Like most young, developing girls in high school I was never comfortable or confident in my own body. I worked out both in and outside of school but because boys can be immature, mean, and in some ways cruel with their words, it all lead to unhealthy thoughts and ideals of what the ‘perfect body’ type was. I’m 5’2 (5’3 if I have shoes on 😉 ) so regardless of what my scale says, there are times in my life when it’s been a bit more visibly obvious that I’ve put on – or lost- a few pounds. It wasn’t until after I had graduated from college that I really stopped judging myself and stopped caring how others saw me. If I was confident and happy in my own skin then why would it matter what anyone else thought? I’ve tried to carry idea throughout my adulthood and throughout my fluctuating body size.
Before we got pregnant with Nate, I was weighing around 147 lbs which was the highest I’ve ever weighed in at (besides when I’ve been pregnant) and every time I would step on our scale, it would leave me feeling empty. I hated that number. I hated the extra weight I could see on my sides. I hated how the majority of my clothes didn’t fit quite right. And I hated that I found myself reverting back to the 15-18 year old me who hated the way her body looked. Kurt was always right there telling me that I looked beautiful or offering to help me start working out again if I really felt like I needed to lose some of the extra weight. Being a shift worker certainly did not help either. I was so used to sleeping during the day and then eating full meals in the middle of the night that it was no wonder I had gained close to ten pounds in my first three years of nursing. It was around this time that I started seeing a fertility specialist since we were having some trouble getting pregnant. After the first appointment, I had drawn some blood and my doctor notified me that although my thyroid level was technically ‘within normal range’, it was actually on the higher side of normal so he suggested I start taking a low dose of a medication called Eltroxin. Once I started this medication, I decided I would try to start watching what I was eating and limit the full meals I brought with me on night shift. I started bringing lighter snacks and instead of having a massive dinner at 3 am, I tried snacking throughout my eight hour night shift in hopes that perhaps healthier snacking would help. I think I ended up losing around 3-5 pounds doing this method.
A few months later we got pregnant with Nate and I sort of gave up on my ‘diet’ (if you want to call it that). I figured I was pregnant so I might as well indulge. I did gain quite a bit of weight and when I delivered I was around 175 lbs but the majority of that ended up being water weight. I remember within the first two days of having Nate, I lost about 20 lbs. I was sweating continuously and every time I went to the washroom, I swear it sounded like a horse peeing (sorry, TMI) but because of this, the weight started to just fall off of me. I was also still taking the Eltroxin at this point as I was unsure what my thyroid levels were at. Flash forward two months postpartum and I was actually weighing in at 127 lbs! I literally could not stop losing weight. I was trying to keep my caloric intake up because I knew breast feeding burns so many calories and I was worried Nate wasn’t getting enough to eat but nothing seemed to stop the weight from melting away from my frame. After consultation with my family doctor, I stopped taking the Eltroxin as my levels were now on the low side of normal which was contributing to the weight loss and I began to eat extra snacks throughout the day. None of the clothes fit any more and I specifically remember asking my sister and step-sister if they had any clothes they no longer wore that I could have since I was drowning in my large shirts and pants. As funny as it seems, I was actually upset about the substantial weight loss. I had spent so long wanting to be ‘skinnier’ but now any time I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a long time, they would mention how thin I looked. Kurt’s mom was constantly commenting that I was ‘too skinny’ now and I needed to ‘eat more’ and I found myself actually becoming self-conscious with my body once again. I wasn’t trying to lose this weight and I definitely wasn’t on some crazy diet or working out 24/7. It was just something that happened while I was breast feeding and adjusting to life as a new mom.
I stopped breast feeding Nate when he was around 14 and a half months old and as soon as I stopped, I did notice that I began to put some weight back on. I was no longer 123 lbs and people started to comment that I was looking ‘healthier’ again. By the time I was ready for baby #2, I was around 137 lbs and felt pretty good about myself. I liked how I felt and how I looked which was a great feeling.
When I delivered Eli just over a month ago, I was 178 lbs. As much as I absolutely loved being pregnant, I’d be lying if I said I was fine waiting to get my body back. Being so short, I could definitely feel my body rejecting the extra weight; my hips and legs hurt constantly and I found myself becoming short of breath just from walking up the stairs. I assumed like with Nate, the weight I gained with Eli would just fall off my body easily. I mean, within a month of delivering Nate, I had lost 30 lbs and was back into my pre-pregnancy clothes so in my mind because I was breast feeding again, the same thing would happen. However; it’s been one month and I’m still finding myself wearing my maternity shirts and pants with a stretchable waist as none of my clothes fit me yet. I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard seeing the weight stay on my body instead of leave it. I see the ‘pooch’ that I don’t think I’m ever going to get rid of and I see the extra weight bulging out around my bra line and I think to myself “I hate this and I hate how I look.” I find myself stepping on the scale almost daily and praying that I’m below 150 lbs. Logically I know that the rapid weight loss with Nate was partially due to the Eltroxin but there’s still that part of my brain that can’t fully understand that fact.
Last week was when I decided that there’s no time frame on losing baby weight and even if I never fully lose it all, I should be proud of myself because I’m a warrior. I naturally birthed two beautiful baby boys and if my body never looks the same again, I have those two faces to remind me that it does not matter because they’re here in this world.
That being said, I do want to feel good about my body again and one thing that’s always helped is exercising. Kurt has always been in shape, whether it was lifting weights, jiu jitsu, or running; he’s always been incredibly active. Since moving out here, he’s joined – and taken over- a running group. It’s twice a week and usually lasts about an hour. Within this running group are a few ‘walkers’ (insert some Walking Dead joke here) and Kurt has suggested on more than one occasion that I join them. Last night was the first night I actually agreed to go. It was partly because I was feeling cooped up in the house, partly because I was tired of Kurt asking and partly because I actually wanted to get some exercise. And guess what!? It SUCKED! Haha ok I’m over-exaggerating but it was really, really hard. I could not keep up with the three ladies in the group (in my defense, I was also pushing a stroller) and I found myself literally cursing Kurt for talking me into it in the first place but I did not give up! I also didn’t realize just how out of shape I had become until I was forced to walk up the MASSIVE hill in our small town. It’s a killer and I swear it’s as big as Mt. Everest! Within a few minutes of walking I was hot, sweaty and seriously considering just walking my butt home but I pushed through it and completed the entire route.
My legs might feel like Jell-O and muscles in other parts of my body are on fire today but even after only one walk I’m feeling better about myself. I know that I’m taking a healthy approach to this whole baby weight loss thing and even if I don’t lose any weight at all, the fact that I’m actually getting outside and exercising is a huge accomplishment for me.