When I was a teenager, I was a ball of energy. I was one of those people who could maintain a hectic social life and with little effort, still get good grades. My high metabolic rate in addition to my busy life kept me thin. I assumed it would always be that way.
After college, I began my career in business administration. I married and began my adult life. I had the world by the tail, and I was on my way. We planned to work for 5-years, buy a house and start a family. However, our son had other ideas. Just as we celebrated the second year of our adulthood journey, we discovered that we were going to be parents.
For two years I had been working hard at a desk for many hours a day. Our social life slowed down as we concentrated on climbing the corporate ladder. My pregnancy was uneventful with one exception. Suddenly, I was hungry. Convincing myself that it was natural and my body would fall back into old patterns, I indulge and enjoyed every minute of my pregnancy.
In early fall, I left the hospital with an 8-pound baby boy, and 40 pounds that I had gained along the way. I was not concerned. Six months later I still had the 40 pounds and my new lifestyle did nothing to restart my metabolic rate. Six more months would pass before I realized I had to do something.
I fired up my computer to look for ways to lose weight. I read about protein, carbohydrates, and fats. While I was willing to reduce the quantity of food I was eating, I was not ready to go through the side effects of giving up any particular food group. In my opinion, a person needs all three food groups to be healthy. I did not want to give up carbohydrates, for example. Giving them up promised fast weight loss, but I knew I would have to return to them at some point and I did not want to put myself on an endless cycle of dieting.
This left me with a two-step plan of, eating smaller amounts and finding an activity that would allow me to burn more calories.
I am not a fan of deliberate exercise. I first thought I would try jogging. I bought a runners stroller. I bundled the baby up and put him in the stroller. I covered him well, threw a few things in a fanny pack and went outside. Somehow my son did not like being placed in the front of me and being pushed at a high rate of speed. At the end of my first block, I stopped to rest. When the sound of me struggling for air died down I realized he was crying. I took him out of the stroller and calmed him, but he looked very afraid when I tried to put him back in the stroller. I ended up this an overdressed infant on my hip, pushing the equivalent to a small car, with one hand back home. At that point, I promised myself I would never run again unless someone was chasing me.
I then tried aerobics. I joined a class and showed up in my leggings and tee shirt, carrying a really cool water bottle. We began with warmups. We were doing a variety of twist, turns, and bounces and then went into the workout. After 10 minutes I excused myself and instead of going to the ladies room, made a dash for my car. At this point I was sure, I was doomed to be a chubby business executive who could never remove her jacket in front of anyone.
One day in the break room, while I was drinking a latte and finishing off a donut, my co-worker came in. She looked trim and healthy, and I swallowed my jealousy. As she poured a cup of coffee, I asked if she had any children. She explained that she had a set of twins that were toddlers. I gasped and asked her how she lost her baby weight. I was not expecting to hear the words, “I danced it off!”
I went home and did some research. I ordered dance outfits and shoes online at Just For Kix, and one week later I was entering a dance studio. Within the first 6-months, I had lost 25 pounds. I was toned and building muscle.
5 Steps To Health
- Step One – Burning Calories
- Dance sparked my metabolism
The type of dance I chose was Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is part organized moves and part free-spirit moves. In other words, it is hard to do Hip-Hop wrong. I stopped eating sugar and increased my protein to ensure my body would restore itself. The first few weeks nothing happened on the scales. They did not go up, and they did not go down. Then the reduction started, and I was steadily reducing my weight as my muscles grew. My metabolism had begun to work again.
- Step Two – Building bone mass
- Stronger Bones
As I matured in dance, I realized that I was stronger. I moved easier and could lift more and balance. My doctor confirmed that dance gives you strong bones and as you age, the risk of illness and disease is lower because of it.
- Step Three – Endurance
While going to dance took a bit of my time each week, I soon saw that I was getting more done and being more effective. Dance was building my endurance. I had more energy and did not tire as easily. I was more effective, focused, and driven.
- Step Four – Stress Relief
Dance made me happy. It is fun, but there is more to it than that. Dance requires movement, which causes a chemical reaction in the brain. To state it simply, dancing makes your brain release “feel good” hormones. You are less stressed. Dance also fights against depression. I felt great.
- Step Five – Precious Sleep
If there is one thing a new mom craves, it is sleep. We expect to be sleep deprived when we bring a new baby into our lives. However, dance helped me to work my body and release anxiety. I was able to occasionally get up with my son, and manage to go back to sleep. When I sleep, my body goes to a deeper and more restful stage of sleep.
By incorporating dance into my life, I was able to recover from pregnancy and the issues I had created for myself. If I have any advice for a young woman starting a career and a family it is this. Do not abuse your body in the name of motherhood. Eat well, rest easy, and dance!