I’m a single parent to a nineteen-month-old child. I managed to gain—and lose—fifty pounds during the whole pregnancy, childbirth, and subsequent months of parenting. I often have people ask me how I did it. Do I work out? Do I watch what I eat? I would like to share the secrets to my weight loss with you, in hopes that you, too, may benefit from my experience.
First of all, I do not work out. I did, actually, work out in May of this year. It was nice. I had a week of vacation, so instead of going to work, I went to the gym. I will confess, it wasn’t much of a workout. I did about fifteen minutes of yoga, four times, that week. I remember examining the light fixtures from the floor of the gym while languidly stretching my back. I adored child’s pose. I think I may also have walked around the track at the gym as many as several times. I may also have done that quickly, but I’m not sure. I do remember, though, that the steam room had a siren song I couldn’t ignore. I sat in there for about thirty minutes each day. I believe it may have increased my metabolism to do so.
Otherwise, I do not work out. However, in the course of a day, I do haul around the equivalent of a twenty-five-pound Thanksgiving turkey everywhere I go. I live on the third floor of an apartment building, so in addition to long walks around the neighborhood, I also haul said turkey up and down the three flights of stairs numerous times daily.
As a result of my stair regimen and the desire to keep my turkey entertained, I also go to the store daily. We like the European model of grocery shopping, as it keeps us in fresh foods daily, and it also gives me a much lighter load of groceries to carry up my stairs. With the turkey.
In addition to the carrying around of the turkey, there is the random movement program. I suggest that people who want to simulate this (who do not already have a toddler), just get a randomized motor attachment for a turkey, and then set it loose in your house. Your job is to stop it from knocking over valuable or dangerous items or falling down any stairs as it careens about. This will have the effect of keeping you on your toes, which I find to be particularly beneficial to agility, flexibility and increased metabolism (from the frequent, random zaps of adrenaline you will experience). Do this about six hours a day, and the weight will melt away effortlessly.
Adrenaline is very helpful to weight loss, in my humble opinion. I’m still nursing, so I have to watch how much caffeine I drink, but I have found that intermittent, unpredictable waking in the night to the sound of screaming (alternating with maniacal, context-less laughter) will flood your system with adrenaline and keep your weight loss program going, even in the night.
Just as a turkey needs proper storage to maintain its peak freshness, so does your child. From my experience, young children have a limited shelf life. They go bad if not handled properly. A funky smell permeates the space if you don’t change their environment with the proper pacing and accommodations. While the smell may or may not be literal, it is measurable by the curled lip and sidelong glances of other adults in the vicinity. Other small children may comment outright, saying things like, “Why is he crying?” or “Why is she lying on the ground like that?” I usually tell them it’s because I pinch and beat him. This stops the questions.
The comparison of a small child to a turkey may seem callous, but the food analogy is actually quite fitting. Mother Nature made children cute for survival of the species. Otherwise, we would surely eat them in the middle of a long, sleepless night or insufferable car ride.
So let’s talk more about food, since that is an important aspect to any weight-loss program.
I eat sweet potato fries about six days per week. Only once per day, however. Never more than that, unless I happen to make them for lunch at home, then go out to dinner at my favorite sweet potato fry place nearby. But that doesn’t happen more than twice in a week. (I even ordered sweet potato fries to go when I was in early labor. They were very good.)
I try to eat at least 50 percent of my meals sitting down. I think it’s good for digestion. I find that dodging foods thrown by my toddler during a meal also keeps my “workouts” going, even when I’m relaxing.
Occasionally forgetting to eat is also helpful. I never thought this was possible for me. I’ve been a serious eater my entire life, never skipping meals intentionally. But between feeding my child, cleaning up his messes, then chasing and entertaining him, I will upon occasion realize that I have not eaten. I then grab something on my way out the door with him, but in picking up him and all my bags, I sometimes find that I cannot carry the food, too. I look at the food with longing on my way out the door. I believe this is helpful.
One last thing I do is to burn my food. I put things on the stove to “warm up” or “cook” them, then get interrupted by my son’s latest injury or irresistible sweetness. I’ve ruined some meals and cookware by “cooking” my food, and there are some calories I’ve avoided this way. It’s an expensive weight loss tool, so I suggest only sparing use of it. (If you add scrubbing of the pots and pans to your workout plan, however, you’re guaranteed to build your triceps.)
And that is how I lost fifty pounds after the birth of my son.