By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3
I really don’t want to jump on January’s fitness bandwagon. It’s so cliché, isn’t it? I’m already tired of the ads for treadmills and sports bras. But I’m afraid I have no real choice.
I’d like to think I’m still the girl I was in my teens and twenties who could eat pretty much anything she wanted and never see the consequences show up on the bathroom scale. (She didn’t even know how good she had it.) But I’m not that girl anymore. I’m an older, wiser, slightly wider woman who has been blessed with three children and the physical lumps and bumps that often come with them.
As much as I’d like to blame pregnancies, gravity and age for this predicament, I know I had a lot to do with it. I’m pretty sure all those trips to Chuck E. Cheese and McDonalds were a factor. The kids are so excited when we get there that they end up taking three or four bites of their food and then race off to play, leaving me at the table to stare at leftovers and tell myself it would be wrong to let perfectly good pepperoni or French fries go to waste. But ultimately, that’s exactly where they go – to waist. My waist.
Meanwhile my kids are burning tons of carbs crawling through those kid-size tunnels. No wonder they’re so skinny. I wish I liked working out as much as they love those tunnels.
For people like me who would rather go to the dentist than go to the gym, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that some experts say, while exercise is certainly important, weight loss has more to do with what and how much we eat. The bad news? It has more to do with what we eat. Yikes! Because we really love to eat, even more than we love not going to the gym.
Lately I’ve been reading about food and how it works inside the human body. One of the best reference books I’ve stumbled across so far is a one called “Eat This, Not That” by David Zinczenko. If you want an uncomplicated, straightforward book about eating, it doesn’t get much straighter than this. And if you like to eat out like I do, this book tells you about better menu choices at some of the most popular restaurant chains. Some of them will surprise you. For example, at McDonald’s you’re better off eating a Quarter Pounder (no cheese) than a Premium Grilled Chicken Club. The latter has more calories, fat and sodium than the good ol’ Quarter Pounder.
I’ve also posted on my fridge a list of the best basic foods to eat, not only to remind myself but also because I want my kids to grow up knowing the facts about how to fuel their bodies. In addition to eating better, I’m also trying to “workout” for 30 minutes a day, even if it happens in 10-minute increments. Whether it’s Wii dancing with the kids or a Pilates video, as long as I’m huffing and puffing, it counts.
I hope all the effort pays off. Because I don’t want to take the kids to the pool this summer and hide under a pile of beach towels.
In my weakest moments, I dream about PopTarts and cheese dip and plates of pasta and ask my body if, by any chance, it could pretend to be 22 years old again and burn it all away with a lightning fast metabolism. And you know what it says?
“Fat chance, sister. Now get moving.”