Everywhere you look at the moment the message of body positivity is being spread far and wide. Women, and men, of all shapes and sizes are telling you to love the skin you’re in and while I do agree with that in general, I do believe there is a time and place for losing weight.
It seems that people are trying to be shoehorned in to 2 categories – those who are working out every day, eating clean and looking toned and confident, and those that are big and beautiful and are proud of it. The reality is that most of us fall somewhere in the middle, but we don’t seem to be represented by what is “cool” at the moment.
During lockdown a lot of people have gained weight, but for me specifically it has been a slower process. After I had Piglet I was the fittest I think I’ve ever been, attending a couple of classes a week and walking daily with our dog. When I got pregnant with JJ I was really sick and pretty much all exercise stopped. I gained weight during the 3rd trimester (like everyone does) but this time around it didn’t go away afterwards. Getting to classes with 2 kids was harder, we no longer had a dog to walk and while I was breastfeeding I got in to some bad snacking habits that I didn’t stop when the feeding stopped. I have slowly been gaining weight over the last 3 years and I’m ready for it to stop.
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Why Lose Weight?
Losing weight isn’t just about wanting to be skinny. Weight gain affects the way I manage my diabetes. Insulin is a hormone, and the bigger you are the more insulin you have to take. The more insulin you take the more likely you are to make an error in dosage. It sounds a bit melodramatic to say weight gain could be the difference between life and death – but it is kind of true.
My diabetes means I am also more likely to have issues with my kidneys and other internal organs. Excess weight also puts strain on them. I can’t cure my diabetes, but I CAN control my weight. So it just makes sense to get with it!
I do have a sweet tooth, but excess weight is also a sign that I’m not active enough. I want to be able to run and play with my kids in the park. Pick them up and swing them around, chase after them on their bikes without being out of breath. At the moment I can do those things, but if things continue as they are it is very possible that I wouldn’t. In order to lose weight I need to get up and CHOOSE to be active more. And I can see no way in which that could be a bad thing.
The final size isn’t the issue, but feeling confident in my clothes is. I do like the body positivity movement and believe you should love your body, but if you don’t like it then do something about it! Make it how you want it to be, and accept the bits that you cannot change. I will probably never lose the mum tum no matter how hard I try, nor can I fix the sagging from breastfeeding 2 babies. But I can ditch the extra chin and extra weight on my hips and thighs, meaning my clothes will fit better and I will feel good in them again.
What Am I Doing To Lose Weight?
I am not a believer in fad diets. I don’t want a quick fix, because I know that if there is an “end” in sight I’ll quickly slip back in to old ways. It needs to be a sensible approach that will be sustainable for the rest of my life, not just for a few weeks.
Exercise is probably the biggest change for me. Until recently it’s been fairly non-existent since JJ was born. I half heartedly started doing the odd home workout in January but didn’t take it very seriously. In the last month I have started doing at least 2 HIIT workouts a week. It is tough going with the kids around and I’m very aware that I can’t always give it my all.
When Piglet was 6 weeks old I started going to a kettlebells class and I really enjoyed it. I am hoping to get a kettlebell for me to use at home soon, but at the moment it’s not really practical to use one as I’d be scared about hitting the kids with it as I swing. I need a new yoga mat for floor work, but at the moment youtube and bodyweight is giving me most of what I need.
I am also working on increasing my steps per day. In an ideal world I’d like to hit 10k per day, but we are in a global pandemic and life is not normal right now. I’ve set myself a target of 7k steps per day. It’s taking a conscious effort during the week to try and hit that, but is easier at the weekends when we are getting out of the house more.
At the weekends we are taking big walks as a family. Not only is it good for JHogg and I to get out and have a walk, Piglet is now used to it and it is becoming a habit for him too. I can only hope that this is a habit we continue long after this pandemic is over.
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In general my meals are not awful – but they’re not perfect either. I’ve been using the Lean In 15 and Hairy Dieters cookbooks for inspiration and ways I can cook better. The real change has been in snacking though. Being at home it is so easy to graze all day. My kids want to snack constantly and I have been in the habit of eating when they do.
3 meals a day, sensible snacks, limit the chocolate after dinner. It’s not been easy, but it’s not been as hard as I thought it would be either. I’ve been keeping on top of my water intake too, tracking it via bottle of water I’ve drunk with my Klean Kanteen.
There is no point in having these plans in place if you don’t stick to them. If no one knows what you are trying to do then it’s easy to just give up or cheat, and then the only one losing is yourself. I have been quite open about my attempt to lose the excess weight, and my poor friend Sarah is bearing the brunt of it. I know that by chatting to her every now and again I feel accountable to stick to my changes.
I am using the My Fitness Pal app to log my food intake. I have had the app for years and regularly use it to help calculate the carbohydrates in a meal (an important part of my diabetes management). By logging my food in there I am not worried too much about the final figure when it comes to calories, but more focusing on the fact that if I have to write it down I may think twice about eating that snack, or swap it for something healthier.
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It’s not a perfect system and I have no doubts that I may stumble as I go. Right now, more than ever, being fit and healthy is really important and I can only hope that these steps in the right direction will have a positive effect on my lifestyle.
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