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The Half-Sane Mother’s Guide to:


Losing Weight


By Colleen Shields




Maybe it’s those pesky peanut butter and jelly crusts, or those half eaten cookies lying around…I am sure it has nothing to do with the french fries in the Happy Meals, but something is making me battle my weight like I am an Amazon Warrior.  I try to reason with these temptations.  I don’t buy the chocolate chip cookies for a while, and then my son specifically asks for them, how can I possibly refuse his only request from the grocery store?  Isn’t that abuse?  Neglect at the very least.  And now I have discovered Organic Pop-Tarts, and how bad can they be?  They’re Organic. 




Okay, so there are a few things I could change, we could all change.  I even tried a nutritionist, who now hounds me for my “food notebook”.  As if I will actually write down half-eaten pop-tarts off the seat of the car?  They are ORGANIC!




Working out is not the issue.  When I tell people that I go to the gym 5-6 days a week, I get a shocked response, as if they feel some kind of guilt that they are not maintaining such a rigorous schedule.   I consider my workout regime my little secret escape.  Consider this:  it is the single hour of my day when you can read your magazine without interruption, answer no phones, change no diapers, do no laundry, and actually sit, all while someone else minds your children.  (And yes I said sit- on the bike of course.)  For those of you who have not discovered the gym, and the doting childcare providers there, I welcome you to join me and pretend you are an over-achiever too.




As far as losing weight goes, I haven’t gotten that figured out by any means.  Not that I’m overweight.  I’m average I think.  I’m fit (thanks to my little daily escape), and average.  Size 6.  After three children in 5 years, I get a lot of questions from people… “How do you do it?”  After every book I can get my hands on, the aforementioned nutritionist, and a closet of clothes that are too big, here’s what I came up with.  It worked for me, and hopefully it will work for you:  2 scrambled eggs for breakfast, with turkey or soy sausage.  Protein bar for lunch, protein bar for snack, lean chicken or turkey with steamed vegetables and salad for dinner.  Skinny Moo for desert twice per week if you can keep them in your freezer long enough before everyone eats them.  The no’s:  No fried food, no creamy food, no cheese, no regular ice cream, no candy, no cereal, no muffins (ever), no redmeat or pork, no bread (although I cheat with 1 piece of whole wheat toast in the morning), no pasta.  Easy on the rice, milk, juice, fruits.  One other area that my frustrated nutritionist recommends is a No zone is alcohol, clearly I’m not in compliance, although I do have a 2 drink max, (well most of the time anyway).




So that’s it.  Oh yeah- and get to the gym.  This is the only way to go if you have a child over 6 months old.  Trying to do tapes in your living room with children crawling over your stomach is not going to work.  Trust me.  I’ve tried it.  There are many options at a gym.  You can do aerobics classes, spinning, Pilates, Yoga, weights, running, cycling, stair-master etc. etc.  The going rate is around $40 per month.  And for those of you intimidated by the gym, don’t be.  No one cares if you wear your husband’s T-shirt and have two left feet.  No one.




Good luck to all of you.  And to the new moms out there, don’t worry, the weight will come off.  Give yourself a year, and keep the pop-tarts organic.




Colleen Shields is the mother of four children, ages 7,5, 3 and 1.  She produced the television show “Surviving Motherhood”, founded SurvivalMom.com, and is the founder of the non-profit organization “The Survival Moms’ Network”.  She and her husband, George, an Optometrist and owner of Embassy Opticians, reside in Annapoli