When women complain about not losing weight soon enough after they’ve had a baby, people smile and sympathize. They say, “Well it took nine months to gain the weight, so you won’t lose it overnight!”
But fast forward two – or more – years after giving birth. A lot of us still are carrying around that extra 10, 20 or 30 pounds. Why? At least for me, it goes something like this:
I know I need to eat better, and I feel guilty ordering pizza for dinner, but I don’t have time for anything else. I know I’d feel better if I exercised, but I am too busy to break away to the gym at work. After my kids are in bed, I only want to browse Netflix and drink a glass of wine – not exercise or plan healthy meals or any of the stuff that I know would help.
I’m really tired of that cycle
A few things happened to me in January that have kicked me into gear to finally lose the weight that I gained during my second pregnancy. First, I interviewed Candice Williams about her incredible weight loss journey. If she can lose nearly 300 pounds, I know I can lose 20.
Second, I am turning 40 in June, and I want to look and feel better for that milestone birthday.
And lastly, my daughter turned two in January, so I don’t have that excuse of “I just had a baby” anymore. With mid-life looming in the horizon, if I don’t make changes now, it’s just going to get harder with each passing year.
Starting my journey
So I went to my editor, Charlene, and told her that I was going to lose weight and wanted to write about it. Everyone got on board and soon I had “Team Maggie” in place – Charlene, my editor; Christy, our employee wellness manager; Kerry, my personal trainer at our onsite gym; and Diana, our onsite nutritionist.
Kerry took my “before” measurements, body fat percentage, and did a few fitness tests with me. I’ve been working out with her every week for the past month. Christy, who creates wellness programs for our employees and is a marathon runner (when she’s not pregnant) has given me great advice that I’ll share with you. I have an appointment with the nutritionist soon that I’ll write about.
In the past month I’ve made some small achievements (like saying no to the cupcakes at work on Valentine’s Day), and some bigger ones (like taking a group fitness class at our gym called “Insanity” with my co-worker Laura). But I have not seen much change on the scale yet, which is pretty normal but a bit discouraging.
Realizing it’s not easy
I’ve lost 20 pounds before, but that was in my mid-twenties. Now I’m a 39-year-old with two young kids, a slowing metabolism, stress that comes with parenting and working, and zero spare time. But the first step to anything is just getting started. So I’ve done that. Here are my current challenges, and the baby steps I’m taking to tackle them.
- Food. I know that the vast majority of weight loss is cutting back on what I eat and making healthy choices. Christy recommended that I track my food, so I’m using a free smartphone app (My Fitness Pal) to do that. And honestly, I put this off for weeks because I didn’t even want to know how much I was eating. However, it’s really easier than I thought to use the app, and it’s already helping me make better choices.
- Time. Or the lack of it. I feel like my days are spent chasing the clock, from morning until night. But I’ve also learned that I can break away and take a 30 minute group exercise class at work. I even come back feeling energized. And I can do 30 minutes of yoga at night and feel relaxed. I never have time for an hour-long workout. However, I can do 10 minutes of running in the yard with my kids, or 5 minutes of ab work while they are watching a show.
- Staying focused. It’s been hard to keep motivated, especially after weeks of effort and very little results. I’ve thought about giving up and just investing in a lot of Spanx. But as Candice Williams says, you have to find your motivation (lose 20 pounds before I’m 40) and hang on to it. For me it’s visualizing fitting into the pre-second child jeans that are stored in my shed.
I have a feeling that there are others out there in the same boat as me, so I’m going to be writing about my weight loss journey over the next several months. And of course, I’ll be sharing any tricks and tips I learn along the way. I will be honest with you on what’s working and what’s not working. And, maybe we can all learn from this.
Right now I don’t have any tips for you other than to get started. If I can do this, you can too. As Kerry, my personal trainer (and fellow mom of two) says, you don’t have to have a perfect plan in place. Just decide on your goal, and start small.
I’ll keep you posted!