I work two jobs, raise my son, attempt to spend time with my husband, dog, and other family members, and exercise 6-7 days a week. Since I chronicle so much of my journey as a working mom over at Liberating Working Moms, my own blog tends to go by the wayside and this year, I want to change that.
I’ve had some serious successes of late, including reaching my New Year’s resolution of reading at least one book each month in 2012, and set the same goal for 2013. I’ve also lost 21 lbs since July 19, 2012. That’s 8 months. 8 months of changing my lifestyle. 8 months of tracking my caloric intake and exercise regime on myfitnesspal. 8 months of watching my body transform. 8 months of growing stronger each day.
I think why I am able to better balance my life, why I am able to attack this new part-time job in the midst of a demanding full-time one, is because I have taken my health into my own hands and improved it.
I admitted that working out makes me a better working mom even though I often feel guilty about the time it takes away from other aspects of my life. But it’s true. Exercise boosts my energy level and helps me finish out my days strong. Exercise actually lifts my spirits if I’m having a rough day, tapers my hunger if I’m wanting to fall off the wagon of nutrition and dig into a box of Swedish Fish—which, by the way, I still do from time to time. All in moderation.
And that’s how I’ve gotten where I am today.
Here’s my story:
In high school, I wasn’t very active. Don’t get me wrong—I was involved in things. I sang in my church choir, edited the school newspaper, and served as President of National Honor Society. You know, the dorky things. I did NOT—and still don’t—do organized sports. I’m clumsy. A better spectator than participator. And it never really hurt me. I worked out at the YMCA from time to time, but nothing routine. When I graduated high school, my weight fluctuated between 115-118, and at 5’2, that fit. Perfectly normal. Healthy BMI.
In my first year of college, I worked out at the gym on campus, but the food on campus hurt me a little bit. I don’t remember exactly how much, but I gained a couple of pounds. Let’s say I was 120.
By the time college ended—I switched schools and commuted, so longer commute meant less time to make food meant eating out more—I was 125. I told myself I was getting older. My metabolism slowed a bit. Nothing to worry about. 125 was far from obese.
I got married. Who knew being happily married meant you would gain weight? Before I knew it, the chips and salsa at Chili’s led to 5 more lbs, and I was 130 lbs at 24 years old.
Then I got pregnant.
Ironically enough, my darling son didn’t think I deserved to eat while he occupied my womb, so 9 months of consistent nausea and vomiting stopped me from gaining weight. On the day of my son’s birth, April 23, 2011, I weighed in at 144 lbs—only 14 lbs gained in over 38 weeks of pregnancy.
I felt good about that. Less that I gained meant less I had to lose. The day after he was born, I weighed 136. By the time he was a week old, I was 127—3 lbs less than pre-pregnancy and the weight just melted off.
However. I resented that I hadn’t been able to binge and crave during pregnancy. So once I had my son, I went into full-on I CAN EAT AGAIN mode.
By the end of 2011, I weighed 140 lbs—a number I swore I would never let cross my scale.
I joined a gym.
I went 2-3 days a week, tried the elliptical for about 30 minutes each time I went, and saw no changes. Because I really had no desire for it. I wasn’t making a lifestyle shift. I made excuses. I’m older now. I’ve had a baby. My metabolism is slower. I’m not eating that much. Maybe there’s a pill I can take.
By summer of 2012, I refused to get in a bathing suit. In July, I attended a work conference, and none of my work pants—all size 6—would button. I was devastated.
I weighed 142 lbs. 2 lbs shy of what I weighed when I gave birth to my son.
And that’s when shit got real.
July 19, 2012 was the first day I began logging food and exercise into myfitnesspal, and I haven’t stopped since. I weighed in at 140.6 the day I began logging online. That website has been a godsend, as it opened my eyes to the amount of carbs, sodium, CALORIES in some of the things I was consuming on a daily basis. It showed me how to be more balanced and accountable.
My only goals were to get healthier and fit in my clothes. I find that it is IMPERATIVE to make small goals, meet them, and celebrate success by creating the next attainable goal. Once I reached 5 pounds lost, I told myself I could achieve 5 more.
I began going to classes at the gym, and slowly saw weight come off. By the first day of the 2012 school year, I had dropped 5 lbs and could squeeze into my work pants. I refused to buy a new wardrobe for my unhealthy body.
By October, I could see the change in the mirror. My face? No longer full, round, fat. My body? Slimming, shaping. I even went to the sprayground with my son IN a bathing suit and felt completely comfortable. I was “me” again.
A few more months of hard work went by, the scale moved a bit, and my clothes were falling off. Which called for some jeans shopping 🙂
As of today, I have lost 21 lbs. I fluctuate between 119-121 on any given day, and am determined to see the 118 that I saw on the scale when I was in college. I’m also determined to tone my body like I never have before. I want to see some biceps and abs!
This post is not to brag. This post is to remind myself that I can do this. That I will keep doing this. That I will not return to an unhealthy lifestyle. And maybe, to inspire others to take control of their lives, their energy levels, their bodies, as well.