Question of the day...are you skinny fat?
One of my best girlfriends, Kelly, who you'll be hearing a lot about in this blog, was 29 years old, married and just had her first baby; a beautiful girl named Chloe Marion. You see, Kelly is one of many who have (or eventually will have) children who battle what she elegantly refers to as being "skinny fat."
Before Kelly had her daughter she was in pretty good shape. She's 5'6" and weighed about 115 pounds (if you are rolling your eyes you should know I am too as I write this, because I will never weigh anywhere near that). She hit the gym a few times a week, took yoga from time to time and indulged in her favorite weekend ritual with her husband Dave — walks in Central Park. Not to mention, the fact that she's a New Yorker labels her as an active human being.
Kelly had a very smooth pregnancy, and still tried to cram the occasional workout in from time to time as her belly grew and as she searched for the balance of becoming a mother and managing her demanding professional career in advertising. She was the girl that everyone raved about with her long strawberry blonde hair, fun but conservative fashion sense and her lovable personality.
After Chloe was born, Kelly did what anyone could have predicted. She poured her heart into her daughter and became super mommy while still working full time and going home every evening to squeeze in as much time with her daughter before bedtime. Working out quickly became a thing of the past, and for the first six months, it wasn't something she even thought much about.
Kelly chose to breast feed and as a result her baby weight fell off faster than the weight I try to lose after I go on a vacation where I indulge in margaritas, cheese dip, dessert and lattes every day. I'm not kidding, it was like someone snapped their fingers and did a magic trick on her belly — weight be gone! So, as you can imagine Kelly looked good on the outside and received compliment after compliment about how amazing she looked after having her first child. But what everyone doesn't know is that she's recently started complaining to me about her posture, her lack of energy and how she feels like she's in a constant slump.
We decided together that she will take baby steps to change this. Priority number one is being a good mom and that doesn't have to change. Priority number two isn't currently, but should be her health. And priority number three is her career. Sometimes it's so easy to get these things mixed up. She's going to start focusing on things that she can cut out or small changes she can make in her schedule to fit in a few workouts during the week. We also agreed that this doesn't have to be dramatic, depressing or something she dreads. One idea we came up with was early morning workouts. I even offered to get my lazy butt out of bed (I am not a morning person!) to meet her for walks in the park. Potentially working out at lunch or after Chloe is asleep are two good options.
It won't be easy but taking it one step at a time and not beating herself up if she doesn't fit in physical activity every day will lead to a better outlook on life. She'll find herself with more energy which in turn will affect everyone around her, including Chloe. I'd love to hear your stories on how you managed to avoid becoming skinny fat (with or without baby). We can all learn from each other on this one!
Signing off Almost Skinny,
Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to its fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter!