Earlier this year, I read Why Women Need Fat: How “Healthy” Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever by William D. Lassek, M.D. and Steven J. C. Gaulin, Ph.D. The book talks about America's weight problem and suggests that returning to our early 20th century eating habits will help our bodies reset to their natural weights. That means butter and bacon are OK. Corn oil, soybean oil and foods labeled low fat? Not so much. It encourages women to take control by ending the dieting cycle and mindfully eat.
I gave it a shot, working to stop obsessing over what I ate. And for a little while, my weight stayed steady. But then everything started to change and I rapidly put on 15 pounds. By the time my birthday rolled around, I didn't recognize myself — and I didn't like it. In not obsessing, I stayed too far from the healthy diet I should have.
Since then, I joined a gym and started going several times a week. I worked on eating less and being more careful about what passed my lips. And I increased my overall physical activity. A lot. So far, it's working. I've shed about five pounds in the last month and my body looks and feels trimmer again. But it's far from over.
All of this got me wondering: how do trim mamas do it?
Roni Noone of Just Roni, mother of two, had struggled with weight for years. "It was Weight Watchers that finally helped me break the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell, as I call it, but I'm not sure another reputable plan wouldn't have worked just as well," says Noone. "Honestly, what worked for me was accepting myself, my body. I stopped focusing on constantly trying to be thin and started to change my habits."
Noone lost more than 60 pounds and has kept it off over the last four years. Though she no longer counts points, she still keeps a food journal when she needs accountability for what she's eating.
For Noone, the road to health was a slow one that started with her eating habits and progressed to include exercise. "At first I was completely anti-exercise! I decided that I had to lose weight my way or it wasn't going to work, and my way did not include hours at the gym. Instead I focused on my diet and incorporating more activity into my daily life," she says. "After about a year of getting my diet under control and being more active, I started to want to work out. That's when I joined a gym and started running. Now I'm a fitness nut and it still blows my mind!"
These days, Noone works out about six days a week. "Honestly, it's the only thing I do consistently for me. (I'm sure other moms will understand.) I take a BodyPump class twice a week which I love, I try to run at least 30 minutes at twice a week, yoga once a week and I have a friend who is a trainer; we'll work out about once a week too," she says.
Mom of two, Suzanne Riley of Fit Minded Mom says that several of her family members have passed at earlier ages than they should have. So eating well and exercising for her is a must to prolong her life.
She encourages her kids to be active as well. "Fitness is about being active in your everyday life and there are many ways to get your family involved. Riding bikes together, or jogging while the kids ride along side of you, jumping on a trampoline or pushing the kids in a jogging stroller," says Riley.
As for eating, as tempting as mac and cheese is, Riley also encourages healthy eating habits in her kids. "I stock the house with healthy foods for myself and the kids. Most children like healthy food once they adapt to it but so many adults assume they will not like it that they are never given the chance to like it," says Riley.
For both Noone and Riley, mornings are their time for workouts. "I set my alarm early and wake up before [my kids] do but it wasn't always that way. I used to work out in the evening after they went to bed. It comes down to prioritizing and compromising. Things change and you have to be willing to readjust your schedule as they do," says Noone.
Riley wakes about 45 minutes before her children. "Yes, it is hard but this way, I have no excuse to miss my workout. I take this time for myself and I am not rushed or stressed trying to work it into my day while my kids are constantly needing me," says Riley.
"Forgive yourself if you mess up. There is no reason to feel guilty for eating too much or badly on one occasion. Dust yourself off and start over. Every meal and every day is a chance to get it right," says Riley.
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