Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Baby Weight -or rather, ahem, The “Baby” Weight

Given that my “baby” is two-years-old now, it seems kind of silly to lament that I’m still carrying twenty pounds of baby weight, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’m like the overweight teenager whose loving mother says she just hasn’t lost all her “baby fat” yet.
I thoroughly enjoy commiserating with my good friend who has fifteen pounds of baby weight (though her situation is a little different --- she actually has a baby). Frequently our e-mails to each other begin with, “I’m eating an obscene amount of (fill in brand/flavor of chocolate),” and end with, “I don’t know why I’m not losing any weight!”

My husband also has twenty pounds of “baby” weight. Recently we’ve started working out more regularly and he proclaims daily how excited and happy he is that we’re “getting back in shape.” The problem is, we’ve both gained about four pounds since beginning. He, optimistically, says that it’s probably just “muscle” weight. In his case, it probably is. In my case, it’s more likely “chocolate-covered-peanuts and pale ale” weight.

Naturally I’ve considered all of the weight loss advice out there (haven’t followed any of it, but I’ve considered it). I discovered a new law of the universe, however, at my pediatrician’s office last week. If it makes adults fat, it makes children skinny; and vice versa. Really. For example, when I was pregnant and alarmed at my rapid weight gain, the midwife repeatedly drilled me about “how much juice” I was drinking. Apparently, she thought too much juice makes adults fat. However, I have really skinny kids and their doctor asks, in an accusatory manner, how much juice they’re drinking --- apparently, she thinks too much juice makes kids skinny. (for the "mom police" out there, none of us drink much juice at all) Additionally, I’m always reading diet information that says “grazing” helps adults consume less calories. So I thought I should make my kids eat actual meals to grow, but then the doctor suggested that “grazing” would help them consume more calories.

I don’t really obsess over trying to be a beauty queen or anything, but I enjoy being active and not having to huff and puff just to go on a bike ride with my family. So I was looking at my BMI to assess where I am in terms of fitness (or lack thereof) and was both alarmed and relieved. As it turns out, I’m “overweight,” but if I lose just 15 pounds I’ll be “normal.” Not too bad, right? But, if I gain only 15 pounds I’ll be obese. Not good. It seems these diagnostic tools are a little harsh, aren’t they? I mean shouldn’t there be more than a 30 pound window between “normal” and “obese?”

I don’t think anybody really knows what makes us all fat or skinny. Excepting the obvious, sitting at the computer eating chocolate several times a day, of course. I’m looking down at the sad proof of the effects of that. And also lack of exercise…

But I’m beginning to think it’s just… well… unrealistic to try to exercise when your kids are little. I know Jada Pinkett Smith does it and so does Cindy Crawford, but really, I don’t think those two have the same challenges us regular folks have. Every day before my kids wake up, when they nap and after they go to bed, I have to ask myself that big question, “would I like an hour of peace and quiet to do whatever I want, would I like an hour of sleep or would I like an hour of exercising?” And it’s frequently a tough call between the first two, but the third is just a hands-down loser every time.

Occasionally I do get on a fitness kick. In fact, over the last year and a half I’ve lost and regained the same 10 pounds four times. So it’s not like I’m not making any effort here, but, apparently, it’s going to take more than six weeks of exercising and dieting followed by six months of loafing and gorging to keep the “baby” weight off for good.


keema said...

I noticed the same thing about the BMI. I have also heard commentary about how the BMI overestimates the fat, and therefore the health risks, of unusually muscular people like Gorvernor Arnold.

My crystal ball tells me that I am a few inches taller than you are, and yet I have the same 30 pound window between 'healthy' and 'obese', except my window starts and stops at higher weights, I expect.

My little one is now 16 months and my weight is stable. Not where I want it to be stable, mind you, but robustly, stubbornly, stolidly, perpetually stable.

MommyWithAttitude said...

I was once rather muscular for my size and I like to pretend that that's still the case and skews my BMI a little bit. :)