This is the most I have ever weighed, besides while pregnant, and this is the happiest I have ever been.
When Tyler and I got married, I was 170lbs. I know this because we both decided to weigh ourselves the day before our wedding (dumb) and both realized we were overweight. Ha. I was roughly the same size most of my adult life, though I’m sure my weight fluctuated. I never noticed much and for the most part, I didn’t think about it tons. I wore what I liked, even though it wasn’t always the most flattering for my body type, and in general I ate what I wanted and never worked out. No regrets!
Shortly after Tyler and I got married, I realized that I didn’t really want to be 170lbs whenever we decided to get pregnant (we had originally planned to wait 5 years – again, ha), so I decided to slowly start trying to lose weight. I figured if I lost a pound a month for a few years, I’d be good to go by the time we wanted to start our family. I started calorie counting and working out a bit, and to my surprise, the weight came off pretty easily. I hadn’t EVER practiced much restraint with food (pastries, I love you!) or portion control, so I guess that’s all it took to boost my metabolism. After a little while, Tyler and I started to ‘eat clean’, and I took up running. I eventually completed my first half marathon, and got really into yoga. We loved our new eating habits, and ditching refined sugar had huge health benefits for both of us. I lost 30lbs, and Tyler lost 20lbs.
My weight loss journey was a mix of many emotions. I felt so much pride and accomplishment when each pound came off, which never went without my noticing since I was weighing myself every day religiously. After I reached 150lbs, I hit a wall and couldn’t lose another pound. I was running several hours a week, and had actually put back on a few pounds from training for my half marathon. I was getting stressed about losing those last 10lbs, but they wouldn’t come off. I remember having a break down one day when talking to a friend and nutritionist, because I just didn’t feel like I was small enough. When would I be satisfied with myself? I had started thinking about skipping meals, just to get those last few pounds off, and I knew this wasn’t a good sign.
I was so confused – this was the healthiest and thinnest I had ever been, but it was the worst I had ever felt about myself. Before I started losing weight, I had never thought about being ‘fat’. Now I’d look back at pictures of myself and think I looked huge, even though I don’t remember feeling that way. I was so critical of myself and always thinking about my weight. I eventually lost the last 10lbs, and finally reached my goal of 140lbs.
I looked fantastic, everyone told me all the time. I didn’t go a day without hearing ‘wow, you look great!’, ‘how much weight have you lost’, ‘how did you lose it’, etc. And it was rewarding to hear, but also really conflicting. Did I look so bad before? Maybe everyone secretly thought I was huge before and looked awful? I started to rely on these compliments, and resent them at the same time.
I remember obsessing over what to wear to show off my new figure best, only posting pictures that showed how thin I was, living in fear that someone I knew would see me in something loose or baggy and not know I was thin now. When we would travel home to seen family or friends I would wear only the clothes that showed off my weight loss, and listen as people praised me for my handwork and my new figure. Some old friends didn’t even recognize me.I realize now that I was drowning in my insecurities, even though I was finally thin (140lbs for me was thin, and I nearly had to starve myself to get there). **disclaimer**
Fast forward to the end of my pregnancy, and I had gained, not 20, not 30, but FIFTY POUNDS. I was exactly where I didn’t want to be. I originally wanted to lose the weight so that I wouldn’t get near the 200lb mark while pregnant. At 39 weeks I hit 200lbs, and then JJ was born soon after. Now, I know I definitely could’ve had a healthier pregnancy, but even before I gave in to my a-donut-a-day cravings and quit exercising, I was gaining weight rapidly, even in the first trimester of sickness and no eating. I’ve learnt now that it is VERY easy for me to gain and lose weight, depending on the season I am in. Once I gained 8 pounds in 4 weeks, over Christmas, because I let myself eat as much sugar as I wanted after being off sugar for over a year. I also didn’t worry too much about gaining 50lbs during my pregnancy because surely it would all come off while breastfeeding.
JJ was born, and I had promised myself that I wouldn’t weigh myself or exercise too hard for at least 6 months after her birth. I wasn’t going to obsess about losing weight while I should be enjoying snuggles from my sweet baby….but oh, the struggle is real. We got home and I broke my ‘no weighing yourself’ rule straightaway – I was just curious. I was pleasantly surprised – ’20lbs down already, the rest will come off fast!’, I thought. Wrong again.
