How Do You Find the Time?

I’m pretty frustrated with my weight. I’m the heaviest I’ve been (non-pregnant) in the last 5 years. I know that I need to eat better. I’ve cut out some simple things like alcohol during the week and soy lattes. I’m working on the food part of things, though to be honest the holidays are a hard time to do that. I’m social coordinator at our office and running four weeks of cookie exchanges. That’s tough.

What I really need to do is find a way to work regular exercise into my schedule. I just don’t know how to do it. I’m not trying to allege that I’m too busy. Everyone is busy. Busy people work out. I’m just not sure where it works in my life right now. As I see it, there are three possible times to try to work out each day.

Before Work: Getting to a class wouldn’t be impossible. Many places around here have 6am classes. Our morning schedule is to get up around 6:15, we get ready, then get the kids up at 7. We rush around and get everyone out the door by 8, hopefully 7:45. So if I go to a 6am class, I won’t be back until about 7:15. Then I need to get cleaned up and dressed – leaving A to get the kids up and ready on his own. Sure, that would my mornings less stressful but it doesn’t seem very fair to A (and it would likely delay our leaving the house every morning).

During the Day: I usually try to sneak out of work for a lunchtime Zumba on Fridays, but that isn’t workable everyday. I have a pretty tight 8:30-5 work day, which fits in the day care schedule. While I work more than 40 hours a week, it is not enough to get it all down. I rarely take a lunch away from my desk. So how do I fit a work out in? Not to mention, how do people deal with being gross and sweaty in the middle of the day.

After Work: Like our mornings, there is not much time to spare. Home by 6, dinner around 6:30, kids in bed at 7:30. Again there are many classes that start around 7 or 7:30, but it would mean I had to leave A to do bedtime on his own. It’s not that I don’t think he can do it, he is probably better at bedtime than I am, I just don’t think it is fair to leave him to do it alone three times a week. Plus, we have lots of other things going on during the week – laundry, cleaning, occasional meetings/social events. Oh, and I’m tired at the end of the day. Really, really tired.

So, what do you think dear reader? How do you fit exercise in? Does during the day work for you, despite the sweatiness? How do you manage morning workouts? Help me and my jeans.

Working It Out

I have no rhythm. Ask A. Before Lila was born we took an infant CPR class. When performing infant CPR you are told to sing “Stayin’ Alive” and provide CPR on the beats. This provides the correct number of compressions per minute for infants. So we had to practice while listening to the song and I was incapable of staying on beat and providing the compressions are the right time. No rhythm.

This is why my recent habit of going to zumba class is a bit of a surprise. I have no rhythm, I don’t like dancing in front of others or you know, trying to dance in front of others. But I really enjoy the classes. I enjoy the music, I enjoy the relative anonymity of going to class and being able to do my thing in the back row and no one notices. Not only have the classes been helpful as I try to lose weight, but it has really helped my mental state. It can seem stressful to get everything together and get out the door in time for class but I always feel so much better at the end. My anxiety is less. I’m so focused on trying to figure out what the heck I am supposed to be doing with my arms or my feet, let alone my hands and feet together, that I can’t run through my mental to do list or focus on all the things being neglected while I’m at class. Yoga may be a great physical workout but for me, that quiet time lets me get too into my own head and never has the desired effect. But zumba? Loud music, flashing lights and choreographed dances that I only kinda know how to do? That seems to be the key right now and lets me eat that cookie at 2pm when I just can’t make myself write another contract without some chocolate.  (Also, when I attend David’s more latin dance zumba on Tuesdays, I like to think I’m paying homage to my Willimantic roots.) So while zumba classes may mean a few less chores are completed or emails sent in the evening, it does mean that I feel better, I hopefully start to look better and maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn some rhythm.

Making Some Me Time

I’m really bad about taking “me” time.  I know all of that about how you need to take care of yourself first, yada yada yada – but let me tell you that my two year old screams a lot louder than my “self” does.  So odds are I am always going to end up trying to make my two year old happy, or feed my infant or whatever first.  I’m not a mommy matyr, it is just that sometimes it seems easier to just keep doing what needs to be done instead of making time for myself.

A’s been out of town at least one night for the past three weeks, including a full week in Japan, so I’ve been working pretty hard.  Knowing I had more solo momma time coming up this week, not to mention some really gross feet that were dying to wear open toed shoes, I made a pedicure appointment and announced I was going to the gym Saturday morning.  I took a barre class, went to Starbucks and then a pedicure.  I was out of the house for only 3 hours but I returned a new woman.  I was such a better mother the entire rest of the weekend.  I just felt great, rejuvenated and ready to really be there for the rest of the weekend.  It amazed me.  I knew that all the so-called experts tell you how important me time is, but I never really thought it would make this much difference.  Like I said, it always seemed like a burden – working around schedules, pumping, etc.  But it really was the best thing ever to just get out for a short time.

