Little Things to Get Back in Shape / Encouragement Appreciated Also

Updated on October 15, 2013
P.G. asks from San Antonio, TX
16 answers

Hi Moms,

I need your support, and ideas/helpful hints/tidbits to get healthier, shed some inches, get back in shape.

OH - just started walking at lunch at work (15 minutes).

I'm 45, mom of a 6 year old, wife of a med school student (who is in school with a bunch of hot 25 year old childless women). :P Hubby loves me, that I know, but he'd like to see "healthy body me" again. I reminded him that my healthy body is going to be a 45 year old/gave birth healthy - and I'd like to see that again, too. I'm just tired and bogged down. I work full time, care for our son, make dinner for us all, oversee homework, etc., and make things smooth while hubby's at school. Sometimes I just want to be a lump on the couch - though I don't like that feeling either. Overwhelmed is a pain in the butt.

I've probably gained about 20 lbs (160 now, vs 140 then, at 5'4") since my son was born. I don't like it, I don't like how I look, and I don't like how it feels - it's pretty much from breast to butt where most of it sits. I'm officially frumpy-shaped.

I have a doctor's appointment to follow up on my hypothyroid to see how it's doing, and to ask for recommendations re. diet for me, exercise, etc. The last 4 years have been very stressful, and I think I've internalized that stress too much.

I eat reasonably well, but I snack more than I should. I have a weakness for soda that I'm having a hard time letting go of. We do have a fridge at work so I can keep healthier snacks around, but I get stuck on healty alternatives for the cravings - salty, carb, sweet. I'm going to bump up my fruit intake for the sweet cravings. Any suggestions for the salty/carb type cravings (week before period is the worst).

I was doing zumba at the Y twice a week, but they're having construction and no childcare because of it. I just put together a youtube zumba video "class" to do at home and I'm going to do that at 9pm after I put my son to bed. I have a "wonky" knee, so jumping a bunch is out of the question, but I can move enough to get cardio going.

Can you moms help with your stories of small steps to a healthier you?
How did you overcome, move past cravings?
How did you give up or cut back on your favorite snack/soda, etc.?
What do you do to avoid "boredom snacking" at your desk job?
What help you best tone your Pooch area/midsection? (I keep reading that crunches don't work for the LOWER abdomen muscles - the baby wrapped area)

Thanks for your help!

ADD: On hubby's behalf, over the last year, he lost about 75 lbs by exercising A LOT (he had a job away from us for a big chunk of time and used that time for exercising), and eating right, not snacking. His family has some medical issues and he has concerns about us "being around" for our son - he's kinda paranoid about that. Also, I DID have gestational diabetes, so alarm bells are going off in his head - there's genuine medical concern in there.

What can I do next?

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answers from San Diego on

These are very small things, but I upped my intake of water daily. I used to be religious about it, but then I kinda slacked off. Now I'm back to drinking 8 glasses a day. I also wanted to kick start some weight loss, so within the last few weeks I started halving my food portions and guess what? I've already lost 7 pounds. I have maybe 5 more to go and then I'll be where I want to be. But I do think the combo of increasing my water AND portion control together helped.

Oh, and at my desk I have carrots, an apple and a banana right now. So when I'm hungry between meals, that's what I reach for.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

To satisfy my cravings for soda I drink plain seltzer water mixed with juice. Or, sometimes if I REALLY want a soda, I will mix it half and half with seltzer water. I have gotten to the point of thinking plain soda is too sweet now!

More Answers


answers from Columbia on

Walk. Walk during your breaks at work. Walk around the block for 30 minutes to an hour. Walk all over the place. Park as far away as you can from any location.

When you crave ANYTHING, make a rule: Drink 8oz of water first. If the craving is still there, give yourself ONE-HALF of a serving size (based on the package) of whatever you're craving. You'll find that a serving size is smaller than what you're usually having for a snack, and after the water, 1/2 of that will curb your craving.

Almonds. OMG, Almonds. They're so delicious and healthy. They're my go-to. I buy the dark chocolate Diamond Almonds for my sweet cravings, and the Smoked almonds for my salty craving. Bonus....they also help the carb cravings. I keep them in my desk at work, in the cupboard at home too. Since they curb the cravings, I don't "boredom snack" on them.

To tone the pooch: As you know, much of that pooch is fat. So if you want to lose that, you need to cut the sugar and sodas out. Find a replacement and resolve not to buy the sugary stuff anymore.

Exercises: Bicycles, flutter kicks, hip raises, planks, and leg scissors. Yes, crunches work for the lower abdominal muscles too, but you need to push your knees out, away from yourself, instead of bringing them toward your chin. You'll feel the difference because your lower abs will have to support the weight of your legs.

