Before my son was born, I exercised quite a bit. I have a Life Cycle that I invested in about 12 years ago, and I swear to you, I took it for a ride 1.5 to 1.75 hours per day, seven days per week back then. When I got pregnant, I had to give it all up. I had trouble getting pregnant and the doctor ordered me to stay off the bike for the entirety of my pregnancy.
Once the little guy was born, I tried to get back to my regular routine. I really and truly did. I got part-way. Fell off the food cart though or switched from the good food cart to the bad food cart… whatever! Most of the reasons are tied to my son but truthfully, it’s my own responsibility to find a way to care for myself and I just haven’t.
So, within the last couple of days, I’ve had to face facts.
My pants are tight. I’m uncomfortable. I need to lose weight. It’s 104 degrees outside and I’m wearing long sleeved short sweaters over long tanks and long pants to cover the fat. When I hurt my knee, I recognized that it hurts more because I’m fat.
I’m not record-breaking fat but I am average America fat. I don’t like it. I don’t want to face it. I have to. When I hurt myself, I hurt my health which affects my ability to care for my son. So, it’s time for a change. It’s not going to be easy but I’m going to do it.
With the back up of a couple friends, I headed to Weight Watchers. The last time I went to Weight Watchers was when my son was about 8 months old. Back then, we obviously did not have the diagnosis. He was not sleeping through the night. He was crying all the time. He would not sit through the meeting. I could barely get weighed in without a lot of difficulty. I could not go without him because of all the anxiety he experienced without me.
I figured that now, we’re both older. I have a diagnosis so I know what’s going on. I took the iPad to keep him busy. I prepared him for going. I thought we’d be okay.
I signed up – okay. I weighed in. I’ve never weighed this much in my life! It’s hard for my stupid ego to face that ugly fact but it’s true. Friends show up and register – the kid is getting antsy. Meeting’s going. Oh, I’d say there were about 30 people in the room in their folding chairs. I’m sitting in the back. My kid is on the floor with his iPad. He decides he’s going to stand up, scream “Green!” and follow that with crying. Really? The numbers on the scale are not enough? You want to discourage your mom more?
I threaten, I cajole, I reinforce (with m&ms at the Weight Watchers meeting) but the pouty-face, the squeals and the crying continues. One of the two friends who came with me takes him outside for a few. The meeting ends.
The team leader, who I’ve known for years, and who knew me from before my son was born was very sweet and kind. I told her that my son has autism. She was quite understanding and told me his behavior did not bother her at all. She thought he sat through the meeting rather well. Okay…? They must really want me to stay.
I remember the old mantra: eat less, move more. Really, that’s all there is to it. I just sort of let those things that are not good for you creep in and take over the healthy stuff. I ate the left over Happy Meal. I snuck a fry. I took a bite of his cookie. I “helped” him eat the bagel. After all, he is really picky…
The bike? It used to freak him out to hear the sound of it. We worked a bit on it through ABA but I was sneaking off and riding it for 40 minutes in the morning. Then, Daylight Savings came and I was getting up an hour later. I cut it to 20 minutes in the morning. Then, I injured my knee. I stopped the bike altogether three weeks ago. My knee is still clicking but I’m getting back on that bike.
I did see why I quit before. I don’t know if losing weight when you have a kid with autism is any less easy than doing it with an NT kid but my feeling is that it is. Even so, I will not let him have that kind of control anymore. We will keep going each week. Even if he screams through the meeting and I have to stay outside with m&ms. I will get my exercise, even if he has a nuclear meltdown all the way through it.
I will not falter. At least, I hope I don’t. Too bad I can’t reinforce him with apples and carrot sticks…