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Feb 21 2014

Since Becoming Pregnant, I’ve Given Myself Permission to Recline

By at 12:44 pm

permission-to-relax

The surprising thing about living on an island is just how much there is to do. Once my husband and I bought a house and made a long-term commitment to life on North Haven, we became a hot commodity. In addition to our jobs (teaching for me, plumbing and now programming at our community center for my husband), we serve in town government, volunteer with the ambulance crew, teach music lessons, and attempt to maintain a social life. I direct three or four plays each year, for which my husband either acts or does the sound design or both. I teach Pilates at the Y, and in the summer, ostensibly my time off, I open a small bakery and breakfast café.

That’s the way we like it. Neither of us is at our best with a lot of leisure time, and it’s not like there are a lot of places to go here to have a meal out or see a show. Typically if we have downtime at the same time we’ll go for a long walk, snowshoe, or kayak. Maybe we’ll learn a new piece of music or write and record a song. My workday ends at noon on Friday, and when I don’t have to get on the ferry for a prenatal checkup, I make a point of cleaning the bathrooms. Since sitting gets such a bad rap these days, with articles popping up all over the Internet claiming it’s as bad for you as smoking, being busy seems to make a lot of sense. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 18 2014

How to Explain to a 6-Year-Old that Exercise Can “Hurt So Good”

By at 12:04 pm

explaining the pain of yoga to a child

We were at family yoga at the YMCA when Ronia started complaining that her thigh hurt. The yoga teacher, an infinitely patient soul with a hilariously incongruent voice that sounds like she’s been smoking a pack a day since 1975, had us in a mildly challenging pose, and Ronia, along with two other kids in the class, suddenly piped up that it hurt. The complaint came back three more times during the course of the 45-minute class. Each time we stopped and did a brief examination, her leg appeared to be fine. I wondered if she had pulled a muscle, or had a bruise somewhere that we couldn’t see.

The class moved on, and eventually we came to inversions i.e. going upside down. This is my favorite part of any yoga class, and Ronia’s, too. She loves headstands, and often practices them at home. When I showed her how to get in a handstand she was a little trepidatious, but with a quick spot she was up against the wall in a nice strong handstand. After a moment she came down, and then she said, “Ow! My shoulder really hurts!” Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 28 2014

Exercising While Pregnant, Pee Breaks and All

By at 9:29 am

pregnant woman lifting weights

I was a little late to the exercise game. When I lived in Boston, I walked nearly everywhere. Between that, my relative youth, and living in graduate student poverty, I stayed fighting trim. After moving to North Haven, a place with no public transportation and vast distances between things, I bought a car and embarked on a sedentary lifestyle. After a few years essentially without a social life, where most evenings were spent on the couch eating cheese and crackers and watching Netflix, I had become downright zaftig.

I’m only 4’10”. I don’t have many places to put excess. Once my expansion had finally sunk in–thanks to an inadvertently exposed midriff in a family photo–I embarked on a lifestyle change. From a hilarious aerobics class to a new found love of yoga, Pilates, and eventually running, I went from couch to half marathon in about as much time as it had taken me to merge with the couch in the first place.

When I became pregnant, I was determined to keep up the good work. For a few weeks after the two blue lines, I took the dog out for runs. While usually we’re good for a few miles (even though his legs are only three inches long), I found myself breaking out in flop sweats after the first half mile. We toned it down to walks pretty quickly. As I entered the doldrums of the first trimester, even walks became slogs. My husband started having to take the dog for his exercise, while I trudged behind. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 5 2013

The Spinning Instructor’s Post-Baby Body

By at 2:09 pm

spinning classLast week at my daughter’s gymnastics class, a friend introduced me to another mom as a “Spinning Instructor.” Before she could say anything, I blurted, “I am. I don’t look like it right now, but I am.”

Instead of saying, “Nice to meet you,” I went with that. Way to show self-confidence and make a good first impression. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 24 2013

Avoiding Mirrors & Hating My Post-Baby Body

By at 2:29 pm

woman's feet next to a scaleConfession: I avoid mirrors. I dress in the dark (but that is at least partially because there is a window in our closet that has no curtains). I am very unhappy with how I look.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, you’re just being self-indulgent and stupid. You just had a baby THREE MONTHS ago–and ANOTHER baby 15 months before that. You have a lot going for you: your health, a great husband and family, a home, a job that lets you work from home and be with your kids. You’ve got a lot going for you, lady.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2012

Jogging Made Me Cry

By at 2:22 pm

sick teddy bearI’ve been making lots of declarations lately (I’m not an adult! I AM an adult!) and here’s another: I had not seriously been tested as a mother until recently. I know, I know, you think I’m exaggerating. You’re thinking, how could that be? You have baby twins! Surely, you’re forgetting the trials of the 13-and-a-half months past! Double breast-feeding? Mastitis? Sleep training? Or the month where Avi and Maya got all of their teeth at once?

