Over the years I've spent thousands of dollars on yoga classes, meditation retreats and psychotherapy sessions aimed at helping me figure out why I simply can't get a little bit more done in my life, or at least feel a little bit happier making the effort. Every single day of my life, post-adolescence anyway, I have failed in some way—to work harder, to exercise more, to pay a bill on time, to organize a closet, to relax, to ... well, the list is endless. Having Truman, now a power-walking 14-month-old, has only amplified the sense that I'm hopelessly behind and will never catch up. Is it any wonder I feel impatient, slightly angry and/or out of gas much of the time?
One day my Fit Pregnancy personal trainer, LaReine Chabut, gave me some good advice: Do less. This is nothing I haven't heard before, but somehow she said it in a way I was able to really hear. I'd been complaining to her about setbacks No. 185 to No. 200 on my personal fitness plan: I have a cold, and so does the baby; my babysitter is taking a month off; my husband is on a business trip; and so on.
"I noticed that you jumped right into working out with a lot of energy," LaReine said. "I was impressed, but you actually might respond better to 20-minute sessions, like I do. You may not be cut out for intense hour-long workouts right now."
She was right—I'm not. It dawned on me that whenever I was at the gym, I would overdo it. Why do six moves when I could do 26? Why spend 20 minutes on the elliptical when I could spend 45? Why take a nice, restorative yoga class when I could take the power kind? I was wearing myself out when I didn't need to.
"You have to count all the times you pick the baby up and set him down, and all the other physical things you do every day that you never used to do," La Reine told me. "Taking care of yourself is more important than working too hard."
Back To Basics
And with that, I "got it." I was overreaching—and not just at the gym, but in my personal life too. LaReine made me realize I wasn't doing a very good job taking care of myself, despite all the yoga classes, meditation workshops and therapy sessions. And how could I take care of a baby when I was walking around half dead all the time? As the great stewardess in the sky always says: Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
LaReine's exercise prescription for the next six weeks: Go back to the six basic moves. [Check these out at fitpregnancy.com/weightlossdiary.] Do them at home or at the gym, three times a week, and mix in some simple cardio such as walking or dancing with Truman. Continue with registered dietitian Eileen Behan's sound eating plan. And let the rest go.
That is what I'll try to do over the next few months, setbacks be damned. Because I've realized that is all I can do.