Weight Loss Support - Parents - how do you do it??

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Rock Chalk Chick
08-24-2011, 05:00 PM
I'm ready to make some changes - I've been ballooning completely out of control since my daughter was born (10 months ago), but I don't even know where to start!

I know all the classic rebuttals - you have to make the time for exercise, eating right has to be a priority, etc.

But I just can't seem to figure out HOW to make healthy lifestyle changes without sacrificing something else.

I'm a fourth-year veterinary student, which means I work anywhere from 40 to 80+ hours a week (I wish that were an exaggeration, but we start at 6 am and often work straight through to/past 8 pm... plus 6-8 hours on weekend days).

When I'm not at the hospital, I'm trying to balance studying for boards in December with spending time with my husband and daughter, who changes every day. And as far as keeping up with housework/laundry/cooking... let's just say, I have an amazing husband!!

Honestly, I'm just baffled as to how to balance my life a bit. I know I need to make time to take care of myself, but it just feels incredibly selfish to take away from the already limited time I have with my daughter, and things like taking her out in the jog stroller just disrupts her schedules at the moment (she falls asleep in the stroller, which screws with her naps/sleep schedule since I'm only with her from 5 pm (if I'm lucky) to 8pm bedtime).

I'm really not playing for sympathy or anything - I'm just honestly kind of lost as to how to get my life back together! I used to run and swim for 60-90 minutes a day, and eating healthy was just a matter of making the right choices, planning ahead, etc.

Anyone have any advice for balancing a small child, a demanding work schedule, and a healthy lifestyle? I'm just itching for some sort of a predictable schedule so I can stick to a routine, but, not only do we work insane hours, our assignments change every two weeks (i.e. 2 weeks of orthopedic surgery, then 2 weeks of internal medicine, then 2 weeks of ICU, etc).

I refuse to accept that it can't be done, but I'm baffled how to make it work at the moment! (I managed to get a rare day off today, due to some doctor's appointments this morning).

08-24-2011, 05:18 PM
I have two sons - ages 9 and 6 but I can relate to caring for them when they were infants. I did the bulk of my exercising at night after they were in bed. That was honestly the only time I could carve out for me. And try to make some make-ahead meals (if possible) to freeze so you just pop it in the oven and you're ready to go. That's basically how I survived the first few years. It does get better...they eventually get older, lol.

08-24-2011, 05:26 PM

I've BTDT and gained a lot of weight back that I lost shortly after DD's birth. We had the same jogging stroller problem and, man, it was hard. One thing I was able to handle earl on was the 30 Day Shred. I could pop in the DVD during DD's nap or after she went to bed for the night and it didn't suck up much time at all. Sometimes if DH was around I'd do it there with her watching and once she got a little older she'd try and do it with me! :lol:

It sounds like right now the biggest thing that you can do with that crazy schedule is really concentrate on your food choices. I know major changes are hard when you're so busy and underneath a lot of stress but could your DH help you out in that dept? Maybe come up with some new recipe ideas to try and what foods are triggers for you that you could cut out entirely?

At your work, are you on your feet all day? Is there any way that you can add more movement to what you're doing? Even just walking a bit on breaks can help. Obviously, a workout is important but do what you can during this stressful time.

I'm a BIG fan of small changes that you can make for a lifetime. I've lost my weight SLOWLY but I made small changes that I could stick with while balancing work and a family. It's been a slow process but I'm getting close to a healthy BMI now and it's definitely been worth it. :D

Good luck!

08-24-2011, 05:28 PM
I'd just focus on diet and work exercise in when you can. Maybe parking at the end of the lot and going up and down stairs

08-24-2011, 05:31 PM
It's hard enough for me and I'm a SAHM (well, I have a class 2x a week but that's no biggie compared to yours). Mine is 15 months.

You can do ANYTHING you want, but not necessarily all at the same time. Working 60-80hrs and then trying to fit in time with your 10 month old is very hard. I would not sacrifice any of that time for "alone" exercise. The question is - how to mix them?

Wear her in the back carry in a sling if possible. I wear my 30lb son for hours daily. Or, you can choose an exercise routine that includes her - at her age, she will love watching you do pushups, squats, lunges, etc.

Diet is the most important part. You may need to take 1 hour per week just to cook lots of food and pack it.

I'm not one to say that you can be a parent and work 60-80 hours on top of that and work out consistently and "have it all". IMO, not reasonable, as you are still sacrificing sleep and stress. Watch the diet most of all. And give yourself a bit of a break when you feel stretched.

