Thursday, July 09, 2009

A fat mom's guide to eating better and getting moving again, yes, even after all those years.

Let’s face it, no one likes being overweight. Not even a little bit. I have gained 50 plus pounds over the course of 7 years. There are a lot of different factors that weigh in (excuse the pun) to a person’s overall health. Metabolism, illness, baby weight, and even depression are just a few issues that I myself have dealt with. Now, after my fourth child I feel fat and tired and I am just plain sick of myself. I don’t want to diet, I don’t want to join a gym, I can’t afford to hire a trainer. I just want to feel better about myself and model good health behaviors for my children. For the last few months I have made a concentrated effort to get moving. Consequently, I have started and stopped and started again. My determination is short-lived and is fueled by my emotions which can be completely out of control at times. Yet, in this short time I have learned some things that I think will help me make this a life change and not just a short lived attempt at trying to lose weight.

  1. My body likes exercise. It’s the hard, cold, truth people. My heart was built for beating and my lungs were built for breathing. God gave me this body and it is my responsibility (I Cor. 6:7) to take better care of it. I can complain and procrastinate all I want, but the moment I get moving I feel better, almost instantly. I have had issues, my ankle doesn’t like jogging and my butt doesn’t like biking. I choose to do some resting and change up my routine. In other words I don’t do the same thing over and over. It gives my brain a work out, too. It takes patience and a bit of extra will power, but that feeling of whatever it is that runs through my whole body after I start moving for a bit is so worth the effort. I can’t really explain it and I feel pretty dern stupid for avoiding this ‘high’ for such a long, long, time. Speaking of time…
  2. I can make the time. For years, I have used excuse after excuse not to get up and move. It really isn’t the easiest time for me to start now, either. I haven’t slept through the night since May of 2005. I am tired. I am busy cleaning up five other people’s messes and barely have time to shower. Mornings are crazy, afternoons are horrendous and evenings are worse yet. In May, when I started walking, I would think about it for days. I'd look at the calendar, ask my husband to be home at a certain time so I could go…now I just do it. I snatch up a free 30-60 minutes and take off. That is how it works for me. My family has a schedule that is just too crazy to try and plan a time. If I do plan it, then I think about it and my head starts playing tricks on me and I feel like I should clean the kitchen instead of exercise. I don’t know how other people do it, but I live in the moment. Carpe deim . Today, my hubby was dozing and the kids were all hungry for lunch and I said, I am going for a bike ride, be back in an hour. That was that. I got home and they were all still alive, AND I got to move today. Sometimes I meet my husband at the door and say, I need an hour, I am going for a walk.
  3. I need time to myself. I completely understand the group exercise thing. I am sure it is fun to visit and have someone to be accountable to. I think I may actually enjoy working out with others. But, I gotta be honest. I love being alone. It is just me and God. I am loving the sound of the wind over my ipod music and seeing the green grass and the beautiful trees. I wonder if I will be able to enjoy myself this much when the snow comes? I hope I can. I don’t get much alone time these days. My brain goes positively nuts. I think about how great it is to be alive, how amazing my Creator is. I ponder my relationships with people and my children’s future. I plan about a gazillion things to blog about only to forget them all when I step onto my driveway. I am blessed with living here my whole life. I enjoy revisiting places I knew well while I was growing up, the mile between my husband's childhood home and mine, the field where we gathered as high schoolers to listen to local bands and hang out, the secluded spots where my husband and I 'talked' for hours.
  4. Small steps take longer, but will help me change my life for the better. I am just a mom. I cannot do everything by myself. Sometimes I just need a chocolate covered rice krispy bar to make everything better. I allow myself that. I feel like if I make a conscious effort to make better choices, I can afford to still reward myself. Only now, instead of a whole row I savor one small piece of a treat to satisfy my cravings. It works most of the time. Do I get sidetracked and bake for a week? Sometimes. Emotions rule my eating. If I can just learn to get moving instead of stuffing my face when I feel down, I may be able to maintain a healthy weight and feel good, too. Sometimes when I am sore from moving, my brain makes excuses and doesn’t want to do anything for a week. Those are the time when guilt sets in and I eat a whole bag of m&m’s. I need to work on that. I am trying to remember to do some sit ups and leg lifts before I fall asleep. I haven’t been as successful at that goal, unfortunately. Small steps, right?
  5. It’s not just about the numbers. If I were keeping score I would be losing, badly. So I don’t keep score. I don’t count the number of times I exercise. I don’t keep track of how far I ran or rode. I don't count how many calories I just burned only to replace them with a piece of chocolate. I just do it. When I feel like everything is just about as perfect as it could be I turn around and head home. Sometimes I make it a long way, sometimes I make it around the block. But every time, I move. I haven’t lost a pound. My clothes don’t fit any better. It may take a long time for me to see any real results. But I am trying. I am making an effort to improve my health, and you know what? I like it.
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