Throughout my life I have always been physically fit, active, and for the most part – in shape. Except for a blip in college (hello freshman 15) and being pregnant, I never really had to worry about my weight or my health. In fact, when I met my current husband I was probably in the best shape of my life (and that was post two kids and divorce). At that time I was walking between four and six miles about five times a week. I was also toning and working on my core; and amazingly, I actually was getting some abs back post two kids. I felt good about myself and for the first time since my divorce, I felt confident about the way I looked. This is not to sound vain, but we as moms know that the reality for many of us after having kids is that our bodies change. And let’s face it, those changes can be hard to process. Stretch marks, sagging breasts, a muffin top (thank you 2 C-sections) are things that are glorious reminders of the baby you birthed, but also are reminders of the body you lost. Factor in a divorce with a post baby mommy body and you’ve got a recipe for insecurity – especially if you are re-entering the dating world at some point.
Weight didn’t really become an issue until after I had my daughter. Of course my pregnancy with her was completely different. Yes I felt lousy, but I was able to eat, something that I couldn’t do with my boys. In fact, I was so sick with my first two pregnancies that I lost weight initially. After giving birth to them, there wasn’t much to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. With my daughter all I did was eat – in fact I ate donuts like it was my job. I gained and I gained and I gained a little more than they would have liked. Oops…
I gave birth to my daughter under the foolish thought that the weight I’d gained was going to “just melt away” – as it had with my boys. Boy was I wrong. And I was wrong for many reasons. First, I was older now. When I had been pregnant with my boys I was much younger. My body chemistry and metabolism were different then then they were when I had her. Secondly, I’d gained more weight than I had with the boys so that remaining 10 lbs was an unexpected hurdle I struggled to overcome (and am still struggling with). Thirdly, I had my daughter in the dead of winter. With the boys, I had them in warm months and as soon as I was given the okay, I started walking again. This was impossible to do in the winter. By the time I could walk, my maternity leave had ended and I was back to work. Fourthly, I breastfed the boys and that also helped with my post-pregnancy weight loss. While I breastfed my daughter, it wasn’t as successful as it had been with my boys and I noticed a difference in how my body reacted – or didn’t for that matter.
Thus, I never lost that remaining 10 lbs. Then I turned 40 (almost 2 years ago now) and the ten pounds turned into fifteen and then twenty. It was as if the scale only knew one direction – and that was up. I looked into the mirror and was so frustrated by what I saw. The imagine looking back at mirror was no one I recognized. For the first time in my life I looked fat. My self-esteem and self-confidence plummeted. I was disgusted with myself. Forget intimacy, I didn’t want my husband to see me naked – it was my own insecurity not his, but non-the-less it greatly impacted that part of our relationship. I tried changing my diet to be more health conscious – that is, I ate more salads and chicken and drank lots of water but the scale never seemed to budge (hello you’re 40 remember – slow metabolism has set in remember) My husband (at my request) bought me a very basic treadmill that I swore I would use – yeah that didn’t happen (hello – you have kids, a job, and no time for yourself – it made a great clothes rack though). I talked with my doctor regarding adjusting a medication that I was on that could cause weight gain – that too did not help. The scale just kept going up. I tried colon cleansers and thermogenics (my least proud moments). I would like to say that the final straw was the fact that my cholesterol levels shot up to numbers that I not only didn’t recognize, but that I swore belonged to someone else (yeah go figure – thank you salads). But no, it wasn’t that or even my borderline high blood pressure, or when my back and knees ached from being on my feet all day, or when my jeans didn’t even fit me any more. It actually was when we booked a vacation for this upcoming spring that I finally decided to take action. The cold hard truth is that I have no clothes to wear on this trip (I know that sounds vain – sorry) and I absolutely refuse to buy any that will fit when I have an entire closet full of clothes I could wear if I were just ten pounds lighter.
After much investigating and talking to many of my friends and coworkers who belonged to gyms and various work-out facilities, I finally found one that was both affordable, offered me the types of workouts I knew I would do, and most importantly offered CHILD CARE!!! I was sold. I joined the YMCA a few weeks ago and my commitment to getting healthy and into the kind of shape that I want to be in has been a great motivator. This is so much more then losing a few pounds. Its about reclaiming myself, rediscovering my self-confidence and boosting my self-esteem. Its about feeling sexy and desirable again (in a way you believe not just because your husband tells you you are). It’s about putting myself first so that I can be there for my family. I truly believe that if I feel good, then I will be better able to be the mom and wife I want to be.
I will keep you posted as to my success….