#writerproblems: The War Against #Writer Butt

“Who wants to dance with Mommy?”20180214_155933Sigh.

Finding time to move is a right bugger these days. When one’s jobs of editing your novel and teaching both require hours upon hours before a computer, physical activity doesn’t get to be a priority. Sure, there’s the movement of motherhood: chores, keeping kids from wrestling each other off of the bunk beds, etc. But these aren’t steady, challenging movements one’s body needs to lose the writer’s butt that’s been developing since the holidays.

For the record, I do know something of how diets work. I gained almost 100 pounds during Blondie’s pregnancy, lost a small chunk, but then gained that chunk back during the boys’ pregnancy. The latter pregnancy threw my entire diet off-balance, as so many foods made me sick. When we finally evicted Biff and Bash (aka, induced birth), I reveled in dairy and all the other foods that would never stay down long with boys in utero.

But when the boys started toddling off in different directions, I realized: I have to be able to keep up with them. I have to be able to run, to move. I can’t be wheezing on stairs with them.

So I joined Weight Watchers, and lost 85 pounds over the course of a year.


But then, I just stopped keeping tally of what I ate. And for the life of me I can’t seem to jump back into that groove. I’ve tried other methods like the FitBit to tally calories, but I kept forgetting to type it in with Biff shaking the yogurt off his hand and sending it all over the Legos on the floor, or with Bash hugging his bunny Hoppy and smearing Nutella all over its body. There’s always something that needs attention.

And, to be selflishly honest, I stare at screens enough as it is. I don’t want yet another reason to stare at a screen and type.

But I know I need to do something. My workload ain’t goin’ anywhere. My kids’ craziness ain’t goin’ anywhere. Wisconsin winter ain’t goin’ anywhere for at least…three to six months. (Hey, we’ve had blizzards in May. I assume NOTHING about Wisconsin weather.)

At first I thought I could take a cue from Blondie’s teacher. With three grades in her classroom, she knows it’s important to give little kids physical breaks from those desks. So, she has these five-minute “brain breaks” scattered throughout the school day: She puts on kid-friendly dance videos and lets the kids go nuts next to their desks until the dance is done. Cool idea, right? Especially in winter, when Wisconsin can have cold snaps resulting in frostbite with just a few minutes’ exposure, or a big melt turning the entire landscape into a muddy, cold mess.





…and Thursday.

I know my sons behave better when they can burn energy. Let’em dance!

Well, you saw the result of that experiment.

So, I let them run their races around the house. Me? I find whatever spare reason I have to move: taking things one at a time down the basement. I pace while I read, or take editing notes. I fidget while I teach. Just. Keep. Moving. Lord knows that once all three kids are in school 8am-3pm, I can carve out a wee window for exercise. Until then, I’ve got to accept the little steps as I can take them.

This starts with diet.

In the quest to find out what foods I can scarf without guilt, I came across Sugar Busters, a breakdown of how much sugar we take in through processed foods and poor food choices. Cut out the processed foods, focus on the fiber-rich produce and protein. Whole grains. Easy peasy!

Only I live in a house where pop tarts, muffins, mac’n’cheese, peanut butter and jelly open-faced sandwiches sliced down the middle with crusts painstakingly removed–(erm, that last one’s Biff)–none of this really caters to the “quinoa berry mash in a slow cooker” kind of cooking.


“Let’s eat Cars for lunch, Mommy!”

And before you ask, Bo’s soured to the whole “diet” thing. He did Atkins for a year before we met, and now clings to the carbs in his life with a death-grip.


Whatever I do, I do for me.

I did find another diet book in the library: Digest DietLose weight by eating certain foods in just 21 days. Oooo, sounds easy! The first five days consist of nothing but shakes and soup. After that, a slow introduction of meat and veg with just a touch of carb. Lose anywhere from 10-20lbs in this time. Brilliant!

I made Bo find flaxseed meal and the other ingredients for the shakes. This, I could do: after all, I can drink a shake and write at the same time. I can sip a shake while handling laundry or whatever else. This diet fits with myyyy lifestyle, Naive Me thinks.

