Unlike the experience of most women, having a child actually concluded a net weightloss for me. Before I was pregnant I had been hovering in the low 170’s and immediately after the birth of the child I was in the low 160’s. Go figure!! (apparently if you are overweight to begin with, your body does not need to pack on as much weight during pregnancy…that combined with having extreme nausea in the beginning meant that I only gained net about 5 pounds throughout the pregancy)
Now my little one is almost 9 months old and for the first time ever I might actually reach a weight loss goal that I set for myself (goal: to be under 155.5 lbs on my birthday in June). I attribute this soon-to-be (I’m not claiming it yet since self-sabotage has already lurked its ugly head) success to a number of factors combined:
1. Setting a tiny goal: When I set this goal it was mid March and I was 162 lbs. So I basically gave myself 11 weeks to lost 5.5 lbs….about a half pound each week. The tiny goal helped me not get devastated and give up over mess ups along the way. It was imminently doable and helped me escape the cycle of extreme dieting followed by the inevitable extreme crashes because I got overwhelmed with the strictness of it all. It helped me just make the best choice possible considering the environment, my mood etc. It took away the pressure for having to be perfect all the time which bigger goals required. A side benefit is that the weight that has gone to this point really feels like it is ‘GONE’…not just hiding around waiting to leap back on my hips. I have heard the slower you lose weight the better it stays off and I think it is true.
2. My new veganish lifestyle: After seeing ‘forks over knives’ (excellent documentary btw) and reading ‘the china study’ by T.Colin Campbell, my hubby and I decided to jump on the whole foods, plant-based bandwagon. I describe it as ‘veganish‘ because we decided we would start small (see above) and just stop eating animal based stuff at home. When we go out and eat at others’ homes, we still eat omnivorously. Eating this way is simple, better for the planet and seems to be doing good things for the weightloss not surprisingly since lots of fat comes from animal products and mainstream sweets (e.g. doughnuts, cookies) contain eggs and the like and are a major weakness for me. The vegan lifestyle is just so clean and light and I guess it makes the eater the same.
3. Being married to a ‘Personal Trainer’: My husband is very serious about being the best possible version of ourselves in honour of God. He takes it very seriously (and well he should!) that the Bible says that our bodies are the temple of God (1st Corinthians 6:19-20) and really is an example in this area of physical fitness. He has cajoled, pestered, encouraged, supported, begged, etc. me around the weight loss issue and his efforts are making a difference. His reasons may not always be completely pure as he freely confesses and is working on changing (he is after all only human too and he would find me more attractive if I was less weight), but having him around all the time gives me an accountability that I have never had before. He makes me aware when I am unconciously eating and sheds light on all kinds of behaviours and inconsistencies that I was barely aware of around these matters. For example, I never realized before how often I would eat something sweet because I deserved it. I really thought it was much less often then it actually is. He encourages me to work out and eat healthy 24/7. (Interestingly before I was married, I kinda had this fantasy about having someone just take charge of my life to help me lose weight…my husband being more than willing to do this has revealed just how much I don’t necessarily want to lose weight….we have had fights over food and even working out because I just don’t want it as much as I said I did) He really is inspiring in the way he maintains his health and vibrancy. He reminds me that good health is a precious resource which makes every other aspect of living richer.
4. Having a daughter: This is a two part reason. Part A is that apparently breastfeeding sucks the fat out of you and it seems to be true…it feels a bit easier to lose weight than it used to be … (looks like I am going to be breastfeeding as long as I possibly can…;). Part B is more profound and is about modelling the type of behaviour and woman that I want my daughter to grow up to be. I have not eaten certain things just because it would mean eating it in front of her. Even though she is so little I keep getting reminded that my biggest influence on her is my example and I want her to grow up in an healthy environment.
5. Knowing Myself: As every year passes and especially with marriage and motherhood…I am learning more and more about who I am…(and exactly how screwed up I am!…hehe!) Especially in marriage, you really get stretched in terms of revealing and understanding who you are. For example, witnessing my husband’s thought processes and navigation through life has really thrown into relief some of my own warped viewpoints and beliefs that I was unaware of before. Marriage is really cool like that if you are willing to go there….it is not easy, mind you! I don’t care what anyone says….weight loss (or change in general) is much more than just a physical “calories eaten, energy expended” equation. As in all other things in life, the battle is won (or lost!) in the mind. Understanding my perfectionistic tendancies has helped (e.g. it is better just to have a small goal for me as I get very extreme otherwise) ….knowing that I just get a kick out of not wasting things helps (e.g. buy a ton of fruits and veggies at the beginning of the week and I’ve just set myself up for victory over eating out and impulse cookie purchases), etc.
6. Embracing Hardship: I really am a lover of comfort. Unfortunately, change does not and cannot happen when we stay comfortable. I am learning to just embrace the difficulty of workouts and sacrifice of momentary mouth pleasures as necessary and even good. Instead of always just seeking what is most comfortable, I am training myself and thinking to seek what will promote growth….because I want my life to mean something and contribute something. I have been comfortable too long.
I am not going to lie to you; reading all the above makes me think…”and for all this I have a measley 5 lb loss for 11 weeks?” Wow! Just goes to show you how challenging successful weight loss really is…especially when you are playing ‘for keeps’. I want a life and mind transformation and I will not give up until I get there.