Thighs Be Gone
08-24-2011, 05:35 PM
I would definitely agree that 80-90 percent of your success is going to come straight from dietary changes. Where exactly are you having the most problem with that? If you can identify WHERE AND WHEN your overeating and struggles are taking place, you can start there!

You ask how you can make this happen without sacrificing something else. That's easy to answer. You can't. What you do need to come to realize though is that IF you will move yourself to the VERY top of your priority list by sleeping well, eating well and exercising well you will actually be putting everyone else above you in the end.

You have a great place for support here. I would suggest dabbling around and getting comfortable here and make some connections. Soon you will be posting all of your successes and feeling great!

08-24-2011, 05:43 PM
I'm with everyone else on the diet. You have to eat, and the time commitment involved to eat less or healthier aren't huge.

As far as exercise, it can wait. If there's one day a week where you feel like you can squeeze something in, than do it. If not, trying to move more, trying to make your time together more active, will have to do.

Good luck!

08-24-2011, 05:55 PM
I'm with everyone else on the diet. You have to eat, and the time commitment involved to eat less or healthier aren't huge.

As far as exercise, it can wait. If there's one day a week where you feel like you can squeeze something in, than do it. If not, trying to move more, trying to make your time together more active, will have to do.

Good luck!

Zoodoo said exactly what I would say.

Any change, however small is still a change for the better. Take baby steps and see where it takes you and incorporate more only if you can keep up with it and not quit everything all together - and good luck! I juggled the new baby, school and work before and man, it is T.O.U.G.H. So kudos to you for even starting at all.

08-24-2011, 05:57 PM
I agree with previous posts. Focus on diet right now for weight loss and focus on exercise when you can. You will lose weight if your diet is clean. And I'm sure your pretty active all day at work anyway. I would just fit in a workout whenever the chance comes up. It's so hard as a wife and mom and working full time to balance things put. Small steps. And as your daughter gets older I'm sure it will get easier.

08-24-2011, 07:47 PM
If it were me, I would not worry about formal exercise for now. Your day is already tiring enough without that. I would focus on eating right for now. When your schedule calms down a bit, then you might decide to add in formal exercise if you want. Exercise is good for fitness and health, but IMHO, it is counterproductive to stress out about when to fit in formal exercise, and frankly, it's been proven to have very little effect on actual weight loss. So, I would focus on diet alone for now.

April Snow
08-24-2011, 07:50 PM
Agree with all the other posts, esp. that figuring out a method to make sure you are on track with food, as that is going to have the most direct impact on weight loss.

However for exercise, when when you can squeeze in some extra time, your daughter will enjoy watching you exercise - to her, it's just mama doing silly things. At 7, my son STILL likes watching me exercise so we use our Wii Fit and other exercise programs and alternate turns.

You may also want to check out this article someone just linked in another thread http://abcnews.go.com/Health/15-minutes-exercise-day-adds-years-life/story?id=14307995 Just 15 minutes a day can have a health impact, so don't pressure yourself about not getting in 60-90 minutes. Even if you have just a few minutes some of the time, it will have a positive impact on your health.

08-24-2011, 08:21 PM
There are quite a few exercise DVDs that you can do WITH your baby. You use your baby as weight while you do squats or whatever, or you do yoga poses over your baby, stuff like that. I tried a couple when my first kid was born. She seemed to enjoy them, and they did give me the feeling that I was at least doing some type of workout even though it wasn't very strenuous.

I also agree that exercise can be put on the back burner, if necessary, and instead you should focus on your diet if you want to lose weight.

08-24-2011, 08:25 PM
I have a 7 and 4 yr old. It's tough. I have learned to pack my food ahead of time for the day so it is accountable. Drink lots of water. I exercise at night when the kids are sleeping. It is my quiet mommy time. When I want a treat, I share with my kids. Like, if I want a cupcake, I split it.

I did school full time, an internship, work (30+ hrs) with a 2 yr old and preg. It is extremely hard. I understand. I give you credit. If you have some time, put the baby in a stroller. If you go uphill, you will work harder. Or strap on some ankle weights and do things around the house.

I agree with focusing on your diet. Little things can make a big difference. Good luck!

08-24-2011, 08:36 PM

I work for a vet, so I understand.

Anyway, I agree with the above posters. Focus on better food choices for now.

But, when you do have time to spend with your daughter, you could do things like lay on your back, balance her on your feet and use her for reverse squats, while tickling her with you toes. :D Hold her over your head and blow on her tummy, she'll laugh, you're getting an arm workout. Put on some music and dance around the room while holding her!

Eventually vet school will be over, you'll find a place in a practice or open your own, and things will settle down.

