Tag Archives: weight

Battling the baby bulge (excerpt)

I’m getting close to finishing my first round of edits on my WineCountryMom eBook.  It’s been kind of cool to read through those old entries and see where we’ve traveled from – all the things I struggled through and overcame, and how much the kids have grown since then.  It’s also pretty eye-opening to see the things I struggled with then – and still struggle with now.

Weight issues being one of them.

Granted, I’m not fat.  I’d like to get a little slimmer and a bit more firm, of course.  But we’re only talking 15 pounds, not 150 pounds.  However, I think weight will always be my issue, whether I’m big or small.

The one thing I’ve discovered differently over the years, though, is how important it is to love yourself no matter what size you are.  Our bodies are just our shells.  Whether we’re fat or thin, who we are on the inside doesn’t change.  You can lose all that weight on the outside, and still be that fat girl on the inside.  If you can’t love yourself with a few extra pounds, you won’t magically love yourself when they’re gone.

I’m working on my next article for the newspaper, and think I’ll touch on this. But for now, here’s an excerpted peek into retro WineCountryMom, and one of the chapters of the upcoming blog eBook.

BATTLING THE BABY BULGE

babybulgeI’ve been fighting the baby bulge. No, not the kind that you have when you are newly pregnant and possess a cute little bump that later turns into an adorable basketball on your tiny frame (uh, yeah, unless you’re me and even your ankles get a baby bump). I’m talking about the baby bulge you battle once the baby is already out. To be fair, I did just have a baby (eight years ago), so I can’t claim a Heidi Klum body anymore (stop laughing). But for the past year I have been trying different diets and exercises to lose the weight once and for all. And in one year I have lost (drumroll please)…..

Ten pounds.

Yes, that’s right. Only ten pounds. And do you know why? Because of yo-yo dieting. It’s getting ridiculous. I have pretty much lost and gained the same ten pounds more times that I can keep track of…

End of excerpt. Read the rest in the eBook “Golf Balls, Eight Year Olds & Dual Paned Windows“.

 

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Oh, fat baby.

How did I do it before – the effortless way I lost weight before the wedding, when I actually said out loud that I needed to figure out how to stop the weight loss so that my dress didn’t fall off?

How arrogant of me.

The official tally of weight gained since the day I left for the honeymoon is in. Are you ready for this? 7 pounds. That’s the weight of a newborn. You guys, in less than a month I have gained a child in my thighs and belly. And it’s not a cute widdle baby.

It might be the fact that I am doing more writing than ever this month – not just the novel, but the articles I signed up for this month that have me facing heavy deadlines every week on articles that require more time than I have (which is  a burden, admittedly, I totally love).  It might be the fact that I am getting hardly any sleep, my body clock thinking 3:30am is a perfect time to wake up when I really don’t need to be up until 5am.  It’s probably the fact that my stomach stretched out from a week of overeating, causing me to sit at my desk with a need to put food in my face at all times.

7 pounds.  One month.  Sigh. At this rate I’ll have twins by the New Year.

Thank god it’s bundle up sweater season.

A personal battle with child obesity

One of the lowest points of this past year was when a reader left a comment on my blog, remarking that the Taz had gained a considerable amount of weight. I deleted it as soon as I read it, afraid that he might see it. And then I hemmed and hawed over that comment, whether I should have left it or was right to leave it off.

In the end, it remains deleted, even as I print the words on this blog post.

I mention that deleted comment because weight is a very huge part in our resolutions this year. The Taz is overweight. He knows it. I know it. And it’s been known for a while. It’s something we’ve struggled with all year long. Last January, I mentioned the weight problem and our goals to tackle it. I received a lot of support from other people struggling with weight issues of their own – either with their kid or with themselves. And it really helped to motivate us in our health journey.

But somewhere along the way, we lost track.

Maybe it was busyness, or maybe laziness (or maybe a combination of the two), but I stopped paying close enough attention to what the Taz was eating and how much screen time and play time he was getting. I allowed him to make his own lunches, trusting him to make the right choices in what he was eating. But at 10 years old, willpower can be a very nonexistent thing. A corn muffin and chips sound like a way better lunch than a turkey sandwich and an apple, right? He hadn’t developed healthy habits that were strong enough to be able to make good choices. And yet I was putting the power in his hands.

We were both bound to fail.

What the Taz really needed from me was to take control of the battle for his health. With the New Year fast approaching, I knew I needed a game plan. I was afraid for the Taz’ health, and afraid that he’d be destined towards a life of obesity. Thing is, I didn’t really know where to start. And that’s when I came across the book, Healthy Choices, Healthy Children, by Lori S. Brizee, MS, RD, CSP (a registered dietitian and certified specialist in pediatric nutrition) and Sue Schumann Warner (an award winning journalist and author).

