Friday, 18 May 2012

Fitness Funk

Like many women, I’m carrying around a few extra pounds that I gain and lose every few years, depending on what’s going on my life. I’m a classic yo-yo dieter. Just before getting pregnant two years ago, I lost 15 pounds by committing to exercising four times a week and really healthy eating. It was one of the first times in my life that I wasn’t on a “diet” to lose weight but through sheer motivation and willpower, stuck to a healthy way of life and benefitted.

Then I got pregnant and well, turned into a heifer. Fifty-five pounds later, my son was born. Eeesh. The thing is - it was easy to lose the baby weight. Between breastfeeding, not having time to eat, and not sitting at a desk all day for a year, I went right back down to my pre-baby weight and even lower. I was so proud of myself and thought, hey - that was easy! Running around after a baby turned out to be a pretty good way to get back in shape. 

Since returning to work, I’ve spent most of my days sitting down at a computer screen and the rest of the time passed out on my couch in sheer exhaustion. I easily packed back on 20 pounds in the past four months. But until recently, I couldn’t find the time to exercise. Having a toddler pretty much saps your free time. I’m usually up at 6 am, running around until I get to work at 8:30, picking up my son by 5 pm, making dinner, feeding / bathing him, getting him ready for his 7 pm bedtime. After 7, it’s my time to catch up on cleanup, prep for the next day and then hopefully two merciful hours of couch time before bed. So when on earth am I supposed to find time to exercise?

Thank goodness I work for a company that has an amazing setup for work-life balance, including a gym on site and fitness classes at lunchtime. So I've been trying to do the lunch thing. But even then, when work is busy, there’s just not much time.  Pre-baby, I used to be one of those annoying people who would preach that you have to make time to exercise. Post-baby, I’m exasperated and frustrated and feeling like there’s not enough time in the day to take care of myself and get back to a happy weight. I now fully understand mothers who say that 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough.

So moms, I am asking you now – do you find (or “make”) time for exercise? How do you do it? Any tips for a fellow mommy who wants to get back on the fitness train?

PS – I used to be an avid reader of those fitness magazines like Women’s Health that would motivate me to move my behind. Now they just depress me. I will admit, I’m in a fitness funk and I want out!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Working hard...or hardly working?

It's been a hectic month at work. The kind that keeps me in meetings all day, and when not in meetings I'm scrambling to be productive, meet deadlines, answer e-mails and try hard not to ignore my to-do list. In the old days (pre-baby) I would have just gone into the office earlier or worked later if I needed to catch up. But now that I have a toddler that I only see for about 4 hours on the average weekday, extending my office hours just aren't an option. I know lots of other parents at work who simply leave the office at 5 pm, go home to their kids, feed/bathe/play with/ and put them to bed, then log on to their laptops and work from 9 - 11 pm. I wish I could do that, but quite frankly, most nights my husband and I are both passed out on the couch by 9 pm.

Last week my mother (who babysits my son) had an appointment that required me to stay home with my son and spend the morning working from home. I knew it could either go really well or really badly. I had a few conference calls that I knew I could manage while watching him play and then I figured I could be productive while he napped. On a good day, this is sometimes possible. I've done it and it's worked. But last week, my son had other plans. He was not in the mood to cooperate with my ideas. I guess he was excited to be spending the morning with mommy, so why on earth would he want to nap? So he didn't. And I spent more time that morning trying to make him nap than getting any work done. And the more time I spent trying to get him to nap, the more frustrated I got. My mind was on my inbox and my projects. I was not in the mood to read Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You for the fifth time that morning. He was in the mood to buzz around the kitchen and bang on pots and pans. I snapped at him several times. It wasn't pretty. 

So when I dropped him off at my mother's and finally got back to the office that afternoon, I was actually happy to have a cup of coffee and sit at my desk in (relative) peace. But by the end of the afternoon, I was feeling awfully guilty about the way I'd behaved with my son. Poor kid was just excited to have some extra time with me, and I spent most of it losing my temper. I probably should have just cut my losses and spent my morning with him and one eye on my blackberry.

When I picked him up at the end of the day, I gave him a huge hug and covered his face in kisses. I've said it before and I'll say it again - being a working mom is not easy. Thank goodness my son forgives easily! If I've learned one thing since becoming a mother, it's that everything takes longer when you have a toddler. Working from home is just another one of those things. So am I working hard, or hardly working? Both, I guess!