How I’m Losing the Baby Weight: Making Friends With My Inner Rock Star
Photo credit: Katie Morton
Following dinner last night, I was tempted by the aroma of fresh, buttered popcorn wafting through the kitchen. As I loaded the dishwasher, I absent-mindedly said, "I wish I could have some of that."
My husband, Steve, said, "What do you mean? Of course you can have some."
I answered, "They don't serve popcorn on The Fat Farm."
"Say what? The Fat Farm?"
"Yes, I've gone and put myself on The Fat Farm. It's time for me to play some serious mind games with myself to lose weight. I've been starting and stopping for so long now, it's ridiculous."
Then the difference between men and women made a dramatic appearance as Steve told me, "You don't need to play mind games; you just need to eat less and exercise more." Insert eye roll, which could have come from either one of us.
I argued with him on that point. I've been exercising daily like a complete maniac. Steve countered with evidence of pizza and ice cream indulgences. I don't remember my answer to that, but I'm sure it was a very well-thought-out and careful treatise that went something like, "BOOGA BOOGA! Look over there!"
Knowing Is a Quarter of the Battle
We all know what to do, yes, yes, diet and exercise. I'm bored already. So riddle me this: if we're so smart about diet and exercise, why doesn't every last human on Earth look like a Victoria's Secret model?
The answer is motivation and consistency.
Have you ever had the experience when the stars were perfectly aligned, you ate right, you exercised for an extended period of time, and the weight came off? You were in a particular motivated mind frame that made consistency possible.
Then something happened. Your brains got scrambled, and old habits came back.
Why I'm Fat
When my daughter was born last July, I was in pretty great shape. I was back in my pre-pregnancy shorts within a couple weeks of giving birth. It didn't come easy; I exercised my butt off throughout my entire pregnancy. The morning before my water broke, I went to the gym and did plank position, push-ups, squats and lunges.
What was my motivation? My doctor told me that regular exercise during pregnancy helps prevent a too-big baby and the resulting difficult labor. My husband is 6'6" and fears of big babies loomed large. My vagina insisted I get to the gym immediately.
Then sleepless nights and new-baby stress took its toll, and for the past nine months, my buddies Ben, Jerry and my mentor Papa John have been there to bolster me on my travels to Chubbyville. I said to a real life friend, a mother of two in fabulous shape, "Aren't I supposed to lose weight after having a baby - not gain??!"
Her answer was, "Have you seen mothers?" as if all moms are flabby and destined to remain so for the rest of their lives. But her own physique said something completely different. She was the thinnest she'd been in the eleven years I'd known her.
Then I Met My Inner Rock Star
I decided that I was tired of playing Fat Mom. I was trying to remember who I was before my daughter arrived on the scene so I could get back to being that person. Once my inquiry began, it didn't take long to find myself.
First I found Pam Young's The Mouth Trap: The Butt Stops Here, and for $13.95, I took a chance. Young is my kind of gal: she doesn't take herself too seriously. In the book, she encourages me to get to know my inner child.
Young's strategy is to befriend your inner child so that your rational self, the ego, may appropriately pay attention to and parent your pleasure-seeking instinctual and emotional side, your id, if you're down with Freud.
I was already in love with the concept. While I was pregnant, I read this amazing book called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by brothers Chip and Dan Heath that taught me I need to learn how to motivate my "elephant" - which is the Heaths' version of the inner child, or the id. But my ego couldn't even figure out how to saddle my elephant in order to have a conversation with it, so I never applied what I'd learned.
My Inner Kiddie Is Fine How She Is
Using Young's method, I began to explore my inner child and I found that she didn't need my parenting. As a child, I could eat a sleeve of Oreos in record time, but I was also fast enough to catch frogs with Six Sigma accuracy. I felt no need to steal Oreos from my happy, healthy tree-climbing child-self.
However, I do feel the need to snatch the Jim Beam from the hands of my washed up, bloated inner Axl Rose. I also think that my skittish inner teenager could use some comforting, cheering and reassurance.
When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I partied hearty and lived it up in New York City like a wild child. Half the time, I ate sausage and pepperoni pizza for dinner, and the other half saw my rock star self out at fine dining establishments. So this persona, along with my inner teenager, are the people inside me yearning for guidance.
My Inner Rock Star Is Training for Her Next World Tour
Young encourages us to use a rich fantasy life to indulge our inner kiddies' sense of adventure and to cater to her drama queen ways. Her own example was about how her inner kiddy, Nelly, enjoys her stays on The Fat Farm with Oprah and George Clooney. At first, I thought this sounded insane and like an excellent way to develop a fractured personality.
And then I got way, way into it.
Roxy, my inner rock star, comes with me everywhere. She is quite vain, which prevents her from overeating and keeps those workouts intense. She also loves the luxuries afforded her on The Fat Farm. She waves to the other celebrities who are there with her, usually movie stars who need to prepare for roles.
Today at the gym, Roxy saw Britney preparing for her next tour under the supervision of a personal trainer. Roxy is preparing for her own world tour, and she asked me if next week she could be transferred to The Spa, which is an even more upscale and exclusive weight loss clinic. That way she'll have 24-hour access to a registered dietician (imaginary, of course) who will ensure Roxy is meeting her protein needs.
How can I not indulge a request like that?
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