I’m going to try to get to class each Saturday morning and maybe grab a solo cup of coffee at Starbucks.  It will probably end up being less than 2 hours out of the house, with the occasional pedicure thrown in there, but I am so looking forward to it.  A is more than capable, so I don’t know why I’ve been so hesitant.  Making me a better momma is always worth the time.

Who Needs Cross Fit?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m trying to rid myself of that baby weight.  So when I realized we needed a few items at the grocery store on Monday, I decided to walk to the store to get some extra exercise in.  The Safeway is about one mile from our house, so it is a decent round trip walk.  I loaded Lucy up in the snap and go since it has the largest under stroller basket that I could use for the groceries and headed out.

My shopping list was Coke, beer, and fried chicken.  (Classy, I know).  Coke was buy 2 get 2 fridge packs, so I loaded up.  As I rounded the corner to get the beer, I realized I had not really calculated how much the weight the groceries would add to Lucy’s stroller.  My walk home was a bit slower than my walk there.  Let’s do the numbers:

 

snapgo calcbeer calc

coke calc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

car seat weightlucycar seat

 

 

So if you total that all up:

40.8 + 6.6 + 24 + 10.4 = 81.8 lbs

Almost 82 lbs that I pushed a mile home from the store.  It is not surprising that my triceps and chest are sore from this “work out”.  A few more trips to the store and I’ll be back to pre-baby size in no time!

Activity Points

As I discussed in my last post, I’m working to shed the baby weight, hopefully before returning to work in April.  A big part of this is trying to fit activity into my schedule – but with a 10 week old baby it can be hard.  I am not going to leave her at a gym day care because she is too young but I feel guilty hiring someone to watch her since I’m on unpaid leave.  We do a lot of walking – sometimes around Green Lake, sometimes around Target – to try to get out as well as tire the dog out.  However this morning I realized that our daily routine probably has more activity in it then I give myself credit.

– Lucy and I return to the house after dropping Lila at day care and A at work.  I carry Lucy in her (not so light) car seat into the house. Get Lucy out of her seat and onto her playmat.

– I’ve been planning the perfect breakfast sandwich in my head the entire way home from drop off duty, so I am excitedly gathering ingredients in the kitchen.  Lucy cries.

– Pick up Lucy, bounce, bounce, bounce.  Move her to her bouncy seat.  Move bouncy seat to the kitchen so she can see me.  Heat up pan for perfect fried egg.

– Lucy cries again.  Run back to her to give her pacifier.  She rejects it.  Spend 30 seconds bouncing to settle her down and place her back in the bouncy seat.  Crack egg into pan and place English muffin in the toaster.

– Lucy has now made it clear that she will not be ignored.  Pick her up and bounce, bounce, bounce while watching egg cook, arranging cheese on the English muffin, flipping egg and dishing out cantaloupe.

– Sit down with Lucy, sandwich and fruit.  Discover Lucy is sucking on my arm – the international infant sign for “FEED ME.”  Sigh, push plate away to feed Lucy.

– Finish feeding Lucy but realize I really need to pee before beginning to eat.  Get up, take food with me to hide from the pets in the microwave.  Take Lucy to the bathroom with me, rearrange toddler bathroom paraphernalia so that Lucy can hang on the bath mat while I pee.

– Back to the dining room.  Happy fed baby in the bouncy seat.  I sit down and open email, realize my food is still hidden from pets.  Back up to kitchen to grab food.

– Finally begin eating perfect sandwich when perfect over easy egg yolk breaks  all over my hand.  No napkins on the table, jump up to grab one and dash to make it back to the table before the pets grab my breakfast.

– Yum, finally fed.  Take a relaxing sip of coffee – wait, it’s cold.  Sigh, back to the microwave.

Weight of the World

Baby weight.  Sigh.  It’s been over 9 weeks since Lucy was born.  I can fit into my non-maternity clothes, but they are definitely still a little tight and create a bit of a muffin top.  My shirts are a little shorter than I remember – perhaps because I still have a bit of a belly they are stretching to cover.  I know the adage is 9 months on, 9 months off, but I was spoiled with Lila’s pregnancy.  The weight came off pretty quickly (though my body definitely carried the weight differently after her birth.)  This pregnancy was very different in so many ways.  I carried very differently, I had a much bigger baby.  While I gained about the same amount of weight with Lila’s pregnancy that I did with Lucy and Lucy weighed twice as much as Lila, I think that so much of the weight with Lila was retained water weight because of my blood pressure issues.  As my blood pressure was brought back to normal after Lila’s birth, I shed the water weight.  I think the weight with Lucy should be more accurately be referred to as buttercream weight instead of water weight.

