Looking back over my “pre-baby” years, I feel so stupid. Every time I looked in the mirror, all I saw was fat. A tummy that was flabby, legs the size of tree trunks, and arms that resembled jello’s infamous jiggle. In those days, I went to any lengths to see the digits on the scale drop. I ran miles upon miles a week, worked out late at night, chugged water to chase away the resounding growls that rumbled in my stomach.
It didn’t help that my friends were the size of twigs, yet ate anything they wanted. I continually compared myself to them. I wanted to be them, and was willing to do anything to achieve my ideal perfection. In those days, my idea of perfection was 110 pounds on my 5’ 7” frame.
Now, I realize the utter stupidity of my youth. First and foremost, the image I saw in the mirror was far from reality. I was tiny in those days, almost to the point of looking frail. The numbers I fixated upon were not worth the trouble. Sure, maybe I did weigh a little bit more than my best friend, but it was purely muscle. I was running, playing soccer, and exercising excessively, there was no fat to be seen.
After graduating high school, I got healthier. I focused much less on numbers, no staring at a scale hoping it would suddenly drop, no counting calories, no calculating energy consumed versus energy spent. I ate healthy, worked out, and gained a few pounds, but that was okay. In retrospect, it also helped that I was in my first healthy relationship with a man, after several detrimental attempts at love. This man (now my husband) had a passion for cooking and eating. We spent hours in the kitchen cooking up wonderful meals that made my taste buds come to life. But, we always found ways to burn off those excess amounts of calories as well.
Then, I found out I was pregnant. At first, I struggled with the idea of my growing belly. I was just becoming unreservedly comfortable about my body and myself, and without warning, it was all changing again, only this time I was not the one in control. But, seeing my son’s heartbeat on the screen at the doctor’s office washed away any reservations I had. In that one moment, I didn’t care what I looked like, I just wanted a healthy little one, and realized I was willing to give whatever it took to achieve that. In total, I gained almost 50 pounds throughout my pregnancy.
Since, giving birth, over 4 years ago, I can’t say that I have striven to return to my pre-pregnancy size. I have tried various weight loss strategies, products that “guarantee” results, and plans that require more time, or energy, than I have to offer. Pilates classes were deemed to expensive after I decided to forgo returning to work full time. Tae Bo required turning off Elmo or Blue’s Clues, causing a scene so monumental that I most likely burned more calories calming my rugrat than I did during the DVD. Yoga necessitated a level of calmness and serenity that no longer exists within the walls of my home.
But, I'm finally getting myself motivated to workout, at my own pace, and see what the results may be. I plan to watch what I eat, but not obsess over my meals. I want to be healthy, not only for myself, but for my family. I've also found a way to hold myself accountable to my goals, by participating in the developing Think Thin Thursday over at The Not-So-Blog Blog. I have to say, I'm getting myself excited to start working out and eating better, maybe those old jeans will finally fit again too.