Getting Back to “Goal”

I gained fifty pounds with my pregnancy. Thirty the old fashioned way – ice cream and whatever I happened to be craving that week. My midwives said this was good. The last twenty I gained in a little less than two weeks, and it’s those twenty pounds of swelling and water weight that caused my blood pressure to skyrocket to the 160/90 range at times. My midwives said this was not good. Those last twenty pounds also gave me new stretch marks and caused them to threaten induction if I didn’t go into labor “by tomorrow.” Tomorrow was the 12th of December, so I had the little man just in time to avoid a medicated labor and delivery.

I lost thirty pounds while in the hospital during my 36 hour stay. And then the weight loss stopped there. Two months out and I am finally starting to see the weight drop off again. A combination of breastfeeding, calorie tracking and not being able to eat dairy, tomato products or citrus products in any form (thanks to breastfeeding).

I looked in the mirror last night and saw a bigger version of me; a version I have not seen in years. The last time I was around this size I was graduating from high school, back in 2007. Seeing my belly grow through pregnancy, I saw the extra weight as a positive thing. It meant the baby was growing, and I was giving him the nutrition he needed. I think that positive association with the scale is a vital part of why I can look at myself now, a lot softer than I usually am, a lot more fluffy around the middle, and be kind to myself. I think it’s the mom in me that sees who I am now, and remembers who I was six years ago and is empathetic for her.

Because I remember how this extra weight felt then. It was crushing to my self esteem and made feeling normal impossible.

Pregnancy radically changed my internal voice. It went from always telling me I wasn’t good enough, to acknowledging that I am doing the best I can. This 200, some pounds looks a lot different now than it did when I was eighteen. And this time, while I’m on the way down back to my “skinny” jeans, I won’t be hating on myself and wishing I had never gotten fat. It is what it is, and I’ve got an adorable baby to show for it while I work on getting back to my goal size.

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Happy (not so) New Year

I’m not a huge fan of  New Years resolutions. They are often cliche, over and underdone at the same time, and almost never come to fruition. That being said, I do have a few particular things I would like to work on this year.

1. I will write more. That means more blogging, more time spent writing in my “letters to Elliott” journal, and more emails to my husband while he’s away. Time is moving way too fast, and I’m so sleep deprived that in a year or two or ten I fear I won’t remember any of this.. and I know I will want to remember it.

2. I will put more money into savings. I have already started doing the 52 week plan, where you put a dollar per week of the year into a savings account, working up to $52 transferred the last week of the year. Only, I’m doing that backwards. Will have a little over $1300 in the bank by the end of the year, which isn’t much, but it’s a start. 

3. I will tackle the rest of this baby weight and then some! I’m already itching to get out and exercise but I know my body isn’t ready.. At least I don’t get winded walking around Costco anymore!

4. I will love more, live more, laugh more.. all around try to remember that I am a positive person and I am capable of accomplishing more than I know and more often than not, the only one holding me back is me.

That’s all I can think of for now, on the fly, sitting on my office floor. Was just setting up an automatic payment for our water bill because that’s one of the last ones I have to physically take care of every other month and with a baby, I’d rather not leave that up to memory to get taken care of anymore.

For the few people that stumble across my blog, and the few regular readers I have, do you have any resolutions? I love the idea of them, even if they are silly.. but I also think re-inventing yourself shouldn’t be a once-a-year thing. I think the best people are always working to better themselves.

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Feeling like a Gainer? (loser)

I’m on a few Facebook groups…and by a few, I mean a lot. My favorite lately has been the Stennis fitness support group that I joined to maintain my weight the rest of this pregnancy. Most of the women there are trying to get super fit and sexy for their husbands while they are away, and I admire them for that. I would be doing the same if I didn’t have two pounds of baby growing in my belly. But that doesn’t mean I’m taking the all too common free pregnancy pass to eat whatever I want, whenever I want it. I definitely have no plans on gaining more than 25 pounds, and I don’t want the weight I do gain to be from birthday cake ice cream. (although between you and me, the best brand here is seasonal and they stopped carrying it months ago..)

The group moderator tries to post a motivational quote a day and yesterday it was this :: “You’re never beaten until you admit it. ” ~George S. Patton

Now I am sure, in its original context, this quote had absolutely nothing to do with fitness and weight loss, but I love it for that purpose. It’s very easy to feel defeated by the scale during pregnancy. We are told to watch our weight at the very least on a bi-monthly basis, but seeing the numbers slowly creep up can be disheartening. The logic of growing a baby and taking on their weight in addition to yours doesn’t matter when you’re standing there half naked, looking past an ever growing belly to a number higher than you’ve ever seen; or in my case, higher than I’ve seen in years and years.

And that is why this quote is so awesome! The doctor sees my weight and doesn’t blink an eye; it’s within “standard limitations,” nothing too crazy. But I feel programmed to see it as a failure, like the pounds are winning. I think it’s time to re-train my mind that I’m never beaten until I admit it. I saw the scale go up a pound last week, but I’m still working out. I foolishly tried on my pre-pregnancy jeans and could barely squeeze them up past my thighs, but I don’t have a “to heck with it attitude,” eating junk food around the clock. I’m still trying to be active. I’m still trying and therefore I haven’t lost the battle yet.

Some mothers to be don’t care at all about their weight during pregnancy. A few are the lucky ones that just naturally gain fifteen pounds, and lose twenty in the hospital after having their baby. And there are some that just get super freaking chubby and have thirty to fifty pounds to lose post baby. I’m not saying any way is more right than the other.. really, I’m just happy to be motivated to hit the gym a few times a week again; and to know in this case, the simple act of trying is good enough.