Now don’t get me wrong, I was mailed this book with the hopes that I would do a review on it. And being that faithful book reviewer that I am, I put it aside and almost forgot about it. But in a moment when I was going over a meal plan for the first week of January, I suddenly remembered this book and pulled it out to start reading. What I found were chapters that gave step-by-step instructions on how to turn around bad habits and change them for healthier ones.

The first thing the authors are clear on is having respect for the body. The book comes from a spiritual point of view, but the message is relevant whether the reader is religious or not. We should treat our bodies more kindly, respecting them with healthier food and keeping them active so they can continue to do us good. The authors go on to encourage parents to involve their kids in the shopping and cooking process, teaching them the “hows” of eating. And at the end of each chapter, an action is listed for the week to help continue down a path of healthy decisions.

What I love most about this book is the fact that it is step-by-step instead of all-or-nothing. Each chapter is another rung up the ladder towards instilling good habits in eating and exercise. The guidelines offers small changes that can be made each week – making it the ideal model for busy parents (like me!) to help our families be successful in establishing healthy choices. Real recipes are offered in the book (I’ve actually included a couple on my meal plan for the week), and there are different ideas listed to encourage activities for the whole family. There’s even a chapter on helping picky children (like my veggie-averted son) to eat well.

I’ve found this book to be incredibly useful to help me get the Taz back on a healthier track, and to give me the tools to know how to do it. If you’re interested in checking out the book, Lori S. Brizee will be at the Petaluma Copperfields (140 Kentucky St) on January 28th at 7pm to promote her book, “Healthy Choices, Healthy Children”. I hope you can make it to hear her speak and pick up her book for your own family.

For more info or to purchase this book ($13), visit paracletepress.com.

My Flabby Friends

Mr. W and I decided to tackle our first building project together. We had been at Cost Plus World Market, my favorite candy store for home décor I covet, when we came across a shelving system that doubled as a full length mirror. It was gorgeous, made of dark wood, and swiveled so you could use the shelves on one side to store all your miscellaneous crap and then turn it around to hide it all while you checked out your appearance on the mirror side. For a clutter monger like me, this was a brilliant way to make my mess look chic. So we bought it and brought it home, and successfully tackled the project together without even bickering once (mostly).

I already have a full-length mirror in our bedroom. I bought it years ago for my own apartment, hanging it on my bedroom door. I used it all the time to check every side of my outfit. But since it’s a hanging mirror, it nearly fell down every single time I closed the door. So when I moved in with Mr. W I decided to just lean it against the wall rather than hang it for my daily outfit checks. And since it leaned at an upward angle, it had the magical feature of being incredibly slimming. Naturally, this became my very favorite mirror to check my outfit in. I lost about 10 pounds every single time I did the obligatory butt-check in front of it. But when we bought our new swivel mirror, I passed my cheap version of a full-length mirror on to my daughter and anxiously anticipated the completion of our beautiful dark wood mirror.

When our building project was done, we placed the mirror in the corner of the room right near the sink where we had 3 other mirrors on the wall. This was so I could see every single side of me at once while getting ready – a 4-way mirror if you will. And then we swiveled it towards the room and stood in front of it, Mr. W behind me. Except I couldn’t even see Mr. W. He was hidden behind my hips and thighs that seemed to have gained quite a bit of girth since switching mirrors.

Oh my jeez, where did those come from???

Over the weekend I had felt like the belle of the ball. On Saturday I had attended a 1950’s themed Anniversary Party wearing a dress my grandmother had made and worn in the 50’s. It was cinched at the waist and flared out like a bell at the hips. On Sunday was my sister’s bridal shower and I wore another slimming dress that was white with flowers, loosening at the exact place my pooch began to disguise my figure into something way thinner than reality. But in those two dresses, I felt like I was my teenage self again, pretending my butt was dainty and my body lithe. But here in front of the mirror wearing old sweat pants, a shapeless shirt, and nothing to hold up the droopiness of my mom bags, I was suddenly a very distinct pear. It was like I was seeing my body for the first time ever. And it was worse having my boyfriend totally lost behind the fullness of my hips.

Wanda Sykes went on tour sometime after she and her partner adopted a set of adorable twin babies (The “I’mma Be Me” tour). Becoming a parent, Wanda’s material has become that much funnier as she described the antics of her baby boy and girl, and the words we parents would love to say to our own children before they’re old enough to know what “Go the EFF to Sleep” means (sidenote: Have you seen this book?  Totally brilliant. I think I might buy it for my teenage daughter who has forgotten sleep happens at night, even in the summertime). But I nearly died when she started describing her stomach pooch – giving it the identity of “Esther”. Esther loved bread and alcohol, The Cheesecake Factory, and hated Spanx.

