Getting Healthy – My History and Looking for Accountability

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I think it was the comedian Rosanne Barr who said, “Half the world is starving, the other half is trying to lose weight.”  Well, as a life-long American, I can tell you, I’m definitely the second half of that statement – trying to lose weight.  And yes, I know, before you comment and tell me it’s inches, it’s muscle, it’s not the number on the scale, I understand all that. Yet, the number on the scale is a great indicator of how things are going in the battle of the bulge, ya know?

I’ve written a couple times about my weight struggles. I was doing really good for a season.  But the past six months, yeah, the struggle has been real. I’m going to put up some stats and figures and be as transparent as possible about this. Why? Because I need accountability.

Some brief history and facts and realistic expectations.  Since puberty hit and I developed curves, hips, and boobs, I’ve never been a skinny girl. Once the womanly hormones turned on, well, my days of wearing size 2 jeans went the way of the dodo bird. I jumped from a size 2 in 7th grade to a size 10 in 8th grade. I had friends in high school who were the skinny girls.  I was in a wedding after college where one of these friends actually had to get her size 0 wedding dress taken in.  Yeah… seriously.

In high school, I had body image issues because our society promotes skinny as healthy and skinny as desirable.  Here I was a girl who weighed in the 140’s, wore a C to D cup bra, and size 10 clothes.  So, when many of your friends are size 0 and 2, and you are a size 10, well, of course you think you are fat. I didn’t develop any eating disorders, but I started viewing myself as chubby. Looking back now I see that I wasn’t, but you know,  I hadn’t read the articles we now see floating around the internet that tackle body image issues about how Marilyn Monroe always went between a size 12-16… and well, she was always considered hot and sexy.  All I knew is that I wasn’t as skinny as most of the girls that all the boys wanted to date. Rubenesque? What was that?

After high school in May 1993, I was one of those oddities. I didn’t gain the Freshman 15 or anything like that in my first year of college. In fact, I dropped weight. I started dating a boy the summer between high school and college. It definitely boosted my self-esteem and I think that helped with some food-related issues.

One memory that sticks with me is that the first homecoming after graduation was in January of 1994. I had been out of high school for close to 8 months. I had dropped 20 pounds. Even weighing in at 125 lbs, I never got below a size 6. I inherited hips from my mom’s side of the family… we all have them. Anyway, here I was 20 lbs lighter than I had been less than a year prior.  I wore my best jeans and a red silk shirt (yeah, it the 90’s, right?). I got dolled up and I strutted onto the campus of my little Christian school feeling really good about myself (and a bit daring wearing pants to a skirts-only school -what a rebel?!).  First person I see?  A guy I graduated with who once declared me “Too good of a friend to date.”  His eyes got big, his mouth dropped, and he said something about how good I looked.  Yeah. That was ego-boosting.  And it was also memorable because it was Eric.  My future husband. We didn’t start dating at that point or anything, but I think it was the initial spark.

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Christmas 1999: Yeah, this is almost embarrassing. Eric bought me a black leather jacket to go with my black leather pants. I was acting for the camera here. But still, leather pants. I actually once fit into leather pants. Size 8 leather pants.

By the time Eric and I started dating in 1998, I had settled comfortably into a weight around 130-135 depending on the time of year. I was young and had an awesome metabolism. I was thin enough to actually fit into an awesome pair of leather pants.

July 2000

July of 2000

When we got married, I weighed 132 lbs. Marriage made me more comfortable and I put on weight. Not much, but a little – my Freshman 15, if you will.. If I wanted to lose weight all I had to do was cut sodas and sweet tea out of my diet and bam! Weight mostly gone. The birth control pill was not my friend and contributed to some metabolic changes.

I got pregnant with Katie in 2005. I weighed somewhere around 155.  This was close to my weight in high school, so I didnt feel terribly bad about things. I was responsible during my first pregnancy with my diet. I only gained 27 lbs with Katie. She came into the world at a healthy 8 lbs, 7 oz. and thanks to the wonders of breastfeeding and the enormous number of calories you burn feeding a nursling, I dropped weight and then some. I could comfortably tuck in my shirt to my jeans and not have a pooch. I felt pretty good about my ability to eat anything and everything I wanted and not gain weight. I was 30.

This was late April 2007. Katie was a year old.

This was late April 2007. Katie was a year old. Size 10 pants.

