I’m a mom of three, my youngest is 8 months old (my others are 7 and 10 years). I’m 42 and I’ve always been thin and averaged 115-120 since I was a teenager at 5’6.
Since my last pregnancy I’ve brought my weight down to 120ish again, but the weight is holding differently with more in my tummy with a pooch. And I feel fuller overall in my arms and hips. I’m still thin but don’t look as lean as before. (I’m no longer breastfeeding.)
I’m eating the same. I’ve never been a calorie counter, and I don’t deny myself pizza, chocolate and wine, but I have a general consciousness about food overall in quality and portions and eat mostly healthy.
I’ve always been active. Currently I work out fairly hard at least half an hour a day, 5-6 days a week, alternating between a HITT video, a run, a spin class, power yoga or a general gym workout. I also walk at least my 10,000 steps daily. I’m very active and I can feel my body is strong.
So my question is, given my age and number of children, should I just accept where things have landed right now and feel lucky that I still am relatively thin, despite this newish belly pooch and slight filling out overall? Or, is it worth it to up my workouts or change my diet to try and get things back to before.
I realize this is a personal decision, I just want to know how realistic is it to fight this slight thickening and achieve results given my age and the kids.
What you need to ask yourself is what matters more to you and what will make you happiest overall. If being your lean self is going to make you happy then you have to decide whether or not the work that needs to be done to get there is also going to make you happy. If keeping your lifestyle the same is what you want to do, then can you accept and be happy with being a little thicker and having a small belly you’ve never had before?
When I coach people in my studio I always stress the fact that their actions need to meet their expectations. Hoping for something, whether it be a personal best in a 10km run or losing 10 pounds of body fat, is useless unless you are putting in the work. I know I write a lot about accepting who you are in this moment but there is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, as long as the desire comes with the right intentions and actions. Make sense?
It sounds to me like you have a pretty good lifestyle going already and all you really need to do is fine-tune your current program. But as easy as that sounds, fine-tuning can be the most challenging. Because you have less to lose, your results will be less noticeable (more to others than yourself) and harder to come by. For example, if you run a 2 hour half marathon and you want to run your next one at 1 hour and 50 minutes, you need to put in the work but it is pretty easy to shave those 10 minutes off. But, if you run a half marathon in 1 hour and 35 minutes and you want to bring it to 1 hour and 34 minutes you actually need to work harder to shave off 1 minute of that time than 10 minutes from a 2 hour time.
Your body is like the race. You are going to have to put in consistent, hard work to lose those last few pounds. (Harder than you would if you were trying to lose 20 pounds.) The good news is you won’t have to make big changes, just lots of little ones.
Increase your water intake. Whatever you are drinking now add another litre. Doing this will help decrease the puffiness you are feeling and keep you energized so you don’t reach for sugary foods for a late afternoon pick me up. Which is my next tip – cut back (not out) on sugar. This is actually pretty easy. If you put sugar in your coffee get used to not doing so. Eliminate jams and spreads for real fruit. Snack bars should be replaced by mini meals (think leftovers) and leave your kids’ candy alone. Have more veggies for dinner and skip the dessert most of the time (wrong choice at the right time. Remember that one?)
As for your workouts, let’s fine-tune them a bit. Start tracking your heart rate and work on reaching your upper zones for most of your workouts. Because your workouts are short you need to push a lot harder than someone who spends more time at the gym. I am a huge fan of short, efficient workouts over long ones but they are way harder as you are at your max from start to finish. Another option is change a few of the workouts you are currently doing to something new. Doing this takes you out of your comfort zone and helps you push yourself without you even needing to try to do that yourself. We get comfortable in our workouts and lazy so keep your body, and yourself, guessing by adding something new in all the time.
We always want to be our best selves, but it is up to us to decide what that best self is and how we can get there.
I’m always here to help! Keep sending your smutty fitness questions to me at [email protected].