The Journey Back to a Fitter Me: What’s the Recipe for Success?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  15 comments   :  10,763 Views

Recently, I started this series after having my third child and struggling to return to the land of the physically active.  The first few weeks back, I focused on getting into a consistent routine and finding activities that I enjoy.  Since my free time is limited more now than ever, it’s important that I like what I’m doing.  But just as importantly, I need to make the most of the time I have available.  I had a lot of motivation the first few weeks, but now I’ve hit a few roadblocks.  Just three weeks in, how do I find the drive to stay on the right track?
Week two recap:  I’m getting the routine down pretty well, although my workouts are still a little shorter than I’d like.  At least I’m doing something, which has been the goal up to this point.  Last week my challenge was to find some new exercise videos to mix things up, so I called on my friend, Coach Nicole, for advice.  I asked her for suggestions of videos that were challenging, had both a cardio and strength component, and only lasted about 30 minutes.  She gave me some good suggestions and I’ve already tried a few of them that will be incorporated into my regular video rotation.
Step 3:  Increase the intensity and challenge.  Since I was still active during my pregnancy (just not nearly at the level I was used to), I feel like I’m not starting from ground zero.  If you are, it might be good to wait to increase the intensity or length of your workouts until you feel pretty comfortable with where you are right now.   Everyone is different, so it’s important to do what works best for you.  For me, I know that I’m ready to start doing a little more running than walking, and also increasing the length of my workouts.  For the next few weeks, I’m going to aim for 30-40 minutes of walk/jogging (mostly jogging), 3 days a week.  Doing a short video one or two additional days per week should give me a well-rounded program.  There’s just one small problem…..
I’m tired!  Being a mom of three is exhausting.  I’m up multiple times a night to feed the baby (who doesn’t usually go back to sleep smoothly), and my days are filled with diaper changes, running to and from preschool, work and keeping up with all of the other demands of daily life.  I’m not complaining- I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.  But finding that extra energy to push myself during a workout is not going to be easy to come by.  My plan for now is to try and bump things up, but I’m willing to change my strategy if it starts to feel like exercise is draining me more than energizing me.  I have to be realistic that I can’t do everything 100% all the time.  Although my long-term goal is to run another marathon next year, that’s next year, not right now.  Right now I need to focus on getting stronger, getting rest, and being there for my family.
What about you?  If you’ve recently started back to exercising, how’s it going?  Are you ready to step things up or are you feeling good about how things are progressing right now? 

