothes a bit baggy (and didn’t own a functioning scale) so I didn’t realize that I’d been losing weight until people at work started commenting. I did later realize that it was likely because I was eating either a bagel & cream cheese or English muffin, along with a coffee (cream & sugar) every morning from the office cafeteria, a salad, turkey sandwich or grilled cheese (or frozen meal) for lunch, and something smallish for dinner. It had everything to do with the amount of calories I was consuming, but at age 18-20 I had never really had to think about my food intake before.
When my daughter was a baby (after gaining 50 pounds during my pregnancy), I was a new stay at home mom. She’d wake up early, I’d get breakfast for my husband and me, nurse her, then strap her in the stroller. We lived in a neighborhood and I’d do laps around totaling 4 miles in a bit under an hour. She’d sometimes fall asleep, so I’d keep going. Doing this, I lost all the weight within the first year. Then, an acquaintance I had “met” on an online parenting forum told me that she’d always used FitDay when she wanted to drop a few pounds. I signed up for an account (free) in 2006 and have used it every day since. Fitday opened my eyes to proper serving sizes, how many calories I was burning, and how many I was consuming. I used a pedometer every day, and aimed for 10,000 steps (until I dropped the second one in the toilet, LOL!) I still indulged in what I wanted to eat, but it was much more thought out. When you know you’re accountable for what you eat, you tend to think long & hard about whether you really want that extra junky snack. I started measuring (by weight, much more accurate!) my food and becoming accustomed to what a normal serving size was. Yep, I am that girl who had a bowl of 13 Doritos as a snack vs. the whole bag! Now I am pretty good at eyeballing serving sizes. Want a shock? Get a scale and measure out serving sizes of things like cereal & peanut butter!
I continued to walk with my daughter and eat well, focusing on whole foods, fresh veggies and healthy foods. I went for 4 mile (40-45 minutes) runs 3-4 times per week even after we moved into a rental, and ended up getting down to a weight I hadn’t seen since high school. I also enjoyed working out to Pilates, Turbo Jam and “8 minute” (ab, thighs etc) DVDs. I may be weird but I love to exercise. (Just don’t show me a treadmill.) Let me out in the fresh air with some tunes and my stress is gone! We’d also go out for family bike rides on the towpath along the Potomac river, with my daughter in a bike trailer. The most we ever did was 40 miles (I didn’t think I’d be able to walk to the car, ha!)
Now, I’m the mother of 3 and we live on a road with double yellow lines. That’s kind of a joke in our house because when we were “shopping” for our lot, the only thing I said is that I have to have a place to exercise. I need a shoulder or somewhere safe to run. I do not want to live on a road with double yellow lines! Our road is a country road with a 35 MPH speed limit, and several (crazy) people walk or bike. However, we also have LOTS of farm equipment that speeds and takes up both lanes (one knocked down our mailbox) as well as horse trailers that come flying over blind hills & curves. I may consider running by myself with just one earbud in, (so I can listen for traffic) but I would never push a stroller, nor would I go out in the dark (which is my only option since my husband works.) None of my children nap (unless you count baby #3 falling asleep nursing – but I can never move him) and my youngest co-sleeps. He generally won’t go to sleep and stay asleep until I am there and snoozing too, and if I’m really lucky, I can sneak out for 15 minutes in the morning to make my daughter’s lunch before he wakes up. I generally get maybe 5 hours of interrupted sleep per night and perhaps it’s my “excuse” but I’m barely functioning as it is; I can’t give up another hour sleep do go exercise at 5 AM.
At one point I tried to drive my daughter to school, then park and go for a walk in town, but by the time I got out of the car, it had been about 30+ minutes, my boy(s) were done and were wanting to nurse, get out, be held, play and I usually had to go to the bathroom! Since it is at least 10-15 minutes to drive anywhere to safely exercise, it gets really expensive really quick to pay for the gas, and it’s just not at all convenient.
So for now, I eat right, my weight is great, but I’m having a hard time getting back in shape. We do have an elliptical in the (unfinished, icky, gross) basement, but I can’t get even a few minutes alone to do the elliptical (my 22 mo old would step in front of it and get hurt) or an exercise video. I hate to wish my kids’ youth away, but I’m honestly looking forward to 2 years from now when my littlest will be in preschool 2x/week and I will have an hour to myself twice per week!
How do you try to stay healthy when you have children to care for?