08-25-2011, 08:14 PM
These are such great ideas! I'm the mom of a 4 year old, working full time since shortly after his birth. It's HARD. Lately I've been making small lifestyle changes that are helping. I have an exercise bike in my tv room, and after my son goes to bed if I want to watch tv I make myself get on that bike while I do it. I've started taking the stairs at work. It's only 3 stories, but it's got to do something, right? And each time I go to the rest room when I'm at work I do a set of 10 "girlie" pushups against the bathroom counter (only if I'm alone - I don't want to be known as the weirdo who exercises in the bathroom :) ). Small changes, but they help. You can do it, just be kind to yourself and set small goals.

08-26-2011, 12:23 AM
I agree with everyone else and wanted to say that I haven't exercised almost at all for this first 40 pounds I've lost. I think exercise is really fabulous for fitness, but completely unnecessary for weight loss, especially if you're at the beginning of a fairly long journey. It might be that someone who only has 20 pounds to lose would need the exercise to accomplish it, but I think I still have so much to lose that it's a close call (though I'm getting there!) as to whether it'll do me more harm than good to do something like running, kwim?

Also, you should google and read a little about intermittent fasting. When I first read about it, I thought there was no way I could ever even consider it because I have a huge appetite and I'm always hungry. I love food! So the idea of eating just once a day sounded like pure torture. But I have come along way! I eat one meal a day around 7 pm and I feel great, have tons of energy, usually don't feel hungry at all, and feel so free from from food! If you're ever up for it, I'd think it would really free you up in terms of preparation and planning and even just taking the time to sit down and have your meals.

08-26-2011, 02:50 PM
Yikes!! You have a very demanding schedule. I can say without a doubt that your schedule is the exception to most parents. My DH finished PA school last year, a 3 year masters program that had him all over the state with rotations, all over the clock with times, and I honestly don't know how he did it! We still say people do not understand the incredible demand that some advanced schooling places on your life, unless you see it first hand. I remember family would get snippy that he didn't call or make time for them, but honestly he barely slept! (We had our first baby his first week of school, so he was a new dad as well) Many of the people in his class cut out working out during those years and many of them put on some weight because the demand on their time just didn't afford them the luxury of working out.

Anyway back to your schedule! Here's what I told DH while he was in school. (Albeit he didnt listen) Start with diet. You may not have time to workout everyday, but lack of time is never and excuse to eat poorly. So I would start by changing your diet, and maybe put exercise on hold for now. Normally, I don't think I say that to someone but there are some people who really don't have the time. So use now to work on healthier eating. They say exercise to be fit, eat to lose weight, or something like that...in other words weightloss is really about what you are eating and not exercising.
Are you eating healthy? Can you make changes to your current diet? I know you probably dont have time for elaborate meals, but there are definitely healthy quick options out there. Are you drinking enough water? Ect...
You said you are in your fourth year, I assume there is a residency when you are done? I don't know the specifics on vet school, except its super hard to get into, so congrats!! Even though you're almost done. Anyway your schedule will change, and your daughter as she gets older, and I mean this in terms of months, her schedule will change too. Babies / toddlers are amazing (I have a 4 year old and a 15 month old) in that what didn't work for them last month might work this month. Their schedules and tolerance to sit through something (like a jog), changes like the wind. SHe might fall asleep in the stroller now, but next month she might stay awake, or even scream the whole time she's in the stroller! (Oh yeah, that's no fun either!)
I'd work on your diet for a few months if I were you. Try to make more active choices, like stairs instead of elevator, that kind of stuff. But other than that, study and enjoy yor family. You will not being in this kind of schedule forever, and you will find times when you might be able to fit in a family walk, or if you have a treadmill, maybe some time on there, but I'm going to go ahead and say that you should not beat yourself up if you can not workout regularly RIGHT NOW, however, my DH graduated over a year ago and works 3 12s a week and never made a point to add in regular exercise. (oops) When your schedule frees up, cross this bridge then. HTH :)

08-26-2011, 04:26 PM
I agree with everyone else. I just wanted to add to try to remember that school won't last forever. Do what you can in the meantime, but you won't be in school forever (although it may feel that way.) My DH works full time and is in grad school full time, so I understand somewhat. Do what you can, when you can and make your family a priority. You'll have more time when you graduate!

08-26-2011, 10:14 PM
With the schedule you have right now I would prioritize diet. You can work in exercise wherever you find it fits naturally, or just wait a bit to start on that. Will your schedule change a lot once you have finished this year?

If nothing else you might be able to do some DVDs once your DD is asleep for the night, but honestly you might get more good out of some serious rest right now. :D