I distinctly remember the day the tipping point came. We were visiting my in-laws over the summer. We had a week of delicious snacks and dinners, along with lots (and lots) of adult beverages poolside. I was wearing a new maxi dress and ran out to the grocery store with my 3-year-old to pick up a few necessities (milk and more adult beverages). While we perused the aisles, I encountered an elderly woman who glanced down at my mid-section and over to my chatty toddler and gave me a knowing smile. While she didn’t verbalize it, I could hear her think, “So sweet, time for another baby.”
I shook it off until not FIVE MINUTES later, I had another similar experience with a harried-looking mom with three rambunctious boys. My hand subconsciously drifted to my belly. I looked down. Sure enough, my stomach had that gentle swell of a 20-ish-week pregnancy accentuated by my new, suddenly-too-thin cotton dress (thanks for nothing, Old Navy). For the rest of the outing, I lovingly cradled my food and beer baby belly (if it looked like I was pregnant, I might as well look happy about it) so as not to feel self-conscious about what that lovely pooch actually was — gluttony and lack of exercise.
A few days later, I declared to my husband that I was pulling the trigger on getting a family membership to the YMCA. I marched down there the very next day and signed us up.
The Y amenities work well for us. There is consistent child care, indoor and outdoor pools, and lots of high quality cardio equipment. I was most excited for the array of fitness classes. I got myself a schedule and started plugging dates and times into my calendar.
The first class I participated in was Zumba. I had taken a bunch of Zumba classes pre-children and really enjoyed them. I was pumped to shimmy and Cumbia my way to leaner and fitter. Yeah. Well. You know those people they put in the waaaaaayyyy back of the flash mob because the choreographer needs the bodies but those individuals obviously lack any coordination or rhythm? That was me. Instead of pop and locking it, I was flailing and wailing it. But I had a smile on my face the entire time. It was a lot of fun.
I took a cardio fusion class next. The instructor was upbeat and encouraging, and I loved the music. I was doing pretty well with the strength training component, and then the cardio began to kick in. I gained a valuable lesson pretty quickly: In addition to working out my major muscle groups, I should also be exercising some smaller, internal muscles as well. Ah hem… I needed to practice some kegels. Once we started doing some kind of rapid toe-tapping/jumping/squatting combo, I nearly lost my dignity even more than during my Zumba experience. I took a quick bathroom break and was able to jump back into the routine. I was proud of myself for making it through the class.
It’s been almost six months now, and I have gotten into a pretty good routine of making it to the YMCA two or three times a week. I have lost almost 10 pounds, and my clothes are fitting much more comfortably. Even more importantly, I have noticed an increase in my stamina, and I feel much stronger. I feel better about myself, and because I have been committed to going to the gym, I am more committed to eating healthier, too. I call that a win-win!
Now that the new year is upon us, I encourage you to make a new fitness or health goal. (If you need help getting started, Boston Moms Blog has a great fitness directory.)
One of the reasons I have been able to keep up my new lifestyle is from journaling my workouts and eating habits. It holds me accountable and helps me see the bigger picture. There are plenty of apps that are great for journaling, or an old-fashioned hard copy would work too!
Another nice thing about my YMCA is that it’s down the street from Old Navy. I returned that maxi dress. But I was able to pick up another one in a smaller size!