I feel like the past four years my body has been on an incredible journey. In 2013, I had a nervous breakdown and the meds made me gain approximately 80 pounds in a 3 month period. That was absolutely devastating to my self esteem. Not only that, I felt like my body was broken. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, inappropriate sinus tachycardia (a ridiculous high heart rate.. average 130 BPM at rest), near adrenal failure, excess scar tissue in my brain, and thyroid issues. I went from being able to run 10K to achy hip/knee/back pain from walking around the block and needed to use my wheelchair on days I had to walk any longer. My body settled at 220 pounds and I was scared I would be that size forever. Not because of the number on the scale but because I know it wasn’t healthy for me. I knew my body wouldn’t last at that size. One way to deal was I got many tattoos, none of which I regret. I covered my body with beautiful art work that was extremely meaningful to me. I no longer saw chunky thighs but I saw these beautiful pieces that fit into my curves. I will forever love my ink.
When I found out I was pregnant in January of 2016, I was very scared that I would gain even more which I didn’t feel like I could physically handle. Luckily for most of my pregnancy I only gained 10 pounds… well until the week before Novee was born where I gained 10 pounds of water weight very suddenly. My OB joked that if I wasn’t pregnant I would have been categorized as “morbidly obese”. Morbid = Deadly. That snapped me into a mode that I would lose weight no matter what the moment she was born. I knew I wanted to be healthy for my sweet baby November. That journey started within 24 hours of her birth.
I had heard too many stories of other mommies gaining weight while breastfeeding during their year on Matleave because of their increase in appetite due to nursing. I was determined that I wouldn’t happen to me. The first 20 pounds came off the first week and the next 20 came off during the first three months of her life due to the postpartum depression I experienced.
By December I was feeling like I was creeping out of the darkness. I was pumping on average 100 oz a day which burns approximately 2000 calories a day (the body burns 400 calories per 20 oz of milk produced. 400 calories is the average amount burned in an intense hour long workout). I developed a healthy eating plan with no restrictions on calories and was consistently losing 3 pounds a week.
I noticed positive changes. I could climb the stairs without feeling winded, I could get on and off the floor a lot easier, and people noticed the weight loss. All of these things were good but I really didn’t feel like they were life changing. I didn’t lose weight for anyone other than myself and my daughter.
Some of my favorite ink
Here are some of the major things I have learned about weight loss:
– I feel like as a society we romanticize weight loss: Often people think that, “as soon as I lose weight ‘this’ will happen.” It’s ME that makes things happen, not the number on the scale. Working on the inside is just as important as working on the outside.
– Losing weight will not fix your self esteem: I had the same insecurities and the same security’s at 140 pounds (or my current 165) as what I did at 220. My body is on a forever journey. I still hate my thighs and arms, I’m still okay with other parts 75 pounds later. Self love comes from deep within. You are not the number on the scale, you are not your jeans size, you are beautifully you!
– Losing weight doesn’t increase your value: I am very blessed my husband loves me at 140 to 220 and back to its postpartum shape it is now. I adore him. He never made me feel fat, he never made me feel like I’m not good enough, he never made me feel like he was not attracted to me. However him seeing me take care of myself added to the attraction he already had for me. If your partner’s attraction to you is based on your weight, that may warrant a serious discussion.
– What is your healthy weight: For me as an adult I have rarely gone under 150 pounds even at my leanest. Anytime I dipped under was due to stress. It’s not about the number on the scale, but how you feel!
I feel like my body will forever be on this journey and I still have so much further to go. There will be good times and bad, frustrations and victories, and I’m sure many tears. Most people who struggle with weight it is a life long journey. Motivation behind the journey is so important. The important thing for me is health. Health so I can be there for my family, health to help me overcome chronic illness, and a healthy self image.
Daring a bikini.. still have a long way on my journey but on the right track.