Saturday, September 14, 2013

Parkercise: How I finally lost the baby weight!

* In no way am I a medical expert. The closest I've come is taking a few anatomy classes and being a sports and leisure management major for a year in college. 

It's official. I am down the 20 pounds I set my goal for! You know what's sad? I'm not as enthusiastic as I thought I'd be. Isn't that always the way? I guess because you lose weight so slowly, you don't notice. I notice in pictures of myself. I notice in my clothes. But, I don't know, I just don't FEEL 20 pounds lighter.

But you, dear readers, don't care about that, right? You want to know HOW I did it.

If you're like me, you see a post on losing 20 pounds in a certain amount of time. Mine happened to be in 8 weeks, practically. From your perspective, eight weeks doesn't seem that long. It's eight. It's not 10, which is a really long time, apparently. And, for the first two weeks or so, it'll seem like a cinch to reach eight weeks.

But it's hard. It's frustrating. The initial weight loss is amazing and it goes so quickly. And starting anything new is always fun at first but, at least for me, my brain and body start saying, "OK, this was fun and all, but, um, when are we going back to doing things our way? As in, doing the absolute bare minimum every day. Seriously, we don't have the time or the energy for this anymore."

One of the biggest hurdles was finding the time. I love doing yoga, but on top of getting dressed for it, putting in the DVD and waiting for it to load, getting out the mat and accessories, there's also the shower afterward I have to account for. I have two hours before work now and, as much as I'd like to put in my 50-minute yoga DVD, I'm really looking at an hour and 15 minutes dedicated to working out. That's a lot of time, in my world. So, I had to figure out a way to be a mom and exercise.

I present to you Parkercise.

Look at the modern playgrounds! Seriously! These things are the greatest tools for exercising imaginable. Everything you need for a decent workout is right there. Just following L. around is enough of a workout. 

"Come on, Mom, come on!"
I am determined to lose weight, if just because of the fear
of getting stuck on a twisty slide!

Also, to the moms who stare at me, I'm not being a helicopter mom when I'm circling my daughter; I'm wearing a pedometer and I want to get some steps in!

Speaking of others at the park, who is going to say anything when you're exercising? I'm usually wearing my yoga pants anyway, I might as well get some use out of them! 

I don't normally do reps, since L. goes from one thing to another I can't keep consistent, but I try to do at least 10 of each.

Here are a few things I like to do:
  • I like to start off with about 20 minutes of walking, so I follow L. around or, if she's playing in the sand, I walk around the area. Nothing brisk, just to get moving.
  • Step up lunges on a bench. Step up with your leg, keep your back straight, and lung your other leg.

  • Chair dips. Sit on a bench and put your arms beside you and hold on to the edge. Step forward, then bend your elbows and lower yourself down and press back up.

  • Calf stretches. After doing yoga the day before, my calves tend to get very tight. I like just doing this stretch to loosen them up. Sit on the edge of the bench with your legs bent at 90 degrees. With your thighs parallel and your feet flexed, raising one leg at a time up and straighten. Hold for a few seconds and switch sides.

There are tons of exercises that can be done on a bench. Here's a link to a few more from And it's especially nice to be able to watch L. play while working out. She normally doesn't show that much interest in anything I'm doing once we're in the park anyway. I'm merely a delivery device to get her to the park.
  • Once L. is done with the sandbox, she's usually all over the jungle gym and on the slides. I can usually find a bar for me to get my daily pushups in.

  • Standing side leg raises. With your hand on the bar and your back straight, kick your leg out to the side. I like to flex my foot to feel more of a stretch as I'm doing it.

  • While using the bar, I remembered some old ballet training. So I do what I call Ballet Ds (I really have no idea what they're really called). Kick your foot out and point your foot. Bring it out, then around behind you and pull it back through to standing. You're making a D shape with your foot, pretty much. I'll do them forward for both legs, then backward. Not sure what other muscles it tones, but my butt muscled definitely feel it after a while!

  • Plies. Using the bar for support, spread your legs and bend your knees and come down. I like to then stand on my tip toes while I'm down. Then come back up. After a few of these, my thighs are burning, pretty much. The slower and more controlled movement is key, I think.

Barre (as it's called in ballet) workouts are great for toning and really getting a good stretch. Like yoga for me, I don't notice when it makes me sweat, but it definitely will! Here are some more barre exercises from Shape Magazine.

One of the best things that has kept me motivated to get up and workout was just telling myself it didn't matter WHAT I did, as long as I was moving. The body is meant to move. That's what it was designed for and why we have muscles in the first place. Whether I'm dancing around the living room with L., doing yoga or going for a walk, I'm getting the most out of what my body can do.

Also, as I've said in previous posts, people working out don't look stupid. They just don't! Sure, I look funny when I'm pushing L. on the swings and I'm doing squats at the same time. But I know, in the long run, I'm doing something for myself. And I feel like I'm the ultimate multitasker at that point.

It goes without saying that exercising and moving is setting a good example for L. I don't want her to remember her mother on the couch (as I am most mornings when she wakes me up crazy early), I'd rather her see me as a mover and someone she can be proud of when she says, "My mom's the one over there doing lunges on the bench."