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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A working mom's struggle to lose weight

Welcome to the today's guest blog. I am featuring the views of a guest writer. Feel free to send me your entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Jill Dolan

As my beloved, late grandmother would say, “Good intentions pave the way to heaven, but they don’t get you in.”
Heaven for me would be the loss of 30 pounds. I’m a married mother of two with a full time job, and despite the best intentions and a world of resources, I just can’t make it happen.
I have a gym at work that we are urged by our company to use faithfully, a health club membership near my home, a state of the art treadmill in my basement, a pool in the backyard large enough for laps, a double jog stroller, and a shiny red bicycle. With all those resources, which I realize I’m fortunate to have, I can’t go wrong, right? .
I have purchased almost every popular diet and fitness book and cookbook out there. I’ve read and tried them, with small successes (albeit temporary) here and there. I have a multitude of fitness videos. I buy them figuring I’ll get up early or do them after the kids go to bed. I can certainly make time for that, right? All I need is 30 minutes, the DVD player, and a toy-free space on the carpet. No problem.
I buy vegetables and lean meats on every grocery store trip, with the intention of making healthy and low fat meals for my family. I peruse my cookbooks for healthy recipes. My mission is to transform them (and myself!) into healthy eaters. Those are my intentions. This is my reality.

5:00 am. Alarm goes off. Time for yoga video. All I have to do is roll out of bed onto the floor and flick the DVD player on. I foggily think that I would get more benefit from 30 more minutes of sleep, since I stayed up late folding laundry while watching Entourage (or 24, House, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Sopranos, American Idol, name the night, I’ll name the show.)

5:30 a.m. Get up. Skipped yoga tape, but figure I’ll go to the gym on my lunch hour. Pack gym bag, shower, get dressed, then get kids up, dressed, fed, and off to first grade and preschool, then on to work.

7:30 a.m. At work. Plan to go the gym around 1:00, after the usual 12:00 rush. Schedule it on my calendar.

12:30 p.m. The boss calls. Emergency team meeting at 1:00. Special rush project for clients. Everyone has to pitch in. No gym today. Oh well, maybe I’ll jog the kids around the neighborhood in the stroller after dinner or go swimming, or maybe even walk in my neighborhood or on the treadmill after they go to bed.

5:00 p.m. Quitting time. Pick up both kids and fight nasty traffic.

6:00 p.m. Home. We all are tired and hungry. Look in fridge and think about some nice lean chicken and steamed vegetables for dinner. Kids will hate it and refuse to eat. Decide that spaghetti and meat sauce be peaceful, quicker, and use less pots and pans. Make some pasta and open a jar of tomato sauce, add some ground beef. Presto – quick dinner and the kids love it. I eat a portion that’s way too big. (By the end of the week, those vegetables in the fridge go bad. I throw them out and am wracked with guilt about wasting money and perfectly good food.)

7:00 – After dinner. Clean up kitchen while my older child does her homework. Kitchen cleaned up, homework done. Now they need baths. No time for walking or swimming.

8:00 – Baths done, kids have pajamas on. Bedtime. Read books to each child and talk about what happened that day and what’s in store for the next day. Tuck them in for the night. Put them back in bed after they get up to ask for a glass of water, or in the case of my youngest, asking to have any of his various pirate knickknacks covered up because they “freak him out.”

9:00 – Kids asleep! At last, some free time. The kitchen is clean, but the rest of the house is a mess, and there are piles of dirty clothes, even though I’m constantly doing laundry. And I haven’t read the mail or the newspaper yet. Do some straightening up, flip through the mail, glance through the paper, put in some laundry, and sit down to watch a favorite show for a few minutes and chat with my husband, who just got home.

10:30p.m. Go to bed. Set alarm for 5:00 a.m. in order to get up and do yoga video, I’ll definitely start that tomorrow.

OK, so this doesn’t happen ALL the time. I do make nutritious meals sometimes. But sometimes we also eat out, or order in, and our choices usually aren’t healthy. And, I do get to the gym at work most days. However, I change, work out, shower, change again, fix hair and makeup, and get back to my desk all in one hour. This makes for an all-too-brief workout. Even though I do this workout most days, I don’t think it has made a darn bit of difference, although it does keep my stress level in check. I always feel better after doing it. In addition, on the weekends, I do go swimming, ride my bike, or on rare occasions, go to the health club.

So with all these things, my weight still doesn’t budge. What the heck does it take? I know – a personal chef and trainer, and 4 hours a day to work out. Right. I’ll get right on that. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on turning my intentions into reality.

Jill Dolan works in the legal department of Bank of America Card Services. Dolan is an ex-Floridian who now lives in Deleware. She is the mother of a six year old girl and a three year old boy.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I have a four year a one year old, a full time job, a husband who deserves my attention as well, and take at least one class online at a time. I'm about forty pounds overweight, thanks to my second pregnancy. I can't seem to get the motivation to make the time, or get the time to make the motivation turn into reality. It's a horrible cycle, and I guess the only solution is to do with less sleep..... They say when you start working out you have more energy. Where do you get the influx of energy to initiate the workout.... I did it after my first child, but I was a stay at home mom/Full time student. I LOVED that schedule, but after the second kid we needed more money so back to work........ Ah the life of a woman. If I figure it out I'll let you know.

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Anonymous Genesis said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your story sounds exactly like my life!... It's funny how we still think it's our fault that we don't find time for exercise... and getting up earlier to do it is utopia... considering that very often the kids interrupt your sleep for one reason or another making it extremely difficult to willfully roll out of bed with the energy to do anything at all!! But we're still convinced that there are other mothers who do it all! But you know what?!!! I think they must be getting help from somewhere! A cleaner, an au pair, a grandparent... And weekends?... I spent the last 2 doing loads of laudry, going to childrens' bday parties, bringing sun to football practice, going trick or treating with children, doing the grocery shopping, etc and more I can't recall... Yet I feel guilty for being overweight. I don't smoke and don't drink, but I love my food! Damn it!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not the only one with the same routine. I feel sane now. Thanks for this story

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol! i had such a good laugh reading your story because it was like you were telling me "my" story...thats just the way it is in my life being a working mum with three very active boys, i just cant find the time to exercise...(and like you, i need to get to it sooner rather than later!) thanks so much for this...good to know am not the only one in this working mum dilemma!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so my life!!! I found myself nodding in agreement throughout the entire article. My problem is that I feel like when I don't healthy I justify it by saying "I deserve it for everything that I have to do." And when I think about exercising I think to myself "I'd rather have that extra 30 minutes to sleep or spend time with my husband and child." But then I think, if I took just 30 minutes a day to exercise, how much would that extend my life meaning I get EVEN more time with my husband and child... And of course I end up not doing anything any differently than the day before. ::sigh::

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Your story sounds really familiar to me, too. So frustrated with not being able to consistently find time for myself (and lose my last 30 pounds of baby weight from almost 3 years ago!), and I can never please all the others who are making demands on my time no matter how much of my time I give to them. Still trying to figure it all out.

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