Every time I see the “skinny moms,” I want to dropkick them. Okay, that’s a joke. In all honesty, I’m just envious. Some moms gain weight and it flies right off. Other moms gain weight and it stays right on. I’m the latter.
My relationship with food and my weight is complicated. I’ve never been good at losing weight and I have always had poor self-image. I’ve been anorexic and I’ve been a binge eater (still am, actually). I’ve felt like I needed to lose weight when I didn’t, and I’ve gone about losing weight in the wrong way. But things are changing, and now I’m trying to do it the right way.
How I got here
When I was pregnant with my son, I gained a whopping 53 pounds. My NOSE was wide, my face was fat, but other than that I was all belly. Thirty of those pounds fell off within two weeks, and another 10 pounds fell off a few months later so I was just left with 13 pounds, which wasn’t really that bad … except I didn’t lose those pounds until my son was 3!
As much as I would like to say that I decided to shed the last 10 pounds and get healthy, that’s not how it happened at all. My ex (the jerk you read about in one of my previous posts) introduced me to a weight-loss supplement, and boy was it potent. I didn’t just lose 10 pounds, I lost 30 pounds and probably almost killed myself in the process.
The supplement was called OxyElite Pro (it was taken off the market last year) and it was a thermogenic. With these types of supplements, they warm your body up and speed up your metabolism in a BIG way. There are very specific instructions, and if you don’t follow them, there can be serious side effects.
These pills were like legalized speed. I wasn’t hungry; I would keep going and going. I taught myself Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance because I had so much energy to get rid of. These pills will also dehydrate you, and if you don’t consume enough water (and by enough, I mean you need to down probably three or four of those big Smartwater bottles), you’re going to get sick. I’m in no way encouraging anyone to go this route, I’m merely letting you all know the lengths I went to.
A year after losing all that weight, I gained it back and then some (as is usually the case with diets like that) because I got pregnant with my daughter. When I’m pregnant, it’s the one time I’m able to just let go a little bit. I don’t have to be paranoid about my body because it’s the one time you’re supposed to gain weight. I ended up gaining 40 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter (and she was born early — imagine how much I’d have gained if she’d been full term!).
I worried during the pregnancy that I’d be one of those women who would gain all this weight, and then have none of it come off. Well, that’s sort of what happened. Of the 40 pounds, I lost probably 15, which I’m sure was the only true “baby weight” I gained. The rest of it was me overeating. That was my choice, so it’s no longer something I blame on “the second baby.” It had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me.
It’s pretty easy to get caught up in diet fads and not losing weight the healthy way. And boy, have I done that. I didn’t eat during that time when I was taking oxyelite. Not really. 800 calories max a day. So when I say I know how it feels to want to lose the weight at all costs, trust me, I mean it. I’m trying something different now, though. I’m trying to do better.
Making a change
To lose weight doesn’t require a diet, it requires a lifestyle change and a choice. You have to make a choice every day, with every meal and every snack. Every time you open the refrigerator or the cabinet, you are making a choice. So for the past couple weeks, I have been making choices.
- I choose not to buy too much processed food.
- I choose not to buy worthless snacks (chips, cookies, all that crap). If it’s not there, you won’t be able to grab it.
- I choose to drink 100 ounces of water a day.
- I choose to plan our meals in advance, not only so that I can easily and efficiently feed my family, but because it gives me something to look forward to. You’re not supposed to live to eat. You’re supposed to eat to live. I, however, love food, so this appeases me just a bit.
I chose to start making some changes because my blood pressure had risen to pre-hypertension levels, and I just wasn’t in love with this hefty bloated feeling. Everyone has that point where they say “enough!” and it kicks them into gear to make some changes.
The three biggest changes I’ve made:
- Eating breakfast
- Eating more fruit
- Tracking all meals (no matter how shameful they may be) on MyFitnessPal (you get a caloric target, based on your weight loss goal, and the site will tell you if you’re eating the right balance of nutrients)
Baby steps add up to big steps
This serious weight-loss journey is new to me, and it’s hard. I’m a picky eater, I’m not a big meat eater, and all protein alternatives are a massive turn off to me. I’m trying really hard to change the way I view food, and how I approach my meals. I’ve been doing this for a good month and I’m down 7 pounds.
I’m not one of those people who can jump into losing weight by only eating 1,200 calories a day. I’ve tried, and it feels like sheer torture. Instead, I did what worked for me. To put it bluntly, I stopped eating so much and I definitely stopped eating crap.
I don’t work out a whole lot because it’s really hard for me to get into, but what I do is walk at home videos on YouTube. They are quick and easy and they get you moving. Everyone should try to get in 10,000 steps a day to maintain health, and these videos are a great way to do just that. There is a 1-mile walk, a 2-mile walk, a 3-mile walk and a 5-mile walk.
The fact that I now eat breakfast is HUGE. Before, I wouldn’t eat until dinner, so that when I did eat, I would for sure not go over my calories for the day. This usually, if not always, resulted in a massive binge-eating session. But now I eat a healthy meal to start the day off right. I don’t like heavy meals in the morning, so at the most I eat an omelet, or two eggs and a slice of turkey bacon. More often then not, just to make sure I get something in my system, I grab fruit.
I would like to say, with some of the small changes I’ve made, that the overeating and snacking are gone. They are not. But they are slowly phasing out. I no longer send my husband off to McDonald’s to get me two egg biscuits or a McChicken at midnight because I’m feeling famished AFTER dinner. Now I have maybe a cup of coffee with Splenda (for my all-nighters), rice cakes, frozen yogurt or Weight Watchers ice cream bars.
Making peace with the past
I wish that when I was pregnant with Elind, who is now 19 months, I had been more careful and conscious about what I put in my body. I didn’t eat just anything, but I was in no way careful. Otis teases me about how he would always run out to get a McFlurry for me. I’m floored because I have NO recollection of eating them that much!
I know to a lot of people I may not look like I need to lose any weight, but I do. For overall health, and for my own satisfaction, and to prove that I can do it. I’ve learned you really can’t harp on the weight gained because the more you do that, the more you’re probably going to eat to feed those emotions. So while the weight is here, it’s definitely not here to stay.
How do you feel about your body post-baby? Share in the comments.