Remember Jane Fonda's grapevine move? You know the one, in her home VHR aerobics videos series! That my friends was the extent of my 80's work out program. I would get up at 5am before high school, and work out in my parents living room. The real gym days came after grade 12 graduation on a regular bases, and in general fitness was a reasonably consistent thing in my life, I used to be fit... up until KIDS exited my body!
It's still a mystery to me how women can gain double-digit pounds with pregnancy and lose it, mine was over 45lbs with both pregnancies...let me remind you I'm only 5' 1" tall, so basically I looked like a fucking meatball. Think kankles (that's when your ankles meld into your calves). Rough time. I can't believe I lost that weight, but I did. Slowly. Without working out for the most part.
I would never regret having my children, they're amazing, my life is better with them in it! Hands down, but when kids are little and your a stay at home mom or work from home mom, YOU are literally the last thing on the list. I mean the organics compost disposal come before your needs, so rotting food is more important than you at this phase of your life. I call it "being in the weeds".
From the age of 30 up till about 40, I remember days going by before I got a shower, trading in whatever few moments I could get to myself to clean something or put something away. There were a few years there that I would work on my business until 3am every night because I didn't have time during the day. Even when I had real time, I just wanted to sleep, period. The thought of going to the gym felt like I had sacks of potatoes attached to my shoulders and thighs. Family always came before me and my body. And seriously tho, a bag of chips and bad tv sounded so much better then running.
Yes, there were times where I would take off ten pounds from eating right etc. but to be honest, regular exercise was like the dentist appointment, once a year and sometimes unwanted! Here's the reality, the way your treating yourself eventually becomes a habit because we're humans and that's what we do...we form habits of things we do over and over again. So after both of my kids were in school, I still carried on those habits of putting myself last!
My 40th birthday came and went and these past few years have been an eye-opener because I feel like my normal behavioural age is about 30. I like to think I'm still pretty youthful? Well, I sure behave inappropriately to prove that theory! So when my body started saying FUCK you I was entirely in shock. Things were beginning to break down a little and start to hurt more everyday. How is this happening? I'm 30 inside!! Well dumbass, when you put yourself last for years, this IS what HAPPENS and guess what, your MIDDLE AGED! Oh God, even writing that makes me want to day drink . And yet still no fitness came from these new discoveries of feeling like a fucking 80 year old!
Last year our cabin neighbour Linda (known as "Coach Linda", no really, she's actually a life coach, and she's really great at it). She caught us all in a drunk new years eve party moment and had us commit to doing Tough Mudder as a team. Life changed for me that January as the reality of an obstacle course was coming in a few short months and my body wasn't ready. Little did I know that this moment would be my TSN turning point.
So the journey began of getting into some form of fitness. I started to "work out" from home, nothing crazy tho and I would start to meet up with friends to catch up while hiking or walking instead of sitting and eating or drinking. The event came and went, with no permanent injuries, thank god, and what stayed was the workouts. Once I started to see a leg muscle which hadn't seen since 2005, I'm talking about witness protection program kind of hiding, I was sold on fitness again.
So many things have changed for me is this past year, mostly habits have changed. Before I start, I have to say that for me if it's not easy or doesn't work with my life, I won't stick with it. That is just who I am.
I now sleep a min of 7 hours on average a night. This makes me a better human, less reactive and it allows my body to heal. I've only had one mild cold this year, and I believe it's partly from getting more sleep in.
I do the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, (usually Monday through Friday) I eat really well or as they say I eat clean. Then 20% of the time I eat as I wish... generally on the weekends. Also, I'm a pescatarian, that someone who eats fish but no meat. I also really try not to eat after 7pm as well. BTW-this is s game changer for weight maintenance.
On Mondays I weigh myself. I know people hate the scale, but for me, it's a quick check-in. I hop on it Monday, see what damage I might have done over the weekend and adjust. I have a range on the scale that I stay within, or that is my ZONE. Usually a 5lb span.
I have a YMCA membership (again), and I go Tuesday through Friday right after school drop off in the morning. I have a knee issue, but I love to run, so I do interval running- one min walk, one minute run...increasing my speed by five MPR every running minute. 20 minutes later I'm done. Then it's weights, each day is either upper body or lower body and abs are twice a week.
That's it. I work hard while I'm there. I allow myself that first hour and fifteen minutes of my morning to me, to my body, to say FUCKING THANK YOU and I love you. Your 43 years old, thank you for holding my drunk ass up, and keeping me going!
I've starting stopping! Sounds weird right, but what I mean is I've stopped needing to get it all done all the time! I'm allowing myself to do things I enjoy again, I've given myself permission to fall in love with things outside of my children and their activities. So I started to read books again, take up watercolour, and even go on bike rides with friends during the day.
So for the first time in a long time, this is a habit, a REALLY GOOD habit I've taken on! This is my new normal. I don't start work till 9:30 am and that's OK, no business is lost, no people died while I was working out! I feel healthy, and I can breathe deeply with no strain. I can now put on shorts, tank tops and a bathing suit and not even think for a moment how I look because I FEEL GOOD and that's what matters. I can walk from a hotel room to the ocean in JUST my bathing suit, I swear that hasn't happened since I was a kid. I don't want to be 20 anymore, but I want to be a healthy, and fit 43 year old! I now walk with a kind of old lady swagger, it's a wiggle and a jiggle that has cellulite and wrinkles because I'm still middle-aged (insert a BIG swig of gin!) but one of a woman who finally gets to put herself first again.
To all those young mammas out there "living in the weeds", don't wait years like I did, break the habit and take a moment here and there for yourself. Remember, you too will finally be able to put yourself first again, and when you get that chance, take it!
Click here to see the Tough Mudder Blog post