“Overweight and Underpowered”

There was a point on our trip to Knysna, driving along the single lane highway, when Dean was struggling to get our little car to overtake one of the many trucks along the route. Our Chevy Aveo does just fine most of the time, but loaded with 3 adults and a baby in her awesome car seat, plus the pram and all our baggage in the trunk/boot, it wasn’t quite as strong as we needed. Kris said it quite well in that moment – the car was overweight and underpowered. “Just like me”, I quipped from the backseat of the car. We all chuckled, but it’s been irritating me because it’s true.

I made a promise to myself (and to all of you) that I wouldn’t pass my body image stuff on to Harley. I don’t want her to grow up worrying about her weight, something that so many women (all women?) worry about. I also told myself that I’d give myself a year before worrying about getting back into shape after Harley came along – I figured it would take that long before we’d have a routine and stuff that let me carve time out of the day to go to the gym or at least do home exercise. But then I went for my post-baby checkup and I had actually lost weight. I even took pictures of my before and after body at that point. But I may have spoken too soon.

You see, at that point I was still on the Harley weight loss plan – too busy to eat, forced to walk with her all the time to get her to sleep. But once she started chilling a bit, I stopped needed to walk miles up and down the house to get her to stop screaming and crying. Then she really starting drinking, a lot. While breastfeeding is great for weightloss, it also makes me permanently hungry and thirsty. Then there were a few months there when Dean and I weren’t always eating the most well-thought-out dinners because we were too busy dealing with her. Regardless of all the reasons, the fact of the matter is that I’m feeling incredibly out of shape. It doesn’t have to do with how I look (although I don’t really feel comfy in my skin), but more with feeling weak and generally underpowered.

I am trying to stick to my thing of not really worrying about getting totally back into shape until Harley is a year old, but with two months to go I figure I can get an early start going. I hate dieting, and I refuse to do it. That said, I am trying to take more time to plan meals now, both to save money and to ensure that our meals are more than a frantic scramble every evening. I will be posting about that process soon – I think we are all trying to feed our families well despite the constantly rising cost of food, so it could be interesting to share some of my strategies and hear some of yours. In general, though, I usually build our meals around our protein sources (read: meat) and then decide on the accompanying veggies and possibly starch depending. Not all meals get a starch, but you can’t really do bangers and mash without mash. I do add cauliflower to the mash, at least. Anyway, now that Harley is a bit more manageable and willing to sit on the floor and play with her toys for some stretches of time, I’m able to plan meals, organize shopping lists or other basic food management projects.

So, instead of dieting (which I almost just did a typo of as “dying”), I prefer to focus on fitness, on getting my power back. A first phase has just been simple walking. Stacey and I have started to go for evening walks, with Harley along for the journey in her pram. It’s so nice, really – we get to chat and catch up, Harley gets some fresh air and new scenery, and we get our blood flowing. I have no illusions about walking and fitness – I know that walking a couple kilometers extra each day won’t magically get me into top shape again, but it’s a nice and comfy start and way better than sitting on the couch all evening. Once I’m ready, I will add in some higher intensity home exercise stuff. Then again, once Harley starts walking, maybe chasing her around and helping her play on jungle gyms and all the rest will already add quite a bit of exercise to my routine. Still, I am determined to get my power up, and perhaps by committing to it here I’ll be even more encouraged and inspired to add to my fitness journey. For now, I’m happy to walk with Stacey and slowly build ourselves up to walking/jogging (maybe…) five kilometers a day. When Harley is a year old, then I will really start the strength training stuff which will probably help me feel a whole lot more like myself.


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