I don’t particularly like to focus on weight and body image, and posting my story makes me feel really vulnerable, but it’s an important part of how I got to where I am today – so here it goes… I was a chubby little girl, but thankfully out grew my “baby fat” by the time I went into junior high. As a teenager/young adult I was able to maintain a healthy weight and stay active. I was like most teenage girls, and scrutinized parts of my body that I didn’t like and had my ups and downs, but for the most part I had a fairly healthy body image. I accomplished all of this with only a small emphasis on my diet. Meaning, I tried to be careful with the amount of sweets I ate (I would never eat an entire candy bar in one sitting), but I wouldn’t turn down a slice of pizza or a stack of pancakes either. So, the bulk of my story begins when I got pregnant with my first baby (I know there are many women out there that can relate to this).
I went into my first pregnancy thinking I would have a really healthy pregnancy, I would gain 25 pounds, I would lose it all right away (within 6 weeks), and life would be perfect (oh the glorious expectations of a first time mom)! Well (shockingly), none of those were true. I didn’t necessarily have an unhealthy pregnancy, but I did get really swollen and had to be induced early due to high blood pressure (I was diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension). I also gained 50 pounds and it took me almost 2 years to lose it all. I remember coming home from the hospital and trying on a pair of my pre-pregnancy pants – BIG mistake! After my baby was born I tried various different methods to lose the weight. I tried Weight Watchers. After that failed, I created my own Livestrong account. I started counting every calorie I ate, and kept my intake at 1,000 calories or less a day. I also increased my workouts. I started running long distance, and ran for 1 or more hours 5-6 times a week. This method did work – sort-of. I got close to my pre-pregnancy weight, but no matter what I did I couldn’t lose the rest…plus I was always hungry and constantly thinking about food. I was then introduced to a nutrition and exercise program that “allowed” me to eat 1,500+ a day, and I lost the remaining weight.
Once I finally lost the last of my baby weight, I felt great, was confident, and thought I had everything figured out. It was at this time, I decided it was time for baby number 2. I went into my second pregnancy with slightly more realistic expectations. I thought…it can’t be worse than last time. I know how to really be healthy now, so I won’t gain as much weight, and I know how to lose it once my baby is born. Well, I was wrong…again. My second pregnancy was way worse than my first. It was plagued with complications, and I was sick the entire time. Once again I was induced early due to complications, I had gained 50 pounds, and it took me over 2 years to lose the weight – what happened?
After only a few weeks post-partum I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight…after all I knew how to lose it now, it worked great last time…so I jumped right into the same program I had done before. Except this time it wasn’t working. I wasn’t losing any weight. After a few months of pure discouragement I was feeling desperate. I bought a few different books, and decided to give the paleo diet a try. Well, that didn’t work either. Still no weight loss. I decided to go see my doctor. I was passed due for my 6 month check-up, and I was having some weird girly things going on as well. I told my doctor my symptoms, I told him it felt like the “post-partum cloud” was still lingering. He thought that my thyroid might be low and suggested that my hormones may have not balanced yet since having my baby. He explained that some women’s hormones don’t bounce back as quickly as they should (apparently I was one of those women). He also suggested a sleeping pill (since I wasn’t sleeping at night, even though my baby was) and an anti-depressant. I declined the anti-depressant and tried the sleeping pill (I hated it).
After my appointment I decided to try my weight loss program again. In my mind, I had just tried it too soon after having a baby, so it was bound to work this time. Of course, it didn’t work. I still hadn’t lost any weight since I had come home from the hospital and my baby was almost 1 year old. I was exercising diligently and following a proven weight loss plan, what was wrong? I was so frustrated and depressed. My husband took the brunt of it. He watched me change my clothes over and over again, because I didn’t like how I looked in anything. I avoided any store and refused to buy anything for myself – in fear I would break down in tears in the dressing room. I was a brides maid at my brother’s wedding and didn’t get a dress until the day of the wedding, and that is only because my mom dragged me to the store and bought it for me (my mom is awesome). I even went to a consultation for a weight loss clinic. The guy at the clinic weighed me and took my body fat percentage. He informed me that I was overweight and that my body fat percentage was in the obese range. I was too embarrassed and upset to go back after the consultation.
I finally went back to my research. Something was wrong. I wasn’t myself and my hormones were still out-of-whack. I decided to invest in acupuncture treatment, and looked into holistic ways to heal. The acupuncture did wonders for my hormones and depression. I also learned why my diet wasn’t working for me, and made a lot of dietary changes. I started focusing on the nutrition aspect of food rather than the caloric aspect.
Initially, I didn’t lose any weight with the acupuncture treatments and dietary changes, but I was feeling so much better. I was healing, and it felt great. It actually took a few months before the weight started coming off (my baby was 15 months old before I lost my first pound since coming home from the hospital). Now, over two years later, I have lost all of my baby weight, and I am back to a healthy weight and body fat percentage. It was a long road, but I learned a lot along the way, and I hope to share some of those lessons learned on this blog.