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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yes, I would like a non-fat mommy, extra hot.

Lately I have been asked how I stay in shape.  I assume that the question arises because as one can imagine, I don't have a lot of time. It could also be because I have had four babies in 8 years, work full time, and some how manage a house ( kind of).
I should let you know that I do NOT have a degree in nutrition or exercise science. I don't have a story about how I lost 100 lbs. or that I was an overweight kid. I did however, work in a gym for 7 years and have had a gym membership at various gyms since I could drive.  In addition to that,  I like to think I have some knowledge of how the female body works (at least mine). I gained 40 lbs with each pregnancy and lost it between each baby.
Its not easy. 
If anyone tells you it is, they are lying.  Also, its not about the number on the scale.  That is a good way to gauge it if you need to, but if your goal is a number, pick a new goal.  I am 5 ft.5, and I had the number 125 stuck in my head. The last time I weighed this was in 5th grade.  Its not possible for me, at least in a healthy way.  I am a size 4 and at Ann Taylor a size 2 (size-conspiracy).  My pants don't care how much I weigh.
I have heard every excuse ever made, and some are extremely tempting. The hardest thing to do is get started. After I had 3 c-sections, I was not allowed to exercise for at least 8 weeks.  I whined about how I "wanted" to, but little did I know, that when the 8 weeks came around my mind came up with some really creative excuses as to why I shouldn't start. "I'm tired." "My boobs hurt". "I feel ugly." Knowing I had done this before I set realistic goals. I went 3 times a week and eventually worked my way up to 6 times (granted this is 20 months later).  I had a friend tell me that she hated me for being so "skinny".  I wanted to tell her that she would hate me even more if I called her at 4:55 a.m. when I got up to work out.
Here is my advice, take it or leave it.

A cleanse with a famous person's name in front of it does not work.  Have you ever noticed that people that do cleanses do them 3 or 4 times when if it worked in the first place they wouldn't need to. And I can't think of anything more disgusting than cayenne pepper and lemon juice.

Do not eat birthday cake at every birthday party. I have 1 husband, 4 sons, 2 siblings, 1 dog, 2 parents, 2 in-laws and 12 nieces and nephews. Not to mention the minimum 2 parties per month per son. If I ate cake at every party I would be as big as the bounce house. And resist guilt or the hostess pressuring you to eat it, she only wants you to eat it so she doesn't have to take it home with her and be tempted by it.

Don't rely on a product because some day it won't be there.  Does anyone remember Dr. Phil bars? I do, and guess what?  They are off the market.

Replacing real food with a liquid lunch may work at first but will have horrible ramifications later. Remember Oprah and the wagon of fat? Enough said.

Pack your lunch and don't bring your wallet to work with you.  If you stay at home, pack a lunch too, and just eat whatever is in it until dinner time.

Weigh and measure your food at least once. When I discovered what the actual serving size of grilled chicken was vs. what I was eating they were two very different things. Portion size is very important. And for the record, a 1/2 cup serving of ice cream is pretty much the size of a pudding cup...lame.

Some supplements are good. I don't think they are absolutely necessary, but if a few energy supplements give you the motivation to work out, than go for it, just make sure to do your research and be confident that they are safe. Remember the one Anna Nicole Smith endorsed before she died? Point taken.

Eat.   A huge pet peeve of mine is sitting in a salon listening to a woman brag that all she has eaten is a carrot all day. Guess what ? When you starve yourself your body goes into starvation mode and will store all the fat it can find..forever.

Eat good food and don't give up anything you love. I tried this once. Sure, I used lent as an excuse to give up complex carbs. You can use God as an excuse for just about anything. It lasted about 2 weeks and ended very very badly with an entire loaf of french bread and chased with a dozen chocolate muffins.

Don't drink...a lot. Time and time again I have told myself that I just need a glass of wine to relax, but it dulls my inhibitions and I end up needing a cookie to go with that wine and then I forget about the cookie and eat dove chocolates and forgot about them until I find all the wrappers in the couch the next morning.  Leave the drinking for celebrating or for when your boss treats you like an idiot.

Try not to eat and watch tv. And for the love of God, if sweets are your weakness, do not watch Cupcake Wars, Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes.

