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When do find time for working out if you're a SAHM?

(23 Posts)
LetsGetMotivated Fri 01-May-20 11:28:20

I'm a SAHM to three DC's - a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a 7 month old breastfed baby.

Pre DC's, I was a small size 8, in some stores I could get away with a size 6, but my quick succession pregnancies have lead me to piling on the weight and I'm now in size 16 clothes generally, some shops I'll be a 14, others I'm an 18, but 16 is my general rule of thumb.

I'm so ridiculously unhappy with my body. I look back on photos from just over three years ago and can't believe how slim I was. I still own the clothes from back then and when I hold them up against my body now, it's hard to believe I ever fit in them.

I've wanted to lose this weight for a while now, but haven't had enough motivation/have generally been too exhausted to find time for exercise amongst dealing with three small DC's all day long - basically I always had an excuse.

But that came to a head the other day as myself, my DH and our DC's were watching videos my DH had taken of me and the kids. I looked awful in them. Lumpy and bumpy, so fat, I couldn't look at the videos without feeling an overwhelming sadness at how badly I've let myself go.

So today, I managed to find 20 mins to hop on the exercise bike and give it my all whilst the DC's were having breakfast, but my question is how do you make a decent chunk of time for workouts when you have small DC's?

It's particularly challenging for me as our baby is breastfed and only settles with me, he's a bit of a Velcro baby so I struggle to get any amount of time for myself ~ remembers fondly when she could take lengthy baths as opposed to the 5 minutes showers she now has to take ~ and I'm tying myself in knots trying to figure out how I can make an exercise regime legitimately work with my current set up.

Any advice from other SAHM's and how you manage time would be greatly appreciated! smile

OP’s posts: |
justanotherneighinparadise Fri 01-May-20 11:30:33

I don’t lol!

LetsGetMotivated Fri 01-May-20 12:08:39

@justanotherneighinparadise ah, it's difficult isn't it? I'm determined this time though to shed the weight, so will just have to try and create some time, somehow!?

I might be able to push to 30-45mins in 15min segments throughout the day, but would ideally prefer one long session as opposed to stopping and starting!

OP’s posts: |
justanotherneighinparadise Fri 01-May-20 12:25:30

If it helps weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise. So I wouldn’t get too bogged down by the exercise component if that’s difficult at the moment. Concentrate on the diet. Find out your TDEE and reduce the calories to a 20% deficit.

KTD27 Fri 01-May-20 12:33:07

I do it either - when they nap, stick big one on his pad for half an hour and prance around looking like a tit. Or when they’re in bed - I’m lucky that we share bedtimes between me and DH and our kids are pretty great at going to bed.
I will say though - be kind to yourself! You sound really critical of your body. I’m a good one to talk but remember no journey of change ever starts from a place of hate. Your body has done an amazing job of having babies! Try and love what it is even though it might not look the way you want.
I totally echo the PP who said it’s mostly diet. I eat to lose weight I work out to feel better. At the moment I’m 90% cheese and wine but in normal times I try and hit the food / exercise balance a bit better.

LetsGetMotivated Fri 01-May-20 12:36:19

@justanotherneighinparadise see, I've read so much about how it's your diet that affects you the most, not how much or how little exercise you do, but I genuinely think I'm the exception to that rule.

I got down to the size 6/8 frame from a size 10/12 within 18 months when I was living with an ex. We changed nothing about our diet, but I was a lot more active. We were the kind that would cycle for 20 miles, come home then destroy a KFC bundle deal designed for a family of 6, the wash down the taste of chicken with a tub of Ben and Jerry's, EACH 😂
We ate like pigs 24/7, but cycled absolutely everywhere, plus twice a week I was doing a 2 hour yoga session in a studio, so for me, it really doesn't seem to matter too much what I shove in, so long as I'm active.

I've tried eating clean since having DC's. I've tried calorie counting, portion control, fasting, just about everything, but the only time I saw an improvement was when I started exercising again like a nutter. Jumping on the exercise bike and doing 13k each night, then getting up in the morning and doing a workout too. It's frustrating that my body only seems to respond to exercise and not what I'm eating!

OP’s posts: |
Ragwort Fri 01-May-20 12:36:22

I used to go for a power walk before my DH left for work ie; 6.30-7.30am, but I only had one child so it was a lot easier ....

Bringringbring12 Fri 01-May-20 12:39:16

What is your diet like?
For that weight gain, diet needs to be addressed

LetsGetMotivated Fri 01-May-20 12:45:59

@KTD27 our three year old doesn't nap, our two year old still does and obviously the baby does, but the baby is hit and miss regarding how long he'll actually sleep for! Evenings are essentially a no go for me too, as our baby frequently wakes and will only go back to sleep if I'm the one who settles him. I could maybe squeeze 20 minutes in after all DC's are asleep, but that's about it.

