While much has been made of women's struggles to lose the "baby weight," for me, it's been all about the "toddler weight." After my daughter was born, I simply ate fairly healthily and walked every day. Being home with a tiny baby all day, I found the walks to be a treat and often the only chance I'd have to get outside. I knew our poor dog, who was used to being the focus of our parental attention pre-baby, must be feeling a bit left out as well, so I did my best to make it up to him by giving him some extra exercise. Lo and behold, by the time I went back to work, the baby weight was gone. (The 10 lbs. I'd gained the year I was trying to get pregnant was another story...)
So, when I found myself pregnant again, I thought nothing of indulging in nightly hot fudge sundaes (I don't enjoy being pregnant - at all, and found my highly caloric nightly treat to be the one saving grace of the experience. Aside from being blessed with a ridiculously cute and lovable baby afterwards, that is). After all, a little exercise, a little breastfeeding and voila! What's the problem?
The problem was that this time around, I had a toddler and a newborn on my hands. As I've mentioned before, my kids are picky eaters and mainly partake in typical toddler fare. Trying to juggle a newborn, breastfeeding, keeping an 18-month-old occupied and fed, left me little time and zero brain capacity to focus on my own food intake. So, I did what many a mom has done. I started the "toddler diet" myself. Macaroni & cheese, pb&j's, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. Plus, getting a newborn and a dog ready to go for a walk is one thing. Getting a newborn, young toddler AND a dog ready for a walk, is something else entirely. Before we got out the door, I was often exhausted. While I didn't give up on exercise entirely, I didn't have nearly the dedication that I did the first go-round. Neither kid was sleeping through the night yet and I was exhausted and frankly, didn't feel like I had the brain capacity to think about what I was putting into my mouth.
You're going to be totally shocked when I tell you that two years later, the baby weight's still there. Here and there, I'd attempt to fix things but mainly just went along feeling rotten about my appearance. Half of my clothes didn't fit and the other half weren't flattering. Buying clothes is depressing when you're not buying the size you want to be in and when you just have to select the item that looks the least bad on you, rather than which is the most adorable.
A few months ago, my kids started sleeping through the night. I finally started feeling like I had both the energy and the brain capacity to think about my extra weight (all 18 lbs of it). We got an elliptical machine and I started waking up at 5:45 to get a half hour in (which also happens to be the exact amount of time of one Sex & the City episode). I was feeling more energized throughout the day and even though I was waking up earlier, I was doing it on my terms, rather than whatever demands I was greeted with when the kids woke me up. By the time they got up, I'd done something good for myself, had some time to clear my head and felt ready to greet them and the day with a smile.
Then, my son got very ill and spent the better part of the month vomiting on me. Exercise: by the wayside. Since then, I've tried to keep up with it but have been sporadic at best. My son's taken to waking up at 5:30 or so, which means my designated workout time's gone. And, the weight remains...
A couple of weeks ago, I decided I'd had it. I found a Weight Watchers meeting nearby that met early on Saturday mornings. My husband could watch the kids while I went to the meeting. I've done the program twice in the past and it worked tremendously well. Until I hit "Lifetime"/goal and started getting cocky, thinking I didn't need to go to the meetings and track my Points every day that is... So, I went back, yet again. I stayed afterwards to learn about how the program had changed since the last time I was on it and left feeling optimistic and thrilled to be taking control of the situation again. I tracked my Points carefully and entered in everything I ate that week. The next Saturday, I went in there, feeling proud, ready to be told I'd lost two pounds. Down .8. I was so depressed, I started bawling on the way home. I'd been so careful, I'd tracked everything and hadn't even lost a full pound. I felt discouraged but kept at it the following week. I'll admit, I wasn't as conscientious as I'd been the week before, but still pretty darn good. Another .8. This time I was prepared and it was okay.
I've realized that I can't compare my experiences with past weight loss with this time around. Before, I hadn't given birth to (and breastfed) two kids. I had ample time to both exercise regularly and focus on meal-planning and food preparation. That's just not my life now. However, even if it's just losing a sad little .8 per week, it's better than nothing and better than .8 in the other direction. I'm now partway into week three and I'm feeling optimistic. I'm committed to sticking with this and now I'll be happy and proud when I get to my goal weight, whenever that may be.
As a mom, I want to do this not just for myself but for my kids. I want to model good eating behavior for them, as, more than anything else, that will influence their eating behavior as adults. So for me, for my kids, for my hopes of once again taking a picture I'm not horrified by, I'm sticking with it and hoping I have what it takes to go the long haul with this.