I reached a big goal yesterday and now it’s time to pay it forward! My weight loss journey began this past January, 5 months after my daughter was born. The pounds didn’t “melt off” as promised from breastfeeding alone and I was unhappily stuck 40 pounds overweight. In the past, I had done quick bouts of the South Beach diet or Jillian Michaels 30 day shred to lose 10 pounds or so before summer vacation or my wedding. I know there are many people out there with more to lose, but 40 was a daunting number to me and there were many, many days I thought I would never feel right in my skin again. It affected my life by ripping at my self esteem on a daily basis. I was jealous of my thinner friends and tortured my husband by constantly fretting over the way a t shirt fit. On January 1st, I set two goals for myself; By my 30th birthday in May, I would be at my pre-pregnancy weight and by my daughter’s 1st birthday in August I would be at my wedding weight.
I started by getting back on the South Beach wagon and starting the c25k running program. This was a dangerous cocktail. I hate running, but I believed along with everyone else that it was the golden ticket to weight loss. Combine that with removing sugars completely from my diet and you have one cranky lady on your hands. A personal trainer friend of mine suggested cutting down to 1200 calories a day instead of just eliminating foods. It was “healthier” she said. HA! I managed to stay at 1200 for months, patting myself on the back for all the brilliant ways I could manage to stay under. And yes, I lost weight doing this. When I pouted my way through a 5K in March, I had lost nearly 15 lbs. I never experienced any of the health based side effects of a very low calorie diet, but I was constantly frustrated. I was annoyed that I had to omit healthy & delicious avocado from my sandwich. I was irritated that if I wanted to enjoy a glass of wine I had to skip dinner. I felt ridiculous looking up food calories under the table at friends houses. And – Lord have mercy! – If I had a “cheat” day, (oh joy, 1500 calories instead) I would beat myself up over it for days. Once I hit that inevitable plateau, my frustrations only magnified. All of this sacrifice was for nothing, why even try?! 4 weeks into the plateau, the same PT friend suggested I join MFP to log my 1200 and get back on track. That was in April and I became hooked.
Lucky for me I meet a fabulous pal right off the bat who was also losing baby weight but was miraculously eating 1800+ calories a day and looking great! She directed me to the em2wl group and I spent the month of April lurking, researching and re-reading the stickies over and over again. It made sense, but it was scary. I upped my calories to my BMR the first 2 weeks of May and – GASP – didn’t gain a million pounds. I moved up to my TDEE cut in mid-may just in time for a vacation. I could eat and enjoy myself again – it was so freeing! I lost a few pounds initially and then bounced around while I figured out my sweet spot. I did reach my first goal of getting to my pre-pregnancy weight before my birthday during this time.
Calories conquered, it was now time to show the scale who was boss. I rewrote my second goal. Instead of focusing on the phantom weight I was when I was skinny fat and had never birthed a human being, I focused on simply fitting in the wedding dress, at whatever weight that happened to be now. I ditched the scale and picked up some heavy weights and got to work. I didn’t pay attention to the scale, I just worked out, logged my 1800 calories and focused on getting as close to my macros as possible. Two months later I was down 6 lbs and 8+ inches all over. That takes this journey to present day.
Yesterday, a week ahead of schedule and 10 POUNDS heavier than when I got married, I zipped into my wedding dress and did a victory lap around my living room! My body is different from when I first wore it – my hips are slimmer but my shoulders are broader. There is still work to be done but I am happy to say that I reached my goal and em2wl was an invaluable resource. I have learned so much about what my body – and mind – needs to be happy & healthy. The science is there, you only need faith in yourself that your goals are achievable, and you must be sure to set the RIGHT goals! And when faith failed me, I had a community of like-minded individuals that could give advice and encouragement. Without them, I would have given up a hundred times. I now want to work towards the body I’ve always dreamed of by focusing on healthy, performance based goals and letting go of what the scale tells me. Thank you to Kiki and Lucia and EVERYONE who shared their stories. And a special thanks to Jennie T. who put me on the path to begin with!