For today’s post I have an awesome interview I did with an old friend of mine, Mary Ann, where she talks about how to lose weight quick and easy when you’re a parent who works full time.
Mary Ann and I go way back to grade school when we played on the same basketball team. I am proud to say that we are still in touch and she is allowing me to share her story today.
Mary Ann is very much like you are: busy, kids, family, job, and a few extra pounds.
In this interview, Mary Ann tells us all about her plan to lose 80 pounds and how she has already lost a healthy portion of it!
Check this out and take notes!
Susan: Hey Mary Ann, thank you so much for talking with me today. I think your story can help inspire and teach other people in similar situations to you about how to lose weight when you have virtually no time for yourself. Most people today are very short on spare time.
Tell me about what your day to day life looks like: how many kids, your profession, how busy you are, etc.
Mary Ann: Thanks for asking me to share my story! I have 3 kids who are ages 3, 2 and 1. Yes, I’ve had 3 kids in 4 years. So that makes for a very busy day in and of itself. I am a stay-at-home-mom, a daycare provider (yes, even more kids in the house!) and I run a baking business (custom cakes and cookies as well as other desserts).
My kids (and our other friends) keep me busy during the day. Most of my baking occurs at night – usually starting around 8 pm – kids to bed at 7 followed by a little down time with my husband and then off to cake land. I don’t have baking to do every night, sometimes I might just be doing some planning (supply inventory, ordering, designs for upcoming orders + more). When I do have orders I am actually creating I am up pretty late…2:30, 3:30, sometimes it’s an all-nighter. So all that in addition to the same craziness everyone else has: laundry, clean house, grocery shopping, etc, etc, oh, and Facebook, of course!
Susan: Talk about how you felt/what your life was like when you had the extra weight.
Lazy, lethargic, anxious for my kids to go to bed at night b/c I was so tired. I felt ugly. I was embarassed to see pics of myself. That was really sad b/c I LOVE pics of my family but often turn people down who say, “let me take the pic of all of you”. Um, ‘no thanks!’
I still consider myself to ‘have’ the extra weight. I still have a long way to go. I will say even just losing the 1st 10 lbs. I felt like I had so much more energy – almost immediately. That’s what makes the prospect of losing more so exciting (that and a new wardrobe! LOL!). I can’t wait to see how energetic I am when all the extra weight is gone.
Susan: Why did you decide to take action and do something about it? What was the tipping point for you?
Mary Ann: Each time after my 1st and 2nd children it took me about 6 mos. to get it in gear (time to adjust to the changes in our lives, etc) and start to do something about the pounds. I went to a kickboxing class and paid a little attention to what I was eating, but honestly only a little. I would start to lose the ‘baby weight’ (really due to the exercising & breastfeeding – that’s a calorie burner!) but then we would find out that we were having another baby. I’d slack off on the exercise, some walking here or there but nothing serious. And while I was conscious of the fact that ‘eating for two’ does not mean you can eat double, I didn’t ever deny myself an extra helping or dessert.
The real turning point though was when I was pregnant with my third. For #2 and #3 I had to have a c-section so that requires a pre-op testing. So there I was sitting at the hospital when I was pregnant with my third filling out mounds of paperwork that was being placed in my file. I could see the file with some kind of informational sheet on the front. In big letters I saw “Morbidly Obese”.
At first, I was silently embarrassed but then I started to feel really guilty about my body not being in the best shape, or at least better shape, while pregnant. I knew then & there that I would change my eating & exercise habits not only to help me drop the weight and be a healthier person, but more importantly to help teach my children good habits. What better motivation then the health and wellness of your own children?
Susan: That’s an awesome point. Not only that, but you need to be healthy to be able to take care of your family, be around for them for the long haul, and keep up with your schedule on a day to day basis. When you decided to take action what did you do first? Describe any diet changes and any exercise you think contributed.
Mary Ann: Everyone knows what they “should” do to lose weight quick and easy: Eat less, portion control, good healthy natural foods, water, exercise, etc, etc. It’s a matter of putting those things into action. It all seems simple and they are when you look at each component individually, BUT to pull it all together and incorporate it takes planning, and planning takes TIME – something I am generally short on.
