Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know All About Me

I touched on my weight loss yesterday, and its really been my part-time job as of late. I spend a lot of waking hours thinking about food, figuring out how to burn off what I eat in the gym, and how to really get as healthy as I possibly can, and be able to sustain it for my lifetime. This started as a little blurb in a food posting, but when I kept writing….and writing I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I want to post it so I can remind myself where I have come from and how I got to where I am, and where I want to go.

If you don't know me in "real life" or you havent known me for more then 10 years, you wont know that I spent more of my life as a skinny person, then in the current state you will find me. I never had to work at it, and when I started working in a gym, I got in amazing shape. I was a size 4 for pretty much all of my womenly years, and in those 2 years I got down to a size 2. I still have the jeans I wore to prove it. I worked out for about 3-4 hours daily. I was proud of my hard work, I looked incredible, and I was strong. Was I healthy.....well. Emotionally, BIG FAT NO, was I happy, another BIG FAT NO, did I have control over my life, come on, you know the answer. Then I met an amazing man, who helped me find happiness in so many areas of my life, I didnt work out as much, I started to really enjoy food, going out to dinner and just being more comfortable in my skin. I also got office jobs which basically means I broke my days up by what time it was and what could we go eat.....and sat on my growing behind all day. Not the best combo. I let myself get fat.

I look back now and I get so angry at myself. If I just put in minimal effort then, I wouldnt be working so hard right now. But I know I cant get back and it's all been a learning process for me now. I often think about how I had the body I wanted, but the life I didn’t and now I have the life I wanted but the body is a work in progress. I believe that our unhappiness no matter how hard we try to hide it has to come out somehow. It needs an outlet. My comfort was food and it showed on my body how much I came to rely on it.

Things started to get really bad, when I was struggling with infertility for a couple of years before finally having my son. That was the hardest time in my life and although it taught me so much about myself, my marriage and good communication it was just so isolating and well, it was too hard to drink wine every night because I “might” be pregnant, so food seemed like the quickest fix.

Thankfully I had 2 amazing pregnancies and 2 great kids and by some grace of god, I would lose my baby weight in about a month. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, I guess I was just lucky. It was nice to use baby weight as an excuse, even though my kids were getting older and I was getting fatter. I had my children 17 months apart and for the first 18 months of having 2 children under 2, I was under water for most of them. It took me a long time to get the hang of 2 children and getting it all done. In truth I still haven’t figured it out, but for right now things are under control. But don’t get my wrong, a flu bug could hit our house and I will be a mess. But I guess what it took me a while to figure out, eating all the carbs in the house wont make it any easier, wont make me happier, and wont get me through the days. I need to just find it within myself to do it.

I started Weight Watchers on my birthday. I really felt this birthday looming over my head. I was creeping closer to 40, and I had a few quiet moments that week leading up, where I was thinking about how I wanted to age. I used to think 40 was ancient and was I going to let myself continue to feel ancient or was I going to feel like I did when I was in my early 20’s. I wanted to feel strong. I have always had people tell me that I looked younger then I was. I was afraid if I kept going down the road I was on, people would be thinking I was older then I really was. I have an addiction to celebrity magazines and I wanted to be in the category of women who look amazing for their age and seem to get better the older they get….sans all the botox.

Prior to my birthday I had been feeling horrible. I was having all sorts of aches and pains in my joints, I was beyond exhausted after a full nights sleep and I was just grumpy and unhappy (more often then not). I went to see my Dr. who did a huge blood work up and through that we found out I wasn’t just being lazy or suffering from Winter Blues, I had about zero Vitamin B-12 in my body and I was also very deficient in Vitamin D. She called it the “Perfect Storm of Exhaustion”. Finally someone showed me it wasn’t all me……don’t get me wrong I know a lot of it was me, but to know there was something I could do to fix how I felt that wasn’t a major drug, gave me some hope. It was the 1st step I needed to make some big changes.

I cant believe what a huge difference those blood tests made. I have so much more energy and sleep better and just feel better. I am sure all the other following steps haven’t hurt either. When I joined WWs, I wasn’t sure I was ready to go, but I asked a friend to go with me and when she said yes, well, there was no turning back. I didn’t have my last meal, I didn’t shop for a new diet, I was totally unprepared. And I think the shock was what I needed. I couldn’t believe how quickly I started to feel better. After about 2 weeks I was full of energy, my moods are totally different and I am sleeping so much better. When I started going to the gym about a month ago, that made me feel even better. I am working out like I did when I was in my 20’s and I am feeling stronger every week.

I faced a lot of guilt in the beginning of this process because I was putting myself ahead of my children. As a stay at home mom, my job is to make sure all their needs are being met, my house is taken care of ,and everyone is happy. What I learned is, I wasn’t really doing the best job I could because my needs weren’t being met. I was cooking to please them, and then my kids wouldn’t want to eat it anyway. So that was the first thing to stop. I make the meals I can eat and break it into pieces that the kids will enjoy as well. Sometimes they eat eggs and toast for dinner but you know what, they eat it, its healthy, and for me that’s all the success I need in a day.

The second thing was getting to the gym or just working out at home. I could never figure out how to fit it in. At naptime, I was napping too, or prepping dinner, or just chilling out. At night by the time everyone was in bed, it was 9:00 pm. The weekends are all over the place. So now my daughter goes to the nursery while my son is at school, and she loves it. My son gets jealous he cant go more often. I felt so horrible that she had to be dragged along but she has such a nice time playing with other kids her age, and it allows me to fit it all in. I thank my kids for coming to the gym with me every time we leave because I know it isn’t the idea place for them to spend their morning, but for right now, they need to help mommy achieve her goals and everyone has to give a little.

I want to set a good example for my kids. From the very beginning my kids have eaten healthy. I buy all the expensive fruits for them, but never thought it was important that I also ate it. I have researched and read so much material on getting the best foods into their bodies and teaching them about leading a healthy lifestyle, I just thought I was too busy to bother with myself. I often wondered what would happen when they realized that I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. But now I am setting the example for them and leading by that example, and for the first time in a long time I am really proud of myself.

I know I wont be able to fit into my size 2 jeans again. And that is ok. My main goal is to find a way to be healthy, make my body strong, be a healthy size, age gracefully & have ultimate happiness also. A few years ago I would have thought having all that would be impossible, but now I know I can do it.


  1. What a great post Juliann! Lots of luck in achieving your goals!

    I struggle to get to the gym. My 11 month old HATES it. I go to a 30 minute class and he cries the whole time. I can't figure out how to get us there after his nap, after lunchtime and rushing home for his next nap 2 hours later, then after that nap, it's time to get brother, get dinner started, etc etc. It's just something I have to figure out somehow.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I truly dont think I could have done this a year ago. Everything had to fall into place at just the right time. My daughter cried because she wasnt able to go to school with her brother and in that moment I thought--hey maybe she would be OK without me. It will be much easier next year when they are both at school he for 5 days and her for 3. Then I wont feel guilty at all. You will find the balance, it might just take a little longer until they dont need as much from you all day long--good luck to you also