The nightstand
Seven I'm Determined to Make Them Quick Takes

This should go over at Hot By Thirty...

...but I am not updating that blog anymore SO YOU ARE STUCK. Sorry!

I stepped on the scale this morning and Lo and Behold I was down to my birthday weight, aka my lowest point. HALLELUJAH. Let this be a lesson, my friends. Announcing, "It's my BIRTHDAY!" before you deposit deep fried calamari, nachos, cake, more cake, these amazing french fries with amazinger cheese sauce, and MORE CAKE into your mouth, in addition to downing many glasses of wine, beer and pretty cocktails does not, in fact, keep the weight off. Of course, I'm not sure how I got rid of it. There was a trip to Las Vegas in which I spent at least half the time eating, and then a long string of exercise-less days since our return, because my kids no longer nap.

[That is another post. AND OH YES I SHALL SUBJECT YOU TO IT.]

I've been thinking a LOT about exercise and diet and maintaining/losing weight, what works and what doesn't [FOR ME] and what I am capable of and what I'm not, what I WANT to work for and what I couldn't really care less about. And while I've been down about my decrease in exercise (due to the aforementioned trip and also THE CHILDREN) I've been thinking about this health kick post and this Time magazine cover story about why exercise "won't make you thin".  Iiiinteresting!

A few months ago my treadmill broke and I have yet to fix it. That didn't mean I stopped running, it just meant I stopped running nearly every day. (And by "running" I mean "chubby girl slow jog". Don't get excited.) I started doing the 30DS workout a lot more often, and running outside when I got the chance, usually 2 to 3 times a week. I've been crediting exercise with helping me lose the 8-10 pounds I've lost beyond my pre-baby weight. I'd lost 30 pounds before with next to no exercise whatsoever, so I knew that what I put in my mouth was the most important thing. But these last two weeks or so with hardly any exercise have been hard psychologically. Hard because I am perfectly fine NOT exercising and therefore I feel GUILTY. Gah. And then there are days like today, when I really intended to slide that 30DS DVD into the player and get going and... well, I think I said I would save the no napping for another post.

So I'm tempted to justify my lack of exercise with the above links. All the studies are saying extended amounts of cardio are pointless! Stop feeling so guilty! Just don't eat that piece of pie at your mom's house! EASY!

Then last night I was Not Doing Well and I had this really unfamiliar need to do physical work. I don't know. I just really wanted to... push myself. Or something. So I put my shoes on and went for a chubby girl slow jog around my neighborhood. I was sweaty and panting and tired and I FELT SO MUCH BETTER. I know. You are all amazement.

And ever since I started doing the shred more often, I feel stronger. I can tell I have muscles now (even if they are, alas, still smothered in fat) and Phillip often makes darling comments about how I look more "toned" blah blah blah. Isn't he sweet? There is a huge difference in the body that could not even move after a first attempt at Level 1 and the body that barely makes it through (but still makes it through!) Level 3. I can't say my body looks different, but it FEELS different.

So what I decided today is that I need to divorce exercise from weight loss. In my HEAD. I don't know how scientifically WRONG that is, but I think in my Grand Maintain My Weight Scheme, it's something I need to do. If I start thinking of exercise as something that I don't need to do to lose weight, then I don't want to do it. EVER. That Time article was huuuuge justification! And I've already proved to myself that I can control my weight just with diet. But my run last night is evidence that I need exercise anyway. It's effects on weight loss may be negligible (and I think at this point it is, since I'm not working hard or long enough to make a difference at this weight), but the effects on my mental health are huge. I need to remember that. I don't have any proof, but what if consistent exercise this year factored into my anxiety-free winter? If that's the case, my 20 to 30 minutes of exercise mostly-every-day are SO WORTH IT. Feeling stronger makes me feel GOOD.

I am not willing to "prioritize" exercise any more than that, though. I have limited amounts of free time and I am loathe to spend all of it in a sports bra. What I AM willing to push, at least this week, is what I'm eating. Which is why I signed up for a free Weight Watchers trial. It's a big learning curve for me, since a lot of the things I feel free to eat on a low carb diet are off limits. So long, cheese! But I ate a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, WITH brown sugar, and my carb fiend heart was in heaven. I want to try it for a week and see what happens. I'd like to learn a little more about what things are good and what things aren't, and how much and how little, and I think this could help. We'll see. I'm perfectly willing to go back to my old cheesy ways if it doesn't work for me. I have to admit I'm a little afraid of how much sugar is in a lot of the stuff WW says is okay to eat (YOGURT, I'm looking at you) but everyone I know who's successfully kept weight off has done it with WW.

