Body image and plans for getting fit
In around the time that the babies were born, James bought a new bike. A really good bike, because he figured if he was going to get serious about commuting to work every day (or at least most days), he needed something reliable and road-worthy. Good for him, right? I of course wanted to encourage him because he’s always been interested in the ‘idea’ of cycling regularly, so it was awesome for him to actually make that happen for himself. He now cycles regularly, has noticed a decrease in his resting heart rate (which is a good thing) and has lost weight (not that he really needed to because he didn’t!), and toned muscles. Again, good for him. I really am happy for him that he’s made the commitment to cycle. I’m proud of his achievements and think it’s great that he has this thing that’s just for him, separate from his other responsibilities.
While I am extremely happy for him, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit envious/jealous that he has that. It takes him roughly 40 minutes to cycle to work, and around 30 to get home. He usually takes longer routes, though, to switch things up and to put in more kilometres. So, for the sake of argument, let’s say on average he cycles for an hour and 45 minutes per day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. (He sometimes takes a bit of a longer lunch, for example, and cycles around Stanley Park, which, wow, yeah, if you are able to take the time to do that, why not, right?!)
Then there’s me. I generally don’t have the ‘luxury’ of upwards of 2 hours (or more, if I so chose) just to exercise. James tries to give me some ‘me time’ after dinner, but it’s generally, these days, just for about an hour (because logistically we then have to wind everyone down for bed time). Yes, I can use that hour for exercise (and I plan to start – which I will get to). But it’s really, REALLY hard to prioritize the time that way. For example, I can exercise, yes, but I’ve also been on the go with the kids since just after 7am. I’m tired. I want to relax and just ‘be.’ I want to write my journal for my blog. I want to check and reply to emails. I want to soak in a bubble bath, wash my hair, what have you. It’s unfortunate that the tiny sliver of time I get to myself each day is at my most tired time. So I’ve had a hard time getting started on the road to exercise since the twins arrived.
I feel that James has it easier (and he doesn’t deny it, it just is what it is!) because he ‘has’ to commute to work, and given he enjoys cycling, it just seemed like a no brainer to make cycling to and from work his way of getting from a to b. I’m not trying to say it’s ‘easy’ – he’s had to work hard to build up to where he is now physically with cycling. As well, it takes mental determination to cycle in the Vancouver area, because we get a LOT of rain here. It’d be so much easier to just hop on the bus and zone out, but he got the right gear for cycling in rain and he just does it. The thing is, he automatically has that time where he has to get to work, so he has the opportunity to choose how he gets there. He can ‘relax’ on the bus insofar as he can sit there and sip a coffee and/or listen to podcasts or music or whatever he chooses. (And sometimes he does that). Or he can cycle, which he absolutely loves, and it has got him fit and will keep him fit if he keeps it up. It’s kind of a win/win for him, really.
Whereas for me, I don’t have the same opportunities. I work inside the home taking care of the kids. So my ‘shift’, if you will, (not that I really look at it that way, just for lack of a better way of putting it!) starts basically the minute I get out of bed. No commute time = no ‘relaxing’ coffee sipping, and certainly there is no time for me to exercise, other than picking up babies and what have you that goes along with having little ones to chase after! I’m lucky if I get through a cup of coffee (that generally isn’t even kept in the same room I’m in between sips, because I can’t put it down on a table in the living room without fear it will be spilled by a baby or a 4 year old!) without it turning into an iced cap first! So yeah…It’s tough, because the amount of time I get to ‘do as I please’ is limited, and sometimes there are other things I need to do, too, besides exercise. If I never take the time to write, I’ll never have anything documenting the kids’ early lives, for example, or what I’m thinking or doing at a given time. That’s not something I’m willing to stop doing so I can exercise. However, it has come to a point where I just HAVE to do it, and it won’t be every day, but my goal right now is for 3 times a week, and I’m going to have to commit to it rain or shine.
My body image isn’t so great since the twins came along. I can’t remember if I’ve written about that already…I just don’t like my body right now. I’m at my biggest ever, well no that’s not true – I was at my ‘biggest ever’ when I was 36 weeks with twins and then they were born and I lost a lot of weight, obviously! But I’m at my biggest not including being pregnant. The twin pregnancy REALLY did me in. (My body is different in a lot of ways, not just weight-wise I’m finding). After I had Andrew I lost at least 20lbs within a couple of DAYS and not long after his birth I was maybe 5lbs above what I was pre-pregnancy. I didn’t do any extra exercising or any dieting to get rid of that, I was fine with it being there, it just didn’t feel like that big a deal to me. My body wasn’t exactly the same as pre-pregnancy, but I didn’t feel there was that huge (no pun intended!) a difference, either. Whereas after the twin pregnancy, I feel like my body has really changed a lot. Sometimes I’ll look in the mirror and maybe it’s just the mood I’m in, but I’ll think, ‘Hey, this isn’t so bad, especially considering I grew two babies at the same time!’ And ultimately I think that’s the truth – a twin pregnancy does take double the toll on one’s body, and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself because it’s really not THAT bad…AND it has only been 8.5 months since the babies were born! They say it can take 2 years for your body to get ‘back to as normal as it will get’ after twins. But regardless, I’m not going to sit here and say I’m happy with my body right now. My hips are actually wider than they were pre-pregnancy and I kind of feel like there’s nothing I can do about that so I’m always going to be bigger, which is kind of sad to me (not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with bigger, I just personally would prefer not to be as big as I am!) I also have some extra sag-factor in my tummy area, some of which I think will be impossible to get rid of (without surgery, which I personally would never get just to shed some extra poundage) because it’s just a matter of how stretched out I was from, once again, carrying twins. That extra baby really makes a big difference! But I definitely could work on toning my stomach, for sure. And the rest of my body. I ultimately just want to feel good about myself, and feeling good about myself IS going to mean losing some weight. Seriously, I would like to strive to lose in the neighbourhood of 30lbs…Though that number really freaks me out because it seems like it will be way too much hard work and determination to do that. Even though it’s what I want, I do worry I won’t get there. Especially because I can’t afford a gym membership for how often I’d actually be able to get there, so that’s out, and like I’ve said, I don’t have very much time to allot to exercise on my own. So I don’t know…I’m thinking maybe saying I want to lose 10lbs might be a more realistic starting point, or maybe to say I want to lose a few inches around the waist (I have no idea what a realistic number of inches to lose would be? 3 or 4? Is it true inches seem to go down even when you haven’t lost a ton of weight? This is all news to me because it’s something I’ve never really worked at before).
All this to say, I have downloaded a free Couch 2 5k app, and I’m going to start it THIS WEEKEND. And I’m going to DO IT, start to finish, without giving up. If I can truly be running 5k in 8 weeks, I will be so amazed with and proud of myself, so why not strive for that, right? And if I can feel better about my body and have more energy and feel more alive, why wouldn’t I do that?
I’m writing about this because I want to feel accountable for my actions on this. Sure, there might be days where I can’t run, but there are going to be more days where I can, so there’s no excuse not to stick with the program and make this happen. Doing the Couch 2 5k, on it’s own, doesn’t mean I will lose a ton of weight, and I know that…I also have to control my diet better, and get other forms of exercise happening, but I’m pretty sure this program will motivate me in other ways, too. Just having the discipline to stick with this even on days when I just don’t feel like it will make me feel better about myself, because I’ll be accomplishing something. And whatever happens with it, if I’m doing it and enjoying it, I just might feel good about the fact that, like James, I will have something healthy going on that’s just for me.