From the First 5 to the Last 5: The Losing and Gaining Battle


I’ve lost 200lbs! With birthing 4 children and becoming bigger than a house each time, I’ve become quite the expert. Topping over 185 pounds this 5-foot 3-inch mama was quite the popular gal at the cook to order all you can eat breakfast.

“Hey Deena,” the waitress would wave, “here’s your usual table.” You know it’s crazy when a breakfast place is treating like “Norm” on Cheers! Really, how often are you going to be pregnant? I made the most of the adventure.

One and done was my mantra. I birthed a beautiful daughter in 26 hours of hard labor, so why would I even entertain more torture? Oh yes, things quickly change once you hold a friend’s newborn. My husband always said, “I look more handsome when you hold a newborn.” Actually, if I could simply go to a cabbage patch and pick one out and not be pregnant I’d most likely have more than 4.

Now what? You’ve chosen to nurse. Your calories must be high enough for baby but you want to shed those 50 pounds you gained? Yep, that was me. Maybe you too. It’s tough for a lot of moms.

Here’s the bad news first. Our body changes as we age. Older moms have a tougher time. I had my last baby at 40 years old and she was a 9 pounder without a C-Section. So, I feel your pain. Nothing that is tough comes easy. Your body may have mom scars but calling them a badge of honor helps. Age happens. Life is celebrated! Here’s the good news. Our body changes as we age. Yes, that’s good news! Our muscles have memory. It may seem unusual to think a muscle can remember, but if you were active before baby (and most of us were) you’re already on your way. If you’ve never been a fitness gal there’s still great hope because you have a brain and a body that moves.

First, give yourself permission to be you. I’m never going to be tall and have a beautiful tan. I’m always going to have stocky thighs because I was born with the blessing of thickness. Now the next step is to be your biggest cheerleader. Self-talk creates victory. That six inches between your ears will be the key. Brain drain stinks. What can you do as opposed to what can’t you do?

Second, practically speaking eat less. I know that seems like a no brainer. More calories out than calories in will be how you shed the pounds. I hear you know… BUT HOW I’m so hungry. Sadly, my husband gave me an honest answer when I sat there after our second baby who was birthed at 9 pounds 9 ounces. (Not a C-section) “You’re going to be hungry. Either stay heavy or be a bit hungry. I love you no matter what.” He hugged me. I cried. I lost the weight.

Third, the actual application of eating less. Remember every bit it a calorie in and every step is a calorie off. Lets first tackle eating. There’s no magic way, there are tips and tricks. Tip one, eat on a salad plate to control your portion size. We fill up our plate and somehow, we feel we have to eat it all. Tip two, don’t go back for seconds. Tip Three, throw away ONE bit at every meal. Be used to not finishing your food. It’s okay to not eat it all. We’re programmed at an early age to “finish your plate.”

It’s truly not what you’re eating it’s how much you’re eating. My family knows that when I eat pizza, I like it sliced very skinny. I’ll take that one slice of pizza and make it into 4. Eat to live not live to eat.  All this sounds so simple, but I know firsthand it’s a tough one. Get support. Team up with a friend or a challenge group to stay accountable. Lastly, it will take time. We’re in an age where everything is an instant success. Pop it in the microwave and we wait two minutes for our food, which seem like so long, but in the short run, we’re impatient. If you lose 5 pounds a month you’re right on target. One pound a week seems like nothing until you’ve been at it for 12 weeks. Think about it, the turtle wins the race, but he doesn’t get anywhere until he sticks his neck out. Step out and find out. Be creative with the workout. I’d do plies with my baby in arms to put them to sleep. I’d ride my stationary bike (bought it for 5 dollars at a yard sale) and have a baby on my knee. Joining a gym is beautiful, but not practical for many. Park days with the kids means mom’s out chasing them, playing soccer, or even pushing kids in a swing is burning calories.

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Stay in shape

Four kids and every 50 pounds of weight to lose each time. I could be 200 pounds heavier, but I chose to be Scarlet O’Hare from Gone With The Wind. With a fist in the sky, “As God as my witness, I will be back in my skinny jeans again someday.” I hear you, it’s impossible! No, it’s not. Don’t give up, but don’t be self-critical. We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Be healthy. Be on purpose. Be careful not to compare.

Now at age 56, the battle of the bulge is a brand-new fight. (Menopause)  But I’ve won the struggle before. Going back to what I know works keeps me on target. Low Carb/low sugar or salad plate strategy we’re not ever that photo-shopped model on the magazine. And that’s perfectly fine with me because the best adventures always are ahead of me. Stay healthy for the long haul. 

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Coach Deena has been teaching fitness since 1991 and currently is also a dance instructor at Starlight Theater Company. As a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she and her husband of thirty-two years are those extreme football fans you hear about. Boomer Sooner! Deena’s a brand-new grandmother and wait till you hear how this granny is taking life by the “horns down.” She’s a stay at home mom, who has homeschooled all four of their children. She’s excited to share her granny knowledge and teenage drama secrets to help you get through life. Deena McDaniel is the creator founder of Christmas Near The Beach, a premier Christmas show in Hollywood, Florida (Est. 2007). In 1996, Deena began writing her weekly column Positively Beautiful, which is published in a local Missouri paper and more recently in a blog form on Facebook. Her background includes TV commercial production, Evening News promotion and hosting her own radio request show, “Sunday Drive.” She has a passion for fitness. It has been a life long adventure, from bodybuilding to mime ministry you’ll see this mom of four teaching fitness of almost any style. She and her family are active members at Palm Vista Community Church in Miami Lakes, Florida. “Remember you’re never able to quit the job of motherhood, rather the dynamics keep changing and your employment is for life.”- Coach Deena


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