Like many women, my weight is something I think about a lot. We are all a bit obsessed by it aren’t we? I have never been skinny and never will be, it’s just not my natural shape, I have wide hips and sizeable thighs. That’s just the way I am… but I could be slimmer, and healthier, than I am.
I lost a lot of weight when Monkey was little and that was the size I feel happiest at. Second time round though I am finding the weight much harder to shift. I have a proper shelf above my c section scars which I can’t stand and for the first time in my life have a properly wobbly tummy in addition to my big hips and thighs despite trying to diet a few times.
The trouble is that I really enjoy food and food is a pretty big part of our lifestyle. We love days out as a family visiting National Trust houses and going for country walks and these outings often include visits to a cafe for a hot drink and cake or something energy boosting, especially in the winter months. Because we are parents and don’t get out much, our social life often includes having friends or relatives round for a takeaway. In short we often use food as treats for ourself, which isn’t really that healthy I suppose, but it is fun.
Hubs and I are also dreadful comfort eaters. When one of us is poorly or we’ve had a rough day with the kids we rarely drink alcohol and are far more likely to pop out and buy some ‘naughty’ food like bags of crisps or chocolate, as we don’t generally have them in the house.
In many ways I don’t think any of this is too bad as I do believe that you can eat everything in moderation. We eat healthy meals and snacks as do the kids so the treats aren’t the worst thing in the world. I do want to lose weight but I am struggling with balancing my enjoyment of food and having the motivation to lose weight.
So I started to think of my kids. Of what I want for them. I started to think of using them as a motivation for losing a bit of weight. I don’t want them to grow up with an overweight mummy who is over indulging without a care in the world. I don’t want them to grow up over indulging and piling on the pounds either. But the more I thought about it the more I changed my mind about what I want for my kids.
Do I want them to have a mummy who is slim-ish but who is also constantly obsessing over the scales and worrying what she puts in her mouth? A mummy who is counting calories and denying herself yummy food for fear of putting extra weight on. A mummy who hates looking in the mirror and who berates herself for eating anything remotely indulgent. Do I want my children to do that to themselves? No, I don’t.
I want my children to be healthy and confident. To know they are beautiful and for them to be healthy and strong. To eat a balanced diet and be happy in themselves. So how to strike that balance?
There is a family round the corner from us who we call ‘the fit family’ and they are all so fit and healthy they have two teenagers and they all run and cycle and are clad in lycra for much of the time. Now I am not about to go and buy us all lycra yet but they are a bit of an inspiration. Because what I want is for our kids to grow up understanding healthy eating and exercise and the best way to do this is by leading by example.
So while I am trying to make sure I am eating healthily I am also trying not to worry too much about what the scales say and how many calories or fat I am eating. Instead I am focusing on how much exercise I am doing, and how much the kids see me doing. I have been swimming a couple of evenings a week for some time and I want to keep that up but I am also making sure that I don’t just limit my exercise to the times when the kids are asleep.
I have done my yoga with them in the room, which does make it interesting as there is a little face appearing next to mine at times, but it is lovely seeing them copy the moves. It was especially hilarious when they were doing it in the middle of the ikea warehouse!
I’ve also bought a Zumba dvd to do at home. I often end up dancing round the living room with the kids dancing along to cbeebies or a nursery rhyme dvd, so I thought I would try and step this up a bit. There are times when the kids are playing happily and I can pop it on and have a dance around the living room. It is great exercise and great fun and the kids can join in a bit by having a dance with me which is lovely.
We spend a lot of time outdoors and LM is as keen as Monkey to walk everywhere herself and we are happy to encourage that. Monkey can walk a really long way and at a pretty decent pace for his age and LM is keen on strengthening her little legs too. They both love running about like all kids do too. I’m obviously not about to become obsessed by how much exercise they are doing as that would be daft, but I do want exercise to be just a part of everyday life for them. We are making more of an effort to get them both swimming (more on that in a later post) and I would love to get Monkey riding his bike this summer so we can go on family bike rides.
As for me, well it’s hard to change a habit of a lifetime. I am not going to suddenly be amazingly happy with my body. But I can try and keep my insecurities hidden from the kids. I’ve always been a big believer of “fake it till you make it” and hope that by acting body confident, one day maybe I will be an did it won’t be an act anymore. I also hope that all this exercise pays off so I can be stronger an more toned.
On the food side of things, the summer will see us taking more picnics out with us, which will in turn mean less cafe and cake trips. I do think we have some work to do to change our attitude to food and stop relating it to happiness or comfort…but that is going to be a heck of a change to make, and not something I expect to happen overnight. Gosh if I’m honest we enjoy it so much I am not sure we are ready to try…. One step at a time but we will try as I do also worry about how we use food as a reward or for comfort and how that affects the kids long term…. But for now exercise is the main focus as well as continuing to eat healthily most of the time, so we can continue to have our treats.
So this week I have done my Zumba dvd and even been to aquafit with a friend. I am using my fitness tracker a lot to keep an eye on my activity levels and am doing as much as exercise as I can. The difficult bit may be keeping up with this… But I am going to try really hard,if not for me, for my kids.
My word this week is exercise.