Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taking a step back

I have spent a large majority of my adult life overweight. After getting married at 18 and moving across the country, I put on almost 50 pounds immediately. A year and a half later, I got pregnant and broke 200 pounds. We had our second child almost immediately, and I weighed 200 when I found out I was expecting again. That was in January 1998. I did well during that pregnancy and only put on eight pounds. But I struggled taking the pregnancy weight off. In spring 1999, my doctor put me on phentermine (the safer half of fen-phen), and I drop over 60 pounds in less than six months. I wore clothes smaller than what I wore at age 18.

We moved across the world, and I did pretty well keeping the weight off although I struggled with adjusting my schedule and routine, battling the blues of being a whole world away from my friends and family. I put on just a tidbit of the weight I had lost again, but I held my loss for a year. And then I got pregnant with baby number three.

There was so much going on in my life at this time. I had a child with special needs, we spent 12 weeks in Hawaii on medevac during the early part of my pregnancy with two small children and no help or vehicle. I got dehydrated and was ordered not to do heavy activities. We ate out because we had no other option. Slowly, I put weight back on during this pregnancy and blossomed to a whopping 225 when I was checked into L&D for delivery in February 2001.

A year later my world fell apart. My husband and I separated. I lost 15 pounds within 6 weeks without even trying. But I never could break below 195. Until 2006.

I resolved one afternoon when I was home sick from work, that I was going to do it. I was tired of being the "fat single-mom" who everybody felt sorry for at work and at church. I was a good mom, I knew, but I felt like I had no value beyond that. I believed that I could never expect to find a good Christian man as long as I was so overweight. What was my body screaming about my lifestyle and about my ability to love me?

So I joined LA Weight Loss. I refused to use their diet bars, and I stuck to the program. I ate foods that I enjoyed. I did well in a culture of food and snacking at work. In fact, my weight loss was so remarkable that it encouraged many others in the office to lose weight, and the company eventually sponsored a "Biggest Loser" competition.

In April 2006, when I signed up for LA Weight Loss I weighed 209 pounds. In mid-November 2006, I hit my goal weight of 154. Along the way, I found that I could get by on mini-snacks of M&M's (10/day) and fruit instead of candy or cookies.

Last summer, I found out that my husband and I were expecting. I was working full-time, something I had never done in my previous pregnancies. And my job was demanding emotionally and mentally. A moment of "off" in my job could cost the company hundreds of dollars. I came home in the evening and couldn't hold my head up until dinner. I wasn't working out. I wasn't eating right.

And guess what? ! ?

That's right, I had a beautiful baby girl, but I also put on almost 90 pounds in a year. Yes, you ready that right. I put on more than 7 pounds a month. In fact, I put on more weight in a year than my 12-year-old daughter weighs. That's alot of weight.

I don't consider myself a yo-yo dieter because I have really only made a massive commitment to weight loss twice, and both times I did lose weight and keep it off, until I got pregnant...sigh.

But I have really been struggling to get my motivation and stick with it since I had our baby girl in April.

And there have been several factors influencing this. I'm not going to go into all of them here as some are very personal. I am dealing with them elsewhere. But I am determined to make the changes I need to do this.

And this is not going to be easy because we are heading into the holiday season and part of our family traditions have included lots of cookie baking. So this means that I have to find a new tradition to start with my family. I have to make changes that last through pregnancies, and not just until they happen. (I would love to have another baby someday...yes, I said it...but I won't do it at this weight.)

My goal is to weigh 150-155. My goal is to be able to run in the park with my kids, to hike in the mountains without losing my breath, to stand and do dishes without my back and knees hurting before they're done, and to be vital, healthy, and alive for my husband, children, and grandchildren.

Goal number one: Stop drinking soda, more than one cup of coffee, and increase my water intake.

I know I can do that. And I will continue to deal with the emotional issues that undermine my ability to believe in myself and stick with it.

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