How can a mom lose weight and get into shape?

The hair on the back of my neck bristles when I hear this comment,
one I’ve heard countless times, “Oh, you probably stay in shape chasing
after those four boys!” or “You’re so busy with your kids you don’t
have time to eat, no wonder you’ve lost weight!”

Of course, there are always smiles and laughs accompanied by these
light-hearted, somewhat complimentary words, and, to some degree, I
HAVE learned to take myself and my weight issues less seriously……..so I
have had to sort of evaluate why I feel this sting in my gut when those
“compliments” are directed at me.

I certainly don’t look like a supermodel, far from it, but I have
stamina, I’m strong, I like the way I look in my Joe’s Jeans and each
time I have had a child, I have lost the extra pounds (which I had in
abundance) which makes me look transformed when someone hasn’t seen me
in a while.  But none of these little successes happened BECAUSE I am
busy with four active boys, in many ways, I think they happened IN
SPITE of the fact that my kids and their constant needs could become
excuses for me not to work out regularly or eat right.

When someone says, “Now I know why I used to be skinny, too, I was
burning all those calories chasing my kids,” a small voice inside me
yearns to receive some credit for the fact that I have to work HARD
darnit to take off baby pounds, and not just once, FOUR times!  I
should be a freakin’ pro at weight loss by now!  Yes, I have learned a
lot, and yes, I do take the weight off, at least by 1 year post partum,
but I sweat and strain for every pound I lose!  I WISH it were as easy
as just “chasing after my kids” – SHEESH!  Anyway, no matter what
people think, or what excuses they want to make for themselves, the
reward, for me, is not in the compliments, it is in the satisfaction I
feel when I put on my pre-4th-baby favorite pair of Joe’s Jeans!  My
reward is the 9 miles I can run, because I am grateful for a healthy
body that I can discipline and train, a body that has delivered four
healthy children into this world and that gets me around in life and
allows me to enjoy every blessing in each present day!

It is really tough for some of us moms to have a baby and then feel
like everyone is watching to see what your body will do this time.  At
some point I realized that taking care of my body had to become a
priority, not just for me but for my family.  Once, when my third son
was almost a year old, I got stuck overnight in Atlanta at the airport
when our connecting flight had “mechanical difficulities”.  I was alone
with my three kids and they were shuttling planes full of people to
hotels at midnight.  I waited as shuttle after shuttle quickly filled
up with people while me, my three kids, with stroller, bags and car
seat, hung back with the poor folks in wheelchairs because none of us
were quick enough to shove our way onto the buses!  It was a
frustrating, exhausting and lonely 48 hours for me and my kids and I
truly think the only reason I was able to physically do it (and not
lose my cool with my kids) was because I had been taking good care of
my body and I was physically up to the challenge of hauling three kids
age 4 and under around airports and hotels and onto planes in an
unknown city where an airline endangered us, but did finally deliver
us, to our destination.

As moms we have difficult choices to make, we are caregivers and
professionals but we are also women, with one body and one chance to
keep it healthy.  Sometimes I think it is harder work to protect the
priority of healhy fitness habits than it is to actually burn through a
9 mile run (let alone a 30 minute workout!) or plan a healthy balanced
meal for us to eat.  Sadly, in my experience, as much as I wish it were
true, extra weight does not melt as a result of the daily, however
important, task of “chasing after my kids”.  Maybe I don’t think they
want to really hear what I do, or maybe I am just enjoying my small
successes within myself, but I usually just smile and think to myself, “Weight
loss, for moms, or anyone, is a goal that is first acknowledged,
visualized, worked for, and accomplished.  And ANYONE can do that.”

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