Let’s talk about this. Because I have been ignoring it, and it has not been working. Clearly. I will use real numbers so feel free to pass your judgement as you see fit.
My weight fluctuates. A lot. My ideal weight is 145 lbs. At that weight, I feel normal. I am not so comfortable and thin as to give up on my daily crunches and cat-cow bows, but I am not concentrating so hard on my weight that it infects every aspect of my thinking. I am happy when I hover around 145. I tend to hover around 155. The thinnest I can recall being in my adult life is 135. I guess maybe technically 133, but I ate food after weighing in so I’m assuming 133 lasted all of 2 hours. I was too skinny, bony even.
In 2010, I was overweight according to the Wii. Not quite obese but definitely far from healthy. The family started our own version of the Biggest Loser where we kept track of and reported our % body fat loss to each other each week. This initiated some serious lifestyle corrections for me. And then my baby sister got engaged. And then I got engaged. Events motivating me to continue my weight loss progress. And then I got stressed out with all the planning and continued to lose weight whether I wanted to or not. In total, I lost roughly 45 pounds. I walked down the aisle November 2011 at 135 pounds.
For those of you who are bad at math, that means I started at 180 pounds. 180 is the heaviest I have ever gotten on my own. 180 pounds of comfort food and laziness. It happened so gradually that I had no idea. I just suddenly was. I saw pictures of me in what was clearly inappropriate summer attire and wanted to shrivel up and die. How could no one have told me (besides my little brother, always with the brutal honesty, thanks bud) that I looked soooooooo bad? That maybe a bikini was not the right choice. I was devastated and vowed to never let it get that bad again.
Enter pregnancy. I was 153 when I discovered I was pregnant. I gained fast in the first trimester, mostly due to poor eating habits beforehand. I didn’t balance my intake well and filled up on crappy empty calories one day and then would severely limit my caloric intake the next day. I realized this was not going to be beneficial for a developing fetus and started doing my best to eat a healthy breakfast (morning sickness) each morning and stick to healthier foods in smaller proportions throughout the day, reintroducing meat to my formerly vegetarian diet. Sometimes though, a tube of Ritz and cheese cubes were the only thing that kept me from barfing. Ham just about saved my life on more than one occasion. I read all the stories and heard all the anecdotes about the appropriate weight gain. The “normal” is 25 – 30 pounds over the life of the pregnancy. That said, I gained about 20 pounds in the first trimester. But my midwives were showing no concerns, all my tests were coming back just fine, and the baby was healthy with a strong heartbeat.
I continued to gain each week. I gained at the “normal” rate of 1-2 pounds a week. Some weeks I gained a little extra. The week Bella got sick, I lost a few pounds. I walked a minimum of 30 minutes everyday. All the while I was weighing in at the doctor and being congratulated for my perfect fetus. Everything was fine.
200 pounds all told. The week before I delivered in November of 2015, I weighed 200 pounds.
And then Hannah was born. I didn’t pay attention to the scale if I was even weighed at the hospital. I can’t remember. I concentrated on Hannah’s weight, getting her where she needed to be. At my six week postpartum check-up, I had lost 15 pounds weighing in at 185, the heaviest ever without a child in me.
Her birth was close to Halloween so I ate a little more candy than I should have. I let my healthy snacks slip in favor of snickers and crackers. I was excited to indulge in a glass of wine here or there every now and then which became a little more than every now and then. And then it was Christmas with the breads and cake balls and cookies and chocolate covered pretzels and brownies. I thought I was limiting myself well, but I guess not.
I have a pair of regular jeans, my engagement pants. These were the first “skinny” pants I was able to wear when I was losing weight back in 2010/2011. I was wearing them comfortably when Shelby proposed in February 2011. I tried them on one day shortly after leaving the hospital, just out of curiosity. I could get them on and zipped but they were supremely uncomfortable. I tried them again a few weeks ago and couldn’t pull them up. I cried a lot that day.
Rather than acknowledge a number, I tried concentrating on milestones. When I could fit into my yoga pants. When I could get to 100 crunches without wanting to cry. When I could wear my engagement pants to work. When I could wear my extra large husband’s extra large shirts and have them not be quite so tight. When my tights stopped rolling down my saggy belly. But none of these things made me feel good. Nothing motivated me to do anything. I just kept getting sadder and sadder, crying almost every morning staring at my closet. I’d try something on, hate myself, try something else, hate myself more, and then grab a maternity skirt and a big top. And then I stopped trying on normal stuff and just went straight for maternity clothes which never seemed to fit any looser.
Shelby finally convinced me to set a goal. He pulled out the Wii fit and weighed himself in front of me. He set his goal. He had a number to work with, to play against, to gauge his progress. It took me more than a week to get up the courage to weigh myself in private. I kept thinking about the engagement pants, how I got there before, how I used the Wii. I crossed my fingers and hoped for something in the 175 range. I had been losing, I could tell by the fit of my leggings. Please just let me have lost 10 pounds since mid-December. 10 pounds in 2 months wasn’t an unreasonable goal I thought, for a breastfeeding mom.
I have no idea how much I gained to feel like I had been making progress at 1.5 pounds heavier than my 6 week appointment. Crushed. Disgusted. Depressed. These words don’t begin to describe how I felt this past Sunday after that number popped up on the screen. I’m heavier. How could I be heavier??
But now I have a number. And a goal. And a time frame to meet that goal (thank you Cak). It took almost a year to lose it before, and I don’t expect it to be easy, but I expect it to happen. My first goal is to feel comfortable in my engagement pants before my sister’s wedding. To be able to concentrate on her and not trying to avoid photos. Not being so self conscious about my saggy belly and back boobs and muffin top and love handles and thighs that touch. Because of the shape of my Bridesmaid dress, I will continue to concentrate on toning my arms. I continue to walk, I continue to do a nightly “exercise” routine, but I am not doing enough. I hurt. My bones hurt. I need to get some weight off so I can walk normally, so I can get out of the car without grunting. So I can carry my child up the stairs to her crib without worrying about my knee or hip giving out.
My ultimate goal is to get to my ideal of 145. 40 pounds. To get back into my normal clothes. We’ll start with mimicking what I did before, cutting alcohol during the week, stepping up my random exercises throughout the day, getting back into yoga, eating the right foods and stopping when I’m full or when my plate is empty, whichever comes first. I can do this again.
186.5 February 2016. The heaviest I have ever been on my own. See me in 2017.