Running Around in Circles

If I could add one thing to my daily routine, it would be exercise.

Ok, ok, pick yourself up off of the floor. It wasn’t that funny.

I do want/need to exercise. I’m a thin couch potato and it’s starting to catch up to me. My blood pressure seems to go up and down a good deal more than it ought to; I have ridiculous aches and pains for someone my age; I don’t have the stamina to keep up with twin toddlers; and I’m at my pre-pregnancy weight yet I’m a blob of jello.

Most of all, I want to be a good role model for the boys. Their dad has a big weight problem and I am just terrified of passing along bad habits to them. We eat well at home – I see to that – but neither of us exercises and Daddy doesn’t practice any sort of portion control whatsoever.

I’m already going to be one of the older moms in the carpool line at school. I don’t want to be the decrepit one too.

I started by say that if I could add one thing… but the truth is that it’s not a matter of can or can’t. It’s a matter of will I or won’t I. So far, I won’t. And I am not sure why.

My excuses:

  1. I am not a morning person, and the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise after having had little and often disrupted sleep just horrifies me.
  2. There isn’t a stretch of uninterrupted time during the day to do much. If I’m not directly dealing with the babies I’m generally doing laundry, vacuuming, folding clothes, washing dishes, preparing dinner and so forth.
  3. OW gets home from work between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. every night. After we eat, clean up the kitchen, get everything ready for the next day and get the boys to sleep, it’s 11:00 p.m. and off to bed we go.

I keep picturing myself outside, running laps around my neighborhood, feeling strong and healthy. My wiggly jiggly baby fat begins to firm up, the muffin top over my jeans disappears. I can chase the babies, do laundry, cook a meal and still have enough energy to, ahem, help out my poor, long-suffering husband.

Am I living in la-la land? Is there some sort of tipping point that will give me the push I need to get started?

Do you exercise? How did you start? What motivates you to keep going? How are you able to make it a priority?


That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.


Posted on November 14, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I could have written this post. I want to be a good role model for kids, hubby has horrible habits, etc.

    It is hard to find time. And your excuses/reasons are valid. Very valid.

    My main exercise time is on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday I try to get up at 7 to run. It’s an hour later than I get up the rest of the week so I’m still sleeping in. And the part that is hard to remember when you are tired, is exercising in the morning is a great way to get MORE energy for the day. I actually can’t exercise after 8 at night or it takes me hours to fall asleep. We do have some exercise equipment in the basement so I take the baby down there, put her in the exersaucer and run or bike while she plays. That is the only time I use it so it adds to the novelty. The older two love to come down there an play while I exercise so we have some toys down there too. And the tv for me to watch as inside is much more boring. Another option is to grab 10 minutes at a time. They say that, added up to 30 minutes a day is just as valuable as one longer stretch. I started my running on the wii fit. I did 10 minutes at a time, then got to 20, then the 30 minute free run then started outside.

    I am also an older mom (my first just started school and I am 36) and I want to be able to do and play for a long time!!!!

  2. To start, let me say this: exercise does not come naturally to me. I have to fight really hard to get into a good routine, and it’s incredibly easy for me to fall off the wagon. I’m off more than I’m on. It’s never easy. That said, when it’s working, it’s usually some combination of these things:

    1. Routine. When my kids were around age 2, the gym (and the childcare room, hallelujah) became part of our weekly routine. I took two mornings a week, and on those mornings, we went to the gym. I did my workout, they hung out in the childcare room. That was our Tuesday and Thursday morning “activity.” When I can make it an expected, routine part of my day/week, it’s a lot easier than cramming it in between other things.

    2. Structure. Especially when I’m just starting to get into a groove, it helps to have some structure to my workout plan. Whether that means going to a particular class at a particular time, or following a particular workout program (like Couch to 5K), it helped. Takes some of the thought/decision-making out of it and makes it mindless. Related to the whole “routine” thing.

    3. Peer pressure and/or competition. It helps me to be accountable to someone else. Sometimes that means meeting someone at the gym for a class or out for a run (“she’s waiting for me, I can’t not show up”), or paying for some sessions with a personal trainer (EXCELLENT way to go, even if you don’t do it forever). Sometimes that means some virtual peer pressure, like announcing my intention on Facebook or Twitter and knowing I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t follow through. And sometimes I find someone to be a workout buddy/competitor. Like who can lose the greatest % of body weight or workout the most minutes over a month or six weeks. I like to win. 🙂

    4. Goals and/or deadlines. This is why, despite being a painfully slow (and just plain painful) runner, I keep signing up for races. It gives me something really specific to work towards, a clear goal to accomplish, and no pushing back the date. It’s a commitment. It gives me the pressure I need to keep it up and not slack off, but it also feels really good to then accomplish that goal, and it’s something very clear that I can point to and say “I did THAT.”

    As for the timing of actual workouts, that obviously is hard. It’s easiest for me when, as I said, I can work it into the whole family’s routine, like I did when the kids were 2. Even better when they were 3 and in preschool in the mornings, that was a no-brainer. 🙂 It’s much trickier to fit in now that I’ve got Ellie, with her multiple naps and various doctor’s appointments. I’m not in a great routine right now, it’s definitely cobbled together every week. Mornings are still my favorite time to go for a run outside. It SUCKS to wake up early, but it beats the hell out of trying to run on the treadmill at the gym, as well as running in the pitch black at night (when I’d rather just collapse on the couch, anyways). Sometimes I do DVDs at home, like yoga (which I will do today when the kids go up for quiet time), or Jillian Michaels (my favorites being 30 Day Shred and No More Trouble Zones). I don’t like working out in my living room, but it gets the job done.

    Alright, this comment is long enough, and I’m starting to ramble. 🙂 Email me or hit me up on Twitter if you want to chat further!

  3. I do work out regularly. After I had my son last year I found that i needed an outlet when he was a colicy infant. I would go to the gym and take zumba or piloxing class and I would walk out of the gym feeling like a new person. What motivates me is knowing that I feel better mentally and physically when I exercise. It’s not the number on the scale that I exercise for it’s the way it makes me feel.

  4. This is a great question. My one piece of advice: Don’t worry until your kids hit the age of one. Seriously. By that point they will be sleeping more regularly and you will have more energy. Until then, take long walks with them. Walking is an un-glorified (and often forgotten) method of exercise that is not only really good for your heart, but for your kids. They will appreciate being outside and you will appreciate the sweat you break by pushing two (or more) kids in a stroller. That is an exercise.

    As for me, I wake up in the mornings to write and exercise. Seriously, you don’t want to know how early I wake up.

  5. Mike (@hobbesoh)

    My advice: watch the Biggest Loser. 🙂 Seriously, my wife and I are hooked on it, and it shows every week that the only thing between you and a healthier you is your own mind.

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