After reading the article on rehydration and its importance in your weight loss goals, now is the time to start the exercise.  Wait.  Don’t stop reading.  I promise I won’t make you do crunches or lunges.  Are you still here?    Great.

When I traveled to Europe, Paris in particular, but mostly all of Europe minus the British Isles, I didn’t see fat people.  In fact, not only were people not obese, they were stunningly thin.  Not starving, or gaunt looking, just healthy, energetic, thin people.  Do you want to know how many gyms I saw in Europe?  There were maybe a few treadmills in the hotels for Americans, but other than that…none.  I saw not a gym in sight.  And yet I was surrounded by beautiful, skinny women.  I could have cursed the whole nation for having “good genes,” or I could learn what was making these women, (who eat butter croissants, chocolate, and drink high calorie wine,) so thin, without a gym in sight.

Turns out, the missing factor in this equation is the walking.  Just like in family budgeting, it isn’t about what you make it’s about what you spend.  The same goes for diet and exercise.  It isn’t, necessarily what you eat, but it’s what you burn.  Did you know the average European walks around eight miles a day?  The typical American doesn’t even get an entire mile in.  The math figures out like this: a moderate 3.0 mph walking pace, (that’s without hills,) burns 224 calories per hour.  Add it up and the French are burning around 600 calories a day more than Americans, just by living! 

So how exactly are you going to walk eight miles with three kids, dinner to prepare, and a stack of laundry covering your bed, waiting to be folded?  There are a few activities that make a big difference.  First, if you can get a walk at home dvd, this is very good.  I love Leslie Sansone.  Her website is here, you can check it out for yourself.  I do the “Four Fast Miles,” DVD.  I love it because it’s easy enough that I’ll do it even when I don’t feel like it, it’s short enough that I can fit it in my schedule, and at the end, I know I’ve done four miles for the day.  My sister in law lost twenty pounds using it, and I’ve heard similar stories from my friends to whom I recommended it.  You burn off a meal by the time it’s done.  That’s not bad.

Another solution, to those of you who may struggle with keeping the kids entertained, is to throw on a “Wiggles” DVD and go to town.  I’m warning you, this is not for the faint of heart.  “The Wiggles,” will work your butt into a sweaty exhausted frenzy.  Denise Austin wishes she could match the energy of this frenetic foursome from Australia.   There is no stopping their manic dance moves.  The trick with losing weight with “The Wiggles,” is to let go of learning the dance moves, and to just move.  Even if you move slightly like them, and just keep up with the pace, you will lose the pounds.  Trust me, like “Lord of the Dance,” you too will waste away while wiggling incessantly alongside your wee ones.

That was a mouthful.

If you doubt the Wiggle workout, I personally know of one woman who got down to a ridiculously small size after four kids…just by dancing to “The Wiggles!”  I choose the Leslie Sansone one typically because those colorful dudes just wear me out.  By the way, the great bonus to losing weight “The Wiggles” way is the never ending smile that gets plastered on your toddler’s face.  My daughter just can’t believe mommy is doing the airplane dance around the living room like a crazy woman.

A few more great exercise tips:

            *Pace the floor while talking on the phone.

            *Lift up kiddies for arm weights, (they love when you lift them from behind your head…your underarms will feel the burn!)

            *Go for strolls instead of car rides to get kids to nap.

            *Play, play, play!  Chase your kids, run around the yard, climb up the slide, swing high, shoot hoops, jump rope, hop scotch, bike ride, pull wagons, explore!

The main thing is to enjoy your kids, enjoy your life, get out there, and the weight will fall off without you having to count the seconds until cool down.  Calling all parents, this is a call to play, to live, to enjoy!  Basically, just pretend your life is recess and forget about target heart rate.

Hey, why should the French get all the fun?