I'm taking a break from unpacking the (what seems like) hundreds of boxes around my new house to bring you kind of a depressing update. Shortly after Alessandra was born, I wrote this post. I was really pumped about my weight loss plan, and I received a lot of positive feedback from both readers and my real-life friends. So first, thank you for that! :) For a while, things were going great. I was working out on a regular basis, I was eating as healthy as possible (even when we would go out to eat, which was always a struggle for me), and I was seeing results. At one point, I stepped on the scale and was thrilled to discover I had lost 12lbs. I was-almost-at the weight I was before I got pregnant with Tony, and I was so sure I was going to continue my healthy streak. Well...not so much.
I'm not exactly sure when everything started to go downhill. If I had to guess, I'd say it was when Will left for Fort Lewis for a month, and I was frequently alone with two small children in the miserable, blistering hot Louisiana heat. Alessandra went on a massive sleep strike, and I was lucky if I got more than two hours of sleep every night. When I'm overtired, I don't make good choices when it comes to food. I tend to grab something I can eat quickly, and unfortunately most of those "quick and easy" foods don't exactly fall into the healthy category. Also, my workout routine came to a standstill. As I mentioned, we were living in the South during a summer with 100% humidity, all day every day, and temperatures were frequently in the low 100's. It simply wasn't safe to be outside for long; not with a baby Alessandra's age, and since I'm prone to wicked heat migraines, I couldn't even sit outside for long periods of time. So there went any walking or swimming. I could-and did-use my YMCA membership, but that presented a slight problem as well. Tony loved going to the child care center, and the ladies who worked there were the kindest, most gentle caregivers I ever could have hoped for. However, Alessandra was only three months old, and she would sob hysterically if I handed her off to someone else. It broke my heart, not to mention I didn't feel right leaving the nursery workers with a screaming baby. So that option went by the wayside.
Over the course of the next few months, I slowly but surely fell back into my old bad habits. A cheat meal here or there became all too frequent, my exercise routine became nil, and as Fall approached, everyone in our house kept getting sick. As soon as I would start to feel better, Will or one of the kids would come down with something, and within days I would catch whatever they had. It's hard to find the motivation to exercise when your throat is on fire, your head is throbbing and all you want to do is sleep. Then we began preparing for our move, which of course meant eating lots of meals out at restaurants, since my entire kitchen was in boxes. There were definitely times when I would make healthy choices, but more often than not I would give in to my cheeseburger/pizza/Mexican cravings and go all out. When I opened a box of my clothes this morning and tried on a pair of jeans...I wanted to cry. It wasn't pretty. They were tight around my legs (my stupid thighs are ALWAYS the first place I gain weight), I had the muffin top, and I just felt miserable. I feel like I'm at a loss, and I don't know what to do to get myself motivated. I'm not happy looking the way I do. I don't want to live like this anymore. I don't want to be that woman wearing jeans during June in Georgia, because I look terrible in shorts. I don't want to have to shop for dresses that make my back look fat, or highlight my "mummy tummy," or worry that my arm flab is showing. I'd like to go to the pool and feel confident, and not worry about cellulite or fat rolls. I just feel like I've lived this way for so long, I don't know what it's like to feel good about my body. The last time I remember feeling confident in my looks was when I was 21. It was my junior year in college, and I had lost a ton of weight. The thing was, I wasn't even trying to lose weight. It was probably my busiest year in school, and I quite honestly didn't even have the time to eat. I remember one day I put on a pair of jeans while getting ready for class, and I stood up off the couch and my jeans fell off. Almost everything in my wardrobe was too big for me...and I looked in the mirror and a huge smile spread across my face. I didn't lose weight the healthy way, or the right way, but dammit I looked good. And I was happy.
I haven't felt that way in a long, long time. By the time I graduated from college, I gained the weight back with a vengeance and I was back to feeling embarrassed about my body. I'm pretty sure I've tried every diet under the sun. I go through spurts of working out like crazy and feeling strong and confident, and then I fall off the wagon. Where do I go from here? I want to model a healthy lifestyle for my children. I don't want to gain weight with each subsequent baby I have, and I always want my husband to be attracted to me. One of the biggest problems I have is mistaking envy for motivation. I'll look through magazines, and I'll try and find a model with my "ideal" body. I simply have to accept that's never going to happen. Even if I wake up tomorrow morning and discover I've lost 60lbs, I'm never going to have Jessica Alba's body. Or Heidi Klum's. Or any of the other impossibly thin and beautiful bodies of the women in Hollywood. I've had two children, and I have stretch marks. I have loose skin from carrying two 9-lb babies. My hips are even wider than they were before giving birth, and after breastfeeding two babies, well, the girls aren't exactly where they used to be either. That's certainly not to say I should throw my hands up in the air and say, "screw it, pizza and gelato every day for the rest of my life!" Of course not. It does, however, mean that I need to be more realistic about my ultimate goals for my body.
A few months ago, I started following Brandi's blog. She's an incredible inspiration to me; a mother of two who was very overweight, if not obese, and decided to make a change. She's lost over 50lbs, and running marathons and training for a bikini competition. While I'll admit the last accomplishment of hers doesn't appeal to me at all, her honesty, her willingness to share her struggles with the online world, and her determination is nothing short of amazing. I've decided to once again, start from square one. Once I get my kitchen unpacked (a goal of mine for today...stay tuned for pictures!), my goal is to make a healthy grocery list and get back to cooking every single night. The more I cook at home, the less tempted I am to grab an unhealthy snack while out and about. The gym at Fort Benning is state of the art, and they have everything from an Olympic-sized swimming pool to a rock-climbing wall to every piece of workout equipment imaginable. I've decided (now that we're actually receiving a steady paycheck again!) to hire a personal trainer. I think part of my problem is, I don't exactly know how to work out to lose weight. What I was doing before obviously wasn't working. And while I may do very well with cardio-type exercise, I'm terrible about lifting weights. Frankly, I just don't know how, and I know I'm never going to have the body I want unless I tone up.
So there you have it. The only way I can possibly succeed is if I'm honest not only with myself, but with everyone else. If anyone has any advice, inspirational stories, workout or healthy eating tips, I'm all ears. Thanks for listening, and thanks for letting me get this off my chest.