I know that I am not the only woman who struggles with weight, body image, or post baby clothing size issues - I am one of millions. I have never been a small girl, I've always been curvy. At my smallest, leading up to my wedding, I was a size 8 - I hadn't been that small since middle school. An 8 on my frame looks pretty dang good if I do say so myself. Sadly I didn't stay an 8 very long.
Stressful jobs, starting my own company, & not having that goal of fitting into a dream dress all led to inconsistent eating and working out and a gain of about 15 lbs over 3years. Add to that coming off birth control and dealing with infertility and you can add another 10 lbs. So we can just say I wasn't at a happy weight when I finally got pregnant with my twins, but who cared - I was finally pregnant! I lost the baby weight easily after the boys - but gained a ravenous appetite. An appetite that didn't really go away when I miraculously/unexpectedly found myself pregnant with baby girl. I gained more while pregnant with her than I had while carrying twins!
I gained about 30lbs in that pregnancy - which isn't bad, but not great when you weren't at a healthy weight to start with. At about 3 months postpartum I had lost about 25 lbs... wohooo only five to go! But remember that appetite I mentioned??? Well it was there and increasing with a vengeance. I wasn't getting any sleep and I didn't have time (or the desire) to eat anything healthy with three babies underfoot, so I went to sugar, carbs, and caffeine to stay awake and functioning. In three months I gained back 10 lbs that I had lost.
So here I sit, 15 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight - which we can already see is 25 lbs above my wedding weight and a number shows up on the scale that I haven't seen since I was in college. I depressingly large number that pushes me to the bottom of a pool of guilt, shame, anger, and hopelessness. I have fought and swum to the top of this pool before, but I know exactly how hard that fight is.
And we can all say: 'But weight is just a number' or 'What matters is how you feel inside' or 'At least my husband still loves me'. But the truth is, I don't feel good inside - and that reflects into every aspect of my life.
A month ago (when I stepped on the scale and saw that number) hubs and I made the decision to join the Y. I know from past endeavors that I can't loose weight without adding exercise to my routine. So I started working out, I would run on the elliptical, stretch, and do some crunches. Pick up my babies from the free child care, drive home, and sit down and eat a large bowl of ice cream. You can see how this would be problematic.
It isn't that I don't know how to eat right, or what to eat and what to stay away from - it is just that I was/am constantly hungry. I never feel full or even satisfied. I had an eye opening experience a week ago at my bridal conference. There were sandwiches for the vendors to eat and everyone kept commenting on how HUGE they were, and how they couldn't finish one. When I finally got a break to grab something to eat, I polished off a sandwich and could have easily eaten two and still been looking for something sweet to finish it off with. While perusing pinterst the next day I stumbled upon an article about B.E.D (binge eating disorder). I fit - every possible marker could have been traced in me that day. It wasn't that I sometimes wanted dessert or could occasionally eat a large amount, it was that I could sit down and eat an entire box of crackers and not realize it was gone EVERY DAY - and after those crackers I would still be looking for something else to eat. Something in that moment clicked - my brain and body were not connecting on this whole food thing and it was time for a change.
I'm the kind of person who needs rules and fairly strict directions, so I decided to go back to a place I have used successfully in the past. In order to re-teach my body what 'full' and 'satisfied' feel like, I need to only give it what it should need to feel those things. I also know that I don't have the time or energy to make myself real meals during the day. So I need something quick, easy, and nutritionally balanced. Introducing: the meal replacement shake. I can't over eat it (honestly who would want more than one serving at a time?). I get three snacks of fruits and veggies to spread out through the day and keep me from getting too hungry. And then I eat one healthy meal - usually dinner, because honestly I am less likely to overeat in front of a witness. I will probably need to do this for a month and then I will most likely restart the Weight Watchers guidelines (I did WW pre-wedding so I still have all the materials and tools). I wouldn't want to live on shakes for the rest of my life, but this is a period of training that my body needs.
Today is day 5 and I can already tell a difference in my mindless need to keep eating - although I am still hungry. I have a long way to go, but hopefully I can fight to stick with it for myself and my family. I would LOVE to lose 10 lbs by Christmas, but 5 would still be 5 in the right direction. I'd like to loose 30 lbs all together - I think it is an amount that I will then be able to maintain It won't be pre-wedding weight, but I am ok with that, it will still be a healthier place than where I am today.
And for making it through this whole post you get a crazy picture of my children:
A: "Deck the squish with this big wreath... Falalalala"
B: "This is boring, I'm outta here..."
Baby Girl: "YOU - get back here, YOU - get that wreath off of me, mom wants a picture"