Something’s amiss when your mother-in-law gives you control top yoga pants for Christmas.
Something’s even more askew when you actually like them!
In all fairness to myself, I did have a baby just 14 months ago. And now in my, ahem, 40s, the weight simply doesn’t melt off like it used to. And given that I rediscovered the ultimate deliciousness that are Cool Ranch Doritos during my pregnancy, it’s no surprise that the scale hasn’t dropped down to my pre-pregnancy weight.
I’m not necessarily overweight, but I could stand to lose about 20 pounds—25 to get back to smokin’ hot bod status. Since having my second child, my priorities have been set aside in order to make time for the busy life of mothering two vivacious little ones. My once 90-minute yoga sessions have been reduced to 10 minutes—on a good day. And exercise? Well, let’s just say my new running shoes are still squeaky clean and the Jillian Michaels workout DVDs in my TV cabinet are collecting a lot of dust these days.
I really have no excuse, other than complete exhaustion. Raising kids, especially a newborn, is tireless work. If any chance for sleep presents itself, you take it. As moms we tend to take on all the burdens for the family, often at the expense of our own needs. At some point, though, you begin to realize neglecting yourself doesn’t add to the family and only earns you a spot in martyrdom.
I read a great article the other day by Parents contributor Gail O’Connor documenting her 80-pound weight loss. Sure, I’ve read hundreds of articles promoting this or that approach to dieting, but what I appreciated about Gail’s piece was her candidness and her realistic approach to weight loss. She did it through better eating habits and exercise and was honest with herself about her limitations. More importantly, she gave herself a year to do it—not six weeks or six months, but a full 12 months to ease into a new normal. She honored herself and she honored her body—and she succeeded.
Oh, and did I mention she has three kids? And a job? And managed to complete a sprint triathlon at the end of it all?
What’s my excuse?
Yes, Doritos are delicious. Yes, trying to manage a family can make you feel like you’ve climbed K2 every day. But I’ve begun to realize that unless I make an effort to put myself first, I’m going to burn out…fast.
I need to turn back to my yogic principles and embrace ahimsa and satya—practice being kind and truthful to myself. I may think I’m rockin’ the skinny jeans, but really, they’re acting more like a sausage casing than a piece of clothing. Maybe some bootcuts in a larger size is in order until I drop the muffin-top?
I need to be truthful about what I eat—take a cue from Ms. O’Connor and start off slow. This week I’ll focus on observing my eating habits, tracking them, throwing out what doesn’t work (Doritos) and putting in what does (fruits and veggies).
It’s also time for me to re-focus on my yoga practice. Maybe I’ll get a jump-start and sign up at the new yoga studio that just opened yesterday one mile from my house? I might even buy myself a bicycle and bike there. Did I mention there’s an inexpensive Youfit gym right across the street from the new yoga studio? I could bike there too, work off extra calories and do good for the planet. Bonuses all around.
Again, what’s my excuse?
I’m not one to make New Years’ resolutions. I’ve always found them a bit cliché. But maybe this year I should join this wave of positivity and ride a resolution through 2013? Maybe this will be the year I can put away the fat pants (okay, maybe not…they’re so comfy) and work my way to the exquisite booty I’ve always wanted?
How about you?
Maybe this year is the time to revamp your diet? Put on your satya lens and take a look at what’s adding those extra pounds and dragging you down instead of energizing you. Lose It! has a great app you can download to track your diet and activity and connect with others who are also trying to trim down. Weight Watchers Online also has an app that’s included with a membership. It has a simple point system that works for someone like me who is easily distracted with family duties. Both sites have reminders, tips, articles and support groups to help keep you motivated when things get tough. Fees for both sites are reasonable—cheap, considering it’s an investment in your health and a hot booty!
I used to think I could do this alone, but I’m finding I need a little kick in the ass, er, gentle encouragement these days, so I’m giving Weight Watchers Online a go.
Don’t want to pay? Well then, strap on those sneakers and go for a run, walk, hike or bike ride. Resist the urge to go bold and, instead, keep ahimsa forefront in your mind and take the easier path for now. Start off with two days a week for 30 minutes and then build from there. With a 12-month time frame, you can allow yourself to ease into a new routine.
Not the outdoor type? Then pick up a workout DVD that speaks to you and use it. Don’t let the dust collect. With the plethora of exercise styles on the market, there is sure one that will get you motivated. You can belly dance, Zumba, cross-train, kick box or Brazil Butt Lift your way to a beautiful bottom! You just have to push play.
If it all seems overwhelming, then find your spot on your mat. Commit to it each week. Research has found that a regular yoga practice can help you to make smart food choices and more conscious of what you eat. A proven mood enhancer, yoga can also help calm the stress and anxiety that comes with making a life change. Just what you’ll need when you’re faced with the road blocks that are bound to pop up.
And if you find yourself losing your focus, grab your zafu cushion and quietly sit. Find what’s blocking you from progress and face it—move the obstacle. With a refreshed perspective, step back onto your path and move forward—even if you have to restart at a slower pace. Just keep moving forward. There’s no need for perfection here, just persistence.
Join me in taking that step forward to a healthier you. This year, take pleasure in the small gains rather than the latest diet or quick fix. This year, take the time to make a life change and make it stick.
Yeah, skinny jeans, here I come!
Who’s with me?
Amy Cushing is a stay-at-home-mom and certified yoga teacher from Phoenix, Arizona who is pursuing her passion for writing. When she’s not chasing around two small tots, she can be found lost in a good book, cherishing quality time with her husband or having a much-needed laugh with her girlfriends. She’s on a mission to find simplicity in life so she can spend less time pulling out her hair and more time appreciating those who matter most. She loves yoga and music and has been known to bust out a mean rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider in times of chaos. She holds a B.S. in Political Science and an M.A. in English from Northern Arizona University.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel