Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Letting Go of The Weight

I often stare at the photo of me the month I got pregnant, longing for a more angular chin and smaller waist.  I know the need to stay fit and exercise isn't just a thing for moms post postpartum, its for dad's too.  My husband complains of the occasional "dead arm" he feels after repeatedly throwing our daughter over his head.  If cringing at the sight of that were a workout I'd be buff, but alas, I too am feeling out of shape and am impatient with lack of speed at which the rest of my "baby weight" is shedding.  

Years ago I dieted, worked out six to seven days a week and at one point, wore a bikini in my mid twenties.  I'd prioritize my workout regimen over anything else. I loved getting into the gym, pacing myself against someone else, plugging into my music without the worries of anything else around me.  My interest tipped the scale into the more obsessed category at times.  I think back to a particular visit after work where I found myself in the locker room, half dressed and having forgotten to pack my sweat pants.  Minutes later I was on the elliptical in my black trouser pants, completely unabashed by the odd stares.  I could've camped out on the cardio machines for days back then, knowing all I'd have to do was go home, throw dinner in the oven, hop in the shower and  join my husband to watch Survivor, cooling down and eating on the couch.

But times have changed. Traveling to the gym, finding a locker, working out,  and getting changed after, are all moments that now take me away from my family.  Minutes I can't seem to spare even though that's considered to be "me time."  No matter how I've tried to figure out how to cut corners, I still feel a little selfish wanting an hour and a half a few days a week for myself.  If I didn't work full time maybe I'd feel differently.  But I'm already away from my daughter for so many minutes of her life I can't bare to be away any longer just so I can fit back into my skinny jeans.  Nor can I justify leaving my husband with her so I can have "me time" when his "me time" consists of making us dinner every night. 

So I am doing what has never worked for me before.  Workout videos.  It's not fun doing Zumba without the fatter and less coordinated chick to my right whom I know I'm doing better than, but its working nonetheless.   Avoiding stepping on Abby or Elmo in my living room is also part of the challenge.  In fact I make cleaning up some toys part of my cool down.  

Finding time for this still isn't easy but I have to try.  So instead of giving my daughter a bath every night, its every other night.  I let her play and conserve my energy for after she goes to sleep and workout then.  I'll do whatever video I feel like.  Some nights its 20 minutes, others its 50.  If I get to do it four times a week I'm happy, but am learning two or three nights is just as much of an accomplishment.   

The overall parental fatigue and feeling that I'm  not doing what I used to to take care of myself often makes me  feel fat and lazy.  But then I think there is nothing more attractive than my husband sweating and exhausted on the floor letting my daughter bounce on his tummy.  And despite my back and forth decision about coloring my ever growing  gray hair, I'm always met with anger from my husband, who claims he  likes the way I'm aging.  I suppose I have to come to terms with the fact that my body and appearance is different now.  I'm different.  They may not have the high, elastic waist but all of my jeans are in fact mom jeans because I'm now a mom.  And health and beauty have taken on new meaning.  So as parents, I think we have to do the best that we can to feel good about ourselves and hold on to the few pieces of the "life before child" that we enjoyed when it comes to our bodies.  

I don't think its about making time because there seems to be no such thing.  Everyone's wish for another weekend day will never come true so instead we have to weed out.  We sacrifice certain things and restructure our frame of thought, like considering carbs were put on this Earth to give us energy and McDonald's is sometimes just more convenient.  We start to believe in and develop new processes, like using the treadmill for its main purpose, not as a coat rack, and understanding a short, brisk walk is indeed exercise.  We adapt to a new lifestyle and wonder how we were never able to do it before with such ease. We understand what's weighing us down isn't just that extra cookie, but pieces of our old life.  The life before parenthood. When we couldn't have understood how someone and something else can be so much more important than how we feel in our own skin.


  1. I am so totally with you! I so badly want to lose a few, but how can I justify telling my kids to stop plying with their toys in the living room so that I can watch a workout video? Especially since I really don't let them watch TV. That being said, if you want a Zumba buddy, you know where to find me!

  2. Going to the gym to stay healthy and eating well is not selfish. To the contrary, you are doing it for the benefit of your child. It is not "me" time, but rather, time you are putting in to ensure that you are here for the next 50-60 years. So, in reality it is time you are putting in for your child. Also, when she gets older she will want to take on the same habits as you and healthy living is one of the greatest gifts you can pass on to your child. Get back to the gym and skip the convenience. Both you and your child will be better for it in the long run. (Health) Food for thought.

    1. I have no idea who wrote this, but I agree 100%. Going to the gym is not necessarily about "looking better". It's about "feeling better", in more ways than 1. You shouldn't feel guilty about the "me" time; sometimes the 60 minutes at the gym are the only minutes in the day that the puzzle pieces of how you're juggling 100 different things suddenly fall into place. The me time at the gym isn't necessarily about physical fitness but mental fitness as well. And, I think promoting healthy activity as a parent is vitally important for our children, especially as we face an ongoing obesity epidemic. It's not about promoting "mommy is thin", it's about promoting "mommy is healthy and active". Believe me, I find it super hard to drag my sorry tired ass to the gym regularly...so I do as many little things as possible. Walk a little further, take the stairs instead of the escalator, do 10 jumping jacks in the bathroom...you name it. But ultimately, sacrificing your heath, in the long run, is taking something AWAY from your child.
      And...what's so bad about being selfish? Having a child is the most SELFLESS thing a person can do. It's not something to be ashamed of that you want to reclaim some of who you were before you became who you now are.

  3. I recommend the 10 minute solution videos... You get yourself to do them by saying 'I'll only do one 10 minute segment' and then most times wind up doing more! And even if not, you at least did 10 minutes.

    Or... do zumba with jordan! I used to love doing workout videos with my mom and sister. Jazzercise ruled. :)

  4. I still love exercising with my daughter. In fact, I just did that tonight. There are rare occasions when the three of us still exercise and laugh to some old tape, (or are they laughing at me?). And of course there are those special longgggggggggggg holiday walks, when we are gone for hours. It is a special win win situation. I love exercising with my daughters.