If you say you don't have time to exercise, you are full of it.  Here are a few scenarios for you.  You are like me, work 40+ hours a week and have a million after school activities, not to mention laundry, dinners, lunches etc.  Get up early. In every town across America there is a gym that opens at 5, if not there is a YMCA. If you are a single mom, find a gym that has child care. If you are broke, find a 6x6 foot space and do push ups and burpees.  Your tired, well first of all, aren't we all, but I promise you will have more energy if you work out in the morning than if you don't.

If you have to choose between lifting weight or cardio, pick weights.  Remember, cardio burns calories only while you are doing it and helps your heart and lifting weights burns calories all day long and helps your muffin top. No spot training required. And,  no you wont look like Kim Chizevsky. (if you don't know who that is, google her)

Be anti-social at the gym. If you saw me at the gym you would think I was a hermit. I don't make eye contact, I don't engage in any conversation whatsoever with anyone. Why? I have learned that if you form friendships at the gym you use that as an excuse not to go. You can't avoid people you have never met.   Plus, you tend to work out as hard as your workout partner, if your partner is a puss and suggests you go out for margaritas instead, that is just one more excuse. Find an online support group. There are several, and they have great weigh training suggestions you can print off.

Drink coffee.  I mean black. Not Mochachinofrappelattes. I mean coffee. It has caffiene which is your best friend with 0 calories.

Don't finish your kids food. Yes, it does seem like a waste to put all that macaroni and cheese down the garbage disposal, but it is more of a waste to put it onto the back of your ass.

Once you find that you like working out, don't post it on facebook everytime you go. People don't need to know about something you should be doing everyday anyway, like brushing your teeth. 

Find one thing you really like that is exercise but not at a gym. I like soccer, so I found a team. If you like to dance, do Zumba.

Don't think you can do something you know you can't. I love the idea of yoga. I love the feeling I get after it to, but I suck at it. I could continue to try or I could find something I am good at, like soccer. 

Don't fall back on the "men find _______ women sexy" routine. Who cares what men find attractive? Seriously.  My husband finds Japanese women attractive and I look the opposite of that, but you won't find me dying my hair jet black and straitening it for him. Its not me.  Plus size women claim that men love curves, Skinny women swear that men like twigs..my point is, we don't let men decide what car we drive, why should their opinion determine what our body should look like?

Do it for yourself.  Not to live for your children, or live for your family but just for you to live happily.

Don't become a trainer. As soon as you make it work, it will feel like it and not something you enjoy. Have you ever noticed that most trainers are younger than 25? There are a select few that dedicate their lives to it. But people choose trainers based on their looks and chances are, a 22 year old will beat out a 60 year old even if the latter is 100 times more fit.

Your body will take care of you if you take care of it.  Just like a retirement account, keep depositing your money into it so at some point you can sit back and live comfortably. Keep taking care of your body day after day and when you are old you can be a little chubby huggable Great Grandparent.  That is the way it should be. Can you imagine Betty White with a six pack? She put in her time and she is perfect just the way she is.


  1. Healthy lifestyle of "common sense and no excuses" :) It's just too obvious. ha. I tell all my friends with kids (and without) who say they don't have time or money or whatever that "MY FRIEND NOELLE gets up early to workout, has a full-time job, 4 kids, etc, and makes it a priority to be healthy AND doesn't make excuses!" (bet they love that) ;)

  2. Walk don't ride...if possible. Use the stairs, not the elevator....if possible. Eat healthy snacks....keeps your metabolism working. Everything is long term and pays off when you are older.

  3. I would have to say that the advice about cardio is a little mis-placed. Cardio jump starts your metabolism, not too mention is a fat burner. There are plenty of bulked up weight lifters who huff and puff up a flight of stairs, but not too many overweight folks run marathons.

  4. You are right anonymous, it is said that calorie for calorie cardio is usually better, but lifting weights gives you a metabolic spike for an hour after a workout because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover which means you'll burn an additional 25 percent of the calories you just burned during your strength session :) ha ha. Too much info right for a blog comment right? They are both great...if you have the time. I think reading this I got that it's Noelle's preferred workout with limited time at the gym, even though she does both cardio and weights. I think a lot of her cardio comes from chasing after kids ;) I love her advice as a time crunched working mother who always looks amazing.