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Lately, I’ve been absolutely loving how strong I feel. I’ve never had this much upper body strength in my life! I have been doing incidental weights training every single day with the Little Mister (for 15 months!) and I love carrying my entire grocery shop from the car to the house in one trip! Like a boss! On our recent camping trip, I made kayaking and paddleboarding seem effortless. I’m a freakin’ machine!
Problem is, combined with my lack of overall proper cardio focused exercise and my *ahem* less than perfect nutritional choices, I’ve unintentionally bulked up. My arms are bigger, I’ve got muscle disguised as flab (haha OK maybe it’s just flab) on my sidey/backy bits (I’m no doctor), and my legs feel heavy (particularly the upper thigh area). We won’t mention my mid section…
Now that I feel strong, I think it’s time to feel lean and fit too.
I’ll admit that I’ve been making excuses since the arrival of the Little Mister, not to be really proactive with exercise and fitness. I have walked many kilometres with him in the stroller (we live 2km from a lovely estuary waterfront and 2km from a nice beach – 4km round trip normally) over the past 15 months, but eventually the weather got too temperamental in the winter and too hot in the summer. The rest of the time…I was just being tired and lazy if you really want to know.
I told myself it was too expensive to go to the local ladies gym (the one that has the creche), plus I guilted myself into thinking that taking an hour each day to make myself ‘pretty’ and ‘skinny’ would be wrong (also I was trivialising it – it’s about my health). Dumb, I know. I used to be that woman BC (Before Child) who would yell at new mums who said they felt too guilty to look after their health. I’d say, “But you’re investing in your health! Your child’s mother’s health! What could be more important?!”
I would get all Dr Phil on everyone’s arse. Yeah, no-one warns you about that mother’s guilt.
I really should take my own advice, though. So I am.
For the last few days, I’ve been sweating, huffing, puffing and galoomphing my way through exercise at home. For $65 I was able to purchase both a Zumba Fitness 2 game for my Wii, plus a Michelle Bridges (trainer from Biggest Loser Australia) DVD (Project Extreme). I figure that’s just over 4 gym classes worth, but the Wii game comes with 10 built in classes and the Project Extreme DVD has 5 work outs which you grow with over time. Totally worth it. I don’t have to leave home (saving travel time I could be spending with the Little Mister) and I’ll be using these work out tools more than four times – goodbye excuses about structured exercise being too expensive!
Yep. I’m doing this Stay at Home Mum Style!
Here’s what cancels out my guilt at taking time to exercise for an hour a day:
- I’m modelling to the Little Mister that exercise should be a part of daily life.
- I’m going to get healthier, which means I should have more energy to spend playing with the Little Mister.
- While I am working out, I can pause the DVD or game to tend to the Little Mister, should he need it. It’s not ideal, but it means I am there.
- The Little Mister (known for being clingy) is actually learning to play more independently for that hour. While I can feel a bit guilty while I’m focused on the TV screen (with one eye and one ear open at all times), I know this is good for him as long as I spend quality time with him afterwards.
- The Little Mister finds me entertaining and has even started to copy some of the moves (jumping jacks and push ups – although his version of a push up is to lie on the floor and smile at me). The other day he was so worn out from running about, being active while I was working out!
I would have liked to have an exercise regime I could carry out while the Little Mister is asleep, but sometimes his sleep is unreliable (and his naps are slowly becoming shorter). Also, I can tell you now that I am not motivated to get up earlier than usual, or to stay up later than usual, to do this!! I applaud anyone who can!!!
I dusted off my neglected MyFitnessPal app on the ol’ iPhone and realised that if I’m going to do this exercise thing properly, I need to watch my food intake. I’m not going to bust my butt for nothing!!!
I’m not quite a week in and I am already noticing the tiniest difference in my shape (I’m on my way to getting one again), but not yet with my weight (that will come). I feel less hungry (I guess I’m doing more constructive things with my time than eating) and I feel like I’ve inspired my husband to get more active too. Family win!
I realise my priorities for looking after my health and fitness have changed over time. Before, it was all about my weight (a number on the scales) and how pretty I could look in clothes (or photos). Now it’s all about being able to build my stamina and energy levels. It’s about modelling good habits. It’s about being strong, healthy and happy. Of course I’d like to lose some weight and looking good in any clothes is a good thing, but I’m pleasantly shocked that it’s not at the top of my list anymore.
I’ve been searching for the thing/s that work for me and my family, and this latest development feels good. I’m inspired and I’m finally figuring out the best way to fit exercise and (slightly) better nutrition into my life, without it feeling like a major burden or annoyance.
In a nutshell, here’s what works best for me and my Little Mister:
- Activities that do not involve “equipment”. No things that the Little Mister can grab and get hurt by (treadmill, exercise bike etc) while they are being used.
- Anything with background music (DVD, Zumba game etc). The Little Mister LOVES music and he loves to dance around. This way, he can be in the room with me and he can enjoy my exercise time while he does his thing. This way he’s not required to be asleep in order for me to exercise properly – another excuse gotten rid of!
- Activities that can be done at home. No travel time. No extra costs. No babysitters/creche required. No excuses about the weather. Can start and stop at my own pace. Afterwards, “mum” life can resume without skipping a beat.
- Exercise that can be done alone, with flexible timetable. I’m not wasting anyone else’s time if I need to change my day’s plans (this can happen a fair bit).
What works best for you?
Please note: Unfortunately I was not paid to mention/review any of the products in this post. That would mean I was actually a successful blogger that people had heard of haha.