My best friend, Laura, is a wise woman. "Once you have a baby, your life becomes a spiral," she tells me. "As soon as you seem to make a little forward progress, you naturally start to spin backward. It's all part of motherhood."
My life before Truman was relatively linear: I got older; my jobs got better; I met a guy, bought a house, learned to cook, etc. There were setbacks—some big ones, even. But mostly I moved forward; I achieved things. If I gained a few pounds, I just exercised a little more and—poof!—they disappeared.
Ten-month-old Truman, however, is not so goal-oriented. He refuses to, say, consistently reach for the brass ring of a full night's sleep; he does great one night, the next he's up six times. Likewise, he's iffy on the daily food plan. The minute I think we've reached a milestone—something, anything—we're on that backward spin again.
Baby's helical way of being is spilling over into other parts of mommy's life too. I now spend as much time sliding backward as I do moving forward on every front: work, housekeeping, diet, exercise, health, happiness, you name it. As soon as I make any kind of headway—slip! slide! Where was I?
Life Happens Starting out, I made good progress on my exercise plan, designed to help me shed the baby weight. [For workout details and moves, visit fitpregnancy.com/weightlossdiary.] With encouragement from my fitness guru, LaReine Chabut, I joined the local YMCA. Getting out would inspire me, she said. She was right. The Y is nice and new, with a loving child-care center. As soon as I started hitting the elliptical and lifting weights a few times a week, I felt better: energized and strong, still large but in charge. I wasn't exactly thin, but I felt better in my body.
But then, the inevitable regression: A few weeks into my new regimen, I got hit with a migraine-and it persisted for three weeks straight. During that time, I developed strep throat. Also, unexpected out-of-town company arrived on my doorstep. Twice. I got more headaches. And even more headaches.
I was unable to get to the gym very often, then not at all. When I did return, I found that Truman's attitude toward the Y's nursery had changed (he's against it now). And so the spiral turns. ...
Moving Ahead Finally, I'm back on the plan (and migraine medication). Somehow, despite the lack of activity—perhaps frowning burns calories?—I've avoided regaining the weight I'd lost. And I've arranged for a sitter to be with Truman three times a week at home so I can be with my elliptical trainer. It feels like I'm moving ahead again.
But I'm trying to remember that setbacks are part of the way forward. As Laura says, "Even when it feels like you're going in reverse, you're still on the right path. Just keep going."
In Our Next Issue Hillari gets serious about her diet plan, which means a little less chocolate with her Gilmore Girls and Fritos-free viewing of Grey's Anatomy.
For workout details and moves, visit Hillari's weekly weightloss blog.