My Baby Belly Battle

strongest-man

I loathe my baby belly.

And all the mother’s out there who have given birth to their children know exactly what I mean. It’s that tire of flabbed out muscle and mushy fat left over from carrying watermelon sized babies around in your abdomen. And even after you’ve breastfed both children (hoping they suck off the extra pounds), even after you patiently wait out the old mantra “9 months in, 9 months out”, even after everything else seems to have gone back to where it was… (eh… pretty much… good enough at least… if you squint with one eye… after your contacts are out) – that baby belly stays right with me like some trusty sidekick. It just won’t quit. It’s as if your abdomen is thinking “Hey, hanging out here in the wind really ain’t so bad after all. If it works for Homer Simpson, it works for me.” And you are left avoiding the empire waisted shirts or anything remotely maternity-ish for fear that if you wander too close to a Babies R Us, you’ll hear a squealed “ooooh, when are you due???” I’m not exaggerating either. It’s happened to me.

So I really loathe my baby belly. And I swear to you. I am not getting all vain here either. Honestly. I am not all into losing weight or getting some hard, Linda Hamilton type of bod. No way, being stacked like that just doesn’t get me that fired up. My body is my body, take it or leave it. All I reeeeally want to do is wear jeans WITHOUT the muffin top – do you catch what I’m saying?

So back to that damned baby belly. I want it gone. And how do I do that? Hold on to your hats folks, its a totally crazy concept for me. Here it comes… Exercise.

BOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Hiiiisssssssss…. virtual rotten tomatoes are being lobbed at such a concept.

But, heres the thing. Or irony of it all. I have a college coach for a husband. And he majored in – of all things – P.E. (For real, he did. Side bar I know, but he actually took college classes in badminton and ballroom dancing and teaching kids how to play kickball. And he ALSO took a lot of nutrition and physiology classes. Hence my perfect resource.) It’s crazy really. I had to marry a guy who is so damn physically gifted – athletics, sports, and physical fitness come as naturally as breathing for him. So, yeah, he certainly knows what it takes to get my flabby midsection back in the saddle again. I have an expert living right along next to me.

But can I also mention WHY I love my husband dearly? Because he NEVER, and I mean NEVER, has suggested I work on my belly by the way. He could care less if I do. He loves me as is. But when I ask questions, he is happy to provide information. Score for me.

So. Finally. I asked that husband of mine what I need to do to get my baby belly to bugger off. And he said two things. Aerobic exercise and toning my ab muscles.

(And then there is a third. Eat better. Whatever. Pass the Halloween candy.)

Huh. Now lets back the truck up a bit here. I hate exercise. (Hence those lobbed tomatoes.) I was the dorky, awkwardly tall, uncoordinated kid in bad glasses who dreaded P.E. I have not one ounce of competitiveness in me. And so when a soccer ball hit me square in the face at age 6 and my glasses went flying – I cashed it in. I mean, ow. That hurt. I could care less which net the ball got into. Exercise, sports, getting all sweaty = NOT. FOR. ME.

Well, at the ripe age of 35 and after having two large boys, exercise is no longer optional. If I don’t want to look like a potato with toothpicks sticking out of it, I better get off my ass. (Note: yeah, yeah, I am sure I am exaggerating. While I may not look exactly like said potato, I feel like said potato – and THAT, my friends, is JUST as bad in my book.)

And let’s not forget that studies have proven that exercise lowers a woman’s risk of breast cancer – which my mother has had. And weight bearing exercise will build my bones now and help me avoid osteoporosis – which my mother has. It’s time to get out the door and get it done.

So after all this whining about my baby belly, what have I started doing about it? How do I get to work on kicking its ass when I have a coach husband who never works regular hours like 9 to 5 and is often gone weekends? When I don’t have the extra cash to join the Y (with the baby sitting included)? When I don’t have any fancy stair master in some personal gym in the basement? How do I commit to cardio and toning? This is what I do.

1) Do I have a half hour? Yup. All I ask myself is to spend a half hour of my day doing something that raises my heart rate above “yawn, stretch, thump, wassup, oh yeah right, thump“.

2) If I am by myself, I get out the door and walk. Fast. With music. Walk, walk, walk.

3) If I am by myself, can I dare myself to run, just a little bit? Yup. It sucks, but I get done faster.

4) If I have the kids, can I drag or push them in any way? I don’t have a jogging stroller but pushing a heavy sit-n-stand or pulling 75 pounds of children in wagon has gotta give me some kind of work out.

5) Can’t leave the house? Out comes my jump rope in front of the TV

6) Ab time? Groan. I ask myself to do 80 sit ups, 20 jack knifes and some minimal core work. That’s it.

So its not much, right? But its more than what I was doing. A LOT more. And the funny part is that its actually becoming addicting. I can’t wait to get out and do it – even if it SUCKS while I’m doing it. But I will do whatever I can to get out there.

This is all so UN-me, I am telling you. Like today, me, dragging that wagon full of my kids. Even trying to run while pulling it. I swear I must have looked like I was in The Worlds Strongest Man (Or World’s Lamest Mom) competition. You know, when they are pulling a car behind them? That was me and that wagon trying to run but really barely getting anywhere. It kicked my ass, I am telling you. And probably offered my neighbors some comedy in their day.

