Welcome to looking like a mom.
You know the story. Get married. Have kids. No money. No time. Get fat. For life. End of story.
It’s not a very happy ending but it’s happening more often and at younger ages than ever.
So the question is, can you have kids and attain, maintain or regain your ideal body? Without role models, I found it nearly impossible to even believe this was possible. It was not until I tracked down the simple truth that I was able to achieve the body of my dreams.
Now it’s my mission to inspire you. (Stop looking around. I really am talking to you!)
Here’s me at my best before look, after kids and finallly how I look now at 47 years old:
Life Before Kids
Before having kids, I had plenty of money and time to play, travel, eat well and stay fit. I met and married my husband Al (whose story very much aligns with my own so go have a look!) We had no idea what was about to hit us. Like so many couples, our double-income-no-kids lifestyle afforded us pretty much whatever we wanted.
Enter the Kids
Once we became parents, we made the decision to become a single-income homeschooling family. We adore our kids and nothing makes us happier than seeing them happy. Like many parents, we learned that food is one of the chief ways to maintain the peace. Ben and Jerry’s, pizza and pasta were our drugs of choice. What do you use? Fast food drive through? Microwave dinners? Chips? Who has time, right? Rather suddenly, our days of looking young and sexy had become a thing of the past.
Welcome to Frumpy
It’s a demoralizing but natural progression that once you have kids, you don’t have to concern yourself with your body shape. You’ve already snagged your mate. Who cares what you look like? And anyway, why worry; we all know the metabolism slowing inevitably leads to these changes, rrrright? (Are you buying this crap?) Older equals fatter and that’s that.
Only, we’re not dead yet. While the media tout accepting and loving your body as it is, I found this a hard pill to swallow. Seriously? I’m in my forties, have had two pregnancies, so I should embrace the sag and the flab and just be grateful for what my body has brought me? Don’t get me wrong! I adore my kids. But being frumpy? Not so much.
“Are you Pregnant?”
Perhaps the kick in the ass I needed to finally make an effort to give myself the gift of my body back was that people kept asking if I was pregnant. Awkward! At the time, I cursed the fact that most of my extra fat piled onto my belly and, like so many women, complained about clothing not being shaped like “real” people. I now know that underneath the fat, we are all shaped pretty much the same but clothing manufacturers don’t stand a chance of creating clothing to match every possible shape. Fat piles on in a unique fashion for each of us and often it’s simply not flattering. Lots of my mom friends suffer from the humiliation of excess belly fat and regular invasive queries as to the contents of their uterus. Do you? Or perhaps you suffer from back boobs, thunder thighs, birthing hips or big bones. Believe it or not, you can get beyond all of these issues to the body of your dreams.
Enter 4000 calorie workouts and cheat days
Like most women, I believed the commonly held wisdom that the solution was to burn it off. I became a self-proclaimed transformation expert. I devoured all the current nutrition, fat loss and exercise articles and put my money where my mouth was, literally. I spent hours in the gym with a heart rate monitor and diligently scarfed as many fun calories as possible on weekly cheat days. I followed so many programs that involved eliminating this and combining that. What I refused to do was consider calories. What did I learn? Diets don’t work. Of course, I blamed myself and tried harder. Have you continued to follow a program that didn’t bring you the results you sought? Yes, that’s the definition for insanity but the marketing was so compelling so it just had to work. Eventually.
Talk to the Hand
Miraculously, a friend introduced me to Eat Stop Eat. And by introduce, I mean she was kind enough to share with me numerous times about how easy and simple fasting was despite my dismissive attitude. Fasting would never work for me. (Read these with a whiney voice.) “I get dizzy.” “I’ll throw up.” “I have low blood sugar or hypoglycemia or, um, well something. I just can’t.” ”I’m a snowflake!” Yes, I was the queen of justifying my failure to do the things that will actually work.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself actually giving it a whirl and nothing tragic happened. I got up and didn’t eat “the most important meal of the day“. I lived my life, parented my kids, made dinner, and lookie that! I’d banked 2/3 of my day’s calories. All this without it taking up any extra time and all because a tiny crack opened up in my mind just enough to hear what my friend was kind enough to share with me about her transformation.
Having an open mind is key to success. Also, recognizing what is simple and sensible as compared to magical and mystical is the secret to success. Oh. Yeah. And following the plan is kind of critical too. Did you forget about that? Just knowing isn’t quite gonna get the job done!
MILF: Momma Isn’t Loving Frumpy
The other piece of the puzzle was learning about the research done by John Barban and Brad Pilon. These guys discovered that there is simple math that links ideal metrics to height for both men and women. Even before kids, when my figure was “fine” and “good enough” (see my dieted down photoshoot photo above), I never quite felt I had it figured out. You can’t discuss this stuff with anyone because, well, it sounds too vain. It’s fine to get un-fat. But you can’t just come out and talk about wanting to take it all the way.
I didn’t know what was “wrong” with my body, just that I was vaguely dissatisfied. The knowledge that there was a simple formula that dictated my ideal waist, shoulder and hip size plus a program I could follow that would lead me there was empowering and freeing! My transformation got fully underway once all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Not only did I need to hack away at the fat (A.K.A diet), I needed specific goals that would bring me to my ideal numbers, the knowledge that this was attainable, and a simple program to achieve the best look. I had always believed some bodies look one way and other bodies look another and there is little we can do to affect this. How freeing to no longer be limited to trying to accept my sagging momma body and further, to learn I could get the shape I’d always wanted even though I was in my mid-40s.
The Rest Is History!
Following the programs is not especially sexy to talk about. I blogged quite a bit on the community forums so feel free to have a look. Luckily, lots of others blog as well so you’re sure to find someone or many someones whose journey resonates with you. I highly recommend blogging as the process helps you to clarify your thoughts and you get excellent feedback and support.
What’s next? You tell me!
Thanks for reading this far! My transformation journey was not just personal: my husband and one of my girls have improved as well. She has come a long way and it’s been tricky navigating this while maintaining her self-esteem. My other daughter is a competitive gymnast who has always been lean and strong and we’ll be sure to do everything we can to keep her on track. We all motivate each other to stay active and healthy. Would you like to hear more about how things are going with my 12 year old daughter? Would you like to hear how it was initially doing my transformation alone a full year before my husband? Would you like to hear about recomposition: the process of making subtle improvements over a longer period of time? Something else? Please let me know how I can inspire you to attain, maintain or regain your best body!
If you want to hear more from me, you can also listen to the interview I did with John Barban this Monday here: How Many Contests Does it Take to Become Venus?