Diaries of a working mom Chapter 7: Time to exercise

by

Treadmill

As I sit on my couch, looking out the window at a snowy wonderland, I add yet another excuse not to exercise. Oh my, I’ve turned into one of the moms/married people I said I’d never be!

First, you should know that before I got pregnant, I was a little obsessive about exercise. There were days that I spent three hours exercising or getting to/from exercise, between my every morning boot camps, 5x weekly runs and 4x weekly Bikram yoga sessions. I had a personal trainer for most of the last fifteen years. Oh, and I tracked every calorie I ate and burned on LoseIt for the iPhone. I was on a constant quest to lose a few pounds.

I was in pretty good shape when I got pregnant but with little morning sickness and a healthy appetite, I started packing on the pounds right away. Of course I had another handy iPhone application that tracked my pregnancy weight gain and kept me concerned that my little dot was always above the top line of recommended weight gain. For the most of my pregnancy, I kept up a fair amount of exercise, seeing a trainer 2-3 times a week and getting out for walks. Prescribed “couch rest” from the doctors put a stop to all that in my third trimester, which quickly led to even more weight gain. I stopped weighing myself after 48 pounds when I was about to hit my husband’s weight, but I’m sure I gained more than 50. I can’t imagine what I would have reached if I’d made it another 3.5 weeks to term!

Then I wasn’t allowed to exercise for six weeks after delivering. I griped at the doctors and felt very sorry for myself that I wouldn’t ever be able to get the weight off. And then (please forgive me if you are working hard to get baby weight off – I have felt your pain before!) … I weighed myself. Somehow I’d lost almost 30 pounds in the first week, between the baby and a whole lot of water. And then Gus really started eating and I kept dropping pounds by the day. I’m not sure if breastfeeding works for everyone, but for me, it seemed to be the magic elixer. By the time I had to travel for work 10 weeks post delivery, my clothes all fit again.

Trying to function full time at work and keep a hungry little guy fed all the time was about all I could handle, so exercise did not make the calendar. Then we got into major sleep deprivation and I spent any spare moment sleeping or napping. A few weeks ago, when life finally settled down a bit, I realized I basically hadn’t worked out in 6 months.

I tried to get out for a run, tried to go into the gym, even made it to a yoga class, but I just couldn’t get into the habit again. As much as I’m thankful for the fact that I’m only 2 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight (even though the weight is in very different places), I don’t really have vanity as a motivator. My expectations have dropped significantly and if were only about vanity, there’s no way I’d consider working out with everything going on. But I know I would feel better, and I do feel better, on days that I work out.

So now working out has taken a bit of a different spin, a different goal. For the first time in my life, I’m thinking about exercise as something I should enjoy and that should make me feel better. I’ve been thinking about what I really love to do, and what’s realistic to fit into my schedule. I can’t believe it, but I joined one of those pop-yoga studios since they have two locations within 5 minutes of my house. No, it isn’t the full, intense Bikram yoga experience, but I can get an enjoyable little workout in with just over an hour away from home. And my husband and I go over to the little neighborhood gym together some mornings, for all of 20 minutes to start the day with a little cardio. And now I “count” a walk with a friend (or my boys!) as a workout, something I would have only counted before if I’d run 4 miles while waiting for them.

I’m kind of on a roll… so I thought I’d share with the blogosphere my intention to work out 4 times a week through December! By January, I could have an old habit welcomed back to my life. Wish me luck!

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