Momoirs - by Sara Groves, January 2015
January 05, 2015
Posted By: Shaunescy
Let’s start this issue off with a bang. If you are preggo or recently delivered a baby, there are a lot of things on your mind...including re-gaining your pre-baby body. You’ll love this piece!
Like most of America, I plan to kick off the New Year by vowing to lose weight to finally attain the slim and svelte body I am sure I possessed in a past lifetime.
Losing weight and getting in better shape is never easy, but adding two growing boys into the mix makes it significantly harder. Since I have spent most of my adult life on and off various diets, I have learned that in dieting terminology, one might refer to my boys as “inhibitors.” Diet gurus advise those of us struggling to lose weight to avoid inhibitors at all costs because they have motives that involve seeing you fail in your weight loss battle.
Of course avoiding your own children may be tempting, but it isn’t exactly practical. And while my boys don’t actively try to foil my pursuit of a thinner figure, they certainly don’t help any with their penchant for homemade mac-and-cheese for dinner and cake and ice cream for dessert. Throughout these meals, I endure their lip- smacking and exclamations of how delicious their dinners are as I crunch through a big bowl of vinaigrette-drizzled salad, my mouth watering for mac-and-cheese instead of the cold, raw, leafy greens in my bowl.
As all dieters know, it unfortunately takes a lot more than eating giant bowls of lettuce to lose weight. You also have to lead an active lifestyle, which was also a lot easier before I had kids. Back then, I was able to hit the gym for hours when freshly motivated by New Year’s resolutions. At the time, my house also wasn’t overflowing with sports equipment, stuffed animals and Legos so there was room for fitness equipment I’d seen on late night infomercials as I sat on the couch enjoying bowls of ice cream.
The thin, muscular people demonstrating how to use these machines were almost as inspirational as the names of the machines themselves: The Ab Rocket Abdominal Trainer! The Total Fitness Burst Resistant Balance Ball! The Fitness Quest Gazelle Edge! I bought them all, set them up in the living room and used them religiously — at least for a while.
These days, as a working mother of two young boys, I move more than ever. Sure, I’m not on my Ab Rocket Abdominal Trainer. But I don’t stop moving from the time my feet hit the floor at 5:30 a.m. to the moment I collapse into bed after 11 p.m. Yet all of this movement seems to have little effect on the scale. Obviously, I need to move more in a different way. But when exactly do I find the time to move more? Should I jog in place as I make dinner at night? Do jumping jacks in the shower?
A friend of mine, who happens to be very fit, suggested that instead of just getting up at 5:30 every morning to practice yoga for an hour, I should get up an hour earlier. That way, I could move my yoga workout up to 4:30 and fit in an hour of cardio at the gym at 5:30, returning home just as most folks roll over to turn off their alarm clocks. Why not forsake sleep altogether in the pursuit of thin thighs?
“But I’m already always exhausted,” I replied. “I really can’t imagine getting any less sleep.”
“Exercise is supposed to increase your energy levels,” she cheerfully offered. Perhaps, but the Total Fitness Burst Resistant Balance Ball was supposed to make me thin and toned, and that didn’t work either.
Then again, nothing has ever really worked. In past dieting attempts, I have greatly limited my food intake by eliminating sugar, carbohydrates, dairy, wheat and caffeine. At one point, I think I subsisted on nothing but egg whites and lettuce for two months. Sure, this dieting method worked for a while, but I spent an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about shoving a Pixy Stix right into one of my main veins. And my boys regularly commented that I was even grouchier than normal.
Then one day, as I was out with the kids, they spotted a Dairy Queen. One illegal lane change and 90-mph-turn-on-two wheels into the DQ later, we were all digging in to supersized ice creams and once again, life was good.
Those boys — if they hadn’t demanded DQ, I’d probably be modeling on the front cover of Fitness magazine right now.
Perhaps dieting with children at home — with their desire for mac-and-cheese and ice cream and their toys taking up space where my Fitness Quest Gazelle Edge could go — is mission impossible. In fact, I’m sure it’s impossible. And thankfully, I know right where to find some leftover Halloween candy to celebrate the end of my diet!
Sara Groves lives in Helena where she is mom to Mike and Peter. She coordinates the early literacy program, Ready 2 Read, at the Montana State Library and also works as a freelance writer.