I think my first son was around 18 months old when I realized I was still wearing maternity pants around the house on a regular basis. You know, just because they were soooo comfy. The scale confirmed it: the reason I was still clinging to my elastic waistbands was because I'd replaced the baby weight with the kind of extra poundage you get when you have a nightly double date with Ben & Jerry.
I eventually embarked on a workout routine, changed my eating habits, and lost the pudge, but I've had to kick myself out of a weight-gaining cycle plenty of times since. Now that my kids are 8 and 6, they aren't nearly as much work as they used to be -- but man, parenthood sure seems to have its diet-sabotaging downsides. For example, here are the top 7 'mom excuses' I've been battling since I gave birth:
I don't have enough time. Probably the most common excuse, and it's not like it's complete bullshit. Parenting is a 24/7 gig, especially when babies are involved. The only thing that can help push past this show-stopper is to embrace the fact that you'll have to make the time rather than find it. (I remember hopping around the living room to Turbo Jam DVDs while my second baby creaked back and forth in his swing. At least one of us was entertained.)
I'm too tired. Nothing makes you want to skip a workout and reach for the sugar like being wiped out. It's such a vicious circle: you're exhausted, you get sedentary and eat crappy foods, which results in you feeling even more exhausted. Add in the sleep deprivation and all-day vigilance that come with parenting very young children and it's no wonder some of us have trouble fitting back into our pre-pregnancy jeans. I've had to re-learn this lesson time and time again: exercising and eating well gives me TONS of energy and helps me sleep better at night too.
I'm too stressed. Exercise does wonders for stress. The problem is that motivation to wriggle into your sports bra tends to go AWOL when you feel weighted down with a thousand different chores, deadlines, appointments, and various kid-related worries.
I can't let that meal go to waste. The crust of a PB&J, the ignored half of a quesadilla triangle, a half-finished cookie? I can't just throw that away, can I? Well, I can if the alternative is paying cold hard cash -- since the results of being my kids' human garbage disposal for too long inevitably results in having to buy a larger clothing size.
I gave up everything else! By and large, parenthood means saying goodbye to a lot of freedom. When you have to enter into a partner negotiation to see who gets the extreme privilege of leaving the house alone, it's kind of hard to resist the urge to stuff your pie-hole with actual pie. Because late nights, illicit substances, trips to Aruba, and solo trips to the damn grocery store are a distant memory. ALL THAT'S LEFT ARE CARBS, DAMMIT.
I have all these fun food-related things I do with my kid. Let's bake cookies together! Let's go get ice cream cones! Let's make Sunday night sundaes! Let's see who has the metabolism of a hummingbird and whose belt suddenly ran out of notches!
I just finally put the kids to bed and OMG I need a reward for surviving the last 12 hours. Who hasn't used food in this way? And it's never, like, cauliflower, is it?
What parenting challenges can make it hard for you to stick to a fitness routine?
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