Dropping the Doughnut and Picking up the Pace: Finding Motivation from Your Child to Lose Weight

A few days ago I was changing my son Ben’s diaper and caught a glimpse of something scary on the baby monitor screen – something BIG and terrifying.

My butt.

Ugh, baby mama got back. SERIOUS back.

Exiting Denial

I shouldn’t have been surprised by how plump my posterior had gotten. It did feel pretty cushy back there. I knew I was fat. The signs were pretty hard to miss. After all, I still wear some maternity clothes over a year after giving birth. I have more chins than feet. And my four-year-old niece recently proclaimed “Aunt Marie has the biggest belly in the world!” (Ah, there is nothing like the brutal honesty of a toddler.)

Despite knowing how much weight I had gained, when I looked in the mirror I just saw myself – a much chubbier version of myself, but myself nonetheless. The rear end taunting me from the baby monitor was that of a stranger. And not one I wanted hanging out behind me for too long.

The Long List of Excuses

Here’s a little background on me: in December 2012, I moved back to my beloved hometown of New Orleans after living in New York CityLosing Weight copy for nearly a decade. I was five months pregnant, stressed from a hectic move, and mourning the end of my fabulous, Sex and the City-ish life. New Orleans welcomed me back with open arms – arms full of love, laughter, and a whole lot of fattening food. That food, the New Orleans cooking I’d missed so much over the years, combined with leaving behind a lifestyle where I walked everywhere I went and months spent taking Prednisone for health issues, had me packing on the pounds before I could even start unpacking my darn moving boxes.

With those pounds came excuses. “As soon as I have the baby I’ll get back into shape.” “I was up all night with Ben, I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.” “After changing that diaper, I deserve a doughnut. And a glass bottle of wine. I’ll start my diet tomorrow.” Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. I was living in a world where my theoretical “tomorrow” never came. The pounds, however, were annoyingly punctual, and I am now seventy pounds overweight.

Time to Do Something About It

ben copyToday, Ben is fifteen months old and a very active boy. He loves jumping on the trampoline, running around the park, and climbing the stairs. As much as it pains me to say, carrying around these extra seventy pounds is using up a lot of the energy that should be spent on my son. Every time I skip that workout or don’t cook that healthy meal, I am stealing from him. I am stealing from him an afternoon of being chased by his mom in Audubon Park because running is hard on my knees. I am stealing from him a day of splashing around in our gym’s pool with me because I am too embarrassed to be seen in a swimsuit. I spend all of my time caring for Ben, but disregarding one of the things that he cares about the most: quality time with me.

So, maybe I shouldn’t look at this weight loss journey as something that I want to do for myself, but rather I should view it as something that I need to do for my son. I need to get healthier for him. I need to get stronger for him.

I always say that I would do anything for Ben.

It’s time for me to prove it.

Have your children ever inspired you to something that you couldn’t find strength to do on your own? Do you struggle with your weight? If you have had weight loss success, what do you do to stay motivated?

21 Responses to Dropping the Doughnut and Picking up the Pace: Finding Motivation from Your Child to Lose Weight

  1. Michelle Collins July 19, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Kudos for putting it out there, Marie!! Drew is 3 months old, and I, too, keep telling myself I’ll start getting back in shape “tomorrow.” You’re inspiring me to do something about it NOW! Our home’s security camera sends me daily images and I’ve had the shock of my butt on screen a few too many times already. Here’s to reclaiming our bodies & having more energy for our bambinos!!!

    • Marie July 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

      Haha, I feel your pain with that security footage! We can do this! Hopefully in a few months when we see our butts on the screens we’ll start smiling and posing!

  2. Michelle Collins July 19, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    Kudos for putting it out there, Marie!! Drew is 3 months old, and I, too, keep telling myself I’ll start getting back into shape “tomorrow.” Our home’s security camera sends me daily images & I’ve seen a few too many images of my butt on screen already. You’re inspiring me to so something about it NOW! Here’s to reclaiming our bodies & having more energy for our bambinos!!!

  3. Mary July 19, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Wonderfully written and the reality for so any moms. Moms often put themselves last on the list. I gained a whopping 60lbs with both pregnancies (because it was fun to eat junk food but in hindsight not great for me or my children). Four months after my first child was born, my dad of 59 died of a heart attack. He had 3 heart attacks by the time he was 43. He grew up on a farm and ate southern food all his life, smoked, wasn’t very active and had genetic predisposition to heart disease. I didn’t have all the bad habits he had but I did have some and definitely had the “bad heart genes”. It saddense he’s not around but saddens me more he didn’t get to see his grandchdren grow up and they do not know him. So for all that, my motivation is his death and my children. The whole family tries to be active. My husband and I try to be role models of a healthy lifestyle so our kids won’t acquire our old bad habits. This is a great post and it’s so hard to get motivated especially with kids. Xo

    • Marie July 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

      I can’t think of another person who is a better role model to her kids. And I can’t think of a dad who would have been prouder of the mother his little girl grew up to be. Love you!