But really, that was nothing. Read the rest of this entry →

May 16 2012

Pregnancy Cravings & The Evils of Trader Joe’s

By at 2:58 pm
trader joes milk chocolate peanut butter pretzels

How cruel.

I suspected I was pregnant with my fourth child even before the little ritual with peeing on the stick for two reasons. Reason 1: It is not normal to fall asleep in the (parked) car in the carpool line. Reason 2: It is not normal to think that dipping chocolate covered pretzels in hot sriracha sauce would constitute a tasty snack. Well, okay, both of those reasons are “normal” behavior–normal behavior for a woman who is pregnant, that is.

Food is a touchstone of pregnancy. It’s not only because a pregnant woman has to think of the developing child in her womb as she chooses what to eat, but also because those “pregnancy cravings” are very real. Trader Joe’s trips, normally a comparatively inexpensive supermarket trip to stock up on fresh vegetables, have become a veritable minefield of lethal snacks. There is definitely someone pregnant working in product development for that store (chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels, exhibit A), and they prey on my dramatic pregnant appetites. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 23 2012

Running Marathons is a Lot Like Having Kids

By at 11:05 am

marathon runnersLast month, I finished my third marathon. It was a good race and a triumphant experience.

Looking back on the five months of training, I still can’t believe how quickly it went by and how easy it was compared to my first marathon. Like raising my fourth baby, I have found myself trying to remember what was so hard the first time around. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 10 2012

Losing Weight is HARD

By at 10:18 am

bathroom scaleThere is a half-eaten challah sitting on our counter, left over from Friday night.

This might not seem like much to you, but this is a very big deal to me. Because I didn’t eat it.

Yes, like millions of other Americans, I am determined to lose weight this year. But the odds are stacked against me, and I know it. Not only do 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail, but, as Tara Parker Pope outlined in her recent New York Times article, my body is literally fighting against me to hang on to the weight. It’s no surprise that obesity runs in families (as it does in mine), but what may be more surprising is that once our body gains extra weight, a variety of different hormones conspire against us to fight against weight loss. Even if we do manage to drop the pounds, other hormones kick in to try and get them back. As Parker Pope says, “This translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.”

Ouch.

It’s certainly true for me. In the eight years since I dropped ten pounds to fit into my wedding dress, my weight has crept up, and two rounds of IVF and two babies didn’t help. I’ve got 20 pounds to lose (and keep off), and I know my body isn’t interested in cooperating in the least. It’s found a steady state, and despite the fact that I was exercising and eating relatively well, the pounds weren’t coming off. I knew something needed to change, but I didn’t know what, or how. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 10 2011

Accessorizing My Way to Exercise

By at 12:24 pm

running shoesEarlier this week, Shannon wrote about running marathons to keep her sanity. But it’s not for everybody. What’s your exercise routine, or should we say, do you have one?

It has been a little over a year since I gave birth, yet I still look seven months pregnant.  My momma friends back in NYC were those lucky women who bounce back to their original size moments after giving birth and then run marathons.  I was never a size 2 to begin with, but I was thinner once upon a time.

I convinced myself that dieting and exercise could wait until after I finished nursing. Since I am not the healthiest eater and have Crohn’s disease, I didn’t want to reduce any of the few nutrients I was getting into my body. But when I finished nursing, I was trying to get pregnant. Once again, I did not want to change anything in my lifestyle or eating habits in case it jeopardized my getting pregnant again. In the meantime, my self-image has fallen to an all-time low. I just can’t stand the way I look anymore. I am embarrassed to go out, and in a new town,  that makes meeting people pretty much impossible. It is almost too hard to write about because I am so unhappy with it.

A few days ago I decided to take charge of the situation. I decided to start working out on the treadmill at the small gym in our apartment complex. It is not in my DNA to be a gym rat, and it is hard for me to stay motivated. I also have plantar fascitis (a painful foot condition) that sidelines me easily. I tackled this problem like anything I put my mind to: with shopping. Read the rest of this entry →

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