I think it’s probably the thing we dread hearing most at the doctors when they ask you to jump on the scales. It’s the type of moment, as a woman, when you wish the fire alarm would go off or something to avoid the embarrassment of being told you need to lose a few pounds! Unless you are one of those lucky ones that claim to eat what you want and never put an ounce on (hhhmmmm), then weight is a sensitive subject for most! Especially after children!
During my pregnancy, I put on one stone. Not a great gain for a pregnancy, but on my nearly five foot frame, every pound makes all the difference. You taller women are so lucky, I have known of women putting on about three stone who are tall and they carry it off so well! Shorties beware! I looked like a beach ball at the end of mine, perfectly round ;-). I gradually lost this weight over the next two years (and even more when my partner left me, good old heartbreak diet.) But I have noticed it lately creeping back on and it’s not something that’s too welcome!
I don’t live by my weight, I like to think I am not ruled by it. Until very recently I did not even own a pair of bathroom scales because I would rather know that what I was eating was right rather than the numbers some chart somewhere says I should be!
However, just recently, I have been thinking about weight, my body, my health, as we all do at times as women who are self-aware. I started to look up what my weight should be and found that a lot of people still base the ideal on BMI. Now, this is something that for a long time I have not really agreed with. It angers me slightly that the health service lumbers everyone into the same brackets of an ideal, regardless of lifestyle, family similarities, diet or body features, such as big breasts (which would obviously add significantly to a persons total weight!).
How can you measure someones health etc based on strictly their height and weight. After all, at only four foot eleven, I am the height of a ten year old child. A few of you might get a laugh in there. Go on, get it out your system, everyone else does. Shall I continue? 😉 My point is we all come in a vast array of shapes and sizes and this BMI theory just does not work in my mind!
I have large breasts, I have muscular thighs from doing lots of sports as a child. I have a round firm bum and hips after having my daughter. I think my boobs alone are probably a good bag of sugar or two in weight at a guess! Yet I am told that for my height, I should be around 7 stone. 7 stone!!!!!! The same weight as a pre-pubescent child. I don’t recall ever being 7 stone at this stage in my life come to think of it! Ha!
This is why I simply can’t follow these guidelines because I do not think they are realistic! I wont shock you all by revealing my true weight (A lady’s prerogative) but on the chart I am classed as obese. This might be embarrassing to admit for some but to hell with it! In BMI terms, I am a fatty! Yet I wear a size 12 (my current jeans are a 10), I walk miles each week, I eat all my fruit and vegetables and I cook as healthily as possible with low salt, nothing processed, all the right steps to take that health professionals would advise for a healthy lifestyle. You certainly wouldn’t look at me in the street and say I was fat. Curvy, yes, but certainly not fat.
I fear that today we are all expected to look like the stick insects we see airbrushed on the front of magazines. Yes, some women are naturally very slim and have to do little if nothing to maintain that shape and size. Lucky them. The majority of other women, after childbirth especially, will struggle that bit more.
For breakfast today I had porridge, made with half water, half goats milk, served with fresh raspberries and strawberries. Lunch was mixed beans, chicken and cucumber and dinner was a homemade mushroom and spinach risotto. Hardly the diet of a fatty! Ok, I like a bit of a treat and today we made cakes to pass some time and I had half of one. I also had a square of dark chocolate. Hardly the devils work at play there. The naughty stuff is in moderation, as they suggest.
So, I found myself asking, why don’t I lose weight if my diet is consistently healthy? Firstly, I have always eaten well. It is much easier for a very overweight person to stop drinking Fanta for breakfast and watch as the pounds just melt away. That is not to sound sarcastic, I am being genuine in that processed, chemical laden food and drinks will clog your system up and if you go cold turkey on them, you will see a dramatic difference even before you start thinking about throwing exercise into the mix. I wasnt putting loads of sugar or processed stuff into my system before I had my daughter, so still having the same consistent diet as before, I am not going to see any results through diet alone.
This can mean only one option to lose a few pounds for me then…EXERCISE!
The thought of this word after a 14 hour shift on your feet each day is horrendous. Surely I do enough exercise having a three year old hanging off me for most of the day. My god, by the time she has finally decided to stop jumping on the bed and singing Let it Go and collapsed into a heap, I am just about dead myself!
What I want to know is, how do women do it?! Maybe it is easier when you have a partner to do shifts with? All I know is, in my position, I wake around 6.00am and I sit down to inhale my lunch around 12 before chasing her to stop her smearing Bolognese up my wall and then I don’t sit down again until at least 8.00pm! How do women find the strength to then do butt crunches and sit ups after that?? If I have not already passed out asleep on the sofa I am like a zombie after a hot bath, not moving, just lying there, waiting for my rest.
I thought with the warmer weather coming, it might motivate me to push myself into doing an evening workout. It did. I tried yoga at 9.00pm. I got into child’s pose on the floor. And stayed there for ten minutes, relaxed in the pose and started falling to sleep! So I gave up and went to bed.
So evening exercise is out!
I then considered the obvious, the morning, fresh from a 9 hour sleep. I tried it. I had my daughter hanging off one leg in a yoga pose, demanding breakfast and Pinocchio on the tv, finding it funny to use me as a horse during one already particularly strenuous pose. It just doesn’t work.
As some of you may have read on my very first blog on here, I tried going to yoga classes too. I loved this. It felt amazing. But I was going on my only free two days when my daughter was at nursery. Going to the 10am class meant being ready and on a bus at 9am, the bus back at 12.30pm, getting home at 1.00pm, then having to leave at 2.30pm to collect her from nursery. It effectively took up my two days off, and although it felt great, all the other jobs I would usually get on top of when she’s not around simply didn’t get done. Meaning more work at the weekend, which cuts into precious bonding time together. I will go back to yoga, but I think its more realistic to think that I can manage just one day from now on.
So I have come to a conclusion, for the time being at least, that I am not going to bow down to any pressure from society to look the way it thinks and says I should! As a single mom, I think I have enough to be getting on with without throwing vanity and stress into the mix.
My body really isn’t that bad. I am healthy, it all works ok, I eat well, I have a waist still, my legs are firm. The only part im not happy with really, like most women after having a baby, is my stomach. But until I have more time to myself, maybe in a year when she’s outgrown the cling on stage, there’s really not a lot im going to stress myself over. I don’t eat rubbish and I walk absolutely everywhere. If I can manage only ten minutes of yoga two times per week, I will accept that for the time being and stop beating myself up about it. Yes, I would adore a Britney Spears circa 1998 washboard toned stomach but if it means that my life is made any more stressful and my child goes without my time then it simply doesn’t factor into my life! Plus I love cake on a Saturday and I don’t intend to start giving that up 😉
My daughter has a healthy attitude towards food and quite frankly that’s more important to me than showing her I can look like Cheryl Cole (I wouldn’t trade my curves in for a models frame.) Food should be enjoyed and todays society just gives young girls a complex! I would hate for my girl to have her life ruled by numbers.
Life has to work around you. And if that means the only exercise I can manage right now is walking a lot and weight lifting my daughter then so be it. I would rather be a little obese on record,happy and healthy, than follow anyone elses guidelines.
So on we go x