More than two years after having my second daughter I am still struggling to lose my baby weight, hopelessly trying to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes and still breathe, while falsely believing my belly will develop muscles just from me lifting my kids and dragging them around. I have tried many things to get back into shape and have failed miserably. Some choices were just doomed from the start, others made it through, but none lasted past the first month. Despite this I like to think of myself as a smart person, as someone who can at least learn from mistakes. So, I now know exactly what doesn’t work if you are trying to lose weight and I am sharing my tips gained from valuable experience:
- Gym membership. Don’t they say be active if you want to lose some pounds? And I’ve tried, I made a conscious decision to exercise, took time to get to the gym, paid a lot of money to use it, only to quit after a few visits. It just wasn’t for me. I had resolve, I had determination, I had it all for a very short while, only to realize I can’t pull it off two times a week. I don’t want to. Truthfully running on a machine and staring into a blank wall makes me think of all the things I have to do when I finally drag myself home. I get nothing out of lifting weight, because I do that at home with my kids all the time and it leads nowhere. And I don’t have the strength to listen to a twenty year old tell me how many times I am supposed to do sit-ups when my body just wants to curl up on the couch and fall asleep.
- Skipping breakfast. Everyone just talks about how many calories you are supposed to consume per day, so my line of thinking was, hey, I am usually not that hungry in the morning, because I am still too tired to comprehend what is going on in the world from the lack of sleep, so I could just skip breakfast. But when I do, I am ready to eat whatever is on the table by the time lunch arrives. Forget about going easy on the bread or ordering a salad, even if it’s the size of a satellite dish. Of course, no breakfast in my world also means an opportunity to overindulge at dinner, when kids are finally asleep and I can spice things up with a glass of wine, I shouldn’t be drinking in the first place. So, you see why now I have to eat breakfast.
- Denouncing all sweets. In my case this is a recipe for disaster. I love sweets but especially chocolate, as it got me through the toughest moments in my life. It is still my main source of strength throughout the day, I mean forget about the vitamins and minerals, I could survive without those, but the lack of chocolate might just as well kill me. And no amount of extra weight is really worth it, something I’ve realized after a few failed attempts. The same could almost be applied to wine.
- Smaller clothes as an incentive. I am horrible with buying clothes. I will not buy something that might fit perfectly, if it is not in the desired size. And that is the size I was before I had kids. Just to plain torture myself I keep a pair of jeans I wore before I got pregnant the first time and I still try to squeeze all my parts in and then not breathe for a few hours, to prove I’ve still got it. But what a relief it is to take them off, get into sweat pants, regain breath and be able to eat. No, this tactic doesn’t work and I now have a stack of clothes at home that are just waiting for better days to come. Sadly those are still not on the horizon.
- Ban this, eat that instead. I am basically like a kid, the minute you tell me something is forbidden, I must have it. So, telling myself I am not allowed to have a piece of bread or baked potatoes or a plate of pasta, well it makes my whole body crave it and I don’t even like it all that much. But truly how could anyone compare pasta with kale or a glass of bear with green smoothies? Besides I don’t get all this craze with super foods and eating raw and don’t get me started on cleansing. I love to eat, hence of course my problem. I want my meals to be at least tasty, as because of the kids I can’t have them in one take, but have to get up a thousand times. OK, I admit I could however add more fruit and veggies to it. Then perhaps I could have the best of both worlds.
So, there it is. And I am not saying I’ve learned not to even bother losing weight. No, I am just trying to do it the right way. Forget about easy fixes and magical formulas, I am trying to find what works for me, doing what feels right for me, on my own terms, to become healthier, happier, more content with myself… I just haven’t figured it out yet.