I’ve lost 27 pounds since Lucy was born with about 15 more to go to reach my prepregnancy weight.  My weight loss has slowed to about 1.5-2 pounds a week, which I know is the normal, healthy way to do it, but it is still slower than I’d like to see.  The reduction in cupcake intake has been tough, but we’re managing.  Chasing around after two kids helps keep me active, though I’ve yet to find time to get out to really exercise.  I look at the local gym class schedule every week and try to figure out how I can make it to Body Pump or Zumba this week but I’ve yet to make it happen.  Maybe this week will be the week.

The Time I was Five Minutes Late for Yoga

I tend to have an all or nothing attitude in life.  While it can encourage me to try harder to achieve whatever goal I’m currently striving to attain, it can sometimes get in the way of things.  For example, running.  I have a hard time running since I know that I will never be a “good” runner.  A 12 minute mile would be decent for me and while that would get me in better shape than I am now, knowing I’ll never get it under 10 (or 11 even) makes me feel that it just isn’t worth it to try.  Being willing to try, even if I’m never as awesome as I wish I could be, would not be a bad thing.  But my want to “get things right” stands in my way.This happens in my daily life when things go off kilter.  I may mentally plan my day’s schedule and if I happen to fall off a little bit, poof I let the whole day slide.

Today, I had planned to go to the 1:15 postnatal yoga class.  It was in the northwest part of the city, about 15 minutes away.  It was my first time at this studio, so I wanted to get there early to have time to find parking, complete the necessary paperwork, etc.  Lucy and I returned from our morning errands around noon, I fed her and changed into my new yoga clothes, planning to leave around 12:45.  As I thought everything was ready to head out the door, the phone rang.  It was our insurance company and not a call I could blow off.  10 minutes later as the call ended, I discovered Lucy had a diaper blow out that clearly couldn’t wait.  We weren’t walking out the door until 1.  Normally this would have made me call the whole thing off.  No way I’d make it to the studio, find parking and complete the paperwork before the start of class.  If I couldn’t get there for the start of it, it just wasn’t worth going to the 90 minute class in the first place.  I pushed these thoughts out of my head and put Lucy into the car.  After all, this was postnatal/mother-baby yoga.  Everyone would have a small child and would understand being a few minutes late.  I was likely to not be the only one running a little behind.  Off we went.

We made good time across the bridge and even found parking across the street.  I walked into the studio to discover I was the only one there.  The postnatal class was new to this studio and still developing a following.  Lucy and I were the only students in attendance today.  Shelley, the very kind yoga teacher, gave us an abridged personal class with stretches and relaxation (free of charge as well, since it wasn’t really a full class).  She rocked Lucy when she fussed and helped me work on the lower back kinks having 2 kids can produce.  Even though it was only 30 minutes, I left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated – exactly what I needed.

If I had allowed my “all or nothing” attitude to prevent me from getting out the door and to yoga today, I would have missed this great opportunity to work with Shelley and give my body some special attention.  In many aspects of my life, learning that something is always going to be better than nothing is becoming a valuable lesson.  Exercising, even if only a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood with Cal and Lucy, is better than not getting off the couch.  I don’t have to run a marathon to make the exercise count.  Eating a cupcake will not derail my diet if I make smart choices the rest of the day – it isn’t an excuse to stop paying attention to what I eat and decide I’ll never lose another pound.  Sending Lila to day care a few days a week while I’m on maternity leave doesn’t make me a bad parent – it gives me the chance to have alone time with Lucy, care for the house and be a better parent to Lila when she is home.

This may seem like “of course it’s not all or nothing” to some of you, but to me this is really a learning process and something I am continuing to work on.  I hope next time I feel like not having something go 100% to plan is an excuse to give up, I remember the wonderful personal yoga session veering off schedule gave to me.

Everyone is Still Breathing

Yesterday was Lucy’s 1 month “birthday”.  To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have noticed/remembered if a very detailed oriented friend had not posted it on my Facebook page.  I feel like I don’t have much to show for the last month.  I still have two kids – and two pets – and everyone is still breathing.  And I guess that, my friends, is what I have to show for the last month.

