94. The Amazing Newborn Weight Loss Program

94. The Amazing Newborn Weight Loss Program

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

The Amazing Newborn
Weight Loss Program

One way to get thin is to re-establish a purpose in life.
 ~Cyril Connolly

Quite by accident, I stumbled across an amazing and innovative method for losing weight. As a woman in my late 50s, I’m finding it difficult to overcome my slowing metabolism and my failing capacity for physical activity. The weight just keeps creeping up. But this unique weight loss program not only keeps you in shape, it has added perks.

It began with a simple gesture on my part to help my son after he and his wife returned to the States following a six-year stint in a foreign country. They were overwhelmed with the household upheaval, further complicated by the needs of two young children—a 22-month-old son and a four-week-old daughter. Wanting to help out anyway I could, I offered to take the newborn home with me for a short time to give her sleep-deprived mother a break while she sorted out the chaos at their new home.

Little did I know, I had signed up for an exercise and diet regime rivaled only by a military boot camp. I’ve been through this routine before, I told myself; I can handle it again. What I forgot was the fact that I was 35 years younger then. As the saying goes, “Mother Nature knows best.” That’s why she doesn’t bestow these little packages on the “not so young anymore.” But, in my eagerness to help, and my joy over having this tiny angel all to myself for a while, I bundled her up and headed for home—a mere five-hour drive away.

And that’s when the unforeseen diet and exercise program began. Arriving home, I hit the ground running. First came the never-ending line of baby bottles to hand-wash, sterilize and fill with formula. After all, the baby was growing at an alarming rate and needed to eat every three hours around the clock.

I quickly settled into a routine where I snatched up the crying baby, ferried her off to the diaper changing station, and headed for the kitchen to warm a bottle. Next, I fed the ravenous, squirming little creature, and then bounced her on my knee to encourage that elusive bubble hiding in her tummy, waiting to disgorge the formula I had managed to coax through her perfect little lips.

In between these feeding crises, I continued to replenish the empty baby bottles in readiness for the next frantic cry. Then I faced the mountain of laundry these tiny people produce. Even though their diapers are disposable, they need clean sheets and blankets on their beds every day and at least two changes of clothing—more if the burping session isn’t successful and the formula spews out onto their cute little footie pajamas.

By day three, I was bleary-eyed and dazed, but still thankful for each treasured moment I shared with my granddaughter. When I embarked upon my mission, I failed to realize the amount of energy it takes to jump out of bed three times every night and dash around all day to complete the never-ending baby-tending chores.

Sleep was becoming a highly prized commodity and food was an afterthought. One morning, while loading the dishwasher, I looked around for my cereal bowl, and realized, in my haste to feed and bathe the baby, then shower and get dressed before she awoke for the next round, I forgot to eat breakfast.

It was 11 o’clock, so I decided to treat myself to an early lunch. I prepared my favorite microwave pizza, practically drooling as I placed the steaming, spicy treat on the table. Unfortunately, my granddaughter began to scream before I took my first bite. An early lunch was on her agenda, as well.

Thirty minutes later, when I returned to my stone-cold pizza, it had lost its appeal. I tossed it in the fridge and scarfed down a handful of cashews and a few grapes. Lunch was over. It was time to tackle the laundry.

As the days passed, I realized that my new, active lifestyle, with little time to eat, was better for my waistline than my regular exercise routine. Bouncing a fussy baby for hours on end burned quite a few calories, and holding her at arm’s length during the bouncing was better than weight training.

Towards the end of my babysitting assignment, I noticed that my slacks didn’t seem quite as tight. I stepped on my bathroom scale and discovered I’d lost five pounds. This was no surprise, given the daily, 24-hour baby watch marathon I’d been through, but I certainly hadn’t anticipated the weight loss benefit. This newborn baby-tending regimen was more effective than a “fat farm” and a heck of a lot cheaper.

My original intent was to help my son and his family through a trying time, but I was the one who was truly blessed. Not only did I manage to lose a few pounds, I will cherish the special time I shared with my granddaughter for the rest of my life.

When the final day of her visit arrived, my body weighed five pounds less, but my heart felt 10 pounds heavier. She had filled my life with joy and purpose during her brief stay, and I would miss her terribly.

The return trip seemed much too short, and I fought back tears as I parked the car at their curb. I thought nothing could ease the pain in my heart—until I saw the joy on her mother’s face when she hugged her precious daughter.

It was a happy reunion for all of us. But I vowed right then and there to stay physically fit, because they might need my services again soon. Motivation is the key for weight loss success, and, for me, being able to keep pace with my grandkids is a powerful diet and exercise motivator. I’m now anxiously awaiting my next physical challenge: “The Amazing Two-Year-Old-Toddler Weight Loss Program.”

~Gloria Hander Lyons

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