I am not active. I never have been particularly active. I did some recreational sports growing up, the usual childhood soccer, baseball, and gymnastics classes. I was a cheerleader for most of elementary school and high school, which was as active as I have ever been.
When I went to university I managed to avoid the “freshman 15” thanks to a stellar diet of shooters, chicken wings, and empty cupboards. I likely had a decent metabolism on my side. But I always felt fat. At 5 feet 9.5 inches tall and 145 pounds, I wore hooded sweatshirts and jeans to be comfy. I wore loose fitting, empire waist shirts to “hide my love handles”. For fuck’s sake…what I wouldn’t give to be THAT kind of fat again!
Before having kids, I didn’t need to work out to maintain my weight. I cooked nutritious meals mostly because I like cooking, and I like eating good food. But, I never really dieted. When I got married, I took it as my “wifely duty” to make meals…more meals than I ever ate before. Gradually my portion sizes grew to match my husband’s (my large, fit, very active husband). And then I got pregnant. So long adolescent, “fat”, body….
So I “gained” a beautiful baby girl…and 45 pounds. I lost 30 pounds fairly easily after I had her and thought “Ha! I’m one of those blessed people who can pop out babies and go home in my normal jeans!” (not quite, but you know the type I’m referring to…bitches). I stayed about 10 pounds heavier, rationalizing “Why bother losing all the weight now, I’m just going to get pregnant again??”. Which is exactly what I did, and gained another 45 pounds. “It’ll all fall off again, and I will have my whole life to lose the rest!”. Nope.
I got down to 185 pounds and was stuck. I panicked. I did not have a clue how to lose weight. I already thought I ate healthily. I can’t run, I can’t jog, I have a baby and toddler at home, what the hell am I going to do?! In my utter desperation, I joined a ladies strength boot camp type work out program. It was fucking awful…and awesome. I did the work outs with my eyes closed because I couldn’t handle seeing myself in the mirrors on the walls. In my head I was bawling, ‘I can’t do this, there is no way, one more set and I’m walking out, I’ll say I have to get somewhere, I’ll run outside and puke, I’ll just finish this last interval….’. This literally went on EVERY day for the entire workout. But I finished, and I saw FAST results (apparently doing NOTHING active, then going hard really shocks the system!). I was diligent with the nutritional aspect and made the program my job. I felt so proud of myself, so confident, and SO ALIVE!
But, once I got to a place I was comfortable, I slowly scaled back the intensity of my workouts, was skipping days, and letting myself have more cheat days. I had gotten down to 153 pounds, but quickly gained 10 pounds when I fell off the wagon. “If I can be 160-165 doing nothing but enjoying my family with no sacrifices then that works for me!”.
I maintained that weight but lost muscle tone, gained fat, lost my pride and my confidence. I got lost in a new job, new commitments, on top of a busy family life. I was coasting. Then came a previously unanticipated baby #3. More weight gain.
So, here I am. Mom to 3 awesome kids: 6 years old, almost 4 years old, and 5 months old. Stuck at 185 pounds once again, scale hasn’t budged in 5 months despite VERY aggressive breastfeeding (“Oh, just breastfeed and the baby weight will melt right off!” – Fuck you.) Again, the panic has set in. Now, I have 3 kids to juggle! The littlest a boob-leach that has yet be un-tethered from my milk-makers for longer that 45 waking minutes, and not longer than 10 waking minutes without screaming bloody murder! How am I ever going to lose this weight??
I am overweight (I actually am, I calculated my BMI today and I am officially overweight!). That is not ok. But, more importantly, I am self-conscious, my body hurts because I am carrying too much weight on a weak frame and bad back, I can’t keep up with my kids because of it, and my damn jeans don’t fit. I actually back out of plans and avoid making plans because I don’t have anything to wear and I refuse to indulge this grotesque body with new clothes.
I know, I know: “You just had a baby, give yourself a break!”, “Your body has grown 3 healthy humans!”, trust me…I have made these my mantras for the past 6 months! But, I also sit on the couch watching pvr’d episodes of Big Brother and Chicago Fire (and Chicago PD, Med, and Justice) while my kids nap instead of working out. I sneak chocolate chips and mini-eggs, and grab a snack the instant my kids go to bed. I’m still eating husband-sized portions (because I’m a damn good cook, why shouldn’t I enjoy it?!). This body I’ve created isn’t all baby weight. It is lazy lifestyle weight. It is not ok.
So, desperate once again, I reached out to my village and formulated a plan! I joined a 12-week ladies strength and nutritional coaching program in town. I found a mom-friend that will watch my kids for an hour 2 times a week, and my husband once a week when he is home. I am actively trying to sleep train the baby and get her stranger anxiety under control so she doesn’t scream the entire hour, 3 times a week.
I have a plan. I am terrified at how hard it is going to be, but so excited about getting my weight and my health under control again. I filled out a questionnaire today for the gym. It asked me to describe my goals and what I am willing to sacrifice to achieve them.
I would like to ultimately lose 30 pounds. I think I can realistically lose 20 during this 12 week program. I want to get out of my damn maternity pants and lulus I currently live in!
I have a really unstable, bad, lower back so while that will likely slow me down in the beginning, strengthening my core should help. That is another huge goal for me as right now, I am so limited in my mobility; it really affects my quality of life. I want to play with my kids, be able to lift them onto the monkey bars, help them learn to ride their bikes, water slide, and run with them! My back, self-consciousness, and fitness level really prevent all of this!
I also want to feel more attractive, and more like the person I used to be. I know these are lofty goals for only 3 months but these are all ultimate goals I am working toward! It took 9 months….times three!…6 years, really….to gain the weight, bad habits, and negative self-image…I am realistic that it will take longer than 3 months to fix everything!
I will sacrifice whatever it takes. I NEED THIS.
It’s time to own it; to own where I am right now and where I want to be. But I’m still going to close my eyes at the gym (in case you see me, you’ll know why my eyes are closed!)….maybe that’s another goal: work out with my eyes open and be proud of what I see!
Here I go!