Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Exercise as a single mum - getting back on track.

So what's that phrase? 'I've let myself go'? Well having a baby inevitably leads to weight gain however if you are sensible and don't over eat (no matter how starving you might actually feel sometimes - my first trimester I was always so hungry and so tired) it can be more manageable.
I didn't realise until after I had my daughter how much excess I had put on. 1 to 1 and 1/2 stone. I'd gone from an 8 - 10 to a large size 12.

At that point I was going through domestic abuse and other troubles and didn't manage to do anything about the weight. After becoming a single mum and having no one to have my daughter so I could exercise, coping with the aftermath of a massive breakdown & the on going crippling depression for a few months after and coping with a worsening flare of my Crohn's & therefore further courses of medicinal steroids, I didn't find manage to loose the weight then either.
If anything I yoyoed between gaining and loosing another 1/2 stone.

Weight, despite how much it got me down, was not my priority then. Surviving the day was. As I got better psychologically I began to think about exercising again.
As I still had no one to leave G with so I could go for a run I decided to opt for work out dvd's.
 I used to be fond of these a few years ago due to being very self conscious if running by myself, especially with not being quite the runner I used to be.

I used to favour Ministry of Sound work out collection. I love dancing or working out to music as it feels more like having fun rather than the slog of 40 mins to an hours hard exercise.
Now though I was looking for something serious to help really shift the weight and I'd heard people talking about 30 day shred by a trainer from America's biggest loser.

Jillian Michaels is one for circuit training which I'd read good things about and her work out's combined strength and cardio which is the best way for shedding the pounds quickly. I didn't need anymore convincing than that so got myself a copy after sourcing out where it was cheapest and set to it the next time I'd had enough sleep and G was napping. (This was well over a year ago when she would still nap).
At the time I was still going through a flare of Crohn's but I really was desperate to get fit again.
I felt really positive with the shred and although a bit tough when you get started on level 1 after no hard core exercise, I was enjoying it.
However with having to walk everywhere (no car and saving the pennies from bus fare) I would sometimes be too exhausted to do it after a long walk somewhere to get shopping or having taken G somewhere and then just generally looking after G and doing all the house work.
I kept on but I ended up falling down my very steep stairs at home one day and really damaging my tailbone.
I was in agony for a long time and the pain didn't fully go until a year later. This along with my worsening Crohn's resulting in me being hospitalised for a short while, put a stop to the exercise.
Over the next few months I still kept walking miles to save money and get things done but still in a flare I made myself incredibly unwell and landed back in hospital again at Christmas.

I have a lot of reasons to spur me on to lose weight.
I hate the way I look right now, my self esteem is rock bottom.
I fit in none of my nice clothes of which I had plenty. Instead due to being broke ever since I have been a bigger size I could only afford a few clothes and maybe one new item on a rare occasion. Leading to my clothes being worn over and over and me looking like a scruff bag. I hate being like this and want my old self back.
I want to feel happier with how I look. I want to have nice clothes and not be scruffy everywhere I go but especially as G will be starting school next year and I will have the dreaded playground pick up!
I want to eventually meet someone new and one reason I am avoiding a '10 years since we started uni reunion' is how I look.

Now I'm on a much stronger medication my Crohn's isn't taking over so much. My joints aren't so painful every day and I don't have daily blood loss I feel a bit stronger. I don't feel like an 80 year old woman every day I get out of bed (or maybe 90 when I get into bed at the end of a day).
I've finally been brave and got out my trainers and the hand weights and stuck good old Jillian on again.

G has her free preschool hours on a couple of afternoons a week which I usually use to get the shopping done, housework done and other non stop new errands that are always coming up.
When I was ill it would have been much more beneficial to rest and do something relaxing but if I don't get everything done who else will? Like when people tell you to nap when your baby does. Sometimes from sheer exhaustion I'd have to but if you did as others said you'd have no clean clothes, dishes, you'd be living in filth and rubbish, have no groceries, bills left unpaid.....the list goes on.
Now I'm feeling moderately better than I was I'm trying to get the workout done each time she's at nursery and occasionally after she's gone to bed if I'm not about to drop myself. It may not be how the 30 day shred is meant to be used but it will still help me build up my base level of fitness again and loose a few pounds. I also used two of Jillian's other tough but great work out's before I fell down the stairs last year. They are 40-50 minutes work out's and I can't jump straight into them or I won't have the strength to look after G or myself but I'm hoping I'll get there gradually.
After only 3 days of 30 day shred I'm already feeling a little stronger.
I had to take a rest day today as I had to walk into town and get the heavy grocery shopping and then get the housework done....on top of G being up almost all last night. I hope to get back on to it tomorrow.

I'm also trying to be more conscious of my food shops and now I'm coping better with my depression, stress and anxiety most of the time I'm doing better and not opting for the unhealthy quick fix.

It can be very hard finding the time/opportunity to exercise when you're a financially troubled single mum.
If I could choose I'd have my own gym at home and be on the treadmill whilst listening to some music or catching up with a tv show. Two birds....
A home swimming pool would also be great. I can but dream.....

I'm starting voluntary work and a course to help me get back into paid employment soon so I will have less time and energy to exercise then so I'm hoping to really crack down on my weight before then. I want to fit in my old clothes and wave my scruff bag days goodbye!

Do you find it hard to fit in time for exercise? Are any of you trying to lose weight too?

Let me know.

We Will Do It! Support Linky on The Purple Pumpkin Blog

This is one of a few posts I am doing on the topic of getting back on track with health and fitness. If you have been unwell or not had the time to take care of yourself you might relate. Here are my other posts: Water Challenge and Hair Restoration.


  1. You have had a lot going on, and just reading through no wonder you've not had the time to exercise and keep on track - I was a single mum for a few years, and the last person we think about is ourselves - we have no one else to lean on when it's just you and your child at home, and so we just forget don't we?

    I've got a MoS DVD which I like doing as well - I'd rather be dancing to work out (that's why I like Zumba) as it doesn't really feel like exercising!

    Thanks for sharing on the We Will Do It Support Linky - I'm sure we are all going to get to where we want to be xx

  2. Thanks for reading. Yes I run round doing everything for her and then never do anything for myself. Having to make such a concerted effort to remember/have the energy to look after myself again. It's a big change just becoming mum in general but yes being on my own I don't even have someone to take over for 5 minutes. It's tough isn't it. Yes I hope we all do! It's good to have a support network! I think that's one of the key's to succeeding! xx