But I’m doing it. I’m trying.

Do I see any difference? Nope, not yet. No idea if I’m losing weight because I don’t care about that (I don’t even own a scale, I think they’re evil). I still have my tried and true muffin top rockin out of my jean top. But I remind myself that it can’t happen over night. (Not with that lovely, delish bowl of Halloween candy sitting right here besides me as I type this. Oh no.)

But I’m doing it. I’m trying.

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11 Comments

Filed under Aging, Breast cancer, Children, Educating myself, Exercise, Health, Identity crisis, Mothers, Panicking, Self-analysis

11 responses to “My Baby Belly Battle

  1. I promise to wage war against my baby belly all the time. The most frustrating part is that I run, on average, about 20 miles a week (more if I’m training for a race) and the belly just kind of jiggles along with me. I know the problem…I must eat better and maybe do some of those dreadful ab exercises. I just hate letting go of my carbs (love pasta, bread and rice) and it’s never fun when I’ve worked my abs so hard that I can’t laugh without wincing. But maybe I’ll join you in your effort this time around. It’s so much easier to reach a goal when doing it with someone.

  2. Damn, I just read this after scarfing down a burger and fries…all to ward off the evil fuzziness of last night’s wine, roasted marshmallows, and 3 chocolate chip cookies. I am a becoming a mushy mama. Argh.

    I hate exercise but drag my ass to the gym a few days a week. I’m not seeing results, but the ol’ 40 yr old bod ain’t looking too shabby if I say so myself. The muffin top and back fat are badges of motherhood (least that’s what I tell myself).

  3. Hmm. I’ve got baby belly, but no baby (I’m a guy…) At least y’all have excuses!

  4. Great post. I’ve also recently started the baby belly war. Could you tell me how to do a good tummy crunch, please? I’m not sure I’m doing it right.

  5. I hate the E word too but I’ve got baby belly 2 years after. I was actually resting my hand on my belly cushion while I read your post. I’ve thought about getting up off the couch and doing something about it. I keep thinking what’s the point since we’re planning on TTC next year…but not until the summer. So it’s funny that I give myself the, “Well, you’ll be pregnant again” excuse to try and get myself out of exercising. My poor treadmill is the dustiest item in the house. I think I should change that…or at least dust it off so people think I use it.

  6. Your Hot SIL (not Meryl, you doofus)

    Well, I share your hubby’s genetics if not his love of exercise (I maintain he was dropped on his head. Repeatedly. It’s the only explanation for Why He Is The Way He Is.), and I do feel the need to warn you.

    Sometimes, baby belly has nothing do do with fat. Sometimes, your FRICKING FRACKING skin is stretched out and THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT EXCEPT REFUSE TO BE SEEN IN PUBLIC WITHOUT A GIRDLE. I swear, my stomach looks WORSE when I get fitter, because there is no fat stretching the skin smooth and it just hangs there like a sad, crepey drip dry piece of CRAP.

    But, I’m not bitter. I fully embrace my womanhood and the body that testifies to my elemental female power of fecundity.

    Whatever. This getting old business is BULLS**T. I want my old body back.

  7. I just pulled two pair of jeans out of the closet today that I thought I might stand an itty bitty chance of fitting into. Nope. But at least the legs fit this time, but, alas, it’s the baby belly that I couldn’t squeeze in.

    I once read a great article from a woman who embraced her baby fat because it was the wonders of her body that allowed her to birth healthy children. Yeah, I appreciate it, but I don’t have to like it. So I signed up at http://www.sparkpeople.com for some help – it’s free! Wanna do it with me?

  8. If you exclude the coach husband and switch the boys for 1 girl, this sounds like it could have been written by me.

    Except my execising addiction ended last week. I was doing well for 4 weeks (still had the muffin top, but it seemed to be disappearing). I have to get back into it. Just too cold here in NY to walk and that is what I was doing (along with the sit-ups and crunches).

    Good luck!

  9. I’m quasi-succeeding at a walking regimen. Which is to say – I’ve been successfully walking once a week, when my goal has been three. But when I do walk, it’s five miles, and it takes me 40 minutes. I’ve incorporated it into my day (in that I’m walking home from work), which is the only way I know for me to be even quasi-successful at exercise.

  10. Sarah

    Good for you. Exercise has always been a huge hurdle for me also. One from which I generally back away quickly. I know it would be very good for me – hopefully I can get motivated too. Very proud of you for giving it a go!

  11. Thanks for all the support! I gotta say I have two things going for me & they keep me from making excuses too often.
    1) I’m not working so I can get out whenever it works (altho bringing the kids takes away my motivation for sure sometimes).
    2) The weather, its pretty damn perfect here in FL and can always be outside. But if you can’t get outside, malls early in the a.m. are supposed to work great? Or local HSs or College campuses might have open hours?

    Janine – My husband rec’d I lay flat on the floor, bring knees up, cross ankles, grasp hands behind head and lift my head and shoulder blades up over tum. Does that make sense? I hope its right, cuz its what I am doing.

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