HomeBlogHow I Got My Groove Back: A Parent’s Perspective

How I Got My Groove Back: A Parent’s Perspective

Three years and two children. Oh wait, let me set that straight. Three years, two children and a million struggles! Struggles in the form of breastfeeding issues, picky eaters, sleep deprivation (on my part), health issues like the flu, food related eczema, tantrums (in my children), the loss of my father to his illness and countless other setbacks, obstacles and challenges both physically and mentally that I have encountered in these past three years of being a parent. I can safely attest that the beautiful yet sometimes overwhelming journey of parenthood is no walk in the park. Not even a walk on gravel road. Fire-walking, maybe. Ok just kidding!

In these past three years, I have had the pleasure of being able to stay home to raise my kids, I have been able to experience the joys of homeschooling my children and spending ample amounts of time with them, (actually almost all my time with them). Only in the recent months did I eventually realise that in all the frenzy of raising happy, healthy, socially adept and well rounded young humans, I had buried a lot of my ambitions and goals.

That’s why, today, I am not writing about how much my daughter loves making robots out of recycled boxes or how my children enjoy helping me to bake and pretend play and go on picnics in the park. I am writing about myself. I am writing on how I got my groove back.

As a young and single lady, I was very interested in fitness and nutrition. As a mother, that never changed, only that I concentrated all my efforts on my children and husband, more than myself. While my children would eat meals of quinoa, beans and lean chicken and dine on desserts of blueberry crumble, I would have a fast fix of caffeine, toast and butter which became a staple comfort food in my crazy day-to-day routine. I relied on far too much caffeine to get me through the day and prepare me for the endless hours of breastfeeding at night. I sought solace in cakes and pastries.

I still recall those afternoons when, by some stroke of miracle, both my children would be fast asleep, and I would potter down to the kitchen and make myself a huge mug of sugar laden coffee and cut a large slice of cake and sit down and revel in the thought that I finally had some ‘me’ time at last. On weekends, I would resort to more cake and huge cannisters of ice blended coffee or tea, which I would tell myself were the rewards I earned for getting through the week with my two children.

There was a time when despite being 5-6 months post partum, I looked 8 months pregnant. Once, my husband and I were watching home videos and we stumbled upon one of me waddling around the living room. “Oh this was when I was pregnant with Kylash” I exclaimed. My husband raised an eyebrow and replied, “No baby, Kylash was asleep upstairs when we took this. It’s three months after you had him.”

Flummoxed, speechless, in denial, distressed… a whole range of not very positive emotions rained down on me. Was this really how I looked like? Was it normal for women to get bigger after having two children? Surely in time to come, the endless breastfeeding would make me shrink. Reality check. The breastfeeding probably helped to throw off a few pounds but that was it.

No fitness model physique even from nursing two children. I decided that I was going to do something about my weight, which was 85kg at that time. I did not choose to do this to appear slim or so that I could parade in size zero clothing but I chose to start my fitness journey for the simple reason that I wanted to be fit and strong, for my husband and children, but more so, for myself.

Where would I start? How would I revamp a diet that had slid into a medley of unhealthy snacks and comfort eating?

I needed a support group. Yes!!!

I checked online and got a friend of mine to add me into a local group that focused on mothers who were interested in becoming fit. Upon joining the group, I read up on healthy eating for breastfeeding mothers who were intent on weight loss. I invested in an oven so that I could grill my chicken and fish instead of deep frying them or coating them in unhealthy sauces. I planned out an exercise routine for myself. Time was of great essence and I could only afford a maximum of half an hour to 40 minutes a day, while the children played with my husband in the evenings, before their dinnertime. While my husband would spend some quality time with the children, I would rush down, put dinner in the oven to grill, set the timer and commence my workout.

In the beginning, I was so unfit that a short workout of five minutes had me huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf. Yes it certainly did feel like I was trying to blow a brick house down! I made it my day to day goal to do better in my workouts than the day before. So if it was five minutes today, I would try to push it to six minutes the next day. All within limits of course as I didn’t want to risk even minor injury.

Simultaneously, I started reading up and experimenting on new styles of cooking. I stomped out of my comfort zone and started eating foods that I normally wouldn’t have much of, such as beets and crudites. I loaded myself on salads and lean proteins and cut back on starchy foods by swapping them for low glycaemic index carbohydrates such as sweet potato and oat bran. I hydrated myself with three litres of water daily and tried my best to keep stress at bay by listening to calming music before bedtime and revisiting my passion for writing.

I still remember the day I started my fitness journey. November 8th 2015. In about a month, I felt amazing. I might have experienced much weight loss but gone were the sluggishness and perpetual exhaustion and I found myself enjoying playtime with the children. I was out frog-leaping them and I could simultaneously carry both my children if need be! I felt stronger and happier, thanks to all those endorphins in my system, from working out.

It’s been six months since I first started and I have since committed to a lifestyle change. I still do indulge in treats every now and then because life is about simple pleasures like pastries and cakes too. However, I don’t eat them out of frustration or when I’m having a bad day and think I need a sugary snack to get me out of my low mood. The good part about this is that my husband and children have also jumped onto the healthy eating bandwagon. My three year old daughter asks for extra helpings of salad and my toddler boy devours my overnight oat bran as if it were candy!

So be it fitness or writing or starting out a new business venture or anything for that matter that helps new mothers out there get your groove back on, do it. Do something today that your future self will thank you for, tomorrow.

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