Q&A with Mary
Mary is a mother of four who blogs about her life at The Fish Pond .
How much weight have you lost so far?
I’m down a total of 33 pounds from being at my heaviest, when the number on the scale scared me, but only about 28 pounds of that is since I started actively trying to lose weight.
When did you start on your journey and what is your goal?
I started officially the very end of April 2010; my goal is to lose 50 pounds by the end of April 2011. I’ve hit a bit of a plateau these last couple of months; I haven’t gained any, but I haven’t been losing, either. My plan is to hit it hard again after the kids go back to school after the holidays.
I’ve noticed that you have been working toward your goals for many months and I feel that this is a very relatable and realistic situation for many mothers trying to reclaim their fitness. What helps you stay motivated and goal-oriented?
My mother died of a heart attack at 37, when I was 15. I want to be here for my kids, and I want to set a good example of a healthy lifestyle for them, which my mother didn’t do for me. I also think it’s important to model working hard for a long time to achieve a goal that’s important to me, and to deal with the challenges that entails – they need to see the value in working hard for something you want. I surround myself with friends who are fit and fitness oriented – on facebook, on sparkpeople, and on dailymile, and they inspire me with their efforts. I want to be healthier and strong, and as I’ve had success and those loads of laundry have seemingly gotten lighter, going up those stairs from my basement up three floors to my loft has become easier, it’s easier for me to stay focused and keep at it. I like being strong enough to carry my 11 year old up the stairs to her room when she’s being obstinate. Keeps them on their toes.
You have lost a lot of weight this past year, what are some of the exercises and dieting methods you used to lose the weight?
For exercise, I walk. Sometimes I’ll ride a stationary bike or swim, and I try to add in strength and toning exercises and light weight work. I really want to be a runner, but my knees and ankles really, really don’t want me to be a runner. Every so often I forget and run a little, but then my knees and ankles remind me of why that wasn’t such a good idea. So then I walk. And walk. And sometimes hike for variety. I like to do 4-5 miles at a time.
For diet I joined sparkpeople.com, a free healthy lifestyle site. I more or less knew how I should eat, but I really had no idea about portion control. But I can follow directions. I can eat a half a cup of yogurt and half a banana when it tells me to. I also like that I can customize the menus to incorporate my food allergies and preferences (I will NEVER eat lima beans). I also track my exercise on there, and it’s motivating to see how far I’ve come and how well I’m doing.
What’s your fitness background like — have you always led a healthy lifestyle?
Actually, the opposite, and that’s how I got into this situation in the first place! Up until I graduated from college I weighed 85 pounds, which isn’t as alarming as it sounds, because I’m only 4’10”. I could eat anything I wanted without gaining anything, and while I walked a lot, it was walking to get somewhere, rather than for exercise. I hated any type of exercise for the sake of exercise, and did the bare minimum I needed to do to get my phys ed credits in college. Once I graduated and got a “real” job, I stopped walking so much, and the pounds slowly but steadily crept on, more rapidly after I had four c-sections in 7 years. I had wanted to do something about it for a long time, but really it wasn’t until months after I weaned my last child that I felt I had the energy to deal with the challenge – it took 9 months until my body got the message that it didn’t have to keep anyone but me alive and stopped producing milk. I didn’t stop eating like I was trying to keep someone else alive, though.
You write for your own blog, and you stay home full time with your four kids. How do you make the time to exercise?
I just try to cut myself some slack and do what I can when I can. I make sure to get dressed in my workout gear first thing, so that I’m ready to go if I get a spare moment. I tried getting up early to exercise, but I’m really not a morning person and it takes me far too long to get going – I’d finally get warmed up about the time I needed to get my kids off to school. I would like to do 3 or 4 workouts a week, and some weeks I do that, but more often it’s only two, on the two days that my younger son is in preschool for four hours at a time. We do try to do something active as a family on the weekends, so I’m at least moving and burning a few calories then, even if it’s not the pace or intensity that I can do during my own workouts.