Posts Tagged ‘ exercise ’

Why Exercise Is Not Shaping Up For Me

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

This year I decided to make some New Year’s resolutions I could keep. It included running and yoga a few times a week. On the second week, my resolutions went out the window due to an epic 5 days of illness by my petri dish children. But I decided I wasn’t going to give up. I got back on track and, because I’m a person of extremes, (probably one gene away from being manic like my late mother), I signed up for Bikram yoga.

Bikram is yoga in a 105-degree carpeted room (gross) with 31 other near-naked adults (gross again), where you hold eagle and 25 other poses for a minute. I did Bikram in my pre-kid life and decided maybe it was the fastest way to get limber and in shape again, despite the cult-like feel. The real selling point was the fact that it was across from Emmett’s preschool and it is an hour-long class (as opposed to 90 minutes, which is typical) that ends right at pick-up time.  I could leave just before the final part of the class: the odd guttural breathing that Bikram addicts swear by. Picture a raccoon in heat. With rabies. That’s what it sounds like.

“Just be sure and do the breathing in your car so you get all the benefits of your Bikram,” said the overly chirpy but hard-core instructor. Yep, got it. Not happening.

I took my first class there and I’ve never heard someone rattle on like this woman. Seems like each particular pose “cures cancer, releases toxins, drains glands, prevents arthritis, helps anxiety, alleviates depression, helps insomnia and cures chronic pain.”  This, despite making me feel the opposite. The place smells like a typical Bikram studio of old sweat and super bugs. They claim their carpet is anti-microbial but I know I’m getting MRSA/a staph infection. However, I’m soldiering on because I bought a $45 unlimited pass for the month and I want to get my money’s worth.

Having said that, I don’t think it does much for my stomach muscles, even though it supposedly does “everything.” Here’s the problem with my belly: Most women have boobs that protrude further out than their stomach. When their shirts hang down, they hang from the furthest point out on the boob. I’ve never had big boobs, but since having kids, mine have gone inward. Concave. So instead my shirts going out and over my stomach, my stomach sticks out further than my boobs, making the shirt cling and me look like a tree trunk that cross-pollinated with a pear. Phil and my brother both tell me it’s my posture that makes my stomach stick out–and that’s partially true too. I decided I should try mat-based Pilates for posture and core strength. It goes along with yoga, right?

I showed up to an environment that was so sterile and quiet I almost missed the chirping Bikram instructor. It felt devoid of fun. Even the cult-like Bikram people have a sort of vibe that does give you some energy. Not this. We began class at 9:05 sharp. A bit later I looked at the clock, hoping we were halfway done. It was only 9:12. Time was standing more still than it does when I’m playing make believe with my kids. We used a round Pilates gadget that is supposed to help with your workout. Kind of like a tension band. Or a freestyle guillotine. I didn’t jive with this object and it didn’t jive with me. It kept falling over my head and onto my shoulders. In the stillness of the others, I sensed I was making a scene. I wanted to leave, but there were only 3 of us. Given my dirt obsession, the only thing I excelled at was cleaning the mat at the end. (Yesterday I went around the house with a razor blade and goo-gone and scraped/cleaned every drawer handle and doorknob. Time for hypnotherapy again.)

Running has always been my go-to. I haven’t gotten totally back into it since my marathon days, but it almost always clears my mind. I get grounded when I feel my feet hit the pavement rhythmically. I don’t have to rely on anyone but myself. And therein lies the problem with my latest run. We took the kids to Fia’s soccer lesson on Sunday in Griffith Park. I decided to go for a run while Phil watched Emmett. I told him I’d be back in 25 minutes. I got lost and ended up at the Los Angeles Zoo–which doesn’t tell you much if you’re not from here. But suffice it to say, my 2.5 mile run turned into 5. When I realized I had missed my turn on the path leading back, I debated cutting through the golf course that separated me from my route. But when I saw the lone coyote roaming around, I figured I risked getting rabies and/or hit by a golf ball. I stuck to the path until it wound me around to the zoo, then headed back to soccer. I showed up dirty and starving.