You can Google any of these ab toning exercises, but remember, there is no such thing as "targeted fat loss." When you lose weight, you'll lose it throughout your whole body, so you need to take some measurements and pay attention to inches lost instead of the scale.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

First of all, give yourself a break. You're a busy, working mom that is not
a 20 year old and have given birth.
Eat healthy for you YOU not for your hubby.
Men are weird that way. They have no idea what it is like to carry a child
& give birth. They never will.
Your hubby should never say anything to you about your weight or
appearance. They, too, will get the middle age pooch, lose their hair,
lose their stamina. Just wait.
Having said that,
-walk on your lunch
-eat healthier for you. Take mini carrots, plain almonds (hv about 15), fruit, whole wheat crackers & a couple of slices of cheese.
-walk WITH your son on weekends & evenings. He can even be on a bike
-rent a workout video from your library to do at home while your son
watches cartoons for half an hour or 45 mins. Do low impact since your
knee has problems
-don't worry but take care of yourself for YOU & for your health
-be sure to pack a healthy lunch for yourself for work
-I ditched soda a long time ago. Drink cold, filtered water.
-When I used to get bored at my desk at work I would take a bathroom break (see coworkers on the way for a quick hello), walk outside for 10 mins for fresh air, make lists to distract yourself at work when you get
hungry, keep healthy snacks in your desk.
-Keep healhty snacks cut up & ready to eat at home & work to cut down on the work it takes to eat healthy. (sliced apples etc).
-walk whenever you can, park farther away from the grocery store making you walk further, always take the stairs at malls and work. Basically a body at rest doesn't burn calories so always try to be in motion as often as possible.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Good for you for walking at lunch! It IS the little things that will make a big difference. I totally understand the whole "sit on the couch because I just need to veg out, but then I don't feel good about that either" feeling!

Try some meal planning. It is SOOOOO hard to be a working mom and have to get dinner ready as soon as you walk in the door. Use the crock pot or make some large portions of healthy meals, freeze, take out the night before so you can just pop it into the oven. A homemade casserole is most likely going to have much less salt/sodium than a ready made one at the store.

As far as the soda, is there an "out of the way" place you can keep it? Or just not buy it at all? Ours is kept in the garage fridge (that is not attached to the house) and/or in the basement (not cold). I wouldn't give it up completely. It will only make you want it more. But tell yourself you can have one on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (or whatever schedule you want!). I also would buy the individual bottles. I know that a 2 liter is cheaper, but having it there is just temptation. I LOVE the "sassy water" from the flat belly diet! Although I call it Awesome Water, just because I like that better! LOL

Carbs are HARD to curb. I love them, too!!!! Just make sure you really love the ones you eat. I tend to mindlessly snack and don't find myself satisfied.

I too am interested to know about the "baby pooch". I have never been able to get rid of mine.

I did do well with the "Walk Away the Pounds" videos when I did them before work with a group of other teachers. Low impact, not real sweaty, etc. But then I had to switch schools, so there went that! :( The idea of working with others and encouraging one another did help me a ton, though.
Just keep in mind that it all takes TIME. When you read a real fitness magazine people don't get fit and trim in 6 weeks. It is a slow process. And focus on how you feel, not a number on a scale or size on pants!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Good for you for embracing health, fitness, weightloss and a new frame of mind as re: eating/ snacking/ exercise, and carrying stress.

some tips-
get/ borrow a dog. They are always happy to go for a walk. They are always happy to walk an extra block. they need to go out twice a day. they offer love encouragement and support. they don't talk back.

I am blessed with a good frame, a healthy weight, a healthy appetite, and a good sense for my stomach. I cannot eat too much, it is a challenge and a chore to have a big portion of even my favorite foods. Instead I eat 5-6x a day, drink plenty of water, and love fruit and veg above most everything.

unsweetened iced black or herbal tea. fruit infused water, iced coffee are all great substitutes for soda. if you want, try some of the flavored seltzers as a no calorie, no sugar, no sweetener step down.

In terms of salty snacks, I like nuts. you can also do fresh or cooked veg with a bit of mrs. dash or salt alternative.

if you are bored at work. ask for more work. play mental games like, count backwards from 100 by 7. name all the state capitals. commit the rivers in africa to memory etc. take a brief walk. do subtle desk exercises, like contracting your calfs, shoulder rolls etc. take a walk to the ladies room.

you can't spot exercise. instead you need to achieve all around weight loss and muscle strengthening. when the weight comes off, that pooch will improve.

involve your kid in your exercise. do relay races. rake leaves. if your laundry is upstairs/ downstairs. unload it only one item at a time, tackling the stairs as many times as possible. make it a race. ride your bikes.

the 10 minute fit video series is a good bet too.

