I have two kids and have been trying to put off the baby weight now for the past 5 years (since I gave birth to my last son). For some reason, putting on the weight was so much more enjoyable and fun…while losing it (or trying to) is a long, boring, painful process! I mean, really, why can’t I just carry on the extra weight!! I’m married already (sorry babes) and have two kids, into my early 30s – I think I’ve earned the right to be comfortably fluffy.
While the above is true, fact of the matter is, extra weight is not healthy. It can cause more stress on your body and your bones (joints), can increase the likelihood of leading a sedentary lifestyle, and a whole bunch of other problems – I’m not a TV doctor here, you all know what can happen! But it’s not so simple – losing weight changes as you get older. Especially in women – growing older and especially having kids completely changes how your body acts and reacts. This isn’t some housewives’ tale or a myth – it’s a complete fact and scientifically proven!
Further, there is always a lack of energy. Whether it is from the constant waking up at night times, the constant worry in the back of our minds about our kids (yes, Dads and Moms worry about kids totally differently), or simply that we have less personal time to recover from a stressful day or a hectic schedule – whatever the factor maybe, as Moms we definitely have less time for ourselves and there is constant pressure on us to deliver on all sides of our lives: as wives, moms, professionals, homemakers – you name it, there is no shortage of expectations from those around us. It’s taxing, vexing, and sometimes I just want to give up and cry. But I can’t and I don’t…life goes on no matter what.
This level of stress or lack of proper sleep can affect how we gain (and lose) weight. Lack of sleep can cause cortisol to increase which can cause more fat and water retention (making us look more bloated and chubbier). Stress can cause us to overeat and feel drained of energy, which means we are less likely to want to be active, which then helps to just add on the weight. On top of all of this, in the 30s, a woman’s essential metabolism can also beginning to change (slow down) which makes it easier for us to put on more weight. Finally, for the cherry on the top, having children essentially changes our hormonal balance and some women may never feel the same again. And for the few lucky ones, there maybe other medical conditions which can really make it hard to lose weight (such as insulin resistance, low thyroid, polycystic ovaries (PCO), etc).
I think the first step to losing weight is to reduce stress. There is nothing more important than this. Even wanting to lose weight can be a stress – checking weight, hoping and feeling disappointed, dieting, and initially exercise drains me of energy! But after many tries at losing weight and failing I have come to realize that weight loss is a part of the journey. The eventual destination is not a goal weight or a certain number of pounds/KGs I want to lose but more that I want to maintain a healthy life. To start on this lifelong journey, this month I have decided that I will first work on my stress. If I’m stressed, everything falls apart – at home, at work, in my mind, my health.
So March has been my month of learning how to take 10 minutes to myself each morning and evening. NO exercising, no dieting, nothing. Just taking that time to myself and meditating. I don’t have a teacher to teach me meditation, I am just sitting in a quiet home (before kids wake up and after they go to sleep), and trying to clear my mind. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t. But I can tell that after a few weeks of this, I feel kind of nice, a little calmer. Normally, it’s a rush. Wake up, get ready, get out the door – non-stop. Now, that little 10 (more like 15) minute break feels good.
I am hoping that by the end of March, I can really make this into a 15-20 minute session each time. The goal is to make sure that I take that time to feel calm and collected, not rushed or worried. Do this twice a day and slowly work on the diet. One thing I started doing in March is drinking 1/2 cup coffee less. I replaced this with 1/2 cup tea. Again, I don’t know, I just feel so much healthier with the tea!! So instead of drinking 1 cup coffee in the evening, I do 1/2 cup around 3pm, then 1/2 cup tea around 5pm.
In April, I plan to increase my meditation time, add 2 cups of warm water before 10am each morning (1 cup right before meditation) and 1 cup at 10am, and add some walking into my daily routine. Just more things for me to make time for myself, away from work and my desk and stress! Notice how I haven’t even started about exercising yet? That’s because I quite honestly don’t feel like this yet! Like I said, I just started enjoying some time to myself. I want to enjoy this, savor it, for as long as possible. Each day, I feel a little calmer and I want that peace to last more and more. I think at some point, maybe in another month or two, I will feel up for exercising but for now, I am taking the first step of weight loss: reducing stress!
What about you? Any one reading this who ever had to lose weight and felt defeated? Or anyone who wanted to lose weight and succeeded??? Any moms reading this – do you have any experiences to share? What worked best for you or how did you feel? What was the first step you took in your weight loss direction? Or maybe you haven’t started yet – let’s see if we can do this together!