Well, I had a miscarriage, got terribly depressed, did what depressed people do and started eating too much, then Katie weaned, and then I got pregnant again. I jumped up in weight. Jonah was born. A year later, I got pregnant, miscarried again, wasn’t quite as depressed, got pregnant 6 weeks after my miscarriage, and then had Anna in 2010.  I jumped past my “I’ll never weigh this much” number of 200 lbs the last month of my pregnancy with Anna, but I excused it because I was pregnant. It wasn’t my fault, right?

After Anna was born and had turned a year old, I found myself creeping up the scale bit by bit. That breastfeeding diet didn’t quite work as well after baby number 3 for some reason. I’d hang out with my friends, and for the most part, I felt like the fat friend. No one had the perfect post-baby body, but I was so self-conscious.

Honestly, I was in the throws of having 3 children within 4 years, sleep was a luxury, and I was too busy caring for 3 little ones and forgot to care for myself; I was busy working a volunteer job at my church running the vibrant MOPS ministry, and then I had this unresolved struggle with anxiety and depression. Oh, and I was past 35. I found myself weighing more than I ever had without a baby in my belly.

I got alarmed once the scale hit the 180’s. I knew I wanted to change things, but I was too tired, too overwhelmed, too depressed to do anything about it.  I went on an anti-depressant and while it helped with the depression and anxiety a bit, it inhibited my metabolism, too. Due to that side effect as well as a couple others, I went off the anti-depressant.  For a while, things were okay, but my anxiety worsened, and in July of 2013, I started seeing a therapist.

Best.Decision.Ever. I didn’t drop pounds immediately. Therapy takes a while to get to the heart of the issues. But in conjunction with therapy and then reading Lysa Terkeurst’s Made to Crave I began to put the pieces together that would lead to my first steps to getting healthy.

Having been unhappy with my appearance and my body, I saw this picture after my last MOPS meeting as the lead coordinator.

May 2014

May 2014 – 199 lbs and size squeezed into a size 16.

It was the first week of May 2014. Yes, I can see that the angle of the picture wasn’t the best, but I felt horrified looking at it. All I was saw was that I was desperately needing to lose weight. The next morning I stepped on the scale. I weighed 199.7 lbs.  Just 3/10ths away from the “I’ll never weigh this much” number of 200 lbs. I was barely fitting into size 16 clothes.

I felt depressed. I felt miserable. In my short relapse into unhealthy thought patterns those following days, I made a list of things that I hated about myself. Yes, hate. I was really at a low point.

But then some things i had learned from my Life Coach (my little name for my therapist), popped into my head. I had the power to change things in my life. The number one thing I figured I could change about myself was my weight and health.

I knew I had time now that I hadn’t had for the past 4 years leading our ladies ministry. I decided to put that energy into getting healthier. I didn’t do anything spectacular. No magic diet. No counting points. I tried to put the principles in Made to Crave to work in my life. I upped my therapy appointments to continue to deal with some nagging issues regarding my anxiety and self-care. I made healthier choices instead of comfort choices. I cut out sweetened beverages and drank only water. Not.even.coffee. And it paid off. In August of 2014, I tried to figure out which foods caused inflammatory reactions based on the work of Lyn Genet Recitas in her book The Plan. Things were going great…

And then I hit a huge roadblock – I had a very large kidney stone that led to an emergency lithotripsy.  In the 4 months between starting to lose in mid May to mid September, I had lost 22 lbs. I was down to 177.5 lbs. After recovering from surgery, I had no appetite for the many salads and healthier foods I had been eating.  Getting violently sick the night before the lithotripsy probably didn’t help… salads reminded me of that night.  I stayed pretty flat with my weight loss but I didn’t really gain. I fit back into a pair of size 12 jeans. I had to shop for all new winter clothes. So, despite losing traction, I still celebrated the fact that I felt pretty good about my efforts. I started running thinking that would help – it didn’t. But still, 25 lbs down.

Nov 2014

Nov 2014 – 25 lbs down from 6 months prior. Those are size 12 jeans!

In January of this year, I started back trying to eat right and work toward my goal of weighing 159 lbs – my goal of losing 40 lbs. By February 28th I had said goodbye to the 170’s and found myself at 168.5 lbs. What? I was 31 lbs down – just 9 lbs away from my goal. I started to think I might even try for 50 lbs weight loss. What if I could weigh in the 140’s by the time I turned 40 this November?