“I spaced out and missed my turn,” I said, panting to Phil.

“I figured something like that happened,” he replied unfazed. The dude knows me.

We took the kids to the merry-go-round (right next to the soccer field) where I ate a pound of nachos with fake cheese and slurped down a diet Coke. We drove home where I collapsed in bed for 2 hours. Phil just shook his head.

I’m not sure what is happening but my “easy and attainable” New Year’s resolutions are not turning out as I expected. Not sure where to go from here…

 

Exercise equipment via Shutterstock

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Do Vacations Equal Diet Disaster?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, shares her saga to lose the “baby weight” and reunite with her formerly slender self.

Before my husband and I had our daughter we used to travel a lot. Together we’ve been to 40 countries, give or take.

But as all parents discover, a baby changes the landscape. A simple walk in the park requires advanced planning. An overnight trip becomes a complex operation involving the repositioning of about 500 pounds of crap.

At some point you come to realize that “vacations” equal torture. There’s nothing relaxing or adventurous about them. A vacation with a little one is nothing more than an exercise of endurance. Consequently, we haven’t hazarded a real vacation in two-and-a-half years.

Then, last month my husband surprised me with a two-week trip to Ecuador. You’d think I would have been thrilled, right?

You’d be wrong. My first thought was “ah crap, there goes my diet.” I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the reaction my husband was hoping for.

Here’s the deal. I spent the last two-and-a-half years being 25 pounds overweight. Last fall I finally got sick of my fat ass and decided to get serious about losing weight.

Two-and-a-half months later I hit my goal weight. I lost the entire 25 pounds.

I still can’t believe it. I keep expecting to step on the scale only to find I’ve gained it all back. Like, in one day. Or on a 2-week vacation.

I’m happy to say that didn’t happen. After we returned from Ecuador I was afraid to step on the scale. I avoided it for days. When I finally mustered the courage I found I hadn’t gained a single pound. Truly, I was in shock. Apparently, vacations do not mean certain diet disaster.

Laziness, however, does. Since we returned home two weeks ago I’ve been more than a little lazy. I can’t remember the last time I worked out and, big fat surprise, I’ve actually gained a couple of pounds.

So, starting immediately, I’m back on the wagon. I’m going to lose the lazy weight and then, if all goes well, maybe a few more pounds. I have a pile of skinny girl pants I’m determined to fit into again (even if I never actually wear them). I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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10 Things I’m Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, shares her saga to lose the “baby weight” and reunite with her formerly slender self.

There can’t be much worse for my diet than a holiday synonymous with gluttonous overeating. I could spend today chewing over the setback tomorrow could bring. Or I could focus on what I have to be thankful for about my weight loss plan. I chose the latter.

10. I’m thankful I had only 25 pounds to lose. That is, as opposed to 30, 40, 50 or more.

9. I’m thankful for my husband, most days. When I told my husband I wanted to lose 25 pounds he said all the right things. It’s just that, well, he kept talking. For some reason he felt compelled to point out how hard it was going to be to stick to my plan through the holidays. I could have punched him. When I started back in September the holidays weren’t on my radar.

8. I’m thankful for crappy Halloween candy. Halloween could have been a nightmare but for the fact that I waited until the last hour to buy candy. You know, when the selection was crap. Forget doling it out a piece at a time. We gave it away by the fistfuls. Every last piece. There was no bucketful of leftovers to tempt me through New Year’s.

7. I’m thankful I started my diet when I did. Come January 2nd, when the gym is packed with walking New Year’s Resolutions, I’ll be just one week away from my goal weight.

6. I’m thankful for Lose It! It’s an app. It’s free. And I’m here to tell you it is gold money. I’ve already lost 15 pounds.

5. I’m thankful I’ve already lost 15 pounds. I figured that was worth repeating. It’s like a whole turkey.

4. I’m thankful for tofu, but not tofurky. My brother-in-law is so worried I’ll be serving tofurky tomorrow he’s planning to bring his own bird. As a quasi-vegetarian I enjoy a soggy block of tofu as much as the next guy but tofurky just doesn’t cut the mustard.