Here’s a clip (caution: a tidbit of bad language):

And in her book Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott described “Butt Mind”,  when she goes on vacation and then obsesses about everyone’s butt in relation to hers. On good vacations she’d see a wide variety of butts where hers fit in somewhere in the middle. But on tropical vacations, there were generally a lot of younger and smaller butts, making her butt feel especially wide. And then there were her dimply, jiggly thighs. Thing is, Anne had grown accustomed to the ol’ gals, tenderly referring to them as “The Aunties”, regarding them like faithful friends. She squeezed the Aunties into her favorite swimsuit and made her way down to the beach without even a cover-up. And she felt beautiful and womanly…until she happened upon a group of slender teenage girls. Worse, they looked at her. Worse than that, they turned to each other and gave a look – the same amused look Anne confessed to giving her own friends once upon a time when they’d happen upon a middle-aged flabby woman in her swimsuit.

But then Anne saw something else – a secret. These young girls in their perfect bodies and sunkissed skin, with butts that were tiny and no thighs to speak of whatsoever – they didn’t view themselves as perfect. And in the look they gave each other as they regarded Anne and the Aunties, there was also an unsurety about their own appearance and what they felt they were lacking.

And Anne was suddenly ok in her body once again, and apologized over and over to the poor Aunties – the very same Aunties who had been regarded as beautiful before the teenagers appeared on the beach.

This morning I stood in front of my 4-way mirror as I got ready. While I put on my make-up, I watched how I looked from the side. When I brushed my teeth, I regarded how parts of me moved even after the toothbrush was placed back in its holder. When I secured my hair in a ponytail, I studied the shape of my arms against my sleeves. And while part of me made promises to firm up the parts of my body that were no longer firm, the other part of me remembered the acceptance I had gained over the years for my body. In my youth I had picked apart every single aspect of a figure that needed no changing. My skin was too pale. Fat existed in invisible pockets. My nose was too big. I had too many freckles. What I hadn’t realized was that I would wish for that body more than anything in my later years. What I gained now, however, was the comfort that still existed in my image even when I sometimes wished it were more perfect. I didn’t mind that my skin wasn’t tan. In fact, it was better that way to help prevent lines in my face, or even the somehow more real danger of skin cancer. My nose no longer feels too long. My face may have grown into it, but it’s more likely that I just got used to it. And the freckles I once hated are now one of my most favorite features of my face.

We all have insecurities. It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or size 22, there are parts of ourselves we wish were different. And at the same time, there are parts of our bodies and features that are stunning. An even bigger truth – all of our parts together equal something totally unique and exotic – different from everyone else in this whole entire world. When we compare our bodies with those of other who are younger, fitter, lighter than we are, we are betraying ourselves. We are putting ourselves up against something we will never live up to. I will never be Heidi Klum, no matter how much I exercise or diet. I won’t even be my gorgeous sister or my fit and toned friend. They are not me. And I am not them. All I can be is me. And I am beautiful, as are YOU.

We owe it to ourselves to celebrate in that.

As for the thighs, butt, and mom pooch? I’m not going to lie, I’m still working on that. It’s not an overnight process. But I think I’ve found the answer. I just need to name them something cute and think of them like friends – dimply, flabby friends – but friends nonetheless.

"ANYONE" can lose the baby weight

According to Gwyneth Paltrow, ANYONE can lose weight after having a baby. Of course, Gwyneth works out 2 hours a day with a personal trainer. And making millions each year, it is pretty much guaranteed that she has a nanny, a housekeeper, and a chef. But still, she claims that even those women without buko bucks and all the perks that come with it can fit into their pre-pregnancy jeans shortly after pregnancy.

“Every woman can make time – every woman – and you can do it with your baby in the room,” she said. “There have been countless times where I’ve worked out with my kids crawling around all over the place. You just make it work, and if it’s important to you, it’ll be important to them.”

Yes, she said EVERY woman. So that means you, mommy who is recovering from a c-section. And yes, that means you, mommy who gained more than the recommended 30 pounds (who of us hasn’t?). And it even means those of you who carried twins, triplets, or octuplets. And you should be working on this even while your children are clamoring for your attention and getting into things while you’re not giving it to them. Even if you can’t find time to take a daily shower, you should be making it your priority to get your pre-baby body back.

So obviously if Gwyneth can do it, we should too. Right?

Weight issues in kids

“Mom, I’ve gained weight,” the Taz told me with a forlorn look on his face after weighing himself on the upstairs scale.