  4. Janie July 19, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    You got this sista! Losing weight is not an easy journey. We all have different ways to reach our goal, but I am sure with your strong desire and determination you will get your HEALTHY back!

    • Marie July 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

      Thank you! Just putting this out there into the world has inspired me to do even better.

  5. Melissa July 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    I think you’re right. People always say that you have to lose weight for yourself, but I agree that your child could be your best source of motivation! I will try that myself. Keep us updated on your journey!

    • Marie July 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Will do! Hopefully, it will be positive updates!

      • Melissa July 21, 2014 at 10:16 am #

        I thought about your blog today when I took my son bike riding. (I was walking/running beside him while he rode on the sidewalk.) I was having trouble keeping up with him, the faster he is able to ride. This is a very real reminder of how my health can affect his quality of life! I need to be healthy to give him the best childhood. Good luck!

  6. Brendan Fraser July 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Your baby is beautiful and so are you! Good luck on your healthy lifestyle journey.

    • Marie July 20, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Haha! Thank you, Brendan Fraser. I loved you in With Honors. 🙂

  7. TeRi July 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    I can so relate, and after three kids it only recently hit me like a ton of bricks. I was at the beach in my fat lady swimsuit (the kind with the skirt), and as the waves rushed in my four year old asked me why I wasn’t jumping when she jumped. I couldn’t tell her how painful that would be on my knees. And there it was…my moment of realization. I am gypping my girls of these experiences with their Mom. Good luck Marie!

    • Marie July 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      Girl, I’ve got that SAME suit. 🙂 Good luck to you, too! Hopefully we can take baby steps to be able to step it up with our babies!

  8. Tish July 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    You got this girl! After 4 kiddos, my outside no longer matched who I was on the inside… Carrying around an extra 60 pounds, I couldn’t chase them, run up the stairs when someone got hurt, or show my girl how to do a cart wheel without bustin’ my bum! Now, 2 years after getting “sick and tired of being sick and tired”, I’ve lost the weight, gained some muscle, and can finally keep up with these quick young things! Take it one day at a time and know that it can’t be just a temporary fix or “diet”, it has to be a lifestyle change, a mindset change, and most importantly – find an exercise that you love! A new way of eating that you can adore! 80% of the time, eat “better”, and 20% of the time, get your New Orleans’ goodness in! Now that I’ve done it, I KNOW it’s possible. Hang in there. :oD

    • Marie July 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      I love hearing about success stories! Congrats on your accomplishments and thanks SO much for the encouragement!

  9. Lauren July 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

    Oh Marie!
    I so feel your pain! As someone who has always struggled with the ups and downs of weight loss, after having my sweet baby I thought I was completely doomed to not be happy with myself ever again. This is why I love our fitness group! When we first started it I made that post about our kids watching us and it REALLY hit home. I no longer need to worry about how good I look in that little black dress or that swimsuit, I want to be happy l and extremely healthy! If I get back to my pre-baby body I will be SO thankful, if I don’t my baby will at least see how much of an effort im putting into being healthy. You are a gorgeous person inside and out and I haven’t even met you face to face! If you ever need a workout partner please let me know! Much love!

  10. Rachel July 8, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    You can do it! I also had to go on the evil prednisone during my pregnancy and gained way too much weight! I moved to New Orleans when my son was 6 months. It is now 7 months later and I have lost 20 pounds. I work downtown and walk during lunch. I also take my son on walks on the weekends. It’s super hot now, so I try to go early. I have heard that there is a really good bike trail in mandeville that my husband and I plan to check out when it cools off a little. I still have a LONG way to go, but I’m headed in the right direction!!! 🙂

  11. Yvonne Sommer July 9, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Oh Marie! You are singing my song! I too derive inspiration from my little girl to get back to healthy. I’m just starting the process and I have a two-part approach:

    1) Accept the body I have today andake great efforts not to shame it, especially in front of my daughter. Now I don’t go wearing a fatkini or anything, but I dress for the weather (shorts, tanks, etc.) so that I stop blaming the heat for not going out and playing with my daughter, but that I accept my body image issues and move on.

    2) That rather than join some fad diet, I do what I know works for me. I stick to a 1200 calorie cleaning eating diet and always burn more than I eat. Which right now is done mainly by cardio because my joints aren’t very forvgoving of the weight I’ve packed on.

    Best of luck to you! You got this! I hope you share updates soon!

  12. Kat July 12, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    I am down 41 lbs because of my two boys (5 and 2). You got this!

  13. monica thompson April 7, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    My 12 year old has become my trainer. He is a competitive swimmer, so we spend at minimum 2 hours a day, 4-6 days a week, at our local Y. Me sitting and visiting with other moms is not acceptable. They have an indoor walking track, so I walk while he runs for half an hour…I Try and make it 45 minutes. Then he’s in the pool for 90 minutes, and I do therapy exercises and water aerobics in the pool. Only difference is, I finish my workout with a soak in the hot tub!

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