I just don't know how people do it. I follow a few women on Instagram who are stay at home mums with young DC's - not necessarily with the age gaps I have, mind - but they also seem to be finding regular time to work out and are in great shape, I can't help but wonder what's different about my day in comparison to theirs!

OP’s posts: |
LetsGetMotivated Fri 01-May-20 12:50:08

@Bringringbring12 oh my diet was terrible while I was pregnant, and given I had three DC's in just over two and a half years, I can only blame myself. I was constantly hungry, so constantly snacking! Now that I'm breastfeeding, and have been for the past 7 months exclusively, that makes me hungrier than usual too, but I'm trying to limit it as best I can.

I eat a lot of chicken, baked or grilled.
I'm a big pasta fan which I know is awful in terms of wanting to lose weight, but I find it hard to kick the pasta habit!
Don't eat much bread, biscuits etc.
Might have porridge for breakfast if I get the chance - but I'm often run ragged up until lunch time so don't often find the time to eat.

I haven't been tracking my calories for a long time, and only started again today, but to hazard a guess, I'd say I roughly have around 1500 to 1800 calories on any given day. Sometimes more if I have a glass of wine on a Friday etc.

OP’s posts: |
Spudlet Fri 01-May-20 12:53:16

It helps me to try and fit exercise into the day as much as possible as just part of the way we do things - so cycling to places, for example. Your littlest will be able to use a front-mounted bike seat in a few months, and with a double trailer attached to the back, you’ll soon get fitter! I lost plenty of weight once I could cycle with DS on the bike.

You could also try your bigger ones on scooters or balance bikes, baby in a sling and go for a brisk walk. Carrying DS was hard work, the bigger he got, and good exercise again.

These days I do a variety of things. At the moment DH holds the fort with the aid of CBeebies twice a week while I run (he’s working from home so sticks his laptop onto the kitchen table and keeps an eye on DS while I go out). Under more normal circumstances I run straight after dropping DS off at preschool - are your bigger ones at nursery or preschool? Could you get a running buggy and run home after dropping them off perhaps?

I also do short workouts - resistance band ones for me - while DS plays around me. He does like twanging the bands or trying to copy (he’s four). Ultimately I know he’s safe while I do this so I just let him do his thing and keep half an eye on him. As long as the room / garden is safe and they can’t wander off I don’t see the problem with letting them amuse themselves, tbh. Or I do yoga videos - he has his own mat (my old one!) and likes to try joining in, or to climb on and around me! And we both like Cosmic Kids yoga too.

When he napped, I used nap time but now we just middle along as best we can.

Bringringbring12 Fri 01-May-20 13:18:04

If I were you.... I’d deal with the diet for the time being when so very young and exercise restriction. If you get a spare moment, maybe check out short sharp cardio bursts for beginners. However focusing on losing weight (healthily nothing faddy!) and then look to incorporate more exercise

Needless to say - walk and move as much as you can!

randomsabreuse Fri 01-May-20 13:35:40

Being stuck at home won't help but if baby will go in a sling Carifit or similar might help. Just marching/squats etc weighted with baby could be a help. Older 2 might copy...

Pushing all 3 (double + buggy board) just walking will burn a decent amount if you've got hills

onlyreadingneverposting8 Fri 01-May-20 16:34:04

I've been exactly where you are (had 3 under 3 when 3rd was born) also have several others so virtually always had a toddler and or baby. At that point I had a triple buggy and pushed it at least 4 miles a day. That was all I could fit it. I think, other than when your DH/DP is around and he can give you 30 mins I think you're probably better off trying to fit in 2/3 x 15 mins BUT prioritise it!! If it means not vacuuming then so but it! I would firstly agree that calories in is your biggest issue regards to weight loss. I am pretty certain you can do WW or slimming world whilst breastfeeding - so it might be worth looking at those. My DH has (since Xmas) been dieting. He's lost nearly 2 stone and actually until the last 3/4 weeks has done no exercise. He signed up to a meal delivery plan - his problem has always been portion control - he's never really eaten the wrong stuff that much just too much altogether and snacking, which he's now changed to a portion of popcorn if he's hungry.

SheSaidNoFuckThat Fri 01-May-20 16:39:50

You will probably find you're eating a lot mire than you think tbh, start logging on my fitness pal and see where you are.

LetsGetMotivated Fri 01-May-20 17:22:31

I've downloaded MFP again this morning and kept track all day, I'm doing the 16:8 fasting and have consumed 1400 calories today. I added a few extra calories on top because I know it's easy to underestimate, but I think I did ok for a first day back at it.

Didn't manage to find any more time to exercise as breastfeeding constantly and dealing with naps is really time consuming. Might see if I can stretch out my morning exercise bike time a little longer as of tomorrow.

