When we reached the end of Blogtober I felt as though I’d had such a good time that I really wanted to keep up with blogging. Updating every day was a bit of a challenge, sure, and my husband was beginning to be a bit annoyed about the fact that I would dedicate so much time to writing in the evenings, but once a week at least seemed totally manageable. And then… I just… didn’t.
But that is because other priorities emerged! We took family photos together in November for our Christmas/New Year greetings cards and oh, dear reader, I was a potato. And not one of the cute little fresh new potatoes that go in spring salads. It was not a good feeling, not least because we would eventually like for our daughter to have a sibling and I know that being aged 35+ (I am 34 now) and significantly overweight makes having a successful pregnancy that much more doubtful. So for the next several months, exercise and food management was my main goal.
As it happens, right next to the photography studio was another store selling games and children’s toys. My husband, completely and utterly incapable of staying in one place to wait for anything ever, decided that while we waited for the studio staff member to be ready to talk to us after the photo shoot he would quickly pop in to the game shop to have a look round. Ultimately I’m glad that he did, because he found a copy of Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch! At that time it was beginning to be back in stock here and there and I’d heard good things from friends who had played it, so when he stuck his head out of the store and said, “They’ve got Ring Fit! Do you want it?” my answer was, “Ooh, yes please!” and lo, my Christmas present was sorted.
I will absolutely not credit Ring Fit Adventure with singlehandedly knocking the almost 18kg/39lbs off my postpartum potato body, BUT it did undoubtedly help get me in the right kind of mindset. Exercise turned from an insurmountable obstacle, a huge chore that required so much effort to even start, into something that was (heaven forbid) actually enjoyable?! About one month in to playing a little almost every day while my daughter napped, I commented to my husband that while playing on the TV in the living room was fun, I kind of… wanted to… maybe go out jogging for real? Like actually outside? In the real world??? So from the end of January I started doing exactly that (in addition to Ring Fit): once a week I’d warm up and then go trotting off for a few kilometres around the neighbourhood. During June, other real-life things started getting in the way (more on that in another post at some point) so I haven’t been able to go for a couple of months now (alas) but for a good five months that weekly run was a regular addition to my routine.
Every fitness blog you read and every personal trainer YouTuber will say that it’s not the increased cardio that drives weight loss but our old friend, the legendary calories in vs calories out (until you get to the macro-focused corner of weight loss/muscle gain social media, at least). In a bid to see whether or not I could cut back on some pointless calories, I gave intermittent fasting a go. It worked pretty well – I felt really energised and motivated! I still tend to skip breakfast just because it hasn’t really worked for me for a long time: breakfast makes me feel sick if I have it too early on, and if I wait until later on to eat I honestly may as well just wait a little longer still until lunchtime. I’m not sure how well it would work with additional exercise in the summer months, though – I’ve seen people report decreased performance while exercising fasted, but more than that part of me worries that it might be irresponsible to try to do cardio (such as jogging) in a fasted state outside in the hot and humid weather we get here. Anybody got any experience with that?
Anyway! Another really, really important part of my ability to stay on track has been having a workout buddy – like, an actual friend, not one of those apps that nag you at 9am every day or whatnot. I get so annoyed at those apps, god, I deleted my intermittent fasting app because it kept bothering me to input the fact that I’d consumed water while I was trying to deal with a screaming 10-month-old baby. Piss off. (And yes, I know you can turn off notifications, but then you might as well not have the app at all!) No, but one of my friends whose son is only a couple of months younger than my daughter was similarly frustrated with how her body wasn’t as strong as it had been before she’d become pregnant, and together we pushed each other to stay motivated, to eat more healthily without getting obsessed, and to work out as and when we could. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am without Tari’s support, competition and motivation. Whenever I’ve tried to do workout programmes in the past, or start a new routine with another person doing it along with me (be it my husband, or another friend), the other party always finds reasons to give up before I do and I’m not very good at continuing stuff when it’s just me by myself. I can totally understand why people get attracted to the idea of attending classes or hiring a personal trainer! It’s so good to be able to have human interaction and increased accountability. Should we ever be relatively free of the bloody virus (haha.) I would like someday to attend some kind of workout class or join a gym… Someday…! What sort of classes have you attended? I’m no good at team sports but how about other club/group workout activities? Is there anything you haven’t tried, but want to?
I’m still not where I want to be, though. Back in 2017 when I broke my leg (March), tore my ACL (July) and had two leg surgeries in one year, I unsurprisingly gained weight due to being so immobile for so long. Yet even then, when I was heavier than I am now, I was able to put on and take off my wedding ring. Almost fifteen months after giving birth, I still can’t wear it. What gives! Come on, body! Some of my friends have said that breastfeeding might be the last hurdle to clear, and that when I stop doing that my hands will cooperate. Will it?! Am I going to have to get the ring resized?! How much more do I have to shrink to reach this one final goal? Will I ever be satisfied?!
Will I ever be satisfied? That’s one of the big ones, isn’t it. How many times we have looked back at old photos when we thought we were fat and ugly, only to see with the clear eyes of experience how young, slim and beautiful we were! Writing that makes me feel ancient, time to stop typing 😅