I didn’t budge weight for a few months. Spring sports for my daughter, the end of the school year craziness (yes, that happens even in a homeschool co-op) saw me put on a few pounds. I was 172 lbs in May. A traumatic event from my past resurfaced and I turned to comfort food and drink. And then the big problem. Swim Team season started in May. Uh, it was great physically for my kids, but it was terrible, absolutely terrible for me. Every day practices in the evenings in May meant that we ate out more, and we all know that dining out does not lead to the healthiest of food choices.  Every morning practices in June meant I rushed out the door without time for my coffee. So, I stopped at a local coffee shop most mornings… sugary, syrupy lattes or caramel iced coffees (because trust me, you don’t want hot coffee outside in the Lowcountry when it’s 90+ degrees on the pool deck). Swim Meets were twice a week in the evenings and that meant concession stand food.

I could tell by the fit of my clothes that things weren’t going so well with my weight loss. In fact, I knew it was going the opposite direction. I’ve stepped on the scale off and on all summer. I knew I needed to make changes, but bad habits are so easy to fall back into. Eating out, sweetened beverages, late night snacks, comfort food.

Add that it is too blasted hot to do any fitness stuff outside. I hate our summers… 90+ degrees and humidity equal heat index temps of 100+ degrees. And with my kidney stone issue (I’m prone to getting more), I didn’t want to do anything that would dehydrate me. I tried to go to an early workout for ladies called Females In Action (FIA). They meet at 5:15 am a few times a week. Uh? Have you met me? I’m by nature a night owl. Getting up at 4:40 am three times a week worked for a few weeks, but who am I kidding? I’m wired to stay up later. My brain is active in the later hours.  My husband is a night owl. Our thing is to binge watch some TV after the kids go to bed each night. FIA meant being in bed no later than 10:30. Which is about 90 minutes after my kids are in bed.  You  might think it’s an excuse to avoid FIA, but honestly, it’s not. I’m not wired for workouts in the dark and gloom before the sun rises.

So, here I am… 6 months after weighing in at 168.5 lbs. And today, I stepped on the scale to the face the hard truth of what I’ve allowed to happen over the summer. And it read 186.0 lbs. That’s 18 lbs in 6 months. That’s an average of a 3 lb gain each month since I put my health on the back-burner.

I’m not going to stand for that because I’ll be back to that dreaded number in just another few months. I’m not going to erase all my progress. So today I stand here accountable to you. I’ve told you what I weigh. I’m a 39 year old woman, we don’t do that. Except I am. I’ve got to get back to work and fix this.

I have a friend who blogs about his Fitness journey.  He weekly posts an update with starting weight, current weight, his workouts for the week, etc. I’m taking a page from his book.  It’s inspiring and a form of accountability. Starting tomorrow, I get back to the good habits and eating the right type of foods. Next week, I’ll work on adding in some form of activity component, too. I’m not going to hit my initial goal of 40 lbs down by 40 years old. But I can at least get back to the low weight I was in February. I think I can do 18 lbs in 12 weeks. I’m going to give it my best shot.  And then, I’ll work on dropping the other 10 lbs sometime in my 40th year get to my goal weight – 40 lbs down by 40, right?

So here I go.

  • Initial weight – May 2014 – 199.7 lbs
  • Low weight – Feb 2015 – 168.5 lbs
  • Current weight – Sept 7 2015 – 186.0 lbs
  • Goal weight – 168 lbs
  • Final goal weight – 159 lbs.

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4 responses to “Getting Healthy – My History and Looking for Accountability

  1. I hear, know and absolutely relate. I have battled for years with a negative self dialogue. A former skinny swimmer girl from back in the day. Introduce motherhood and POW – I’m over 200lbs! I hope and I pray that I can accept myself physically as strong “healthy” European women do. Curves and a muffin top mean nothing compared to living a full and happy life to said ladies. Overindulge? No. Make better choices on what and how much I eat? Yes. I will be your accountability partner Mandy. I know I need better health. As an American I can eat like royalty. Lord, help me to be a good steward to my body by making better choices and exercising self control (exercising in general!)! Lord, You know temptation to overeat is everywhere! Amen!

  2. I’m proud of you friend! I hear ya about the struggles and I totally think you are doing the right thing for accountability! I totally think you can get down! You know what to do! You got this! God will get you there!

  3. Great post. Love your honesty. I weighed the most I’ve ever weighed before I got pregnant this time and I too was very depressed.

    I weighed 11 pounds more than I did the day I delivered both boys.

    I’m hoping I can get myself together after this baby is born. It gets harder and harder as we age.

    I was never an emotonal eater but after having kids I became one.

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