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Follow This Mother

Hmm, you think a mother of 6 might have some frustrations to punch out?

Another Twitter connection, Carmen Staicer (@mttsm) had us with her six kids (ages 18 down to 7, yet she only looks about, oh, 32). Add in that she lost 80 pounds and is close to getting her black belt in Thai boxing, and we’d be close to building her a shrine if she didn’t seem so down to earth. Here, see what I mean…

Best recent run: Just 2 miles, but it was the first run that I’ve had in quite a while, thanks to snow/ice/asthma/wind/kids at home. It was really great just to be able to get out there and get some fresh air.

Six of one, half-dozen the other: Having six kids means that it’s never quiet, there’s always someone with a story or a struggle, and there’s never enough toilet paper/bread/milk/clean towels/hot water. It means tripling recipes that are in magazines just so you can have a shot at a leftover lunch the next day. It means feeling as if I go through the same stages over and over: As soon as I get one kid potty trained/sleeping through the night/driving, there’s another one (or three) right behind.

Where’d I leave that missing weight? I lost 80 pounds almost five years ago. I was motivated by several unkind remarks from family members and from schoolmates of my daughter. My husband had asked me several times, and I decided finally enough was enough. I made many small changes to my diet, in incremental stages, and didn’t attempt to do it all at once. I started out walking--in the beginning, I was unable to walk around the block without stopping for a rest on the curb. It took 18 months, but slow and steady wins the race. (She's turned lost weight into "found" money--she's now "Chief Mom" at Diets in Review.)

Getting Cross[Fit]: CrossFit is an amazing workout, but it’s not for the weak. I love it--I’d do it every day if I could. It’s tough for me to get to the classes, though, as it’s offered at my gym at 9:00. When I go to boxing class at noon, it can make for a congested and stress-filled day to get both of those scheduled. My instructor has been sick so we’ve been taking a break, but I hope to get it back very soon. It’s more empowering than just about anything else. We’ve been experimenting with Gym Jones workouts, which are similar to CrossFit.

Carmen's morning "juice"

Caffeine and me: Ahhh, coffee. I have an intense love for that first sip. I brew Vietnamese coffee with a teeny tiny pot, and it makes for a very strong cup. I only have one a day, but there is no possible way I could start each day off without it. It clears out the synapses and gets me moving, helping me to be just a bit more prepared for the day.

A black belt goes with everything: When I had reached my weight-loss goal, I was disenchanted about normal exercise and looked for something to do. I started to train capoeira and did that for about a year, but I’m not as flexible as I once was, and I found some of the moves too difficult. I switched to Muay Thai boxing, which was the other medium offered at my gym, and I’ve never looked back. It’s liberating and fulfilling to punch the stuffing out of a bag or pad; sparring teaches you how to remain calm in a stressful situation; and I can’t quite believe I’m four to six months away from my Black Belt. My Achilles heel is going to be the requisite 17-minute, 2-mile run. I’ve never been able to run that fast, and having a torn gastrocnemius two years ago means I’m even slower--but I’m determined. One way or another, I’ll get there.

Falling in love…with me: It’s a tough thing to do when you lose weight--you still see yourself as a fat woman. When I tore my calf muscle, I was on crutches in a cast and off my feet for four months. I gained some of my weight back. Seeing those extra pounds creeping back on makes

Radiant Carmen
you feel like a failure. I am really dissatisfied with my body some days: I find myself obsessing I’m not as thin as I want or over having a little muffin top. On those days, I try to find something good about myself to focus on. It’s an ongoing journey, that’s for sure. I recently had some boudoir shots done; I wanted to be able to feel good about my body. Women’s bodies are absolutely amazing in that they do so much. We need to embrace that! I think it’s important for all of us to never compare our insides to other’s outsides: Everyone puts on a good front, and we really have no idea what is going on with them internally.


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23 responses to “Follow This Mother

  1. HEY! This was really encouraging! I am also a mother of six, and I’m breastfeeding my youngest who is only 9 weeks old! I am also a full-time student and I feel like I have no time. How do you do it?!

  2. “I think it’s important for all of us to never compare our insides to other’s outsides: Everyone puts on a good front, and we really have no idea what is going on with them internally.”
    Thank you, Carmen. Thank you.
    I struggle with this ALL the time. It is my greatest source of anxiety. You are a bona fide ROCK STAR! Six kids…WOW! Keep it up, mama! You are an inspiration to many!

  3. Awesome Carmen. Thank you for expressing not just the struggle to get fit and healthy, but also the emotional struggle many women have accepting their bodies. Your words really spoke to me. You are inspirational.

  4. I have a strange question for Dimity. Are you by chance in a Chris Carmichael training video? I was doing one today and I heard Chris say “keep your head up Dimity”. That made me think of you and there is someone in the class that looks like you. Had to ask!

  5. WOW! This lady is amazing… and she really hit the nail on the head about women comparing their insides to others outsides and also with the statement at the end. My best friend lost a lot of weight (75+) about 3 years ago and has been maintaining it. Recently she told me that she can’t lose that “fat girl” mentality. She is now obsessed with getting smaller. I’m only 5’4″ and she is 5’11” and we can now wear the same clothes top to bottom. I worry constantly about her health but she assures me she only want to loose 5 more pounds and THEN she’ll be happy. Why do we do this to ourselves? She runs everyday on he treadmill in her apartment building (she lives in a busy city and doesn’t like to run alone). She doesn’t have a car so she walks everywhere, she eats extremely healthy – why can’t good health be enough!?

  6. WOW! is all I can say. And thank you for your words. You are inspiring. Thank you for reminding me and all of us, to try and think positively on those bad days when we dont feel good about ourselves. It is so true that you never know what someone is feeling inside. I think I speak for so many of us when I say that you are truly a REMARKABLE woman!

  7. What an amazing inspiring Mom! Good luck Carmen on your black belt. You’ll do it…. look at what you have accomplished so far!

  8. My Dad teaches tae kwon do. I really should get back into it some time. Good luck on your black belt exam! I stopped at brown when I was 15 but always enjoyed watching the exams. I saw some amazing people with incredible determination push for their black belts.

  9. Congratulations, Carmen! You are indeed radiant! I absolutely can relate to your comment about the fear that comes with gaining back a few pounds. I’ve lost 50 lbs in the past year, and I am petrified if I don’t get my runs in. or indulge in one too many cupcakes, the weight will all come back. But, I feel too good as a small self to let that happen again! Congratulations again! You are an inspiration!

  10. Beautiful, positive Carmen!
    I always enjoy reading about mothers of many children, because as someone contemplating number 4, I know you’ve gotten all the looks that I get, that I got pregnant with number 3 even.

    Keep it up, stay strong. You’re a superstar to all of us mothers engaged in the crazy balancing act that is having children-and having a self too.

  11. WOO HOO!! Congrats on an amazing transformation and doing what ya do!

    I am in awe of balancing it all with 6 kids-wow.
    Muy Thai has always looked like so much fun ! Keep kickin’ butt Carmen 🙂

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