PS- if you figure out how to let go of the stress, your body might start shedding weight.

good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

I was obese as a child and I have struggled with my weight except for ages
16 - 35. I am back to the struggle.
I have to walk a lot, eat raw veggies and fruits, do planks, crunches and
My favorite thing to do is to cook dinner in the crock pot , so I cook every OTHER night. I take that extra time to dance. I love all the Richard Simmons aerobic dance tapes---They are from yrs ago!

If you dance for 30 or 35 minutes every other night---You will burn lots
Of calories. One pound of fat is 3500 calories---So dance, jump rope, walk, or do movement for no less than 30 minutes...Movement will burn the calories away. Just don't diet because u will lose muscle.

When u r hungry---Drink a glass of water and eat some raw broccoli...

I Allow myself pizza (3 slices) and a big glass of root beer as a once a month meal. It zaps my energy the next day, but, I indulge.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

HI P.,

Your story raised a red flag when you said your weight is from bust to butt. Weight that lingers there is not caused from overeating but from toxicity in the body. I'm afraid your sodas are one of the problems. Also if you eat processed food (which is quick and easy and you seem to have a FULL schedule) you are maintaining the problem.

I helped my husband lose 110 pounds a few years back and he has not only kept it off but still steadily losing. Nutrition is REALLY the key. The right vitamin will actually make weight fall off. It has to be absorbable! Not many are. Most create free radicals that also cause disease so you have to combat it with extra antioxidants.

If you really want to get the weight off, private message me and I can give you specific information. I also helped my husbands best friend lose 50 pounds and my sister in law lost 15...all were exactly what they needed to lose to get to a healthy point.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Hi there P.! Looks like you have already gotten a bunch of great responses but I wanted to throw another one or two in there.

I found that having a 'cheat day' was most helpful for me and my husband. I could eat ice cream every night but that wouldn't be too smart. So, we have it on Saturday nights. Feeds the craving and doesn't make me feel like I am withholding the good stuff. We usually make Saturday our big day. if we are goingout for dinner, we do it then. Even if it is a frozen pizza (something not too healthy) that is when we will have it.
I think the walking at work is awesome! I am doing the same weather permitting! I understand what you mean about working out at night. I have 2 little ones three and under and trying to find time while not neglecting them is hard. It gets even more challenging when I put it off until after they go to bed. Find a workout that you can do in 10-20 minutes at home until things maybe start to mellow out for you. I have the 10-minute trainer videos and I can do one or I can add in another one for more time. It is a full body workout, though not super intense, which could help until things start to level out for you.
My biggest suggestions, don't deprive yourself of things you love. You will quickly derail your efforts. Slowly reduce the soda. If you have 2 a day, swap one out. If you have one every day, swap one every other day for a carbonated water (mind the sugar though!).
It will be ok. If you fall off the wagon, pick yourself back up and climb back on and enjoy the ride. Do this for you because you want to. Not because you think this is what others want or because you have fears over the single and childless ladies working alongside your husband. Have faith in him and more importantly, yourself. Best wishes and have a wonderful weekend!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Congratulations!, you have already started, and that is very good! After 2 weeks you are ready to add 10 more minutes to your daily walking.Do not give up.
Drink water, plain water (no sugary drinks at all) you can add a bit of lime, lemon or orange juice if you want to before each meal, and before going out.
Eat (nutritiously) often like 4 meals/day. Prepare your meals on weekends, so you have for instance cooked or grilled chicken ready for sandwiches or soups at least for 3 days so you do not have to eat whatever you find (cookies, chips, junk, etc) when you are not able to cook.
Snacks: Have 3/day the first week and then 2/day when you get used to your plan.
Good snacks are :
plain yogurt with marmalade or jam; fat free instant pudding,apples and peanut butter;a HANDFUL of nuts and a little piece of dark chocolate (not more than once/day) when you really cannot resist skipping sugar; a small turkey/chicken wrap with lettuce and tomatoe; 3 crackers and tuna;
smoothies : berries,blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and a cup of spinach (don't worry, you won't be able to taste it); a banana and a cup of almond milk; orange, banana and strawberries, pineapple, peaches and strawberries and spinach; chocolate almond milk and strawberries.
Bananas and honey
Replace sugar with agave nectar (light) or honey,
Do NOT drink or eat nothing that is labeled as DIET, it is addictive and worse than anything else.
Eat grains and wheat no white flour, no white pasta, no white anything (sorry...).
When you feel the need for sugar or snacking, drink a glass of water with a 1.2 tsp of baking soda, it will go away! the same with a full glass of water and a handful of walnuts and almonds.
Your breakfast IS important; include sometimes eggs for protein, and oatmeal for fiber everyday.
Have your dinner at least 3 hours before going to bed, if you feel hungry (which is not real hunger, just habit) eat a yogurt.
Find the best of your pictures, the one you think you look great, and place it where you always can see it, and keep walking and taking care of yourself.
Good luck, you can do it and never, never stop walking, or jogging or exercising because it is not a matter of just being beautiful but also being healthy for your loved ones, this is the best motivation ever!
A. :)


