Let me introduce myself
I am going to introduce myself and say, hi… I am se7en, I am mom of eight kids and we are a hiking family, that loves going for walks and the great outdoors. I am so excited to be joining the Sport Science Institute’s team for the next couple of weeks. I have signed up to their Healthy Weight Programme, and I am thrilled to be part of their project. When a friend emailed me and asked me if I wanted to be part of the programme I jumped at the chance, because I have made the effort to get moving and I have made healthier choices, but I think that at this stage I need a bit of a jump start.
In the Olden Days…
Let’s backtrack a little, in the olden days before I had kids I was really athletic, I did sport all the way through school and varsity… I ran track and cross-country for U.C.T., I loved open water swimming and raced in triathlons. Then I had eight kids. I had this idea that we would have a couple of kids and I would take a break from competitive sport, and then I would return to sport and carry on where I left off. What exactly was I thinking? I did exercise a little between kids, and I swam through all of my pregnancies, but pregnancy can take its toll. While most folk think pregnancy is tough on your body (and it is), I found parenting to be even tougher. It never occurred to me before I had kids that my kids would need watching while I was exercising, and parenting is a round-the-clock job. The thing is with eight kids I am busy, but as a homeschooling mom a lot of that business is sitting, helping kids with their school work during the day and then sitting some more in the evenings to blog. I simply don’t move enough.
Mistakes Have Been Made…
My oldest child is nineteen, and I have that many years of not taking the best care of my body to catch up with. I cannot expect to leap back into shape. So many mistakes have been made… my kids know that if I drop something that they should quickly pick it up for me. Actually, I need to be moving and picking things up for myself. When my kids were smaller, if they were given junk food to eat, I would quickly eat it for them, it took a while before I realised that I could just banish all junk food. Not to mention sitting. Moms of little people sit a lot while small people clamber over them, while watching children spend hours swimming, while reading bedtime stories. And I cannot begin to talk about the sleep deprivation (!!!), ask any mother of young kids about lack of sleep… well can I just say that mom’s of teenagers might actually sleep less than mom’s of tots… because teenagers want to chat to you at one in the morning, and let’s face it you really want to keep those communication channels open. Tired moms tend not to move much… just saying.
The Harsh Reality
A few years back, on a beautiful day, we made a spontaneous family decision to take a walk up Table Mountain. We headed out and up Platteklip Gorge. This is a route I did routinely without blinking as a student. Well within meters I knew that this was way more than I could handle. It was awful, it was ugly, there were tears and bribes, and I eventually got there. But the heady joy of being at the top was out of this world. We all decided that from then on we would make it an annual trip to the top of Table Mountain and I knew it was time to get myself into gear. I began walking again, nothing too crazy mind you, just little walks to the library and back, to the beach and so on. Surprisingly, that helped me get up the mountain the following year, nothing athletic mind you… just getting there. For the last few years I have been hiking with my kids, always walking just enough in the week, so that hiking on weekends is manageable.
But I would love to do more, I am so over, “just enough…” I don’t want to run marathons and I have no illusions that I will ever be some sort of elite athlete. But I would like to do better, I would like to move better. I would like to replace “mostly sedentary” with energetic and active. To be honest, I no longer feel as if I have any muscles between my knees and my shoulders, but I am sure that after one gym session I am going realise that that is not quite the truth. So my goal for this eight week course, is not to lose masses of weight, dreamy as that would be, or to be transformed into a super athlete, ridiculous as that would be… But I would like to move better, I would like to feel that spring in my step and I would like to be able to play with my kids on the beach without thinking I am going to break. From where I am, to where I hope to be, is a pretty big leap… and I am ever so slightly terrified of the journey. On the other hand I love a good goal and I am excited at the chance I have to give it a go.
Many thanks to The Sports Science Institute of South Africa for providing me with this opportunity to join their Healthy Weight Programme in exchange for an honest blog appraisal along the way.