Self-Esteem

Getting Serious

I loved this article so much. If you have the time, give it a read: How to Feel Better About Not Being as Good as You “Should” Be. It definitely speaks to where I am at currently.

Life is a lot different these days. In some ways it’s the same as it was pre-baby. Work, chores, life, gym, friends and family. It’s similar in routine, we just have a little life with us now. 🙂

But I’m different. My priorities have shifted. My body is different, obviously. And it’s hard to come to terms with that. I was making some progress with weight loss this summer. I lost about 4-ish pounds and was feeling re-energized and motivated.

Then that plateaued. I stalled out. Then I ran into some issues. Sure I could make excuses but the facts are: I was stressed out about Logan starting daycare and did some stress eating. I regained a few of those pounds I’d lost and that was very discouraging. The other fact: I had a major decrease in my milk supply when I tried to reduce my calories.

I wrote a post a few months ago about wanting to get back into fitness and that I wanted to lose some weight but that I obviously Logan was the priority and if I saw a cause and effect in my dieting and milk supply I would back off.

So I did.

I kept working out 4-5 times a week and I was still counting my calories. My priority was feeding Logan. I was disappointed I had to take a break from trying to lose weight but I reminded myself what my priority was at that moment. I came to terms with the fact that my weight loss goals would probably have to wait until I was done breastfeeding.

I started to write this post several months ago. Then we started getting sick. All.The.Time. Seriously–too many colds to count, bronchitis TWICE, sinus infection TWICE, freakin’ pink eye…! It felt like we’d never be well again. Everyone in our house was sick. I’d get back on track with the gym and get in one or two workouts and then I’d get sick AGAIN and take a week off from the gym.

For the last month I’ve been feeling pretty depressed. A big part of that is the constant illnesses. You just don’t feel good about yourself or life when you are sick. And exercise has always been a positive way that I relieve stress and improve my mood. Not being able to do that consistently has effected my moods more than anything, I think.

Waiting to lose weight has been a hard thing to reconcile in my mind, though. Especially since my “identity” has kind of been “the girl who lost 110 pounds” for so long.

Well, recently I’ve come to the realization that I think breastfeeding is coming to an end soon. My supply has dwindled to less than half of what it was. Logan is less interested in breastfeeding and I reached my goal of breastfeeding for 9 months. So starting in January I think I’m going to start slowly weaning and then focusing on my health and losing weight.

I won’t lie — I’m having a hard time with all of this. I’m struggling with the idea of quitting breastfeeding, even if it’s time. I’m feeling very emotional about all of that.

I’m also struggling with going back to being restrictive with my diet in order to lose weight. I thought those days were long over–and that I could easily lose weight doing what I’ve done for 10 years. But the reality is, I’m going to have to buckle down and cut my calories, say no to that second glass of wine, cut out sweets and stop eating old trigger foods (like pizza) in order to lose.

I’ve preached “eating in moderation” and not starving yourself for years and I plan on following my own advice. But I also need to stop making excuses for eating one more cookie or snacking on crap and not logging it. I need to be accountable to myself and honest. 

The day after Christmas, depressed about the photos of myself from the holiday (I mean really, should that have been my focus?? Or should I have been focusing on my baby’s first Christmas?) I stepped on the scale expecting the worst. It wasn’t too bad. I’d gained 3 pounds since the end of October. Basically–all the weight I managed to lose over the summer was back. I still have 20 pounds to lose.

So soon. Soon my body will be mine again and I can get serious about this 20 pounds.

The Weight Gain

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I wanted to write a post about how I’m feeling because, after all, this was a blog about gaining and losing weight and addressing body image is important to me. Read these two recent posts about the topic of weight gain and pregnancy:

Let’s Talk About Weight

Body Changes During Pregnancy

For the last few months I’ve been handling the weight gain pretty well. It was slow in the first trimester, most of the second trimester it was steady but not extreme. Then around 26 weeks I had a big jump. Even though everything I read said this was normal around that time period, it was kind of devastating. I was shocked to see an 8 pound difference from last doctor appointment. 8 pounds in one month?!

After talking to some friends that had had babies and reading that this jump was normal, I was able to talk myself down a bit and not beat myself up about the weight gain. After all, I had been staying consistent with my fitness (working out 5 days a week) and I was still counting my calories and 85% of the time I was staying within the range my doctor suggested.

Then at 27 weeks the bump POPPED. It wasn’t a cute little bump anymore, it was a “wow there’s definitely a baby in there” bump. It’s crazy to see a drastic change in just one week. Where did that big bump come from?!?

