03 March 2011

My Baby Made Me Fat!

I once had a woman (in her 60's and morbidly obese) tell me that the reason for her weight problems, were her children. She said with a laugh "my children made me fat. It's all their fault". It was said to me when I was pregnant and the comment has been swimming around my head ever since.

During my pregnancy I trained with a personal trainer every week and made sure I was either in the gym of doing some other kind of structured exercise until I was 36 weeks. In fact, I was walking from our house to the local shopping district (15 minute steady paced walk) and back almost every day in the last month of my pregnancy. I was extremely fearful of gestational diabetes and for this reason (along with many others) I ate well and exercised religiously. As a result, I put on very little weight when I was pregnant. I felt great and I was happy with my pregnant shape.

Given my almost addiction to exercise while pregnant, I was sure that I would pick up where I left off once Layla was born. Oh, how wrong I was. Sleep deprivation changes everything. There were some days when I could hardly walk up and down our stairs let alone contemplate exercise. I continued to walk with Layla to our local shopping district after the initial few weeks. This resulted in Layla's dislike of car travel mainly because we walked to so many places instead of driving. However, beyond walking, exercise disappeared from my life. Being home and tired, I turned to food to make me feel better. I ate when I was hungry, cold, hot, tired, bored, happy and sad. My energy levels hit rock bottom and my bottom started to look like a rock (actually make that a boulder!). I knew I had to do something. All of my efforts in keeping the weight off while pregnant had been destroyed by my lack of activity and eating habits on maternity leave. Being at home and tired presented so many reasons to eat and not move.

I looked at the calendar and realised I was going back to work in less than two months. I looked in my wardrobe and realised that none of my work clothes fit. I looked at my body and realised it was time to get moving and shift the weight.

My wonderful Mothers Group hosted a fitness talk by Jenny Dugard  at about the same time as I was contemplating my situation. It gave me the motivation to address my fitness issues and make a change. I realised that as a role model for Layla and to be the best mother and wife I could be, I needed to like myself and be fit enough to juggle the demands of motherhood. As a result, I've gone back to seeing my trainer once a week and also signed up for a Mummies fitness group that meets in the evenings for group training once the babies have gone to sleep. While I still have a way to go, I've made a change and I feel better for it.

In researching what was around, I was surprised by the number of mums and bubs fitness groups that provide group training with a professional trainer while also providing child minding services. Most classes are only $20-$25 for an hour session. Classes take place in local parks and allow you to get out, exercise with your baby and not worry about watching them while you do your thing. I only wish that I had been less sleep deprived and more motivated to join once of these groups earlier.

As a mum, too often your needs come last after your children and partner. Often at that point, you have nothing left to give to yourself. My Dad has always said that the health of the family depends on the health of the mother - emotional, physical, mental health. By taking the time to get back on track, I'm giving back to myself and my family. Once the sleep deprivation clouds start to lift, why not try doing something like this for you?

Blaming your children for making you fat is that lamest excuse I have ever heard. Each one of us is in control of our own destinies. It is our own decisions that make us who we are and influence our children, not the other way around.

Links - Yummy Mummys Fitness
        - Body Beyond Baby

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