Friday, July 20, 2007

Our bodies, our choice

My summer "project" that I mentioned in my "excuses" post is to get back into shape after going through my pregnancy with Lily over the past year. I figured that with David home for the summer I had a better chance of getting decent chunks of time without kiddos in order to work out. I also thought that I would have more help at home so I could concentrate more closely on what I'm eating, as opposed to grabbing the last two chicken nuggets that Moses didn't want and using caffeine to supply the rest of the necessary energy needed to keep up with him (ok, let's be honest, to run behind him frantically picking up the pieces of my life as he tears past).
Spending so much time and energy on getting into shape has left me thinking about it a lot also and I had one thought that David said may be worth sharing.
* For each pregnancy that a woman goes through she will lose 1.5 lbs of muscle (resulting in a lowering of her metabolism by 75 calories a day and an increase of 8 lbs in one year)
* The older we get the harder it is for our fat-cells to release fat.
* Breast-feeding takes massive amounts of energy and calcium (which will deplete our bone density if we don't do something about it).
* Pregnancy takes a tole on your joints, ligaments, and back.
* Exercise, both aerobic and weight training can help restore your lost fitness.

The larger point that I am trying to get across is that each pregnancy puts our boies through the ringer. Now, if you are going to have 1 - 2.5 kids this doesn't really mean that much to you. I mean, so what if you are going to lose 3 lbs of muscle? So what if you spend 20 months of your life being stretched to the max? No big deal if your back gets a little out of whack and puts some strain on your joints. Besides, I'll be done having kids before I'm 30, so I don't have to worry about my fat cells getting more stubborn as I get older - I won't be putting on 25 - 50 lbs in 10 months anymore.
OR...maybe you're a Catholic wife and mother who is at least open to possibility of God having other family planning ideas for you. Maybe, heaven forbid, you are even hoping to have 5+ children! Well, if this is true then we are now talking about losing 7.5 lbs of muscle (that's 35 lbs in one year of calories that won't be getting burned just by you being alive). That is some serious back, joint and ligament strain without those back and abdominal muscles that you have been losing with each pregnancy. Not to mention the fact that you now have 4 children to keep up with and you are completely drained because you're breastfeeding number 5. Not to mention those poor, sad, density sacrificing bones that haven't been able to grow for years b/c of the lack of weight bearing activity in your life.
In fact...your body might be presenting you with so many aches and pains and you may be so drained that you think enough is enough and, legitimately, decide you just can't physically go through another pregnancy.
This is the possible image of myself that runs through my head when I want to stop running. It helps inspire and motivate me to keep trying to get fit in a way that simply losing weight can't. I want to be open to life, to be PRO-life in this area as in all areas of my life. I know that there are going to be enough things in life that will challenge my willingness and excitement about being open to life - I don't want my body to be one of them. Exercising is my newest participation in Pro-life activism. I want to be a lean, mean, finely-tuned baby growing machine, if ever God has use for one.

P.S. Here are two books that I've found very reliable and helpful.

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