3. I’m thankful I don’t own elastic waistband pants. If ever there was a day to be thankful for the elastic waistband, surely it is Thanksgiving. But I’m thankful that even in my darkest, fattest hour, I never succumbed to this fashion catastrophe.

2. I’m thankful I won’t be serving muffin tops with Thanksgiving dinner. I can probably speak for everyone at our table on this one. Having pants that fit is definitely something to be thankful for.

1. I’m thankful for my baby, despite the baby weight. There’s no amount of weight to be gained or lost that could change how thankful I am for my sweet little girl. She’s worth every last ounce, and then some.

Diet-wise, that just about rounds out the holiday for me. If you’re also dieting through the holidays, let me know what you’re thankful for. And if you have any tips to get through tomorrow I’d like to hear those too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Why I’m Sick Of Being Fat

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Hey guys! Jill here. I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine who is going to be blogging for me every other week. I’m so excited for her to share her funny stories and sagas. She has an incredibly interesting life that you’ll get to know over time. But right now, she is working on losing the baby weight and is looking for suggestions. Here’s…Cynthia!

Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, shares her saga to lose the “baby weight” and reunite with her formerly slender self.

If my friend Jill can blog about her embarrassing pregnancy problem, taking antidepressants while pregnant, losing her mom and her rather gruesome labor story, then surely I can be candid too. So here’s my confession:

My ass is fat.

Okay, so it’s not quite on par with Jill’s divulgences. It’s hardly private; anyone can see I have a fat ass. But still, it’s hard to admit.

After my daughter was born people would tell me how good I looked for just having had a baby. Truth be told, they were right. I didn’t gain a ton during my pregnancy and I’m tall (5’8”) so the extra pounds were easy to hide. In maternity clothes.

Unfortunately, I’m past the point where it’s socially acceptable to wear maternity clothes. For one thing, I’m not pregnant and for another, my baby turned two in July.

That leaves me with exactly two things in my closet I can squeeze my fat ass into. Both are post-pregnancy purchases. Both are pretty worn. And both are getting tighter by the day. Therein lies the rub:

I refuse to buy any more fat clothes. I am not that person. Besides, I have a closet full of beautiful clothes. They just don’t fit. Too bad they’ll be hopelessly out of fashion when my fat no longer bulges the buttons and strains the seams. But that’s a problem for another day.

Right now I’m sick of using my daughter as an excuse for not exercising, I’m sick of looking like a dumpy hausfrau and I’m sick of having a closet full of clothes I can’t wear. Bottom line: I’m sick of being fat.

Just how fat are we talking? Here’s a visual: I’m about two 10-pound bags of sugar, one 4-pound bag plus another 1-pound box of sugar over my goal weight. In case you weren’t adding, that’s 25 pounds. On my ass. Sugar buns, it is not.

I may not have the brass pair that Jill has but there it is. My ass is fat and I’m sick of it, but I have a plan. (A butt plan, if you will.) One pound per week for 25 weeks, sooner if all goes well. If Jill will indulge me, I’ll check in with updates on my progress. And when it’s all said and done, I’ll even let you know how I did it.

In the meantime, I want to hear from you if you’ve ever used your child as an excuse for being fat!

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Are Working Moms Making Their Kids Fat?

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I often joke that I’m the busiest unemployed person I know. Between a 2 1/2 year old, an 8-month old, and my pretend career, I have zero time. And I have a full-time nanny (Cleo) and a cleaning lady.

So it came as a huge surprise to me that a new study shows that working moms spend a whopping 3 1/2 hours less on their kids’ meals and exercise regimes than stay-at home-moms (SAHM).

First of all, that’s it? I would think it would be much more, considering that I can barely find time to work out or put a proper dinner on the table. Cleo helps us with meals and between all of us, my husband included, we manage. (The study also said husbands don’t pick up the slack.  Mine does in many ways, though meals are expected to come from me. And I do the best I can.)

Sidenote: Phil did ask one day why Fia was eating so many chicken nuggets:

Me: “Because lately I haven’t had the have time to make good meals.”

Him: “We can’t become those people who only feed her one type of food.”