Of course, I have a couple of Cake Boss episodes stored on my TiFaux and PEOPLE. Talk about a diet FAIL. What's the cake show with Duff? I like that show, but Cake Boss shows them making and frosting the cakes from the very beginning and every single time, I swear, ask Phillip, I'm all, "Ohhhhhhh... let's go eat a big vat of BUTTERCREAM."


Sarah in Ottawa

I am the queen of justifying why I have not exercised. I can't read the Time article for that very reason. I know that I *should* do it, but I just cannot get excited. I hate to sweat! And while the endorphin rush is great, I always forget about it before the next time. And then I feel guilty and want to snack. Fitness FAIL.

I had great success with WW for a long time. I joined to encourage my Mom to do it. I figured that I could drop about 15 lbs to get back in the 120s (I'm 5"4 and buxom like you), and I did, keeping it off for 2 years. Then, I got married and moved and...well, stopped eating so few calories.

Right now, I'm kind of meh. I am down below my pre-pregnancy weight (still expressing, so I've hit a plateau) and all my pants are too big while shirts are comically too small. I don't want to fixate too much -- perfectionistic me was a disordered eater through high school/university - but I figure I'd like to lose 5-8 more lbs and call it a day. But I would like to get better muscle tone. Sigh. I'll just have to suck it up and exercise, I guess. Perhaps I'll use your success as my inspiration. Also - any tips on good sports bras? I never have luck, and it's beyond insane right now.


Hooray for WW! I joined not long after Emily started having such success with it in her post-Asher days. And I LOVE IT. I credit it with my Jake-weight loss happening so quickly and I CAN'T WAIT to get back to it after #3 is born. That said, I also exercise a lot (okay. Not when I'm pregnant. I don't exercise at all lately, actually.) mostly because it makes me feel so good. Tim will even tell me when I've been excessively grumpy (read: mean to him) that "maybe tomorrow you should get out for a walk. You always feel so good when you do that." Which translates into, "would you please get some exercise so you'll stop biting my head off for asking innocent questions such as where are my jeans?"

Regarding 30DS, I loved the exercise, but I also loved feeling - for the first time ever - "sculpted." No one looking at me would ever use that word to describe me, but that's how I felt. I could feel it changing my body and it made me happy and confident. OKAY. And I loved pretending that I was punching Jillian during the punching part.


Very interesting, this notion of divorcing exercise from weight loss. Sometimes I think I really would enjoy a walk but then I'm all no, must run! Fast! and then I end up doing nothing. Which is good for neither mental health or weight loss. So you may be on to something here.

Sarah - I've had expensive sports bras and cheap ones. The best mix of cost/support I've found is to buy semi cheap sport bras at Walmart and then just wear two when I go for a run. I've never found the expensive ones justify their cost for the complete lack of difference I notice.


I try to divorce exercise from weight loss in my head too. Obviously I am losing weight right now and I think the exercise is helping with that (the nice thing about the surgery is that the argumentation about stuffing your face post-exercise doesn't really apply anymore), my goal with working out is to be healthy and fit and strong. And the weight loss is kind of a side benefit.

Salome Ellen

AS a co-anxious person, I concur on the "exercise as sorta-Prozac" idea. I weigh much more than I should, directly linked to how much I put in my mouth, but I find that "The only thing worse than doing my exercises -- walking and a yoga/Pilates fusion -- is NOT doing my exercises." Eat properly for physical health, exercise for mental health.


I've talked to several people who read that Time article, and it kind of frustrates me because they latch onot the idea of not needing to exercise. But cardio helps your heart health! It helps you live longer. Strength training makes you strong, and frankly if you're losing weight by watching what you eat, it tones you up as you do so you don't just look flabby as it comes off. It has so many heath benefits, like helping depression and sleep problems. So when we're talking total health (of which weight loss is a part) exercise is very important. And I can't count how many women at the gym I've talked to who swear their weight finally came off because of running.

I say this even though it's hard for em to do regularly and I have to fight with myself to do and I am fat.


Exercise = endorphins = happy brain.


The show with Duff is Ace of Cakes! Love it :) He's got that stupid annoying laugh, and it just makes me want to be his bff!


I only run when people are chasing me. Seriously. I am so impressed by you.

Sarah in Ottawa

I caved and read the article. Why? Because one of my girlfriends is the co-author of one of the papers cited! She's finishing up her PhD at Harvard, and her research found that children who exercise eat, on average, 100 more calories then they've just burned. Go Kendrin!

The article's findings (and Salome Ellen above) echo the only thing that I've ever found to be true -- eating less (i.e. fewer calories than you use) is the only sure way to weight loss.


Gah. I've been not exercising for too long and I really need to start again. But I don't want to!

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