answers from Houston on

Eliminate twice daily. Eat oatmeal things and drink a huge glass of water behind it. That will cause you to eliminate.



answers from Dallas on

Try substituting Kombucha or water kefir instead of your soda. I like the brands Kevita, GT's, Synergy, and Holy Kombucha.



answers from Chattanooga on

One thing I learned was to eat small portions through the day... 4-5 SMALL meals instead of 3 big ones. Plan for your biggest meal to be immediately after your workout; your body will still be in high gear, and will metabolize the food much quicker.

Every time you eat a snack, drink a glass of water first then wait a full minute before getting your snack. It will make your stomach feel fuller, so you will eat less. It is also said that cravings are short lived, so waiting sometimes causes the craving to go away.

One of my favorite salty snacks is pretzels! Especially if you dip them in dark chocolate. (A small amount of dark chocolate daily is actually good for you! Yay!)

I have a huge Pepsi weakness. I cut back on it a lot by making a no-carry rule... It means that my pop has to stay in the fridge... I can't take it with me into the living room, car, or anywhere. If I want a drink of it, I have to get up and walk to the fridge, take my drink, and put it back. The only exception is when I eat; then I have a child-sized cup I allow myself. Other than that, I carry around a bottle of water all the time.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Hi P.,
I haven't read through all the responses but I hope they have been encouraging. Reading through your post - it sounds like you are on the right track. I attend a boot camp in Carrollton and our instructor's favorite saying is "Small changes = Big results!!"
I did the same thing as you - adding more fruits and veggies, my fitness instructor puts out these 6 minutes videos for working and they are effective and just 6 minutes!! I also started leaving one or two bites on my plate. Not splitting it in half - that's too much - but just one or two bites.
Just be persistent with yourself - but don't be too hard - that will just depress you. Make little goals with yourself. I travel a lot so if I'm gone I make a deal with myself that if I work out every day I can get some new shoes or lipstick or something that you love! But I have to stick with it!
Good luck and I know you can do it!



answers from Tyler on

Hey -
You sound like me. Similar age, similar kids age. I too want to get back into shape - just to be healthy - not for any other reason. I bought, "Jukmpstart to Skinny" by Bob Harper (From Biggest Loser). The book is intended for a rapid weight loss gain in three weeks. I'm not interested in a rapid weight loss gain, but I thought the steps/exercises would be good for a long term weight loss. He has recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the three weeks, plus exercises that you can do in your home for the three weeks. I did for one week and then I got sick (allergies/cold/regular sickness, but it sapped all the energy out of me). I'm just now getting over that and then I am going to try it again. I did follow the recipes the first week and unfortunately, there is a LOT of lettuce in it - for filler. I did get sick to death of lettuce. But, the breakfast I liked the most was quinoa and blueberries + scrambled egg whites. I usually like to snack in the mornings, but with that breakfast, I wasn't hungry at all in the mornings, so no snacking.

I guess the best part of the whole thing is the variety of exercises that you can do.

Good luck!



answers from Tyler on

Check out Trim Healthy Mama..on Facebook ...They also have a book out that is full of information and eating information that is great. Lower glycemic eating plan that you can do 'forever' that really helps blood pressure and diabetic issues! But you can join the facebook group for free and glean tons of recipes and helpful information....many men are losing right along with their wives...

Also, check out T-Tapp jumping, running, no floor exercises, no weights, your 15 min workout in a 3x3 space...she has lots of try it before you buy it videos on her website...and longer workouts, but many get fantastic results with just the basic 15 minutes

Everyone should watch the 'Yes you can' 90 minute overview of the basic why's and how-to and her testimony...she was in pre-med..this will change a lot of stuff for anybody wanting to get healthy/lose weight or just firm up...she specializes in back injuries/knee injuries/shoulder/elbow injuries...and these exercises strengthens those as well as increases bone density in a very short time....she is a rehab trainer as well as many other specialties...

The hoe downs exercises reduce blood sugar faster than a shot of insulin!!

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