We’re still trying to work out the details of this “having two kids” thing.  We’ve been lucky to have almost constant grandparent help since Lucy came home from the hospital – which has been fantastic but has delayed us having to figure out how we are going to handle this on our own.  (I’m not complaining.)  Grandma Dede leaves tomorrow and we’ll have to determine how you do bedtime with two kids.  (I’m selling us a little short.  One set of grandparents left on December 29 and the other set arrived on January 8, so we totally kept two kids – and two pets – alive on our own for over a week.  And A went on a business trip beginning January 7, so I even kept all four of them alive on my own for more than 24 hours.  Go me.)

I know I shouldn’t be looking for a resume full of accomplishments for the first month of being a mom of two, but I just felt that having done this “newborn thing” before, I’d be better at it.  I wouldn’t mind the exhaustion, I would lose the baby weight immediately, I’d avoid any breastfeeding frustrations and I’d make dinner without fail every night.  For now I have to accept that I’m exhausted but I get out of bed every morning, I’ve lost some weight and am working to lose more, I’ve overcome the major breastfeeding issues and am working through the others and my family has eaten something for dinner every night (sometimes from Subway).  The trains may be running a little later than normal around here, but I’ve kept everyone alive for one month and for now, that has to be accomplishment enough.

A Stick to Push Buttons With

As I continue to progress in pregnancy, I experience more “symptoms” or “side effects”.  Being significantly larger is the most prominent change right now.  Everything is bigger – not just my belly.  No matter how many people tell me I’m “all baby” or “carrying well” I am still aware of how large my feet are or the fact that my wedding rings no longer fit because of swollen fingers.  Perhaps a second chin. 
Entering the last few weeks of this pregnancy I am all about coping with the changes – bigger shoes, comfy maternity clothes, therapeutic massage for the swelling.  But the conclusion I’ve come to is that I really need a stick with which I can push buttons.  A cape.  A moomoo.  And yes, a fat guy hat. 

Yes.  I think this is how I will spend the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy.  

Every Diet Needs Some Yes’s

When trying to watch your weight it often seems like the “no” list is never ending.  No french fries, no beer, no dessert, no eating after 8pm, no chips, no eating out.  This list goes on.  I think that to succeed in a diet you need to have yes’s as well – a list of things that may not be french fries but they are pretty good and help you get through a majority of the days.

I thought I’d share my list of “yes’s” this week, or at least some of them.  Please share some of your favorites as well, maybe we can all discover something.

– I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter Spray.  I don’t know how I lived without this ever.  I use it on everything.  It is completely made of chemicals and butter flavoring and scent, but it is enough to make my toast taste good without adding calories and that’s all it takes.  I’ve used it on many things through the years and I find it is almost always a perfect substitute for butter.

– Sandwich Thins. There are a few varieties of these out there right now and I don’t think the brand matters, though we usually eat the Arnold brand.  Sandwich Thins are like squished hamburger rolls, maybe a little denser.  They are great as toast, for a sandwich, with a veggie burger, with pasta – a perfect, portion controlled, lower calorie sub for bread.  We don’t even buy bread anymore, unless for a “special occasion” and use these for all our bread needs.  Even A likes them.  (They come in many flavors, I think we usually get Whole Wheat.)

– Weight Watcher Bagels.  There is something about having a bagel, even if it is smaller and doesn’t taste as good as a real bagel.  These bagels are good enough to fool my head into thinking I’m having a bagel for breakfast or making a bagel breakfast sandwich.  Sure I’d like a giant chewy bagel for breakfast but this is a pretty good substitute, especially with a little peanut butter.

– Lean Cuisine Pizza.  I think I may like Lean Cuisine pizzas more than real pizza.  1) there is little to no guilt involved. 2) it is a little round pizza I can eat all on my own and this is very satisfying. 3) I don’t really like red sauce so getting the spinach and mushroom or some of their other alternative flavors without red sauce is very nice.

– Kool Aid Fun Fizz Tabs.  I know I need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  I also know I get bored and have a hard time getting all my water in each day.  I found these and they have made it a little easier.  They recommended for 16oz of water, but I use them in my 32oz water bottle so it is not as sweet.  They look like little AlkaSeltzer tabs with the Kool Aid man on them.  Pop them in the water and they fizz and flavor the water.  I’ve tried lemonade and fruit punch – both are good, I prefer lemonade.  They are 5 calories each but they help me get my water in, so that’s not a bad trade.

– Novelty Ice Cream.  There are so many yummy, low cal novelty ice creams out there.  Skinny Cow sandwiches are still some of my favorites for an evening treat.  Low cal and only 2 Weight Watcher points, I like to make my own sundae with a little sugar free Hershey’s syrup and low fat whipped cream.  I also love that they come in so many flavors so I am not stuck with just vanilla and chocolate.

So those are just a few of my favorite “yes’s” – what’s on your list?