Parent Blog; Journalist Kay Harrison shares parenting stories and not fairy tales.


The battle to lose baby weight when all you want to eat is chocolate buttons


I look on mothers who spring back to shape with a mix of awe, wonder and deep suspicion. It’s clear these women are not following the new-mum diet of Thorntons chocolates, takeaways and tepid Nescafe.


What new mother in their right mind would punish themselves further with exercise and starvation? Far better to put your feet up when you can and crack open the custard creams.


About a year after I produced a small person, I was invited to a circuit training class at Eastrington Village Hall. I was so delighted to have secured an actual mum mate, I would have agreed to go anywhere with her – to the fiery bowels of hell, even (which, as it turned out, wasn’t far from the truth.) So I dug out my eight-year-old, sparkling white trainers.


The women-only session was torture, with a ripped male trainer who was easy on the eye but hard on the calves. I jogged, wobbled, jumped and sweated. I swung heavy objects above my head, cheated at planks and did the kind of star jumps that make you reach for the Tena pads. I discovered what a burpee was – and that I wasn’t very good at them. For days afterwards, I felt as if I’d been beaten with bricks then chucked down a flight of stairs. But at least I could eat rounds of cheese on toast smugly for the remainder of the week. I lasted six months, before work commitments and Netflix made me hang up my sports bra.


I understand there are people out there who actively LIKE sport. The same sort of people who tell me exercise is “addictive once you get into it” and how I really need to do the Great North Run because it’s brilliant fun.


But I’ve never been one of those people. My lifetime’s sporting achievements are:


ŸBeing goalie for my village primary school (they didn’t have enough boys to make up numbers).


ŸBeing 25% of the reason my form won the swimming relay race (circa 1992). I did backstroke, which is basically like having a lie-down on some water.


ŸDoing a 20 mile charity bike ride. At the halfway stage, a friend met me with a whole cooked chicken, French stick and thermos of bloody Mary. I did complete the ride, but not before a 10-year-old disabled lad overtook me on the home stretch.


I’ve worn myself out thinking about getting fit. My shelves are filled with half-thumbed yoga and Pilates books and 5 Minute Belly Blitz DVDs, still in cellophane wrappers.


In the years BC (Before Child), I was even given free membership to an exclusive, shiny new sports club in Canary Wharf, a mere 15 minute walk from my home. I went a handful of times, mainly to use the steam room. (That 15 minute walk also took in a wine bar, John Lewis and Nando’s).


But recently, my jogging bottoms have made a comeback. And not just for lounging purposes.


It dawned on me that I am spending an increasing amount of time on my ever-increasing bottom. I don’t even have to walk to work as I work from home. And the only time I rise from my desk is to stuff my cheeks with biscuits.


Even Facebook reminds me of my inactivity, with messages from friends telling me they have “lost another 3lb at Weight Watchers” or maps showing they have run several k in the time it has taken me to watch another episode of House. It’s enough to put you off your second bag of Pom Bears.


I mentioned this guilty feeling and my lack of enthusiasm for exercise to a mum, who recommended a free NHS app: Couch to 5k. It’s a running plan aimed at advanced slobs that is a mixture of walking (yeay!) and running (boo) over 30 minutes that you do three times a week. A woman talks you through the session, reminding you that you can do it, over motivational music. You download the app to your phone, put your headphones in and off you go.


It aims to get you from couch potato to running 5k in nine weeks. I’m still at the couch end. But it is a start. And I suspect the fact I tuck my bank card inside my phone’s case so I can stop off at Co-op on the cool-down walk to buy wine is not a great sign.


I do arm lifts with the carriers on the way home, though. Find out more here about Couch to 5K.


Written by:

Kay Harrison (Journalist and frazzled mum of one)

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