I started running around 8 weeks postpartum to train for a 5k TJ and I had signed up for. I thought it would be a good way to boost my postpartum fitness. I still hadn’t lost any weight, even though I was running several times a week and I was nursing (not sure why everyone says this helps with losing the baby weight, because it sure doesn’t for me!).
I ran the 5k with our jogging stroller, and although I wasn’t very speedy, I ran the entire distance and reached my goal time. I had to quit running after the 5k and go to physio for chronic pain in my knees, and I felt so defeated. I had broken my rules of not weighing myself AND I was putting tons of pressure on myself to lose the baby weight. Everyone kept telling me, you just had a baby, give yourself time, but I wouldn’t listen. I’ve lost weight before, I thought, I can do this. But I couldn’t. I was walking regularly, lifting weights, started calorie counting and STILL, I wasn’t losing any weight. I started to fear that it would never come off.
During all of this, my husband would daily tell me not to worry about my weight, I was working out and eating well, and that’s what matters. But really, I was terrified. Terrified of being fat, terrified of never getting back into jeans, terrified of being stuck in a mom body. I remember one day, in tears, asking him ‘What if I never lose the weight? What if we have another baby and I gain more weight and I can never lose it?’ His answer: so what? WHO CARES. I work out regularly, I eat well (if you follow my instastories, shush, this weekend doesn’t count), if the weight isn’t coming off SO WHAT. Am I going to hate myself and kill myself working out every day to lose the weight, setting an example for my daughter that says you can only be happy if you’re thin?
I’ve had so many conversations lately about body image and postpartum weight loss struggles. I have many friends who are in the same boat as me, and I know that weight and size is a universal women’s issue. Which is devastating. Why do we spend so much time thinking about this? Being healthy is fantastic, but being harsh with ourselves is a crime. And we are all so harsh with ourselves. But that’s the society we live in. We’re brainwashed to think that being fat is the worst thing that could happen to a woman, and that losing the baby weight is your sole goal in that first year. We’re constantly patting new moms on the back when they drop the baby weight, ‘You look great!’ we say, instead of reminding each other to be kind and patient with ourselves, even if the weight doesn’t come off. Because being fat is not the worst thing that could happen to me, or to you. It’s an ugly lie, and one I’ve had to face in the last 7 months when I look in the mirror and the critical voice in my heads says I had better lose the weight or I’ll end up FAT. Again, so what??
Recently I’ve heard myself saying the phrase ‘this is the happiest I have ever been’ to friends in conversation. I didn’t really consciously observe this, it just sort of came out. And it’s true. I am so happy with my life and myself at this point in my journey, even though my life isn’t perfect. I’m doing what I want, I’ve found my ‘tribe’, and I feel truly good in my skin. I still wouldn’t mind losing weight between babies (TJ and I have never been quiet about our desire to have our kids close together – no, this is not an announcement, don’t even joke), and I’m not going to stop making changes for my health or wellbeing. I’ve even been considering doing a Whole30 after Thanksgiving. Most importantly though, I’m taking care of my whole self, and not fixating on a number (I think I’m going to finally ditch that darn scale).
I’m not sure yet how it happened, but somehow in the last month or so, I’ve stopped thinking about my weight (I think buying clothes that fit really helped). I’ve been working out and eating healthy, same as before, but now I’m less concerned about the outcome. It’s funny, because I haven’t lost any weight, but people have recently started to say ‘you look good!’ – my response: ‘thanks, I feel good!’. Because I do. I feel really good.
Being healthy is enough, and being happy is really the goal, anyway. I can be this weight and be happy, and I’ve decided that if I stay my current weight for the rest of my life (which is upwards of 170lbs last time I checked), I’m ok with that. I look good, I feel good, I’m healthy, and I AM HAPPY.
I am the happiest I have ever been.
In the words of Amy Schumer, “I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You don’t decide my story- I do.”
And the same is true for you, girl.
**I know this isn’t true for everyone who loses such a large amount of weight, and it’s not like I regret losing weight or felt this way all the time. It’s just very interesting to me that at the thinnest I have ever been, I was also the most insecure. I tell this part of my story to juxtapose how I am so happy now and not thin, not to say that being thin or losing weight is bad**