Baby Weight, be Gone (Take Five) Plus One, Plus Ten or Fifteen Pounds

photoAfter this post in March, Baby Weight, be Gone (Take Five) I went on to do exactly what I said I was going to do: I got myself back on a routine I could live with, and put my cravings and overindulging in check. I went back to exercise classes, I interval-trained on the treadmill, plugged in my favorite playlist and ran in the neighborhood, whether I felt like it or not.

By the time we went to Disney World on Spring Break in mid-April, I was feeling better about myself, inside and out. I even went for short runs every day on vacation so I could skip counting calories for the week and enjoy myself. That was a true test of my dedication, wasn’t it? I had changed my habits. I was doing it!

Then we came home.

Even with a beautiful New England spring unfolding, and summer on its way, it’s always kind of a letdown leaving my favorite travel destination and a break in routine. It was back to the day-to-day, where I was feeling torn between motherhood as I knew it and becoming a work-at-home mom finding my way back to my career. I was anxious about the next step in our lives: our twin girls, who are growing up too fast, starting full-day kindergarten in the fall. I couldn’t motivate myself. I was tired of the pressure. I just wanted to live in the moment, so I rolled with my moods from one day to the next, exercising some days and skipping it on other days in favor of Chinese take-out and three Cokes.

Instead of losing the 10 or 15 pounds I already needed to, I gained 10 or 15 more – while making plans for my first 10K in February 2014. Nope, I’m not kidding.

As I work on getting myself in check, again, and again, and Seriously, Not Again… I ask myself how I could let it happen. How many times have I been Right There, and fallen so completely off, even though I wasn’t being unreasonable in the first place? How, while I was paying attention, did I not only fail to lose weight, but gain even more, bringing me to a new-all time high (and low?) And is there a point to answering this question, or do I just keep moving forward?

Perhaps a more valid question would be: how the hell am I going to run six miles in seven weeks from THIS?! Yesterday, I got on the treadmill for a 20-minute interval run, and spent 20 minutes outside afterward, doubled over in a tank top and running skirt in 40-degree winter weather, waiting for the stars and black spots to clear. This morning, although I tried to fight with them, my legs wouldn’t run at all, so I gave in and walked because it was better than nothing, and definitely better than getting flung off the treadmill and breaking something on New Year’s Eve.

I’m trying to shrug off the urge to shame myself over not being where I wanted to be, and even worse, moving backwards. I’m picking up where I left off, because that sounds better than “starting over.” I’m trying to ignore that cranky voice in my head that’s saying, “Yeah, right. How long before you’re back to eating a piece of cake for breakfast, or drinking three glasses of wine instead of going to class, when you were already wearing your workout clothes? When – and how – will you screw it up again?”

But where will I be, if I listen? I like the way I feel after I run and work out. And once I get going, I like the way it feels to work toward something better, and to be on a routine.  I can keep doing what I’m doing, but I know I won’t be any happier or healthier, and this won’t magically undo itself, or become less work for me to undo.

So, I’m moving along, and keeping my goals simple: to finish this 10K, preferably on my feet, and to stay there over the weeks and months beyond it. I’m starting there, and – well, let me not get carried away. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy, Healthy 2014 to you and your loved ones, and best of luck to you in all you do!

My New Year’s (Un)Resolution

Hello, 2013!

Hello, 2013!

We took down the Christmas tree, vacuumed up Frazier Fir needles that we’ll undoubtedly be finding until next year, and reclaimed some of our living space. As a kid, I used to watch my mom do this (but with a big, fat Blue Spruce that had to be tied to the beams in the living room) and I’d fight back tears. The excitement got packed away carefully into see-through plastic boxes in the attic, and everything just looked so empty and boring: AKA what I now view as “clean and organized.”

Grown-up life, and keeping up with H and S, my four-year-old twin daughters, leaves much less time for being sad about tossing our beloved tree (whose dead, dried-out branches tried to reclaim most of our ornaments) on the front lawn. And urgent displays in the retail world are already sweeping us up into the excitement of the Next Big Thing. Winter Clearances, Valentine’s Day, and the one thing I won’t be taking part in this year: tackling our New Year’s resolutions head-on. For 2013, my resolution is to take a year off from making new resolutions.

For the last few years, I’ve seen January 1st as a time to restructure my life. To finally lose that last ten to fifteen pounds I’ve been fighting with since the girls were born. To spend more time reading and writing, pushing along my dreams of becoming a Real Writer. To finally put together the girls’ scrapbooks in which they haven’t even been officially born yet. To organize the whole house and make efficient use of every bit of space, one room at a time.

And every year, I start out whole-heartedly, throwing myself at the new, improved version of me. Then I get lost in the day-to-day like I always do, wondering what’s wrong with me and why I feel like I’m always moving and nothing ever feels DONE.

I’ve finally realized that neither my life nor my personality (have I mentioned I’m a Libra and a perfectionist?) is well-suited for focusing on one goal. I’ve been multi-tasking for as long as I can remember, even before becoming a mom, and it can be tiring and mind-boggling, yes, but mostly, it works for me. It’s what I know. The more I try to focus on ONE thing, the others fall through the cracks, and I end up feeling worse instead of better. Yes, I need to lose that weight. Yes, I should be writing more. Reading more. Outlining the next steps in my career. Moving things along. But sometimes, it needs to be okay to just be still. To slow down and take inventory. To live in the moment, especially when it comes to enjoying time with my husband and daughters.

These days, what I find myself craving – way more than productivity and results – is balance, and the breathing room I need to find it. In a way that’s healthy for me and that works for my family, and for what my life ACTUALLY looks like, instead of the Superwoman-infused version my guilt tells me I should be mastering instead.

This isn’t to say I won’t plan or set goals; I wouldn’t be able to function without a to-do list, or six. I’m a planner at heart, through and through, and have lists for everything. On my Apple Calendar. In Things for my iPhone, iPad and MacBook. What needs to be done this week, and next. What to pack in the kids’ overnight bags. I even have a spreadsheet to budget for our next trip to Disney.

So while I won’t be starting every morning at the gym or writing ten pages before I get out of bed, this year I already know I have one accomplishment to celebrate: I think I finally know myself well enough to take a break when I need it instead of piling it on, without feeling like a slacker.

Well – maybe you should ask me about that in a few days 😉