Me: “Then help me come up with a menu for the week for all of us.”

Him: (Shrug shoulders. Subject dropped.)

Me: (Looked at a cookbook–Ellie Krieger–that night and came up with meal plan.)

Him: (Meetings at night the rest of the week.)

Me: (Didn’t waste time making a meal for myself. Fia and I just winged it, which probably included chicken nuggets for both of us.)

Conclusion: Neither of us became obese.

I bring up obesity because the study actually states that the lack of parental involvement in a child’s diet is linked to obesity, regardless of socio-economic status. Huh?

The study was done by Cornell University and is in the current online issue of the journal of Economics and Human Biology.  In it, the authors say “…the findings are consistent across socio-economic lines measured by the mothers’ education, family income, race and ethnicity.”

This makes no sense. It has been reported time and time again that obesity in children is directly linked to socio-economic factors. The poorer people in this country have children with higher obesity rates. Doesn’t mean we all can’t stand to get fit and healthy, but the generalization towards working moms just irks me. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative is all about changing our lifestyle through education. We need to educate everyone: Caregivers, schools, parents, etc., on proper nutrition and exercise. An excerpt from the First Lady’s site states:

The threat of childhood obesity to the health of our children and the health of our nation has never been greater. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is obese or overweight. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese.

To now link this obesity issue to working moms is preposterous, in my opinion. As if us moms don’t have pressure enough already.  Now working moms have to feel guilty for making their children fat? Please. Everyone read my post on The Failure Hour. I now have another reason to celebrate my inadequacy as a parent.

Fia, Your Mom Pretends to Work. Therefore, You Might Get Fat. Sorry, Baby!

I’m not a scientist, nor do I understand all the research a study like this undertakes. I won’t bash the authors because they are just reporting their findings, but how many reports and studies do we need to tell us how to “be” a proper mom? How many millions of dollars do we need to spend researching pure logic? As my fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott says in High-Chair Times:

“Instead of fanning the flames of the mommy wars by comparing working moms to nonworking moms, why don’t these researchers redirect their efforts to curing cancer?”

Amen, sister.

My good friend Hulda, who just moved to LA from Iceland, is here with me while I write this. She is a PhD professor. She actually pulled the study for me and read it (bless her). She finds the hoopla this study is causing just plan silly (and some of the data a little questionable).

“In Iceland, 96% of moms work. It is just the norm,” she told me. “Almost all kids are in daycare from a young age.”

I’ve been to their country. It’s an amazing place. Theirs is a culture with an incredibly high standard of living. Their kids become productive citizens. Their babies aren’t missing out because the moms are working. Oh, and by the way, their obesity rates don’t come close to ours, though they are rising. But I’m guessing it’s not because the moms work (which has been the norm for decades there). I would bet a Big Mac that it’s because our American companies have saturated their market with all our crap. Soda, fast food, you name it. Those entities are the real enemy. Corporate greed at any and all cost.

At least New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg gets it. His soda ban (any sugary beverage over 16 ounces is O-U-T) passed this week. I believe it’s his most brilliant move to date. But I’m getting off track.

This whole argument becomes so circular. If you spend a couple hours less per day with your toddler, then we have to assume he/she is in daycare or with a nanny. Therefore, 2 of their 3 meals are taking place without you. So really it’s the daycare or nanny who is feeding your kid crap. Which I doubt is the constant in all this. But if it is, fix it. This isn’t rocket science.

Any child over 5 is in school full-time whether the mom works or not. So when they get out of school at 3 pm, make sure they don’t have a house full of Doritos to come home to. (The study says that unsupervised children are more likely to eat poorly. Wow, that’s a shocker.)

Come on people, this is basic stuff. Whether you stay at home or work, just love your child, feed them nutritious meals, have whomever is watching them feed nutritious meals, have them exercise with or without you, and instill the importance of healthy living.

Then, at the end of the day, plop down on your couch with your favorite glass of wine (red is better for you), and give yourself credit for making it through another day as a mom who is simply doing the best she can.

 

Photo of fat kid courtesy of Shutterstock

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