My daughter turned 3 in June, which means I can no longer blame my weight on the fact that I recently built a human inside of my body.
Three years should’ve been more than enough time to shed my fetus armor, especially when I maybe-sort-of weigh more now than I did on her first birthday. Only…I can still blame the kid because it’s totally her fault. That may sound harsh, but bear with me.
Post-baby, there are two simple things you need to do in order to bounce back to your pre-pregnancy weight. She is my fifth child, so this isn’t my first whose-beefy-thighs-are-these rodeo. But she makes these things impossible.
First: Watch your calories. It’s the old take-in-less-than-you-burn arithmetic, right? Just watch your caloric intake and before you know it, you’ll be rocking those hyper-sparkly low-rise Miss Me jeans that were your go-to “good butt” jeans before you got knocked up (and are no longer in style).
Only how can you watch your calories when that little squirt is always sharing her food? When Kate offers up some of her M&Ms, you can’t tell her no. What kind of a lesson would that be? You must reinforce her good behavior by taking each and every proffered chocolate candy, wolfing it down and gushing with gratitude.
It’s widely known that M&Ms are a gateway chocolate, so once you get that toddler to bed, you are doomed to rifle through the cupboards for more. Your chocolate-appetite has been whetted, and you won’t stop until you’re sitting in bed, watching a “Friends” re-run with a Snack Pack in one hand, a box of Yoo-Hoo in the other and a fun-size Snickers on deck on the nightstand.
It sounds paranoid, I know, but that kid is single-handedly sabotaging my diet success.
Second: Exercise. Nothing aids a healthy diet quite like a good workout. I ran a lot before I got pregnant. No marathons or sub-20 splits, but I ran every day and it felt good. So why not do like those skinny supermoms circling the lake and run with my kiddo?
Um...they must have different kids than mine. Perhaps they have some sort of robot-kid hybrid who enjoys quietly observing nature from the unique vantage point of a stroller. Perhaps their kid’s sippy cup is filled with some natural sedative that comes from an aloe plant and renders them perfect. I don’t know what their secret is, but my toddler is not a good running buddy.
First, she’s a squirmer. Running with an over-sized jogging stroller when the kid strapped in is bouncing, leaning and performing jarring acrobatics isn't a super relaxing way to exercise. Sit. Sit, honey. Baby, you need to sit on your bottom. SIT. DOWN. NOW.
I used to blast the Foo Fighters through my headphones when I ran, but when I jog with Kate, she begs me to turn her playlist on my phone. Her playlist — thanks again for creating it, super daddy — is comprised of Wiggles songs, The Wheels on the Bus and many other mind-numbingly repetitive preschool jams.
Talk about your pump-up music. Nothing says “get your run on, girl” like “Toot-toot-chugga-chugga-big-red-car.”
And to top it all off, my kid is a chatterbox. Our runs go like this:
“Your face is wet.”
“Yep. I’m sweating.”
“I want a snack.”
“That isn’t how we ask.”
“Can I please have a snack?”
“When we stop.”
“Can we stop nowwwww?”
“In just a minute.”
Five second pause.
“I want a snack.”
Can you blame me for hitting the comfort food hardcore when we return home?
Don’t. Blame her.
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.