Unpopular Opinion:: I Don’t Work Out to Lose Weight

I can’t say that I have always been active or inactive. I used to love walking the neighborhood with my mom. It always seemed easier to be active in high school and college, while I was in marching band, Color Guard, and  walking miles around campus. It was just easier. My brother and sister were always into sports and working out, but my activity was always more low key. 

As I got older it was a bit harder to stay active. I was always a bigger girl, for better or for worse. I fell into the diet culture and roller coastered up and down for years. I still do. While pregnant with my first, I gained 30 pounds that didn’t come off when she came out. That weight stayed until I got pregnant with my second, where I only gained 10 pounds, but was my highest weight. It was after she was born that I decided to get serious about weight loss {again}. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that eating 900-1200 calories a day will NEVER be appropriate for me. What does make me successful, I’ve learned, is working out.

Houston Moms Blog "I Don't Work Out to Lose Weight" #houstonmomsblog #momsaroundhoustonWorking Out at Home 

I started with Beachbody workouts. I highly recommend them. Even though I work out in the gym now, I still highly recommend working out at home. There are many programs through Beachbody {and Youtube!} that are perfect for beginners and help you transition out of that beginning stage. I started with 21 Day Fix {4 rounds}, then 21 Day Fix Extreme {2 rounds}, then my husband found Les Mills Body Combat tapes that I did, mixed with other programs here and there. I got people around me into the at home workouts as well.  Jillian Michaels has tapes that my husband loved and my mom loved “Walking At Home” with Lesley Sansone {I *think* you can find these on the Beachbody app}. I worked out every day for 30-45 minutes a day. I learned I love weights, hate plyometrics {jumping}, meh about cardio, and loved yoga. I also subsequently lost a lot of weight. 

Of course, life intervened and I stopped working out as much, gained the weight back, and lost my mojo. I kept trying to get back in the “working out at home” groove again and it never came. 

Working Out at the Gym

And then I found the gym. I found a few classes that I loved {Vinyasa Yoga, Body Pump- weightlifting and Body Combat- a mixed martial arts cardio class}, tried a few that I didn’t love, and found my groove. I love working out. I’m still a big girl and I can safely say that I need to work out. The gym provides a community aspect {and a bit of a competitive aspect} that I craved. We support each other. No one cares how much you are lifting, if you sat one song out, or messed up on a part. The terror that someone is going to judge you for how you look isn’t there because they only care that you are there {Although I do get a bit braggy when I lift heavier than the men in the room}. 

Working out has saved my sanity. When my mother in law lived with us {you remember that lady, right?} I was at one of my lowest points in my life. I was prioritizing others’ happiness over my own and I began picturing faces when I was punching and kicking at Combat. I walked into the gym because I needed to burn that stress off and I walked out with enough endorphins to lift a car. It wasn’t entirely healthy, but it helped me not punch and kick those faces I was picturing. 

There are so many posts out there about working out to lose weight. I’m sure I should write a post about that, right? I still have about 60 pounds on me until I get to a “normal, healthy weight”, so I should be writing about needing to lose weight. I’ve never been successful at losing while focusing on losing. I’ve found that I am successful {in life, in losing, in a lot of areas on my life} when I focus on being stronger. 

Houston Moms Blog "I Don't Work Out to Lose Weight" #houstonmomsblog #momsaroundhouston

Working out makes me stronger. I’m physically stronger {hello muscles!}. I’m mentally stronger. I’m happier and I have more patience for my screaming, fighting kids. I have more mental acuity that fights my mom-brain all day. 

I can walk up 5 flights of stairs without getting winded.

I can have sex with my husband without losing my breath {I mean, good sex should be breathless, right? But it should be enjoyable and I shouldn’t feel like my heart will explode in my chest. Thanks, cardio!}. 

I had gestational diabetes with my second baby and, in some ways, my working out psychologically keeps full blown diabetes away from me {even though there are no signs of diabetes}. 

It gets my blood pumping and gets me through the day. I enjoy beefing up my weights, progressively overloading, and setting my own personal records. 

I’m also proud of the example I’m showing my kids. I’m showing them that it is healthy to put yourself first, to be active, to put the screens down and find something that you love. I want them to be strong in the same way I am becoming stronger. They love doing yoga with me in the living room. 

So, if you are like me and you are finding it hard to be active throughout the day or getting through the day without a nap or getting frustrated with the kids for being kids, I recommend you finding an activity that you love. Get active. Find your obsession and what you love. Start with walking or workout tapes on YouTube. You can’t mess this up. Every day is another day for you to make the best choices for your life. I’m still figuring out what that is for me, but I feel a little better when Brittany, the yoga instructor, finishes a class saying, “May the light of my heart reach out humbly to the light in yours”. 

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Jennifer is a native outside-the-loop’er growing up and living in the Richmond/Rosenberg area. She has a Bachelors in theology and political science from Texas Lutheran University and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Texas Christian University. She and her husband Greg met in 2010 through Match.com and fell in love on their first date. They married exactly one year later and have fought lovingly and constantly since. They have two amazingly brilliant girls, Kaitlyn {June 2013} and Elizabeth {June 2015} who Jen stays home with during the day. When Jen is not curled in a little ball rocking back and forth with Peppa Pig on in the background, she can be found crafting with her Silhouette and/or binge watching The Office for the millionth time. Jen has an uncanny ability to be comfortable in almost any situation put in front of her, thanks to growing up in politics and on the debate team. Before having kids of her own, she had the opportunity to help other kids through teaching, youth ministry, and generally being a helpful, kind soul. You can check out more about Jen on IG @themommymiddle.


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