Thanks for all the advice, everyone smile

OP’s posts: |
tommyspud Sun 03-May-20 16:28:05

I agree with mfp. I have been trying to lose my baby weight since having my 3rd child in September but it was only when I started to log calories on mfp I started to get results, you will often eat far more than you think you do.
If you can only manage 20minutes of exercise per day I would recommend doing HIIT 2-3 times per week to really maximise your work out. Things like Insanity or Jillian Michaels have worked well for me in the past. Nike also do a free app which has tons of work outs on

Thedogshow Sun 03-May-20 16:40:07

So, first of all be gentle on yourself- you have a lot of very young children, so weight loss will have to be slow and steady, and you will need to focus on keeping your energy up and being healthy.

Most people who are slim and remain slim exercise regularly, so I think it’s a great idea to incorporate exercise. It’s easier to stay motivated if you do small bits, eg a 15 minute hiit workout off YouTube in the morning and then a walk with the children in the afternoon. I have found that it’s easier to let the children watch TV for 20 mins to get by exercise and have a (v quick!) shower. Make the exercise as easy to do and painless as possible so you’re more motivated- no point in starting with a mega 1 hour workout which is exhausting and hard to fit in because you’re less likely to keep at it.

Food needs to be super easy and quick- great breakfast is Greek yoghurt and berries (frozen cheap and quick). If you batch cook some soup veg and have eg soup and a piece of cheese or an egg for lunch that will keep you fuller and feeling more virtuous than toast etc.

Keep snacks healthy if possible. I always have a healthy snack before kids tea time because otherwise I eat their leftovers, eg apple and cheese, loads of chopped veg & hummus, nuts.

Remember that if you lose 1lb a week but keep it up over a year that is about 3- 3&a half stone, even if you have some weeks where you don’t do so well.

Try and stay motivated by thinking how good you’ll feel if you keep going.

Good luck

LetsGetMotivated Sun 03-May-20 18:16:32

@Thedogshow thank you! Some great tips there! I've been managing 20ish minutes on my exercise bike each morning while DH watches the DC's have their breakfast. I'm reaching between 10-13k so far in that time, so not too bad for a quick little burst!

I'm sticking to the 16:8 fasting, as tbh, I was more or less doing that anyway what with my mornings usually being so consumed by sorting the kids out with their breakfasts, then constant nappy changes and naps etc, so more often than not I wasn't eating til close to midday.

I've really changed my snacking habits - used to be a bag of crisps here and there, or a snickers, but they've been swapped for the likes of rice cakes, rye crackerbreads, nuts, poached eggs etc, and although I'm only on my third day of this change so far, I do actually feel better for it.

I've swapped my rather shameful three sugars in my coffee to only one very small one - at the moment it tastes pretty gross to me, but I'm now only having one coffee per day, whereas before I made these changes, I was sometimes having 3 or 4, so I should notice a difference just from that change alone!

I definitely do struggle time wise, but I've brought my dumbbells in to the lounge to sit and do some lifting whilst the kids play. My eldest, who's 3, is enjoying picking up my 1kg ones and attempting to copy me grin

I'm hopeful that a series of small changes will combine and have a big impact! Fingers crossed!

OP’s posts: |
Thedogshow Sun 03-May-20 18:40:50

That’s sounds great. It is so hard to lose weight when you’re tired and have young children at home but it can be done. And it’s worth sticking at it because you do feel better once you’ve done it. Hope you manage!

Darbs76 Sun 03-May-20 20:13:41

Walking is fine for burning calories. You probably do a lot of steps anyway being a busy mum. I’m never done much exercise until I’ve started jogging in lock down and always lost weight. If you’re eating 500 cals per day less than you eat you’ll lose. Might be worth logging what you eat too, as you can lose weight without a lot of exercise

Louise0701 Sun 03-May-20 20:16:24

Im also a SAHM with 3 but my eldest is older than yours. I’ve got 7, 2 & 8 months. I wake up before the kids do and do a HIIT class or once they’ve gone to bed. They’re in a good bedtime routine so I know come 7.30 they’re all upstairs in bed (eldest reads for half an hour once I’ve tucked her in)
Also try and make sure you’re getting your steps in I aim for 12k a day but that’s factoring in a school run.

Louise0701 Sun 03-May-20 20:19:39

I also batch cook on a Sunday so I have healthy meals ready to go in the week otherwise I am too tempted to eat rubbish.
This week I’ve got egg pepper and mushroom muffins for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch which I don’t prep and chicken chow mein for dinner. I just chuck in 4/5 different veg with some Chinese 5 spice and a bit of light soy sauce.
Snacks I try and stick to fruit or the jumbo snack a jacks chocolate flavour as I have a very sweet tooth.
Try and go for more protein as it’ll fill you up more and burn off quicker when you’re walking

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