The Fitness Trap

Three years ago I considered myself to be in the best shape of my life.  I was active, playing Roller Derby with a recreational league. I was working hard, on my feet all day. At 5’6″ I was just under 160 pounds, a size 10 for the first time in nearly ten years, but I was a fit size ten.  I looked GOOD. I felt GREAT. I was HAPPY.

I was able to hold onto that for quite awhile, mostly due to being employed in an incredibly active job. I was on my feet for 8-10 hours a day, running from one length of the big blue box, constantly. I lifted 10-25 pounds throughout my shifts. I would snack lightly during work and eat well before and after.

Then I left that for a desk job. I had stopped playing derby due to scheduling and personality conflicts (much of the personality was my issue which I didn’t come to terms with until much later.) My activity level dwindled to just a few hours at the gym a couple days a week. I started to slowly gain weight.

Then I got pregnant.

People tell you that you get tired during the first trimester, but my god was I not prepared for the level of fatigue I felt. I could barely get out of bed to go to work. I would fight through each shift, vacillating between extreme lethargy and nausea. I would get home, fall in a heap and nap until it was time to go to bed. My body weighed 1,000 pounds. During the pregnancy I had vowed to stay active, but it was so easy to not follow through.

All of that momentum I had built up was gone.

It is easy to make excuses, I am the queen of excuses. I was too tired. It was too hard to go out. My work-out clothes didn’t fit anymore.

Now, nearly a year later I am out of excuses. I look in the mirror and I am angry and frustrated.

When he was born I weighed 211 pounds, five weeks later I was at 180 and back in my pre-pregnancy clothes.  I was less than ten pounds more than what I weighed pre-pregnancy. I was excited, but still not motivated.

And then more excuses. No time to eat, as he was very fussy and needed constant attention. Meals didn’t happen, there was only snacking. That kid knew when I was going to try and eat and as soon as the microwave started so did he. Screaming that is. I was making lactation cookies every few days, and that was my snack, all day, every day. I easily ate a couple dozen cookies a day. I would occasionally pick up those little protein packs with nuts, cheese, and processed meat. It was better than a sugary cookie, I guess. The only good thing I did was drink water by the buckets.

Now, twelve weeks later I’m at 190 pounds. My clothes are unattractively tight. I am a borderline size 14. And I am tired of excuses.

So how do you motivate yourself when you spend all day long taking care of a baby? Those couple hour long cat naps he takes are filled with laundry, dishes, cleaning, and if you’re lucky enough, a little bit of t.v. time to relax and enjoy the down time. I don’t want to work out when I have so much to do. Or I just want to play a little World of Warcraft, is that so wrong?

Now this is were I turn into an advertisement.

Last week I fired up the Nike Training Club app on my phone. I had done a few of the work-outs last summer and they kicked my ass.  It’s even more painful now. One 15 minute workout and I want to die. It’s both demoralizing and motivating. When I was fit, I preferred strength training workouts to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Cardio. But all I have time for is HIIT these days. I’m rebuilding from the ground up so when I was only three minutes into a 15 minute workout and I wanted to quit, I knew I was going the right direction. The best part is that I paired my phone to the sound bar, set the music to the routine, and it walked me through what I needed to do. I watched the five second videos for each exercise so that I knew what to do when they got to it.

Now I have to keep my goal which is to do one of these workouts every other day, working to every day. I’ve started with the shorter routines to build up endurance. As I go I can increase the workouts to longer ones. At the moment I am slightly limited in that I don’t have a good amount of space to do some of them, and I lack equipment; but as I slowly purchase equipment I can explore new workouts. I’m hoping that by next spring my endurance is strong enough to start a running routine in the morning, before the boys wake up. I would love to take a jog through my neighborhood, but right now I can’t make it 100 feet before I’m done in.

It’s baby steps that I hope to stick with. My expectations are high for myself because ultimately I have only myself to blame for how I look and feel right now. I’m not going for a drastic change, I just want to feel as amazing as I did a couple years ago. I did it before, I can do it again.

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