2012: Fitness

I’m coming to the end of the first month of motherhood, and realizing that I have a long way to go to return to my pre-pregnancy shape. At first, I was sure I would just pick up some inexpensive clothes at a thrift store to tide me over for the (hopefully) brief period of being too large for even my largest clothing. I hatched this idea about a week ago, and haven’t managed to get into the store to execute this plan. I also started tracking my food using Weight Watcher’s eTools – though I can’t say I’ve done well following the plan until this week, which so far I’ve made a noble attempt.

What this has gotten me, though, is about one pound up and a bit down. I’m still wearing maternity clothes (when I happen to get out of my jammies), and I’m feeling a bit dumpy and down. I know this is par for the course for a new mama, and I’m not sure how to break out. I’ve done my body measurements to see what size I am, and it’s hard to get a grip that I can shop at plus-sized shops (in the smaller sizes). This, oddly enough, makes me relieved more than sad. When I was at my largest (which was 60+ lbs from where I am now) I would occasionally have that blissful experience of trying something on at a plus sized store, looking in the mirror, and saying, hey, this looks good on me! This wouldn’t even be at a time where I was experiencing weight loss. Size doesn’t tell you if you look or feel beautiful. It’s hard to remember that.

Fitness is something else – that’s about how I feel and less about how I look. At my most fit, I was bothered by being able to see all the sinews in my neck, or how narrow my face would appear. Also, my wrinkles were more prominent! While I think I looked good (and was, frankly, stillthe fashion industry’s “plus size” 8), I wasn’t so keen on my face. What I really liked was being able to run and feeling strong and fit. That felt pretty awesome.

I’m not sure how or when I’m going to be able to get back into shape. Today may be the first step. It’s not that I can’t afford new clothes, as to thankfully my job pays me enough that I *can* – I just didn’t want to spend money on what was going to be a short-term solution. Realistically, though – it took 9 months to put on this weight (45 lbs!), so it will take time to take it off.

I have a few personal obstacles right now. The first ones are lack of sleep and being caffeine-free, which drive my hunger for carbs. Then there’s the intense feeding schedule for the newborn, which makes me feel like I have no time for “me” – either for a workout video or going for a walk. Then there’s the weather, which is typical Seattle unpredictable, with miserable chilling rain making me rather stay inside.

There are a lot of things I need to figure out to adjust to this new life. Here’s to the beginning.

Exercise and Weight Maintenance

The New York Times Magazine has a article titled Weighing the Evidence on Exercise, which is an interesting look at how exercise effects weight loss and appetite.

Not too long ago I recall Marie Claire having a rather unscientific, completely anecdotal article on which gets you thinner faster, calorie counting or exercise. Their findings were that the woman who dieted, but didn’t really exercise (this was a two woman comparison!) lost more weight than the woman who just exercised.

Certainly, my own anecdotal experience was similar. When I weighed around 260 lbs, and was going to the gym regularly (3x/wk, 30+min cardio, 45 min weights) I didn’t see the scale budge much. I wasn’t counting calories, though, and I am pretty sure, in retrospect, I ate up most of the calories I burned. My real weight loss started when I started tracking every thing I ate, and having a set ideal of food I ate for the day/week. That came without exercise, and the exercise came later as my body started feeling more capable.
(Keep in mind, at my heaviest I started avoiding having to step up on curbs because THAT was too much of a strain.)

Continue reading “Exercise and Weight Maintenance”