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new year resolutions ’
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
“Lose weight. Get fit. Do a triathlon.”
Those were among my new year’s resolutions last year, and for once, I accomplished them.
In hindsight, my goals for 2012 seem preposterous. I’d just given birth to my third child three months earlier. I was weary from sleep deprivation, carpooling duties, homework, laundry, slapping together meals, freelance work, and postpartum hormones. I didn’t have a lot of “baby weight” to lose, because I hadn’t gained much. It didn’t matter, though: I went into my third pregnancy already vastly overweight. I remember stepping on my ob-gyn’s scale that first visit after I learned I was pregnant again: I weighed 198 pounds. By the time I was ready to deliver, I weighed in at 220.
Through the miracles of birth and breastfeeding, by the time the new year rolled around (so to speak), I weighed 185 pounds, heavy by any definition but especially large on my 5’4″ frame. I posted only pictures of my kids on Facebook, and retreated from public view like Greta Garbo, if Garbo had been a puffy-faced mom and not a movie star.
After the new year, something clicked. I’d been committed to losing weight before, but as corny as it sounds, this time I had a mantra in mind, “This is your year,” and I just believed it. When I got roughly 30 pounds down, people really started to notice the change. Their kind words–and the thrill of clothes shopping–encouraged me to keep going, until I’d lost a total of 80 pounds: 45 of those through my own work and 35 due to delivery and nursing (thank you, my baby girl Fiona!). And just shy of my baby’s first birthday, I completed my first sprint triathlon.
People sometimes ask me how I lost weight and now seems like a good time to look back, as a handful of those pounds crept back on over the holidays and like a few of us here at Parents and well, everywhere, I’m on a kick again, getting up before dawn to exercise and deleting emails about free brownies in the office kitchen as fast as I can. (Trade secret: There is always free food when you work at a magazine!)
Here’s how I did it:
I gave myself infinite time to lose weight. There would be no crash diets or crazy schemes I couldn’t stick with for a long time. I needed a sensible approach with flexibility. For me that plan was Weight Watchers. I did it online.
I shook off setbacks. Sometimes, I ate more than I’d planned. There were weeks I’d lost only a half-pound, or nothing. I remembered my goal, and kept going.
I didn’t exercise right away. My past attempts at doing it all at once–dieting and hitting the gym–left me discouraged, and hungry. I focused exclusively on my food intake for a good six weeks, before I started feeling a little lighter, and felt encouraged to get moving. I walked my kids to school, and started jogging home with Fiona, just a few yards at a time at first, until I was running a mile, and then another, around the neighborhood.
But I did set a big fitness goal. That was a triathlon. I hadn’t laced up a pair of running shoes in years. I didn’t own a bike. But I had months to train. Think about it: What can’t you accomplish with months to prepare? I seized opportunities to exercise: If my husband met us in the evening at our outdoor community pool, he handled the kids while I swam laps. Sometimes I didn’t get to the gym until after 9pm, but I never regretted peeling myself off the couch to go.
I surrounded myself with crazy people. When you have a vision of yourself in mind–for me, it was “athlete”–it’s not the time to listen to skeptics wonder aloud how you’re going to fit in exercise between your baby/kids/commute/job. I hooked up with an awesome training group of crazy-in-a-good-way local women called the Triwomen. Why crazy? They believe anyone–that includes you–can do a triathlon. I met a 65-year-old who learned to swim just so she could compete in her first tri. Talk about inspiring!
I bought a bikini! I’d like to say I got fit for my health, and for my three kids. That’s true. But my happiest moment, second only to finishing the triathlon, arrived in the form of a Nike two-piece I bought for our beach vacation last summer. My body’s far from perfect, but in my new midnight-blue bikini I felt…good. I felt free playing in the ocean with my kids and husband, and boogie boarding to shore beside my son. I was healthy, happy, and for once, completely unselfconscious about how I looked. That tremendous high is motivation enough to keep me on track this coming year.
In 2013, I plan to run a half-marathon, another reach, considering I hadn’t run more than 4 miles at a stretch in all of 2012. But with the help of (crazy) committed friends, time, and training, I know I’ll get there.
Good luck with your goals, whatever they may be. This is your year!
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Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
Editor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.
New Year’s resolutions are a nice concept but risky business – if we don’t live up to those bold promises we feel like failures. For parents, this can be particularly tough, as we often make resolutions not only for ourselves but for our families, and this magnifies the chances of falling short and feeling guilty (We should have tried harder, done more).
For this New Year, I propose that parents avoid resolutions entirely and, instead, grant themselves absolutions. Absolutions are acts of forgiveness, amnesty from shortcomings real or imagined. The following New Year’s Absolutions are conditional upon your making one simple resolution – that you will always try to be the best parent you can. If you fulfill this resolution, you may hereby grant yourself absolution from any guilt associated with these inevitable situations in the coming year:
- Missing an occasional soccer game, dance rehearsal, karate match, or piano recital (no matter how hard you try to be at every one).
- Missing a PTA meeting or two, or failing to volunteer for the big school fund-raiser (how could they not have checked your calendar before scheduling?).
- Coming up short of a culinary masterpiece for dinner some nights (or maybe most nights!).
- Feeding your kids Pop-Tarts for breakfast in the car on the way to school on those rare chaotic mornings. (Rare?!)
