I convinced myself that dieting and exercise could wait until after I finished nursing. Since I am not the healthiest eater and have Crohn’s disease, I didn’t want to reduce any of the few nutrients I was getting into my body. But when I finished nursing, I was trying to get pregnant. Once again, I did not want to change anything in my lifestyle or eating habits in case it jeopardized my getting pregnant again. In the meantime, my self-image has fallen to an all-time low. I just can’t stand the way I look anymore. I am embarrassed to go out, and in a new town, that makes meeting people pretty much impossible. It is almost too hard to write about because I am so unhappy with it.
A few days ago I decided to take charge of the situation. I decided to start working out on the treadmill at the small gym in our apartment complex. It is not in my DNA to be a gym rat, and it is hard for me to stay motivated. I also have plantar fascitis (a painful foot condition) that sidelines me easily. I tackled this problem like anything I put my mind to: with shopping.
First, I splurged on some excellent sneakers to keep my feet comfortable and pain-free. The first pair didn’t work out, so I bought an even fancier second pair. I am not sure why my feet have been feeling fine — is it the expensive runners or my husband’s nightly foot rubs? (I rent him out by the hour, ladies.) Next, I noticed that of the three treadmills in the gym, only one has a working TV. But with the horrible programming on at six in the morning, even this TV couldn’t save me from getting bored and wanting to escape after 10 minutes. So, I convinced my husband that only an iPad could keep me going. While I was at the Apple Store, the guy in front of me was buying something I had vaguely remembered reading about. It’s a bracelet that counts calories burned, tracks your body’s response to different foods, and monitors your sleep. I lusted for it. I promised my husband that we could buy it as a trial run and return it within 14 days.
Yeah, right! How did I ever survive before this gadget? It monitors my heart rate and lets me know how many calories I burn more accurately than the antiquated treadmill. Eventually, I will be able to see patterns in my eating habits and the way I feel in order to make wiser food choices. But the best thing about this little contraption is that I now have irrefutable proof that I’m really not getting enough sleep.
Somehow, this thingamijig detects when I have fallen asleep, whether I am in a light or deep sleep, and how often I wake up during the night. My sleep charts show that I wake up almost hourly and only get about two and a half hours total of deep sleep a night. No wonder I am such a hot mess. Eating habits and physical activity I can consciously work on to improve, but I have no idea how to handle the sleep problem without popping pills. On the bright side, I have no problem waking up early to go to the gym.
After all my accesorizing, I’ve finally gotten down to exercising. I’m going to the gym 40 minutes a day, five times a week, increasing my speed a little each time. I go before the break of dawn while my husband and son are still sleeping. It’s a brief pocket of time that I feel is truly mine. No interruptions, no competing priorities, just 100% me time. And that’s better than any accessory.
This post originally appeared on Kveller.com. Kveller.com offers a Jewish twist on parenting, everything a Jewish family could need for raising Jewish children--including crafts, recipes, activities, Hebrew and Jewish names for babies...and advice from Mayim Bialik.