 

A Black and White World

Day six of my cycle today…

I feel weighed down by my thoughts and by the number that would currently show on the scale IF I weighed myself today, which I won’t, because I am not ready to see what that number might be. More like, I know numbers can play games with my mind and I would rather not be thrown into a downward spiral of self-hate by seeing something larger than my mind finds “acceptable.” That is yet another unwanted side-effect I have to deal with from my weight loss journey. When I was constantly losing weight, the numbers mattered because they tracked progress.  But now that I am attempting to maintain within a small range/size, the numbers hover somewhere between helpful and evil. Stay the same size, and all is good. Lose a little bit and I feel great. Gain….. well, that’s a whole bunch of mess wrapped up into three digits on a scale :: disappointment, anger, frustration, sadness..  Failure.

I am sure anyone struggling with their weight can empathize with that feeling. How this all ties into the Baby Thing, is that I am not the size I wanted to be when I got pregnant. I wanted to be  _ _ _  pounds and I am something more like… twenty pounds over that, to be honest,which amounts to twenty pounds gained in the past year. (which by the way, makes me feel like a complete failure, among other things..) There are many things I can blame for my weight gain; the first year of marriage, three moves in the past year, adjusting to a different lifestyle after college, a full time job, no car, a puppy.. but ultimately I know there is nothing to blame but myself. My doctor wasn’t worried about my weight at my preconception appointment last month, because I am just at the top of my weight range, but it’s not where I *like* being. This isn’t the size I feel best about myself. I am scared at the idea of starting a pregnancy at this weight, knowing full well I will probably gain 20 pounds or more.

Continue reading “A Black and White World”

The Search for My Place

Working out will always be a part of my life. Either something I am doing on a regular basis, or something I am thinking about doing and feeling mildly guilty because I’m not. In any case, it is on my mind. Maintenance is the hardest part of weight loss.. and often times it’s nothing more than a myth. Maintaining weight loss is just another part of life.

I need to find a gym. I have a gym, technically… free membership at the always-busy, male-overloaded base gym. I can get a decent work out there, but it doesn’t feel like my place. I always feel like I’m running away from it when I leave, and to me, the gym should be a place I run to. I don’t know… I just feel like I don’t really fit in there when I’m often the only female in the place not working behind the check in counter. And with every piece of weight lifting equipment bogged down by stinky Navy dudes, I hardly ever get any weights done. Continuing to work out there, is turning me into a slightly smaller, but flabby mess, and that’s not my idea of fitness.

The thing is, now we have a puppy and I can’t just leave him locked in his kennel for hours of the day at a time. That fact actually supports the idea of me finding a new gym – one that is closer and possibly less busy during the times I have to work out.

Seems silly, but I need to pray about it. I’m stuck at a higher than “normal” weight for me and I’m beginning to resent my body. I want to feel good about myself. I will never be perfect, but I miss feeling strong and confident.

What I Wish I Knew

I grew up as a chubby kid.. turned into an overweight teenager, and would have been an obese adult if I hadn’t joined Curves – the gym for women only – with my sister and mom January of my senior year of high school. I can’t remember what my body size measurements were way back then, but I had something like 32% body fat and weighed 277 pounds. Any body mass indicator (BMI) calculator will tell you that is not a very  healthy situation, even if I am six foot, one and half inches tall… The philosophy at Curves was simple, eat a little less junk and work out at least 30 minutes, three times a week. I started adding nightly walks around my neighborhood and was down to 230 pounds in September.

The transition to college was fairly easy. For a few months, just walking to class and having the most amazing salad bar ever at The Commons (cafeteria) was enough to continue losing. When I realized I needed to actually do some strength training or else I would just be flabby thin at my goal weight, I joined Curves again. Except for summer months, when the temperature would skyrocket to above 105 degrees most days, I walked the mile there and back at least four to five times a week. The gym became my escape from overwhelming classes and drama with friends. I stayed there for a little over two years, hitting my goal weight of 175 pounds, 19-21% body fat and maintaining there with ease. When my Curves closed due to lack of clientele, I floundered around a bit before returning to my nightly walks. It only took a week of that routine to realize that I seriously missed cardio workouts, so I joined my first “real” gym. 24 Hour Fitness was like my second home senior year of college. I was there all the time and I still have not found a gym that can beat their cardio or weight floors.

I knew way back in Senior year that I would need to lose 100 pounds, but I did not think about it very often. Everything from how I ate, to how much I would work out was day to day. I still went out with my friends at 9pm to get fries and a milkshake at In-N-Out, still celebrated birthdays with cake and all that. I am not saying I didn’t struggle. Food has always been a problem for me, since I was a little girl. I emotionally eat if I am not careful to pay attention to my body. During those years my weight was at an overall steady decline, but I still felt unhappy much of the time. I felt guilty for gaining it all in the first place, depressed because I thought I had ruined my body and would never look perfect, and overwhelmed by the thought that I couldn’t eat “right.”

Calories in versus calories out is not an exact science. I wish someone would have educated me on how your basal metabolic rate works. Every day, our bodies require a certain amount of energy just to think and breathe, and this is known as your basal metabolic rate. For me, that is about 1,600 calories. I wish someone would have said, “just make sure to hit your calories and then go work out as much as you want to, don’t worry about how much or little you burn.” That is the piece of advice I give everyone who asks how I lost the weight. You won’t shock your body by burning 1,000 calories, but you will by only eating 1,000 day after day if your BMR is higher than that. Maintenance, however, has its’ own set of rules; ones which I am still – three years after hitting goal – trying to figure out.