Barbara Dolan started skating and found new energy–and a flatter belly!
I’d always been slender, and regular dance classes as a young adult helped me stay that way. But in 1999, after a yearlong struggle to get pregnant, the weight piled on right up until I gave birth to my first son. Although the majority of the 40 pounds I gained during pregnancy was healthy, about 13 were over the line–and I never lost them. During my second pregnancy 3 years later, I gained 40 again–and kept 20. But as an exhausted mother of two, I simply accepted my 175-pound frame. I was fat; that was that.
My Call to Action
One day at the playground, I looked around at the other moms and realized that in trying to nurture our families, we’d treated our own bodies with enormous disregard. All around me, I saw cushy bellies, “muffin tops,” and back fat. That can’t be me, I thought. And yet it was. Then and there, I decided it was time to change. I didn’t want to have to wear “mom jeans”–I wanted to feel sexy again.
Learning How to Get Healthy
I tried Weight Watchers for 3 months, but I found the weigh-ins humiliating, so I switched to the online program. It was just what I needed: Logging in everything I ate made me think of calories in real-world terms. If I had the grilled-cheese crust from my son’s plate, I’d forgo wine with dinner to stay within my daily Points range. To supplement my online motivation, I asked my husband to take a monthly snapshot of me in a bikini. In each subsequent photo, I looked better than before–and that kept me going! It took 5 months, but I finally met my goal: 142 pounds.
Setting New and Improved Goals
Filled with pride, I had a photographer friend take my portrait. But when I saw the image, I realized I had much more to accomplish. Sure I was smaller, but I was soft all over. The back fat was still there! So I signed up for Pilates–and got results within a couple of weeks. My back was stronger and my stomach was toned, but 6 months later, I was no longer enjoying the class. That’s when I heard about the Windy City Rollers,Chicago’s first all-girl, flat-track roller derby league. I immediately joined.
The three-times-a-week practices were brutal. We skated, jogged, did calisthenics, and strength-trained–rain or shine. When I started, I’d be wiped after a 20-yard sprint, but soon, I was outskating opposing team members. What a core workout! It took about 6 weeks to notice my tighter tummy, butt, and legs, but the excitement kept me going.
I dropped from a size 16 to a 6 and lost an additional 7 pounds. Last May, after about 2 years of derby, I hung up my skates. (I began to worry about injury.) But the resolve I got from the sport stays with me. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the guts to take on my next challenge: running for public office this spring.
Barbara’s Vital Stats
Barbara Dolan, 43 Location:Oak Park,ILHeight: 5’9″ Starting weight: 175 Current weight: 135 Pounds lost: 40 My idea of success: Standing nude in front of the mirror and realizing how far I’ve come! My unexpected gain: Confidence to try new things
Strategies Worth Sharing
Keep a photo journal: Take frequent pictures of yourself in something revealing, such as a bikini, to show you that your hard work is paying off.
Have crudités on hand: Party platters, available in most supermarkets, make it easy to snack on fresh veggies.
Make exercise fun: Find a workout that you truly enjoy; you’ll be more likely to stick with it.