It’s true. Over the past year the Taz has packed on a bit of baby pudge on his once trim body. It probably has to do with the way he helps himself to thirds for every meal. It may have something to do with the obsessive snacking he does in between meals. Maybe it’s his need to sneak some money outside whenever he hears the jangle of the ice cream man riding by on his bike. It’s all of those things, but it’s also the normal weight shift that kids go through around the age of 9 when their bodies slow down for a second in growing before shooting up like a weed. His sister went through the same battle at his age, and only lost the weight this last year when she went through a growth spurt. But she had also helped along the process when she became aware of her own body for the first time, and decided that eating more healthy foods and fewer proportions was a better answer than constant snacking.

The Taz had finally noticed his body, and now wanted to make a change.

Weight issues in kids are a very slippery slope. You want your child to be fit, trim, and healthy. But you don’t want them so obsessed with their body that they develop self esteem issues or an unhealthy relationship with food that goes from love to hate. Somehow, as parents, we must help our kids to be healthy, but not give them impulses to starve themselves (which later turns to more bingeing, which then turns into more weight gain) to “fit in”.

“Am I fat?” the Taz asked me. I wasn’t sure what to say in that moment. I had seen kids that had packed on an enormous amount of weight, and the Taz didn’t resemble these kids at all. But he had definitely changed in the past year where his stomach didn’t quite fit into the pants that fit his length. DQ stepped in before I could even say anything.

“You’re not fat. In fact, I was larger than you at your age. You’ll lose the weight just like me once you get taller, you’ll see.” Sometimes I love my daughter more than words can describe.

“You will lose it naturally,” I continued. “But the thing is, DQ changed her body not just by growing, but by changing the way she eats. She started eating healthier. Would you like to do the same?” I asked him. He nodded his head. Together we talked about a game plan for the next several months. I told him that I wouldn’t make him eat anything he didn’t like, and he wouldn’t have to give up many of his favorite foods. But he would not be eating seconds at any meal. He would also have to give up snacking in between meals. We decided on a couple of good breakfasts I could prepare for him every day so that he’d avoid cereal for awhile (no nutritional value, and definitely not filling). I promised to make him oatmeal or eggs and toast every day. I also made sure to stock up on turkey for his sandwiches so that he didn’t have to eat peanut butter and jelly (you’d be shocked at how many empty calories exists in this sandwich!).

“Does that mean I’ll never be able to eat dessert?” he asked, a worried look on his face.

“Of course you can have dessert, but it’s going to be more of a once in a while treat rather than an every day occurrence. And dessert can be a piece of fruit or a fruit smoothie a lot of times.”

“What if one of the parents brings cupcakes to the baseball game?” he asked.

“Then you can eat it,” I told him. “That’s a once in a while treat.”

“And what about fast food?” he asked me. “A lot of times when I go to my dad’s, that’s what we have for dinner.” I gave him a list of things he could eat off the menu without going overboard, like two soft tacos or one bean burrito or one hamburger.

When my parents heard about the Taz’s new healthy eating plan, they wanted to get in on helping him out as well. They recently joined Weight Watchers, and my mom had a whole box of fun recipes that hardly seemed like diet foods. She gave me a recipe for a Ricotta Smoothie, a filling breakfast that both the kids agreed was delicious (recipe at end). And I talked to the Taz’s dad who also agreed that he would be making a conscious effort to make more dinners and to help the Taz with portion control.

After a busy weekend of baseball and playing at his dad’s house, the Taz came back to me all smiles.

“Look Mom! I think I’m getting trimmer!” and he lifted his shirt to show his belly to me. It had only been a couple days, but it did look like he had slimmed up a tiny bit.

“Great job, Taz!” I told him. “Just you wait, you’re going to see a difference in no time if you keep up eating healthy.”

Recipe and meal plan of attack:

RICOTTA SMOOTHIE RECIPE (123 total calories)

½ cup Orange Juice (55 calories)
¼ cup Skim Milk (23 calories)
½ tsp Vanilla
¼ cup Non-fat Ricotta Cheese (45 calories)
1 packet sweetener

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until mixed.

Fruit can be added (though that changes the calorie count), like a banana, strawberries, or a mango, etc. I also fix him one egg and a piece of toast to go with it so that he gets a nice full breakfast to get him through the first part of the day. For lunch he gets one sandwich, a Roaring Waters Capri-Sun, a piece of fruit, and a snack (like crackers with peanut butter or cheese). After school he gets a snack like a banana or a quesadilla. And dinner is a normal sized plate of food that consists of a protein, a grain, and a vegetable with a glass of milk. No seconds allowed.

Week one has been successful. I’m very proud of my boy!

Is your child struggling with weight? What about body image issues? How have you encouraged healthy eating and exercise for weight loss without hurting their self esteem? And if you are a naturally active and slim family, what kinds of things does your family do to keep healthy?