Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Return to Health

     I've been working on this post for a long time, not quite sure how to begin. So let's just do it: I was fat. Really fat. 

     I've struggled with my weight basically my whole life and I've never been what I'd call a thin person, or even a healthy person. 

     Right before I got pregnant with Sam, about four years ago, I was in the best shape of my life. I was following Weight Watchers, working the evening shift and going to the gym for about an hour after work. I was within 8lbs of my high school weight and 13lbs of my first semester of college when I was at my lowest from walking all over a huge spread out campus all day. 

     Getting pregnant with Sam was super easy, it really took only one try. Thanks to my all-day sickness which lasted the entire 39 weeks, I gained no weight and was the same after he was born. The picture to the right is me at 7 months pregnant.

     The minute he was born the nausea was gone. And I was hungry. And I ate. I put on I think 30lbs between when Sam was born and when we started trying to get pregnant with Abby, a time span that is under a year. Getting pregnant the second time took much longer. Every month that went by that I wasn't pregnant I would wonder why, why was it so easy the first time and not now? In the back of my mind I knew it was because I was overweight. 

     After Abby was born I was slightly heavier than I was when I got pregnant. I had read that if you are breastfeeding, it's super easy to lose weight and you're supposed to eat more. And I did. I was FAMISHED all the time, an absolute bottomless pit. And I just got fatter and fatter. 

     In July I went to my cousin's wedding and took a group shot with my cousins. And I was the fattest one. But I was still in denial. I seriously thought that the dress I was wearing was making me look bigger. 

     That September, I was the Maid of Honor in my friend Megan's wedding. I was so honored and happy. The event was breathtaking, the dresses were beautiful and I knew there would be a hundred billion pictures. I was still in the deep river of denial about my weight as I ordered the biggest size the company carried and prayed it would fit. It barely did and was a 16/18.

     I knew I was the fattest bridesmaid and I was so nervous to see the pictures, but I wasn't prepared for what I saw when they came out. I looked awful. There wasn't enough hair and make up in the world to make me look good.  Their wedding video was more like a film, it was a work of art, and I couldn't even finish it because I wanted to barf looking at myself. 

In the months that followed, I knew what I had to do. I needed to lose weight. I entered my height and weight in a BMI calculator and it said I was obese. Not even obese, but obese class 2. None of my clothes fit, not even my scrubs, which are basically pajamas. 

Full disclosure: I want to have another baby. I've always known I would want a lot of kids. I know that if I want that to happen I would have to lose this weight. When I finally realized that this weight loss needed to happen, I made a list of a ton of other things that needed to happen too, but I knew that this would take the longest. I'll talk about the other things on my list another day; this post is just about me getting healthy. 

     Come January, I saw a commercial for Weight Watchers on TV saying that they'd wave their new member fee for new sign ups. The start up cost was the one excuse I'd been using to justify not really being serious about eating better and now that was gone. January 6th I started my weight loss journey. 

     I started seeing results on the scale right away. I didn't take any pictures initially because I couldn't bear looking at myself and now I'm bummed that I didn't. I had a huge amount of weight to lose. I knew that setting my end goal initially would just overwhelm me and increase my chances of giving up. So I set small goals. I wanted to be under 200 by Valentine's Day, under 190 by Sam's birthday party and under 180 by my cousin's wedding which was a few weeks ago. 

     Excuse the bad quality of these pictures, but these are the first ones I had taken and I'd already lost a few pounds. These are the jean's I'd been wearing. They're a size 16 and I don't have to tell you they barely fit. I had to wear super long baggy shirts to even wear them in public. I think taking these pictures and coming face to face with myself made me realize no, its not the jeans, or the dress, its me. And I got to work.

     I preplanned what I would eat the night before so I wouldn't feel rushed and make bad decisions out of hunger and lack of time (huge for a busy mom). Even though I hate it, I exercised a few times a week by either doing some DVD's at home or walking all over town with the kids in the double stroller. I definitely could not afford (either financially or free-time wise) to step foot in a gym.

    Valentine's Day came and I surpassed my goal by three pounds. 

    Sam's birthday party came and I had surpassed my goal by five pounds. 

     I knew that I wanted to lose weight the natural way (this is Natural Mommy after all) through healthy diet and exercise and it was working. No pills, no potions, no crazy restrictions on carbs or other foods being completely eliminated because I knew I would set myself up to fail. Sometimes a girl just needs carbs and shouldn't be punished for having them.  

     I'm not trying to say I didn't fall off the wagon once or twice or more times. I'm not trying to say every week was a huge loss. But consistently, every week, through nothing but mindful eating and some light-moderate exercise (because I really hate exercising) I lost weight. Even if it was a half pound. And over the past five months the amounts have really added up. 

     Those too tight size 16 jeans? This is what they look like now. 

     Now I'm in a size 10 and they fit comfortably. And that gorgeous bridesmaid's dress I squeezed into? Now I would be in an 8/10 according to their size chart. Two sizes smaller. When I hit my ultimate goal I was considering re-renting it and taking pictures again. And the goal of being under 180 for my cousin's wedding? I forgot to weigh myself that morning, but I got on the scale the day after and was 166. That's 14lbs below my goal for a total of a 52lb loss in just over 5 months. My BMI has gone from a shocking 36.3 to 26, which is still overweight but much closer to a healthy range. 
      I have less than 10lbs to go to hit a healthy weight for my height, but I would love to be a size 8. A single digit dress size once seemed so out of reach for me but I feel like with a few more weeks of hard work I'll get there. 

    As is everything in my life, my weight is a work in progress. I'm giving myself until the end of the summer to get into the 150's and those still too tight size 8's. If I can get the courage together, I just might wear a bathing suit on the beach for the first time in my adult life. When I DO hit that goal, hopefully just around the time the New England leaves are turning, I'm going to reward myself with something big. I'm going to commission my photographer cousin for a family portrait. That would be a 60lb weight loss after all! As much as both of my kids combined!

   So the theme of this blog is progress. I've come a long way but I still have a bit of a journey ahead of me. So in order for me to be able to cross off "Get to my Goal Weight" from my Master To-Do List, I still want to:

  • Be under 160 by the fall
  • Fit into size 8 jeans
  • Maintain that weight (forever but immediately) until January 6th

One more just to hammer my progress home for myself. No my gorgeous bridesmaid gift bracelet didn't fit. Yes it does now. I've come a long long way but I still have far to go. And I have the cutest photobomber in the back.

And the bedroom is still a mess. Some things never change.

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