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    Keep up the good work, it will all fall into place! - 11/14/2011   4:36:46 AM
  • 14
    My three girls are all grown up now, but I still remember what a shock it was how much time caring for a baby takes! Nobody can prepare you for how all-consuming it is, both emotionally and physically. - 11/10/2011   6:05:27 PM
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Kudos for sticking with it and finding solutions that work for your lifestyle! - 11/10/2011   1:47:07 PM
  • 12
    I can sympathize with you, Jen. My situation is a little different from yours but I am struggling a bit too. Since joining Spark I have been very active, and throughout my first pregnancy I exercised almost every day. Since having my daughter, I just never had quite as much time to devote to it, and while I still work out at least 3 times a week for a long time I have been trying to figure out a way to work more into my schedule. Now I am pregnant again and feel so run down. Absolutely zero energy. I am just planning to do the best I can during this first trimester and hopefully I will have more energy. I want to be fit and healthy this pregnancy too and not undo all my hard work that took me from 178 pounds (when I first joined SP) to 115 (goal weight pre-baby #1). Anyway...all this is to say: you can do it and so can I! - 11/10/2011   1:18:45 PM
  • 11
    because i recently introduced running into my routine, i have purposely gone slower and have tended to follow the running program closer to the letter to minimize injury. so far so good! - 11/9/2011   11:35:55 AM
    Keep going. I'm a mom of two (8 & 5 so I can't blame pregnancy), and more than 60 lbs. overweight. I just started and I'm embarrassed to say finding even the smallest exercise difficult. I have to keep going since I don't want to find myself creeping around with a walker in my 60s wondering when this happened and not being able to do anything about it. Finding motivation every day is a challenge, especially when the goals are for life, but seems like you're doing it! Keep it up! - 11/9/2011   10:18:52 AM
  • 9
    I've enjoyed working out for over 30 years ~ injuries, time constraints, and family obligations had created a less than consistent routine for at least the past year. I also do not work out with the intensity I used to. I read a blog that inspired me to set a 'streak' goal...I'm on day three of 30 minutes of exercise each day. So far, so good. My goal is to keep that up throughout the holidays. I'm sure I will gain fitness and endurance with this maybe the consistency will become a habit and the intensity will pick up. - 11/9/2011   9:14:07 AM
    Yes, I am starting back to exercise. I've had a fairly traumatic year but realize this is no excuse for letting myself go. I'm starting gradually and will slowly build up. Next week I'll start doing some strength exercises. - 11/9/2011   2:34:29 AM
  • 7
    i just recently started back to working out and i just finished week 1 of the 28 day challenge. it went really well and i hope/ plan to finish the full 4 weeks. last time i tried the challenge i got sick multiple times which interfered with 2 weeks of the challenge and i just gave up. i'm happy right now with the progress i'm making and the intensity of my current workouts, but i plan on bumping up the intensity in the next few weeks. i don't have kids but i do work with the mentally ill population which can be very exhausting and it has really taken a toll on me physically- i'm tired all the time! i also have prediabetes and hypothryroidism which appear to contribute to my being tired all the time. however, despite the obstacles, we will all power through them and meet our goals, maybe not as soon as we would like, but we will do it nonetheless!! - 11/9/2011   1:05:19 AM
  • 6
    I found AL SEARS, M.D.'s "The PACE Exercise Program" which is 12 minutes and I love it. At age 62, it is working well for me. He has clips on YouTube and a good book explaining how the program works. - 11/9/2011   12:39:25 AM
  • 5
    I can completely relate to everything you've been saying, as I am attempting to get back to where I was a few years ago. Working up to walk/jog a 5k, making sure that I am cooking/eating healthy... but it can be so hard with a 5 year old, work, etc... So far so good, but each day brings it's own challenges. - 11/8/2011   7:41:48 PM
  • RAVENMOM2007
    I am a stay at home mom of three kids four years old and younger with a set of Irish twins, for those that don't know that means my two youngest kids are almost exactly 11 months apart. Finding the energy to motivate myself to do some exercise has been the most difficult part thus far for me but I have started doing a couple exercises during commercial breaks and I plan on starting to do a little walking, but again with two very young kids I don't have much free time or energy in my day - 11/8/2011   5:20:40 PM
  • 3
    I am a single parent of two children, ages 11 and 8. Between kids activities and working fulltime, focusing on my weight loss journey is definitely challenging. Some days (sometimes every day) I feel so burned out that trying to plan healthy meals and compile a budget friendly grocery list (a must for a one income family) is just more than I want to deal with. Since starting on this journey two months ago, whenever I feel like giving up I give myself a little pep talk by telling myself that I have already made the decision to live a healthy lifestyle so I am committed and need to do this whether I like it or not ... not sure how or why but these little self talks seem to be helping me.
    Also, we've given up some things that we don't need so we can enjoy a family membership to our local YMCA. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without this some days as 30 - 60 minutes on the treadmill has become a stress reliever and much needed "me" time. I just plug in my MP3 player and listen to some of my favorite music while I walk, walk, walk with no interruptions. My kids come along with me and play in the family center/super gym, sure they have video games and TVs there, but I encourage them to get some exercise and usually find them playing basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc. So I hope that not only am I getting healthier but my kids are learning from my commitment to exercise and developing some healthy habits of their own ... hopefully this will benefit them in the future. - 11/8/2011   5:07:22 PM
  • 2
    I'm a stay at home mom of 4 kids, ages 21mons, 3, 6 & 8. I've been pretty good w/ at least doing a couple workout dvds a wk, usually Jillian Michaels, so I get a good mix of cardio & weights in a short workout. I joined a Give Thanks for Jillian challenge to give me that extra push to increase my workouts & keep my nutrition in check. This is great for me b/c I'm not focussed on the big pic, which can be overwhelming...I can just focus on what I need to do that day. Finding time w/ kids to workout, even staying home, can be a challenge! I'm hoping for Christmas to get a family Y membership to be able to incorporate some group fitness classes. - 11/8/2011   3:19:18 PM
    OK I am starting at ground zero. 4 - 6 years of running kids to practice, school, forgotten homework, more practices, to school again more forgotten school projects, weekend tournaments etc etc etc. Now the kids are out of the house. Yep I know not a good excuse. So with no other excuses I am going to try to get back in shape. Stats: 55 years old. 50 Lbs over weight. love to snowboard but can't bend over right now to attach my own bindings. Goals: get back on the mountain with my board, also be one of the ones who says you can do it too, see I did. Will leave comments on progress. If appropriate to do so. Tell me if that is so. - 11/8/2011   2:35:50 PM

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