For those of you who don’t know me personally, I wear a lot of hats. I’m a daughter, a sister. An aunt, a friend. A career woman, an athlete. A planner, a procrastinator. An (occasional) party animal, a lover of sleep. A wife, a mother.
These last two jobs are paramount to my existence. There are two little people who depend on me greatly in this world, and without whom, I couldn’t imagine my life. My sons bring infinite joy and balance to an otherwise insanity-riddled schedule.
They also drive me up the wall. I’m talking want-to-pull-my-hair-out, why-did-I-voluntarily-bring-life-into-this-world bonkers. The internet abounds with blogs from moms talking about how their kids make them crazy. And it’s all true. All you soon-to-be, first time parents can read it all – every single book and blog out there – and it will not prepare you for what you are about to experience. The sleep deprivation, the discombobulation, the near-constant worry…the list is unending and continuously evolving as they grow and change. All of it rewarding in its own way, but it is exhausting.
In addition to these little balls of energy, my schedule is non-stop. I work 50-ish hours every week; I pick up my oldest from school four days a week; I plan meals; I maintain the finances; I am the social coordinator for the family; I am the vacation planner; I make lists – lots and lots of lists. About three months ago, my manager quit, and my whole professional world got turned upside down. I stopped working out. I stopped watching my eating. I was irritable, quick to anger, which is not an admirable “mom” quality. And in that short time, I gained back 20 lbs. I had worked so hard to lose. It was time to wake up.
Exercise, for me, is more than just losing weight. Being healthy/lean/fit is an ultimate – attainable – goal, but I need that time in the gym, the pool, for me. I need to push my body to sweat and strengthen. I need that adrenaline rush to propel through any obstacles I have created in my mind. I need to forget about being everything for everyone else. I need to be my first priority. And it took severe weight gain and a refusal to buy bigger clothes to realize I needed to make time for myself again.
So what do you do? You ask for help. I asked my friend and manager if I could start working out during the workday and work a little more in the evenings to balance it out. I asked my husband if he would be OK with me making more health-conscious meals. I asked my fitness communities online for support. I jumped in feet first.
The best part about putting yourself first? Everyone benefits. More energy and patience with my children. More positive and pleasant to my husband. More focus and determination in the work place. Less road rage. Less frustration. Less negativity in the universe.
I’m ecstatic to report I am just four lbs. shy of being back to where I was four months ago, and then the work to lose that final 40 begins anew. Some days, I have to drag myself to the gym, but I never regret a workout. Some days, I want to eat everything in sight, but I have to choose fuel over feasting. And knowing it will work should be motivation enough.
Inspire. Motivate. Move. ~R