Once I was in the third trimester and the weight was consistently climbing and the baby was getting bigger, I was struggling. A lot. I’d have good days and I’d have bad days. It was hard to see my body changing in such a major way. It was HARD not to compare those changes to the OLD body I used to have. I kept trying to remind myself that this is pregnancy, I was gaining weight for a healthy baby, not because I was obese.

Those old memories were hard to shake, though.

It was hard not to focus on the number.  It was hard not to feel like I was back at my 25 year old self when I was obese. At my highest weight I was 255 pounds or so.

What’s hard to ignore is just HOW HARD I WORKED to lose that 110 pounds. It took nearly 2 years of hard work, daily effort, diligence and focus to lose the weight. So seeing the number on the scale tick up and up felt like a failure to that success.

It’s difficult to articulate just how it feels. Because logically I know it’s ok. My doctor isn’t concerned with my rate of weight gain. Everything has come back normal, right on target, baby is healthy. I’m happy I am able to stay active and workout, even if I am modifying a lot of activities. That has definitely helped my body image, self-esteem and just general mood. Working out gives me a boost of happy feelings and that’s good. So if I can still workout, feel good and I know logically that things are normal and ok, why do I get bummed out when I see my body getting bigger??

comparison

It’s been said before many times but it’s really true. Comparison is the thief of joy. It is SO HARD not to compare yourself to other pregnant ladies. I’ll see them at the gym and it looks like they are further along then I am, yet they are all stick thin with a basketball belly. You know the type. They don’t seem to be gaining weight in other parts of their bodies…like I am…and I compare myself. Then I feel badly and then I shame myself for comparing myself and it’s a vicious cycle.

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It’s weird not having ANY control over your body changes. Something that happened when I lost 110 pounds was that I realized I was in control of my body and I COULD lose weight. Then when I spent 6+ years maintaining that weight loss, I was still in control. I could make decisions on what I ate and I made good decisions most of the time and was successful. Then all of a sudden, I was no longer in control of what happened to my body, even though I was still TRYING to be in control of it. Letting that go has been a struggle for me — I am not good at giving up control.

What sucks is the comments I get from other people. People who either think they are being charming or funny, but are not. Just don’t. Never make judgmental comments, even “joking” about a pregnant woman’s body.

I was looking through some Facebook posts recently and saw some photos of myself from last year and the year before–when I was feeling down about having gained 10 pounds or so. My first thought was, Damn, I was so much skinnier! Then I thought, why didn’t I realize it at the time? PERSPECTIVE.

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I came across this article: The Dirty Little Secret About Pregnancy Weight Gain and was a little uneasy…expecting it to be gimmicky or a waste of time but reading through it, it really spoke to me. It was more about finding perspective, and not the judge-y article I was expecting. Here is a tidbit from that article:

“According to experts, these are the main concerns:

  1. You’ll be more uncomfortable with all that extra weight to haul around.
  2. You could develop gestational diabetes.
  3. You might have high blood pressure, which can lead to scary complications.
  4. Your baby could be big, making labor more difficult and possibly leading to a C-section.
  5. You’ll have your work cut out for you to lose more weight after the baby’s born.

For me personally, I have no signs of gestational diabetes, my blood pressure is consistently low, and my baby’s growth is right on track.

Leaving only concerns number 1 and 5, which are really just about my own convenience. After talking to my midwife and reading up on the risks, I’m not concerned about my “high” pregnancy weight gain.”

It was kind of an eye-opening DUH moment for me. Perspective. I do not have gestational diabetes. My baby is not measuring extra large, my blood pressure is normal and I’m not having any other issues. On top of that, I am counting my calories per my doctor’s instructions and I’ve been exercising pretty much the same throughout. Those are all positives! So what if my body is gaining a little bit more than I was hoping? All signs are pointing to healthy–isn’t that the most important part?

I have no idea how much I weigh at this moment. Once I got to the middle of the third trimester I stopped looking at the doctor’s office. I didn’t need to know how much weight I was gaining because really…this pregnancy has shown me that it’s out of my control and feeling badly about myself isn’t going to be a positive thing at this stage in the game. Besides, I’m almost to the end. Why do I need to know right now? Maybe my focus needs to be on other things for these last few weeks.

So I’m not weighing myself, I’m still working out when I can, doing what I can, counting my calories and eating healthy, and LETTING IT GO. My mind is now focused on the baby and not the weight, even if I do have a “bad” day. I can’t wait for him to be here and I’m happy my body is doing so well as he grows.

How am I feeling now?

At 35 weeks I am finding that I care less about the weight gain. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been to the doctor in a few weeks and I don’t know how much I weigh…ignorance is bliss? But I’m honestly feeling pretty good about my body right now. I feel like I’m in the homestretch and just generally feeling happy with my body these days!

If you’ve had kids, how did you feel about the weight gain?