I was guilty of using my children as an excuse not to lose weight and exercise. During my first pregnancy I gained 75 pounds. When I added those 75 pound to the pounds I had gained since my marriage, I found myself obese. Three years after the birth of my first child, daughter number 2 came along. And 3 years after her birth, my first son was born.
I never lost weight between those first pregnancies. Instead, I gained weight. After my third child was born, I weighed 305 pounds. I looked and felt horrible. I felt like an utter failure every time I looked at my reflection in the mirror.
During those morbidly obese years, I used being a mom as an excuse not to exercise. I reasoned that it was impossible for me to exercise because I didn’t have time to exercise. I justified sitting on my bottom all day long because I was tired after running after the kids all day. I tried to excuse my weight gain because I had to cook meals for the kids.
The kids made me fat. That’s what I jokingly told people when I was trying to deflect comments or criticisms about my weight. But that wasn’t true.
My children had nothing to do with my weight problem. Yes, I used their existence as an excuse for inactivity and weight gain, but it wasn’t their fault I ate entire pans of chocolate chip bars and whole bags of chips in one sitting. It was my fault.
When I got scared about weighing 300 pounds, I quit using my kids as an excuse for my weight problem. I looked at myself in the mirror and for once I acknowledged that I did have time to exercise. I did have time to eat right. I was worth trying one more time to get healthy.
Exercising wasn’t easy at 300 pounds. My thighs rubbed together. I sweated. I huffed and puffed my way up the hills in my neighborhood. Timing my exercise to coincide with my husband’s work schedule wasn’t always easy either. In spite of my best efforts, there were times when I couldn’t exercise alone.
But that didn’t stop me. Instead of relying on my children as an excuse, I added my children to my workout. I taught my 7 year old to ride her bike for 3 miles and put the 2 littlest children in a double stroller. They learned to look forward to “walking with Mommy” and began asking if they could go with me.
When the weather didn’t cooperate, I put on an exercise video and worked out in the living room while the children played. They may have laughed at me a time or 2, but often times they tried to follow along.
As the years passed, I had 4 more children. Even though it would be easy to use being a mom as an excuse for not finding time to exercise, I know better. I know that I’m a better wife, mom and friend when I feel good about myself.
I’d like to encourage you to think about what you use as an reason to not be the healthiest person you can be. You may be surprised that those reasons are really just excuses. Find a way to get out there this week and begin or improve your exercise routine. You’ll be glad you did.