For the first time in my life I am losing weight healthily.
Over the past ten years I have dabbled in everything unhealthy when it came to weight loss. From the time I was about 14 I felt like I needed to change something. I have spent countless hours in counseling trying to figure out where this came from, what in me caused this “not good enough” mentality that seems like it runs so deeply that it might just be genetic. The hard part is that I come up empty. My parents are loving, supportive and endlessly complimentary. My husband is sweet and always telling me how lovely, beautiful and bright I am. I don’t lack encouragement. I do however lack confidence and that, I believe, has been the crux of my failures.
Here is what I have tried that has gotten me short-term fast success and then piled the weight back on bigger and badder than ever.
1. Excessive working out (working out nonstop, endless classes and cardio- never weight training, hours a day).
2. Not eating.
3. Binging and purging (not in excess but whenever I couldn’t “keep myself” from eating).
4. Depression (right after everything happened with Charlie, I dropped about 15 pounds).
5. Weird pills, water pill and green tea pills. Anything else was too scary to me but still. . . ew
Even just listing that out makes me start to sweat (honesty=hard), it is so sad that probably most women have gone to (at least one) of these lengths. All to make their shorts look cuter and their arms more toned. Only, with all of these methods I just felt worse and worse as the pounds dropped off (and drop they did) because I wasn’t making choices that were healthy. I wasn’t doing anything to stop the crazy. The thoughts raged on. I was still beating myself up daily for “bad foods” or “lazy days”. And a big problem was that instead of seeing the whole of myself I just looked at the minutia (just the low side of my thigh, not my leg- that kind of deal) and got sad and upset that I looked so “disgusting”. It was impossible to be satisfied because my expectations were unattainable (don’t eat, workout enough to burn 3,000 calories).
But Nolie changed all that. When I got pregnant I was in the midst of one of my “workout phases”. I had put on some weight after getting married because I was, God forbid, happy and I had just started beating myself up for how my body had changed. Then, I got pregnant and it all fell away. Nolie forced health on me. No drinking, consistent eating, healthy amounts of working out and (most importantly) awe over what my body could do. I felt restored. Those months were incredible. My love for my body grew and grew with every inch on my belly. I loved my bump, I loved the little lady baby inside of it and I knew I would love what all of this gain was creating.
Then Nolie was born and I began breast feeding. The pounds from pregnancy all but fell off (save for about five pesky ones) and I felt incredible. Not to mention I still had to take care of my body in order to keep up my milk supply. I ate regularly, never restricted calorie intake and watched how much caffeine I was consuming. Even more good habits started to form. And better than that, I was watching myself become the person I had always wanted to be- a Mama. I have wanted to be a SAHM forever, I envisioned having a job (career) before becoming a Mom but always just something to pass some years by so that I could stay home with my babies. And the best part is that I am really great at my job. Having a job that I love and take pride in has been paramount in me starting to like myself. And be impressed with what my body can do.
I have been breast feeding a minimum of six times a day for 17 months now (and the past few days it has been nonstop, not so fun). My body has been successfully sustaining Nolie and still keeping me upright for over two years now. Body, I am impressed with you.
However, all this kumbaya about my body would be crap if I didn’t tell you that I wanted to make some changes. About two months ago I started getting frustrated that I wasn’t feeling strong. I made some goals and saw immediate results in my demeanor. Then I started setting some different goals, some more concrete ones. And now? I am seeing results again. Only this time they aren’t just in my demeanor. They are in my habits, my thoughts and my body. I am shedding pounds healthily for the first time. Wow, I need to just write that again. I am shedding pounds healthily for the first time.
How dumb is it that it has taken me ten years of crap and one kid to shake off the shackles of quick fixes and miracle pills. There is no book I can read that will make me love myself. There is no magazine article about belly fat that will revolutionize my workout or my diet. I had to make the choice to start getting to know myself and honor my needs. It has been a great choice. The best motivation comes from being able to keep up better with Nolie and starting to feel like a new-self, a person who loves how strong and capable she is. Exactly the type of model I want Nolie to be around.
This novel of a post is meant to be an update. A celebration of meeting some goals and feeling even more dedicated and excited. Soon I plan to write about the type of working out I am doing- because it is awesome and includes navigating my way through a jungle gym with a couple of other fed up silly Mamas and maybe what I am eating (though it isn’t that exciting). Is any of that stuff you would want to read about? Or should we just stick to the main piece of advice I have… drop the magazines and put some time and energy into making yourself feel strong. Be that running or writing, eating healthy or taking yourself out on a coffee date- go fall in like with yourself and then start that process (life long is my guess) of loving yourself.