- Allowing unavoidable work to occasionally interfere with family time.
- Letting some weekends slip away without accomplishing any of the planned family activities.
- Sneaking off to a far corner of the house to scream when your kids have pushed you to the limit.
- Caving in to your kids’ requests for more TV or video game time than you prefer, so you can have a little peace and quiet.
- Letting your mind wander to the dishes in the sink or the lawn that needs mowing when your kids are telling you the most important thing about their day.
- Catching yourself saying the same dreadful things to your kids that your parents said to you: “Because I said so” or “You’ll understand when you grow up.”
- Falling asleep before your kids during their bedtime story.
- Letting your kids out of the car in the school drop-off line before their hair is brushed (and is that the same shirt they wore yesterday?).
- Receiving a call from your child’s teacher telling you that your kid taped a classmate’s legs to the chair during arts and crafts.
- Doing more of your kids’ homework than you know you should, just to get it done and get them to bed.
- Believing that other parents are always doing a better job at everything than you are.
So this New Year, lose the guilt. Give yourself a break and be realistic about parenting; you’re doing a great job, most of the time. And, even when you wish you could do better, be wiser, and show more patience, that consciousness about your parenting proves your love and commitment to your kids. It is this love and commitment that will become your legacy as parents, for this New Year and beyond. Happy and healthy 2013 to all!
Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).
Image: Multicolored balloons and confetti via Shutterstock
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Monday, January 3rd, 2011
Congratulations to the parents whose babies were born on January 1, 2011! The Executive Editor of Parents.com, Michael Kress, welcomed his own newborn daughter on an unforgettable date of the year. Read his recent post on anticipating his second child.
Our readers also took to Facebook (facebook/parentsmagazine) to share stories about welcoming bundles of joy (their own and their friends). Read the stories below:
My son is the first one to be born at the Northeast Baptism Hospital in San Antonio. He was born at 2:50 pm. – Brenda Ortegon de Oblitas
My son, Tyson Kruz, at 5:42pm! – Samantha Cox-Filtingberger
Victor was born at 6:27 am. He was the first baby born in Lawton, OK. – Allison Dirks Derrick
A friend had her son at exactly 12 am! So amazing and a great blessing! – Brandy Yantorn-Moore
My friends had their little boy Liam at 12:35 am. First baby of the area. They were on three different news stations! – Mica Ruhl Borden
A good friend of mine welcomed her third little boy! Asa Matthew was born at 12:30pm! – Karri Hodge Hollingsworth
My friend had twin boys at 4:11am and 4:12am in New Jersey! – Amanda Tiseo
My friend’s baby, Andrew Scott Jr., was born at 8:45 pm. – Elizabeth Northcutt
My best friend Drea had a baby girl named Brooklyn, and she was the first one born in 2011 at the hospital. – Rachel Braasch
My husband’s coworker and his wife welcomed their first child, Ryland Jack, into the world. They had such a hard time carrying to term that this New Year’s Day blessing was even more special for us. Congrats, Candi and Milton! – Kim Howell
Did you welcome any babies of your own on January 1? Did you hear other miraculous birth stories? Share them in the comments section below.
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Monday, January 3rd, 2011
How did you ring in the New Year?
Our readers shared on Facebook (facebook/parentsmagazine) how they made the first day of 2011 memorable: celebrating children’s birthdays, running errands and cleaning house, sharing breakfast and break time with the family. Read on for more fun ways Parents readers set the tone for 2011:
Following my Curves Diet and taking it easy…I refuse to stress over the kids and husband, and I’m the one that gets to nap today! - Debbie Smith Casto
Waiting for my son to arrive. He’s due in only six days! – Ashley Pabloff
Making black eyed peas and collard greens! – Nia Buckley Ledesma
Eating cheesecake and coffee for breakfast. – Angela Osborne-Huret
Celebrating my daughter’s 12th birthday and making cupcakes together. – Devan Vaughn
It’s my daughters birthday! She is 6 today! Since we celebrate it on New Years Eve, today we just are gonna cuddle and spend time together as a family. – Sandra L
Donating my hair to Locks of Love and spending the day with my one-and-half-year-old and his godmother. – Natalie Rodriguez
Working on day three of potty training our 21-month-old daughter. She is doing great. – Melissa Koch Formby
How did you and your family spend the New Year? Going forward, what are you doing to start the New Year fresh?
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Friday, December 31st, 2010
With 2011 starting tomorrow, what resolutions are you and your family making? Look no further than our guide to helping kids make and keep New Year’s Resolutions. We at Parents resolve to keep bringing you the best and most beneficial parenting news, personal stories, and product reviews. As you wave good-bye to 2010, take a few moments to look at the highlights of the year–the top news, toy recalls, trends, and more:
And as you welcome the advent of 2011, look to see what we predict for the year and what we have in store for January:
We at Parents also want to take a few moments to say: Thank you for continuing to be such avid readers of our magazine and our site. Because of you, dear readers, Parents had several amazing milestones this year. We reached over 100,000 Twitter followers, received over 150,000 “Likes” on Facebook, and we won a MIN Award in the “Editorial Series or Special Section” category.
We hope your new year will be bursting with brightness. Happy 2011!
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