Thursday, November 6, 2008

How To Stay Dedicated and the Art of Rationalization

Hi Everybody,

Well, the time has come. My twins are three now and I have no excuses left for the (gulp!) fifteen pounds of baby weight I'm still carrying around. Besides, carrying my post partum weight on top of twin toddlers who together weigh 75 pounds is more than I can manage.

So I'm officially joining the ranks of those working on losing weight. My first order of business was to examine what I did differently before kids. Ah, this was easy. I rode six days a week. Two days were lessons and the other four I work rode doing a combination of basic dressage, working over ground poles, and riding sans stirrups.

At the time my focus was on improving my riding and staying in the saddle the highest possible percentage of the time. Little did I realize lack of cellulite and flat abs were a gift from my two horses.

After bedrest with twins and a 57 pound weight gain, this is no longer the case. (Picture a pumpkin with sticks thrust in it for arms and legs and you'll have a mental picture of me in my third trimester.) Still, the most important goal was realized. Beautiful, healthy twin boys. Now it's time to do something about Mom.

Okay, add up three kids, house, husband, and a career that I love and returning to riding six days a week doesn't fit into the equation (sadly). Unless, of course, there's a Powerball ticket in my future, but in my waking hours I don't count on that option.

So here's the dilemma. How to replace the wonderful health benefits of daily riding? Well, the therapeutic value of being around horses gets handled with horse mom duties and occasional rides. Still, I could think of no exercise plan I could tolerate which would equal the benefits of a lifetime in the saddle.

Next up, I decided to get some help. I started working with a personal trainer. Not the horse kind, mind you. This gentleman, who is very good and takes his job as a fitness instructor very seriously, is a former body builder and football player.

Apparently, my legs, abs and back still retain some strength from riding. However, as my horse trainer had always told me, if I used my arms for balance or strength against a half-ton horse I would a) lose and b) not be a good partner to my horse. It would seem I took this advice to heart, because my arms and shoulders have about as much strength in them as a wet noodle. I thought lifting bales of hay, tack, and all the other tasks common in the horse world would have helped, but apparently not anywhere close to the development of the muscles used in riding.

The personal trainer designed an exercise program to address this problem. When I'm working on the upper body, about 10% of the time he has to put his hand under mine and push for me to be able to lift the weights he's assigned me (which is totally embarrassing), but hey, I have to start somewhere. Looks like years of riding are paying off everywhere else, though. Unfortunately, since the muscle is there he keeps increasing the weight!

One advantage of having ridden with a hunter/jumper trainer for so many years is that I'm used to a trainer setting goals for me and following orders, even if I'm gritting my teeth with pain. Yes, it hurt to jump without reins or stirrups, especially when I landed on the ground, but it felt great when my balance was right there and I was sailing over the fence with my horse. Somehow, doing sets of 15 reps with my scrawny arms just doesn't give the same sense of satisfaction.

My guess is that up in heaven somewhere my beloved equine partners Topper and Spencer are cheering me on saying 'Come on, you can do it, Mom.' Of course, they may be cheering on the personal trainer in the gym instead. They do know from years of experience that Mom is basically a chicken.

I consulted with a nutritionist, too. She suggested burning my old diet book from the 1980s that I pulled out to show her. Instead she put me on a sensible diet. We'll see how it goes!



mugwump said...

Don't tease. What is your sensible diet, please?

Joy said...

Good luck, and you can do this! I can hear (read) your determination. Doesn't it suck not being naturally skinny and fit??? I hate that crap.

Tammy Vasa said...

I finally got caught up on the Mugwump Chronicles - which I really enjoy & ventured to this blog, seeing comments by Laura. I'll start reading this blog over the weekend. However, the weight loss title caught my eye.

A group of my horse friends and I started dieting at the first of the year. Everyone had their own plan: I used Weight Watchers & exercised at Curves and that worked for me. I can still eat what I want, just eat less. You don't really need WW to do that, but its nice to get guidelines for how much you can eat at your current weight. And Curves really helped me firm up. I lost my saddle bags! I lost just shy of 40 pounds since January and did it very slowly. Actually, didn't hit my goal until August.

I feel great. Went down 4 clothing sizes - who'd of thunk??? I can get on and off my horse much easier; tossing the saddle is effortless.

The last couple weeks, I found 5 of those pounds snuck back on & it was a struggle to get them back off. So you can never say you are THERE. But I want to stay THERE, so will continue to work.

I briefly mentioned my weight loss & the success of our group effort on my blog, if you are interested.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I did the personal trainer routine for a year (and I did Curves for four years before that). All since having my kid (who is eight), which is when I packed on at leas twenty unneeded pounds. I have to tell you that I gave up Curves because the music and people drove me crazy (I'm an introvert). It got me fit, but unlike Tammy, I didn't lose weight. Probably because I didn't diet. The personal trainer went through a divorce and got a little too personal. How funny is that? I'm just a plump middle-aged lady for heaven sake's. So I quit. Besides, he was expensive. Now I'm trying regular riding and hiking (see my comments on Jami's posts). I'm just trying to be fit, not even aiming at losing weight (though I wish it would magically disappear). I'm too much of a hedonist to be a good dieter. But my clothes still fit, so I'm hanging in there. Good luck. I hope you fare better than I have on this pesky weight issue.

Jami Davenport said...


It sounds like you're on the right track. At least you're making positive steps and changes. I've been down with a cold all week so I haven't been around much on the blog. I'm feeling a little better now.

Keep with it!!!

Mary Paine said...

Hi Everyone,

I've been down with a cold just like Jamie so I haven't been back online to respond to posts. Thanks to all for your comments!

I'm determined to do this, one way or the other. My boys were born at 7 lbs. 11 oz. and 6 lb. 14 oz. That was a lot of baby to carry around so I figure my body may well never be the same. I'll try this plan and what body I wind up with. : )

The sensible diet is around 1800 calories per day. It consists of three snacks and three meals per day split between starches, proteins, and fats. It totals 9 servings of starch, 8 protein, 3 fruit, 4 vegetables adn 3 fats.

The nutritionist who set it up for my height, weight and age is very nice. She's a registered dietitian and she isn't very expensive. I think most doctors offices know of nutritionists in their community they can refer patients to.

The real trick is going to be avoiding all the kid food I make all day!