Here are some more thoughts from Naive Me from the past week:

Day 1: Woohoo, I got my shakes in! What soup do we have? (gasp) Ella’s Deli is closing?! But Blondie and I love it there! We all gotta go one last time so I can say goodbye…and have their chocolate cake, one last time…


Blondie and her awesome braces

Day 2: Okay, back on track…aw man, this meat’s gonna go bad if we don’t make something with it. Should probably taste it to make sure…with those leftover noodles, and that scrap of cream cheese…don’t forget the veggies, at least….

Day 3: Who dares order pizza when Mommy’s got to have soup?! I demand a slice in sacrifice!

Day 4: BACK ON TRACK. Soup for breakfast this time, we’ll just switch things up, with a shake for dinner. And apple crisp.

Day 5: You think you’re so funny, Biff, wheeling those precious chocolate chip cookies around the table like they’re race cars. Well it ain’t funny! Taunting Mommy is a Thumbs Down Thing!

Yeah, I don’t think this writer’s butt is going to get smaller any time soon.

Oh, I’m not giving up. But I’ve got to be okay with my body as is until time opens for me to change it.

As Hawkeye would write to his father on M.A.S.H.:

“The war goes on.”



35 thoughts on “#writerproblems: The War Against #Writer Butt

  1. I feel your pain I have the same problem I need to lose a lot of weight as I am obsess. I’m currently trying to cut down on sugar alcohol and exercise more. When editing I try and get up and walk around the flat a bit. I’ve also started trying to fit in three ten minutes of brisk walks a day, apparently it’s better than the 10k steps thing. I have also started swimming twice a week. To make it work I try to combine it in to my normal routine. Two of the walks are to and from work. The third is what we call DPA in UK schools. Ten minutes of daily exercise. I force my students to walk briskly with me so I don’t look a fool. With the swimming I use it as thinking time for my book. In the weekend I use walking the dog to get my exercise in. Having kids makes it hard to avoid sugar particularly as I have a very sweet tooth. I do have an incentive I have £100 riding on it. I was going to link my blog post to explain why but then I thought that might be bad form.

    Good luck with the diet and editing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some years ago, following a permanent leg injury that put pay to my love of squash, tennis etc. and coupled with the pressure of running our business, I got fat…not just overweight, impressively fat. When I passed 19 stone, diabetes 2 kicked-in. It was the fright of such a thing happening to me that prompted a diet. Extreme, I know yet a large plate of mixed salad (no dressing, save for a squirt of lemon or lime juice) fills one up and is as close to zero calories as food can get. Top the salad with a small quantity of protein, baked or boiled, never fried and some 5 months later I had lost 6 stone, a few months after that another 1.5 stone. I have remained at a healthy, given that I’m quite tall, 11 stone 7 pounds ever since and have long since been out of the diabetic zone. I only mention this, as a ‘quick fix’ (not that I imagine you are anywhere in my league of ‘largeness’ as was!) truly works, you feel great and never hungry. I was told I was mad going the extreme route, but what the hell…it worked.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I managed to get down to my ideal weight last summer for the first time in YEARS – but thanks to my sister’s house-sized Christmas cake and far too much time sitting in front of the screen throughout the autumn and winter, I now cannot get into at least a third of my clothes:(. Hopefully when the weather improves, I’ll be able to better resist the occasional snack and exercise more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lady, if anyone has reasons to get ‘writer’s butt’ it’s you- your schedule is crazy! I think you’re on the right track- keeping mindful of it and just taking the opportunities as they come- some movement and at least eating less junk is better than nothing, right?
    My tummy was so unhappy after Christmas that I’m in the midst of trying some new things too- minimizing all of that naughty stuff. What I’ve discovered is that I need to find things to eat that are 1. healthy, but also 2. tasty. I like food too much to put in the work to eat things that I don’t like! We’ll see if this approach works… 😉
    Summer is coming! Hopefully outdoors time helps! (I’m hoping the gals I kickboxed with last summer get it going again this year- and that I don’t mess up my back and knee this time :p )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooooooooooooo, kickboxing sounds awesome! I’d love to do something like that. Or one of those “learn how to dance AND exercise” type things, which should hopefully have fewer chances for me to injure others… 😛
      And my body’s STILL trying to recover from the holidays. I’ll hopefully be back on track in time for Easter…candy. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor John and I follow the 5:2 diet. Eat what we want on five days a week and keep the calorie intake below 500 on two days (not consecutive). Big salads with a squirt of balsamic vinegar and a bit of fish at night are the way we go. There are plenty of websites that can help you keep track of intake on the 2 days. One is fatsecret.com. It’s helped me lose 8–9 kilos and mostly keep them off, except for when we have company and can’t follow the diet easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! And I think that’s a big part of it: life is rarely consistent here. Just trying to follow a structure for more than three days in a row is a challenge. Mike Steeden mentioned salads, too, so it’s sounding like I need to give them a go!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry this has been such a struggle. I can relate so much. When my kids were younger, it was a challenge to find time to exercise. Truthfully, you’re right on the money when you say that that time block only becomes available on a consistent basis when the kids are in school all day. One rule of thumb I still use is that I don’t spend more than one hour at a time in front of my computer. After an hour I get up and move around — laundry, doing the dishes, walking stuff to the basement, even shredding documents. Then I come back to the computer after at least 20 minutes or so.