With my husband’s new job and thus new insurance, I found that they would pay for me to go to Weight Watchers. With the accountability of attending a meeting each week (bonus: Mary Ann time with nothing to do but do something for myself – every busy mother’s dream!) it has kept me on track. Your Blog keeps me focused on a daily basis. Whether your topic is about food or exercise I can usually find something to incorporate it into my new habits (less red meat!). They are small reminders every day to stay strong and remain focused. Even the quotes you post are inspiring.
Note from Susan: Thanks for the shout out Mary Ann, I am proud to be able to influence you towards a healthier lifestyle!
I also found out that my husband’s insurance company will give us money towards a gym membership. So I have signed up for the gym. In the warmer days I don’t mind getting outside with the kids running around or going for walks or other exercise, BUT in the winter yuck! I hate the cold and it’s dark. So the gym will provide a place that is warm & bright and….some ‘ME TIME’ doing something healthy!
Susan: Yeah, even though I teach people how to workout at home, I really love my gym time. It is “me” time or my time to socialize with any friends who might join me. How much weight have you lost so far?
I have lost 16.8 lbs. of the 80 lbs. of my goal.
Susan: That’s an awesome start! But sounds like you are sort of just beginning your weight loss journey. How were you able to fit in the exercise and make the diet changes with your busy work and family life?
Mary Ann: My husband and I sat down together and had to plan. We each chose days/times for exercise and they are put on the calendar just like if we had a dentist appointment. By placing these things on the calendar this firms up the commitment mentally. I do the grocery shopping and most of the food preparation in our home. So that was easy enough. The only ‘tools’ in our kitchen are the choices I’ve made. (And, no one to blame but me……)
My husband, out of kindness, has always been one to bring home small surprises from time to time. These surprises??? Usually food treats of some sort. Be it anything from ice cream to chocolate to a Little Debbie snack when he stopped to get gas. For a while I have just graciously accepted these items, would sit them aside with the intent to toss later when he wasn’t around, but before too long I was dipping into them. I finally had to put on my big girl pants and risk hurting his feelings and tell him that he was being an enabler. I likened it to alcoholism – ie. If I was an alcoholic would you bring me hope a shot of vodka for a treat???
Susan: Wow, so many important points you just mentioned. Family support is crucial! Between you addressing your husband about not bringing you home your “drug” of choice and you sitting down together to plan out exercise schedules, I think you set yourself up to succeed. Besides what you just mentioned about your husband, what role did social support play in losing weight? Who supported you?
My family has been my biggest support because I am around them most often. The group at Weight Watchers is also very helpful weather you have a good day or a bad day they are always there to cheer you on. And really people who are dealing/have dealt with the same issues (be it their own issues or a career dealing with people who have these issues – such as yourself). I think they are the best to help in these goals.
To force some accountability onto myself, I also tell other people about my goals and how I’m doing with them.
Susan: You have to share your goals with others, it’s so important for accountability! Are you keeping a food log or an exercise journal?
Mary Ann: I keep a food log. I write down everything I eat and drink (except water). Even when I don’t want to write it down…like by not writing it the calories don’t count or something….hahaha. I don’t keep an exercise journal. In the Weigh Watchers system you are rewarded for exercising. It allows you extra ‘points’ which you can use that day to, in short, eat additional food. I look at it like this: the body needs exercise. It’s something that should be done for one’s health, not so you can have an ice cream instead of an apple.
Susan: How do you feel now since you have made a nice little dent in your weight loss goals and how has your life changed, if at all?
Mary Ann: I feel great. I have a long way to go though. My goal is to lose 80 lbs. and drop my BMI down to a much healthier number.
Susan: True, but 16.8 lbs is nothing to turn your nose up at! It’s a great start! Talk a little bit about your path forward – will you keep up with the diet and exercise plan that helped you lose the weight so far?
Mary Ann: Yes, I plan to keep up with my new path. It is in my AND MY FAMILY’S best interest. I am the front line of education for my kids. I’ve already seen a difference. The other day I asked my kids if they wanted a cookie or some fruit for their snack. One shouted out they wanted a pear, the other a Clementine. I was so proud of them and me too!
Susan: Mary Ann, it looks like you are headed down a much healthier path then you have been for the last few years while having your kids. You are really making all the necessary changes to be healthier and drop your weight into a more appropriate range. From, diet to exercise, and social support, and food logging, I really believe you are well on your way to meeting your weight loss goal. Please let me know how I can help you along the way, and we can’t wait to have you back here to keep us updated on your progress!