Awhile back I discussed my frustration at feeling like I was a stranger in my own skin. After the birth of my daughter (now almost 6 years ago) I looked forward to reclaiming my body. I had gained a bit of weight in comparison to my other pregnancies and naively thought I could lose it as easily as I had done prior. What I failed to consider was that I was older with my third pregnancy and that my ability to breast feed would be hampered by my daughter’s brief stint in the NICU – both factors that ultimately impacted my ability to lose my pregnancy weight. So post baby I found myself 10 pounds heavier, a new baseline and one that I was not comfortable with. Over time that 10 pounds became 15 pounds and then 20. Somewhere in between there I turned 40 and that just seemed to compound the issue. In total, over a four year time frame I had gained 25 lbs which for my 5’2″ frame was not okay. The scale was topping off at 150 lbs and the ramifications were much more than how they were impacting my self esteem. My weight gain was also impacting my health. My blood pressure was borderline high, my cholesterol had gone through the roof, and my BMI was also high. All three of which made me ineligible for a health credit through work.
The irony with all of this is that I am a generally healthy and active person. I walk, I swim, and I go to the gym when I have the time. I eat salads and generally healthy foods. And yet, my weight kept increasing. Yes I was building muscle, but it was my midsection that was supporting the “doughy spare tire yes I birthed three kids look” that was dragging me down. Clothes stopped fitting comfortably, if at all, and because of this my self-esteem plummeted. I didn’t look “fat” but I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I certainly didn’t feel good about myself. I spoke with my physician thinking that maybe I had a thyroid or medical issue but that was not the case. While relieved to not have a medical problem, it was even more frustrating to know that my weight gain was somehow on me and what I was doing or not doing.
Several weeks ago everything changed. A coworker of mine suggested I try the 16-hour fast. She explained that she stopped eating at 7 pm at night and didn’t start eating until 11 am in the morning. During that time she drank a lot of water. When it came time to eat, she not only ate healthy but she also didn’t restrict herself. I figured it was worth a try. BEST DECISION EVER!!!!
I’m not going to lie. The first few days for me at least of this fast were brutal. I was hungry and cranky (especially because I couldn’t have my coffee and flavored creamer) and then I felt sick and nauseous when it came time to eat, but I was determined to stick with it. The crappy feeling passed after a day and a half and I actually started to feel really good. I had energy and when I did eat, I felt fuller faster which meant I ate less. In general I maintained my healthy eating but I also didn’t restrict myself either if I wanted to have a few cookies or a treat like that. And, the bast part was that the scale started to reflect my efforts. Interestingly, once I began this fast I was able to identify that my prior eating patterns had been significantly contributing to my inability to lose weight. That is, while I generally ate healthy, I was a huge evening snacker. I would pick at foods while I made my kids lunches, grabbing a handful of this snack and that one. I would literally snack on random things until the time I went to bed. By not snacking after 7pm I was significantly reducing my caloric intake – but in a good way. I was also giving my body a chance to process and account for what was in my system.
So to date, I have lost 8 pounds. In general I feel better, I feel healthier, I feel happier with myself, and most importantly I feel more confident. My clothing fits more comfortably and I can actually button my favorite pair of shorts. I am starting to finally feel like me again. It was never so much about the weight, but how the weight was making me feel and impacting the quality of my life. On many occasions friends would say I looked fine, but I didn’t feel fine. And now I am starting to. I am reclaiming me.