How I burned off 40 pounds

09/04/2012 at 10:04 am | Posted in weight loss | 5 Comments
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{Squeezing Sophie after a workout. She doesn’t mind if mama stinks.}

Did you think I’d gone missing? Sorry about that. I lost my blogging mojo for a few days. And I also decided to interpret Labor Day weekend as “be lazy weekend.” I needed it. Hope you understand.

Sooooo … back to the weight loss series. Today’s topic? Exercise. Which used to be a four-letter word in my mind. But now I love it. Truly. If I’ve gone a few days without moving my body, I find myself itching to do something … walk, run, dance, anything.

I grew up playing team sports — swimming, basketball, water polo — and loved every minute of it. Those practices, matches and games hardly felt like exercise because they were so much fun. I formed lasting friendships, stayed in shape and got to travel. Most days, it didn’t feel like work. Except for those wind-sprint punishment basketball practices. Or swim-a-mile-before-water-polo-practice-even-begins. But even then, one of my teammates was sure to get us cracking up. Put a bunch of girls together and silliness just happens.

Once I graduated college and got out into the world, I lost the motivation to exercise. Jogging alone just wasn’t fun. Swimming laps was boring. And don’t even get me started on the gym. I am definitely not a gym rat.

So I gained weight and my body changed and then I had babies, and well, the rest is history.

It took a concerted effort for me to decide in the middle of this past winter to do something physical to get my body back. I started small. When Lily was in dance class on Saturday mornings, I’d bundle up and power-walk the hills around her studio. While the girls napped, I dusted off an old aerobic step and worked out in front of the TV. To mix it up, I would climb the stairs in our house while they slept. Up and down. Up and down. I know this sounds incredibly tedious, but as a mother, I’ve come to REALLY enjoy time alone. I don’t need the social motivation to exercise any more. Thirty minutes to myself, no matter what I’m doing, is divine.

So I walked. And then I signed up for the Cooper River Bridge Run. And that motivated me to try jogging. I ran until it hurt too much, then I walked some more. My favorite workout now is a walk/run. I pace myself with the songs on my iPhone. Walk two, run three. Or on other days, it can be walk four, run one.

I also focus on strength-training a couple of days a week, in the form of sit-ups, push-ups and some work with weights (to get rid of that under-arm waddle). I read somewhere that building your core is really what sustains your metabolism. Plus, I’ve also noticed that my back stopped hurting and I generally feel stronger. Perhaps I should add lifting a 25-pound baby to the list of core exercises? Hmmm.

The bottom line is I don’t set hard rules for myself. I make goals, but mostly, I just follow my body’s lead.

And it works.

I try to exercise three days a week, but lately with the heat of summer and lack of routine, I’m lucky to squeeze in two workouts. I can feel it, though. I need to get moving again. My body craves it.

I’m hoping to take better advantage of my lunch hour when the weather cools off. I work on a beautiful university campus with lots of great paths just begging to be walked. And once the DVR fills back up with fall shows, I’ll be better about naptime stepping (sans hot pink leotard and 80s aerobic video hair).

What are your favorite workouts? Have you tried any of those new-fangled workout DVDs (that frighten me)? Any tips on indoor naptime workouts?



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  1. I love going through Netflix instant to see what kinds of workout videos they have. Since I work from home, I usually use my lunch breaks to work out. I have been SO LAX about both exercising and eating in the last year and have really felt it all over. Your entire series has really inspired me!

    • Thanks, Laura! It’s hard to use lunch breaks when all I want to do is eat and relax. I’m hoping that cooler weather will entice me outside during lunch. πŸ™‚

  2. Hooray! I have P90x in digital form if you are interested. I find incorporating the kids with exercise is challenging but helps promote healthy living. So proud of you πŸ™‚

    • Yes! Thanks! Been reading about P90x. Very curious. Can’t wait to see you SOON!

  3. I used to be a dancer, and I never did any team sports or things that required running, or balls, or anything other than ballet (with the occasional modern/jazz thrown in). It’s really, REALLY hard for me to motivate myself to go to the gym. I just get bored — I need someone yelling at me, or telling me what to do every step of the way, so I don’t get off track.

    I’ve been taking an adult ballet class for the last couple of years that I love, and I recently started The Dailey Method (overpriced, but I think it’s working). I’ve been thinking about doing some stuff at home too — I’ll have to look into some affordable at-home options! I want to feel stronger, and less like a weakling. πŸ™‚

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