Turning “I can’t!” into “I CAN!”

sarahEarlier this week, Cyndi shared how some worrying hereditary health factors led her to radically change her diet in order to protect her heart.

Today Sarah tells us how an innocent question from her daughter has spurred her onto taking action to improve her diet and fitness.

‘Mummy, are you 22 or 82?’ my daughter recently asked me quite innocently.

Well, the truth is, I am somewhere in between. Closer to 22 I might add, though I certainly feel 82!

I’m a mother of two young and spritely children. My daughter in particular is a very physical and active child. What she loves most in the world is to run, preferably with me chasing her!

I can’t!

‘Chase me Mummy!’

‘I can’t’

‘Run with me Mama!’

‘I can’t’

‘Climb up here with me, come on Mummy, you can do it!’

I really, really can’t!

It’s not because I don’t want to, or because I can’t be bothered. I can’t easily do these things with my children because I’m overweight and unfit. I actually cannot run any more, my joints hurt and I don’t have the energy.

Joint pain

I used to be just like my daughter. Full of energy and spirit. I used to love climbing trees and running through the woods. I’d love to run with my beautiful girl, or play football with my son when he asks me. Inside this flabby, unfit body, is a fun and active mama just crying to get out!
So what happened? Well, I cannot blame it on having babies. My babies are growing up fast and I seem to be growing too, but outwards! I’m sure if I lose a bit of weight, the pain in my hips and knees would improve. It’s time to make a few simple changes.

Sugar free diet

My goals for February are simple. I intend to go sugar free. I have to do this because I’m an all or nothing person, and recently when it’s come to cakes, chocolate and biscuits, I’ve definitely been ‘all’. I’ll eat the whole packet, the entire bar or the whole cake. It’s like a compulsion, there’s no control. So for February I’m aiming for no sugar at all.

Aside from not eating sugar, I’m just going to keep eating my normal healthy meals, just cut down my portion sizes. I really do not need to eat the same as my 6ft4in husband!

Gentle daily exercise

I’m also going to take gentle daily exercise. I’ve just started walking my neighbour’s dog twice a week. I’m also going to swim at our local pool three times a week, once with the kids, once on an evening and also on Saturday mornings. I’ve been really lazy about going swimming in the evenings, but I actually do enjoy it when I get there. On the other two days, I’m going to follow a yoga DVD. It’s perfect exercise for me at the moment. Really gentle and should help to ease my joints.

By the end of February I hope to be on the road to changing the ‘I can’t’ into ‘I CAN!”

Sarah is a very dis-organised, dinner burning, 38 year old mother of two. She lives in Kildare, Ireland with her children and husband. They are lucky enough to live near the mountains, beaches and forests, so enjoy regular outdoor adventures. Sarah’s passions in life are spending time with her family, swimming (preferably in the sea), reading and painting.

We’d like to thank Philips for sending us an Avance juicer and Abel and Cole for our delicious fruit and vegetable box so we can improve our diets too!


  1. Mrs Green on February 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Sarah, I love how our children’s questions can awaken awareness within us. But most of all I love that instead of feeling defeated you have chosen to take action. I too would like to be able to run around a bit more with Little Miss Green and this month I’ve been committed to a fitness programme of my own. So I wish you luck with your dietary and exercise routine and know you will attain your goal!

  2. Rose on February 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

    My I cant’s tend to be because I notice a floor that needs washing or one more pile of crap that needs moving. I MUST start saying yes to my children more often otherwise this time we have with them will be wasted right? Lovely post Sarah X

  3. Catherine on February 10, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I love your post Sarah! I think it is fantastic that you are going to do something about your fitness – and yes your are right to want to spend more time doing things with your children. Not only will you be getting healthier so that you feel ok to run and climb with them but you will also be giving them excellent habits for their future too.

    As for being 38!!! I am 35 and you look LOADS younger than me! So I will be joining you on this quest (once I have given birth to my new son in April) as you have given me the inspiration. Thank you mama!!! x x

  4. Lisa on February 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Inspiring post Sarah – such a good feeling to take action instead of giving up. I have a friend who goes to the gym three times a week specifically so he can keep up with his three year old son – they do keep us on our toes don’t they?!

  5. Veganmummy on February 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Great article, written with warmth and love. Have been having similar thoughts recently, my little boy has suddenly got so much energy and needs to run it off – but I can’t keep up (or can I?). xxx

  6. Small Footprints on February 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I really like how in tune you are with your body … recognizing that the aches and pains are a signal to improve your health. So many people think that they are just stuck with aches and pains or they’ll say it’s all part of getting older. In reality, it isn’t … and you are so wise to know that and take action. I know you’ll be successful! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  7. Sarah on February 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    @Catherine: ha ha Catherine! That photo is 2 years old!!! Good luck with baba in April xxx

  8. nadine sellers on February 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    this post would be the center of conversation in many households. i hope it instills a bit of courage in those who need it in one form or another..thank you children Sarah, they have given YOU life in return..good stretch with your yoga. now, i am on my way to (all-or-nothing) giving up sugar..period. yes i can-yes i can!