Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Time for Some Tough Love

A few months ago, I wrote about my journey in coming to accept my post-baby body. I struggled with it for a little while, then when I recognized and reminded myself of what my body had just accomplished through pregnancy, labor, and the birth of my daughter, it became pretty easy for me to be more gentle on myself and to accept my new shape.

That was a good thing - for a while. It was what I needed as I recovered from childbirth, adjusted to life with a newborn, and found my rhythm as a mom. I gave myself a much needed break and lowered my expectations for myself - which is what I think all new moms need to do - at least for a while.


I've found, though, that I've continued to maintain the same lowered expectations for myself in terms of health and wellness, even though I know (and have known for a while) that it's time to start picking up the slack. It's not a bad thing to go easy on yourself for a while, if it's what's needed, but that should only be temporary and not become the new normal. Yes, I needed a short period where I gave myself grace and gentleness, where I allowed myself to focus on other things. But now I can see that it's gotten to the point where I'm maybe being a little too gentle on myself, and have allowed myself to neglect my own health and created (or continued) some not-so-healthy habits. It's one thing to go easy on yourself for a season - it's another thing entirely to use that as an excuse to be lazy and undisciplined and not take care of yourself, which is what it's become for me.

Like I said in my previous post, I was able to quickly get to a place of acceptance and even appreciation for my new post-baby shape and I've managed to return to my pre-pregnancy weight without much effort. But I know that I could be doing much, much better with my eating habits and exercise routine (which is completely non-existent). For me, it's not so much about weight loss or looking a certain way as it is about overall good health and wellness and feeling good about the choices I make.

So, having said all that, (and I know I'm a little late on the New Year's resolution/goal post, but this is something I've been thinking about for a while and have already started working on), my biggest goal for myself this year is to be as healthy as I can be. That means making a conscious effort to make healthy choices with my diet as well as starting (and maintaining) some sort of physical activity routine.

One of the worst areas for me is my love for sweets and my terrible snacking habits, especially when I'm home all day. It's way too easy to reach for something unhealthy and I've let it go for too long. This, along with getting moving, is the first area I'm going to tackle. I've come up with a plan and a list of healthy snack choices that I'll look too when I feel the need to snack. I've decided that I'm going to limit myself to just one snack time a day - a set time where I can have a healthy snack - instead of just randomly, mindlessly grazing on junk through the day. Tessa is at an age where she is watching me closely and noticing what I'm doing - I do NOT want her learning my unhealthy habits and thinking that they can become hers too.

Snack options - this is now hanging on the fridge.
The other area that needs improvement is exercise. We bought a treadmill on a Boxing Day sale and are waiting for it to come, so my plan is to start a regular walking routine and work my way up to some jogging/running. I guess the silver lining for me is that I don't have far to go to improve - any amount of physical activity will be an improvement from where I'm currently at.

I don't want to become obsessive or legalistic about these things, but I know myself and I know that if I don't have some kind of plan and steps to take, nothing will happen. I know there will be days that I'll eat poorly or skip my workout, and that's not the end of the world - it takes work, discipline, and self control to break habits. And, like I said earlier, I'm pretty good at being gentle on myself - I'm now going to save that gentleness for the days I mess up, paired with a healthy dose of strictness to make sure I get right back on track the next day. As long as I can make healthy choices the majority of the time and work my way to having this become the new normal, I'm happy.

15 comments:

  1. Such a great post, Nancy! I think so many of us Mama's can relate! I went through the exact same thing, it was coming up on Scarlett's first birthday and I realized I had fallen into this horrible rut of not exercising and allowing myself to eat more treats than normal because "I just had a baby"... I think it's important to have a healthy relationship with healthy eating and exercise without going too overboard! It's definitely hard to balance it all too, but setting a good example of health for our daughters is so important! I hope that you can find that balance! If you do get in to running, I would run a race with you anytime! There are plenty right here in Lethbridge, and they're usually pretty cheap to sign up! Let me know :) It'd make a great goal!

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  2. Great job Mama! Kudos to being back at your pre pregnancy weight! I fell off the bandwagon but hopping back on very soon. Been thinking about you and returning to work. Praying it is going well and you are all adjusting well!

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  3. Kelli K (Pretty Prairie)January 7, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Oh, man -- I hear ya. I have been slacking so bad and it is time to start doing something about it! I'm the same with snacking. You make a good point that it is so important for us to set a good example for our daughters not only in the food we eat but also in the way we feel about ourselves -- although we may not be happy with our bodies it is really important that we don't put so much focus on it that it affects them at at a young age. There was a really good article going around on Facebook a month or so about how a daughters perspective of herself stemmed from how she seen her mother treated and her mothers attitude. It's a good read. Hope your plan goes well, plus you'll probably notice being back at work a few days a week will really help!

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  4. You can do it! I'm definitely more conscious of my food choices around Clay (even though he's only 16 months) because I want him to know healthy eating from the start instead of having to learn it later.

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  5. Good for you! I have recently made some similar changes in my life and, while it is so hard at first, it is totally worth it! :)

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  6. I just sent you an email!

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  7. I love your list. I too am feeling the desire to do the same now that I'm almost a year post partum. I think it's healthy to give yourself time to adjust to a new baby too. But

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  8. But I'm definitely ready to get back to normal completely :)

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  9. Thank you so much for the support Tawnya! Yes, balance is so important, and remembering to not go overboard or get crazy about it!
    I'm not sure I'll be race ready anytime soon :) but I'll definitely keep your offer in mind. You're right, it would be a good goal to have.

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  10. Thanks Shannon. It's not easy and I expect I'll be doing some falling off the bandwagon of my own...it's a process! Hope you can find a good balance for you that you'll be happy with.

    The return to work is going well so far - but I've only worked one day! :) I think it'll be ok, but it'll take some time for all of us to get used to the new routine.

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  11. Yes - absolutely. I think I might have seen that article on facebook - there are a few good ones out there. It's so true that our daughters are always watching and learning so much from us and will learn many of their lifelong habits (good & bad) from us.
    I think you're right that being at work will help with the snacking issue - now I just have to be more disciplined on the days I'm home.

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  12. Yes, totally - it's way easier to teach them good habits right from the start then have to break bad habits later. Good point.

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  13. Thanks Becky - emailed you back! :)

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  14. I hear ya! It'll be tough to break some of my bad habits & change my routines, but I think it'll be worth it. Hope you can find something that works for you!

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  15. I have a treadmill on the deck and it just ... sits there. I feel so bad about it! I need to get moving too. Thanks for joining us at Time For Mom last week! Hope to see you there today!

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