    As for the food choices, that one’s a little easier. Did you know that there’s a toaster pastry alternative to name brand Pop Tarts? A company called Nature’s Path makes them, and they’re delicious. You should be able to find them in your grocery store. Annie’s also makes toaster pastries (and we all love Annie’s, am I right? :>)

    Speaking of Annie’s, why not serve the kids the mac n’ cheese that Annie’s makes? My kids love that stuff. And muffins are easy enough to make at home; that way you get to control the ingredients and switch it up. Get the kids involved. It’ll take twice as long and make four times the mess, but you get some quality time with them as well as the opportunity to pass along a subliminal message about the importance of taking control of your food choices. As for the PBJs, just switch out the bread for whole grain and both the PB and J for all-natural products.

    My husband’s a health nut, so I’ve had 15 years of practice reading labels and switching out foods to take advantage of better options to control our family food consumption. It really turns into a lifestyle choice and not such a “diet,” per se. (And I can commiserate on the winters too. We live in Central Illinois, so I hear you loud and clear on the snow!)

    Hope these are some helpful ideas. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you ever want to brainstorm other food ideas. All the best to you, Jean!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I’ve done some sneaky switching in the past and received some crazy tantrums in return, but the kids do love baking, so here’s hoping that if we get them involved in the kitchen they won’t entirely mind the baked goods that come out of it. Thank you so much for reading, and for all your tips!


  7. I think dieting is really tough. Good luck.
    With all that lovely snow, I might be tempted to join in the sledging and snowboard fights occasionally – it’s a kind of exercise, isn’t it? -loads more fun than the organised fitness stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I read “Sugar Busters” a looooooong time ago! That’s a classic!
    All I can recall is that whatever I read totally disturbed me, I can’t remember if I actually cut sugar (a.k.a. my primary food group back then) or what. Sigh.

    That’s amazing you lost over 80 lbs on Weight Watchers!

    My writer butt has gotten me through so much (I also like the sound of “writers rump” 😜!) but I finally realized that doing this yo-yo weight gain pattern twice within a few years by inhaling tons of sugary pastries & ice cream & chocolate bars without tasting any of it is no longer acceptable to the mighty Empress Percolatia!!!

    Only time will tell if my resolve will stick, but like you, I aim to not give up. Let’s cheer one another on Twitter, my 2nd home, shall we? p.s. I 💖 you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: #Writers, Discover Portals to #Fantasy in the Beauty of #NaturePhotography. | Jean Lee's World

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  11. I’m guessing 2019 might have another diet protocol starting… You just don’t get the time or have the money to do what you probably should do. Can’t think of how many food fads I’ve tried. And still waiting for that Sean Bean or George Clooney to look back at me from the mirror. But we live in hope. xxx

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