It’s been eight weeks since I gave birth to my son. Those eight weeks were preceded by 10 months of pregnancy, during which I ate pounds and pounds of ice cream and considered walking to the cafeteria my daily exercise.
As my delivery date neared, I started working from home exclusively and was so sedentary my sister worried I’d develop blood clots in my legs. My coping strategy for getting through the end of pregnancy involved moving everything I needed — laptop, phone, TV remote, several of my husbands oversized t-shirts, bag of jumbo marshmallows — into bed with me and getting up only to pee.
If you know me, you’re aware I’m not a terribly athletic person. I was in Coke-bottle glasses by age seven. I was the kid who had to be thrown into the pool for morning swim team practice. I was 10 before I mastered a bike. I was a reader, a drawer and a daydreamer. My idea of a fun, competitive activity is lobbing a tennis ball over the net without serving or keeping score.
You get the picture.
My lack of competitive drive causes my husband — a natural athlete and the most competitive person I know — great consternation. Early in our dating years, when we’d visit a sporting goods store, he’d yell out my name and then throw a bouncy ball or Frisbee at me to “test my reflexes.”
I knew what that really meant: he wanted to find out if I carried the necessary amount of athletic genes to produce a champion football player. While I’m certain I never passed these tests, as I surely fumbled every pass thrown at me, my husband decided to marry me anyway — poor vision and “let’s all get along” attitude be damned.
So, now that I’m faced with the challenge of getting back in shape, I’m not exactly brimming with confidence. This just isn’t my area of expertise.
During the past eight weeks, I looked for every any excuse to avoid getting in shape. I was thrilled when I read that I should wait for my doctor to give me the “all-clear” at my six-week checkup before doing any strenuous activity. On the day of my appointment, I was sure my doctor would say, “Absolutely no exercise for you, young lady! You are still far too fragile. Just relax with a bag of marshmallows for a few more weeks.”
That did not happen. Instead, I got a breezy, “Looks good!” and a stack of brochures about contraception. What??!! Does this mean my 10 months and six weeks of special treatment, of having the perfect excuse for total laziness, are over???
After spending the past two weeks in denial, it’s finally time to face facts. Truthfully, I’m tired of wearing the same pair of yoga pants (yoga — ha!). It’s time I got reacquainted with my wardrobe, which I’ve been pointedly ignoring up until now. The only place that’s more of a “factory of sadness” than Cleveland Browns Stadium is my closet.
I’m ready to get in shape. I think.
The last time I felt this motivated, I told my sister (who was working as a personal trainer at the time) to put together a workout plan that would make me “look like Madonna.” After seeing what it would take to look like Madonna, I decided looking like myself wasn’t so bad after all.
But will I ever again look like myself? Veteran moms, please tell me: has my formerly stick-straight shape permanently changed? I’m okay with having a few more curves than I used to, since my former body shape resembled that of a 12-year-old boy. I just want to know what’s ahead.
And, if you have any tips for getting into shape, please feel free to share those too. Especially if they involve lobbing a tennis ball over a net, reading a book or eating marshmallows in bed.