Monday, June 13, 2011

The Shape of Things

Alright, this post is so overdue it is ridunkulous. I wanna talk about the bod for a sec....okay who am I kidding. I am going to go on for at least 12 paragraphs about it. So I shouldn't let you believe it will be short and sweet at all.

Are you one of those girls who spends a good portion of your life worried about how you look? How much you weigh, that mole, that blemish, that out of place hair, pick.... pick.... pick.. pick.pick. Well I was one of those girls...okay I should clarify, I was one of those girls who always worried about her weight. Thought about it pretty much every single day and looked down at myself for it. I am definitely not a stresser when it comes to out of place hair is never in place. Normally by the end of the day I look like I have been electrocuted because my little frizzies are all standing up. If it is the least bit humid, forget it. That battle was lost before it started.

Before I got pregnant I had some serious fears about what it would do to my body. I had visions of me as a very large woman wearing pants with elastic waistbands and cankles.....if there is one thing I fear more than being grotesquely murdered it is cankles...okay I guess being grotesquely murdered is higher on the list, but not by much. I was so relieved when the day after birth I was looking at my back-to-normal ankles.  

Anyway back to the body talk. As I was saying I had a fear of what pregnancy would do to me. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for me to not gain too much weight. I thought it would be a constant battle, when in fact I pretty much ate normally....well save a few weeks where I had to have chocolate malts like every other day...and in reality I didn't gain as much as I feared I might...if that makes sense.

Eventhough I was pretty certain a lot of the weight fell off pretty quickly I was still afraid to step on the scale. I didn't really know what I weighed before the baby I just knew what I weighed at 10weeks. Simply judging by how my pre-preggo pants were fitting I knew that it wasn't all off yet. So the scale and me....we avoided eye contact. But the amazing part was I didn't really care. I remember looking at myself in the mirror naked shortly after birth and I didn't close my eyes and run away, as I did before ever having a baby. I would do anything possible to avoid really looking at myself in the mirror. But after Jack was born it was like I was kind of accepting of this new figure. It was flawed to the extreme. My stretch marks alone would have most ladies running for the hills and swearing off kids entirely. But it was sort of like my brain was finally giving my body a break. Like it was saying 'sure this isn't ideal, but you did a good job with that baby making thing so I am not going to look down on you for once'. It was amazing. Can I just tell you how awesome it has been to go this long without thinking badly about my body? Which just goes to show you how awful women are to themselves. Seriously ladies, we need to work on our brains because this reprieve from feeling bad about myself has really opened my eyes to how awesome life could be, how happy we could be if we would just give ourselves a break!

I decided to start running again a while back mostly because I insisted on buying a jogging stroller instead of a standard stroller and I didn't want to say 'no' if someone were to ask me if I actually use it as a jogging stroller. But I also knew I had some work to do and I want to capitalize on that old theory that losing weight while breast feeding is supposidly easier. Here's where I will get real with you people. I know that there is no way you will judge me as harshly as I judge myself, so I am going to give you the numbers....the real numbers. Not the numbers that I have subtracted 10 from...even though I totally want to do that. And if I am being honest, I would love to subtract 20 from them, but no, I will be truthful....damn it. So at 10 weeks I weighed 202 lbs. Considering how sick I was, I am assuming I probably only gained 5lbs max between 0-10 weeks. Putting my pre-preggo weight just under if you're curious my max BMI, which if you ask me is a ridiculous standard anyway, is around 175 or something. The bottom range of my BMI, last I checked anyway, is somewhere in the 135 range.

The lowest I have ever weighed was 138, thank you seriously, I was sick in the head as a teenager. When I was 16 I decided to go on this new "diet". Basically I would skip breakfast, telling my mom I would eat at school. For lunch I would eat a small ziplock full of mini-pretzels, a low-fat food (sick that I still know the calorie count), and a diet coke. Then I would come home and tell my mom that I ate a HUGE lunch and was too full for dinner. Then I would go for a 3 mile run. If there is one thing I can say it is that anorexia works. I went from a size 18 to a size 8 in about 6 months. It was absolutely crazy. I see that now. I was so messed up though. Even when I hit 138 and looked like a skeleton, in my head I felt fat and disgusting. I literally had bones protruding from everywhere and the vision in my head was of a giant fat person. I was addicted to running and losing weight. I would run 6 miles and still not feel like it was enough. If I didn't lose at least 2lbs a week I would feel horrible about myself and get even more freakish about running.

But my mom was wise. She knew what was going on and when I hit my low weight she told me that if I didn't stop she would take me to a doctor. It was a wake-up call. I didn't know anyone else had figured out what was going on...HAHAHAAAAA. That is hilarious to me now. Like someone could secretly drop like 70lbs without anyone noticing. But she wasn't a dummy. Knowing someone else knew was a wake up call. So I stopped...or rather I started eating food again. But I decided to become a vegetarian. I had read the only two dietary choices that really help maintain weight are 1) a low-carb/high-protein diet or 2) a high-carb/low-protein diet. Now if you hang out with me for more than 4 seconds in real life, you will know I am a bread addict. If there was a job that involved being a bread taster I would have it. 

You know those hot loaves of bread they have at the grocery store? yeah I can eat one of those in one sitting. I shit you not. So anyway, I knew low-carb wasn't for me. So I opted for the low-protein and gave up meat. I still ate some protein, don't worry. Being a vegetarian definitely allowed me to maintain my weight to a certain degree. I did go back up a bit. Which I will admit, was totally necessary. I look back at pictures of my lowest weight and it makes me sick. I looked awful.

By the time Andy and I got married I probably weighed around 150. Which I think was a pretty healthy weight for me at the time. I was able to maintain my weight for a while. It wasn't until the end of undergrad and then grad school that really did me in. I went back up. It got to the point where my size 16 pants were feeling really tight. As I do when I am living in denial, I stayed away from the scale. I have no idea what I weighed. If I could take a stab in the dark I would say 220 maybe? not sure.

When we moved back to Colorado 3 years ago, I was ready to get busy taking the weight back off. Slowly but surely it started dropping back off. I went from barely fitting in my size 16 to fitting in a lot of 12s. I think size 12 is a healthy size for me. I have saved one pair of size 10 pants as a 'just in case these ever magically fit again'. But I am pretty certain that they won't ever fit again. And I have decided that is okay. I am 28, quickly approaching my 29th birthday and size 12 is okay with me.

Okay so what all this is leading up to is that I stepped on the scale again this weekend. I didn't really want to, but I wanted to see where I am at. So at 41 weeks preggo I weighed 230 (gasp! I can't believe I just told you that). Meaning, I gained somewhere around 30-35lbs. Which I was totally comfortable with. I was actually surprised that I didn't gain a ton more than that, but I did try really hard to eat healthy and walk a lot.

And just under 3 months post-partum I weighed....oh god! do I really have to say? Okay....205. Alright, on the one hand 205 is a big number. It is way more than I would ever like to admit to you,  but at the same time I was kind of pleasantly surprised. That means almost all of the baby weight is already gone. And if my boobs weren't ginormous I would probably only be 160...okay maybe they only weigh like 5 lbs. Hahaaahaa.

Now that I know where I really am and have realized how quickly and semi-effortlessly that weight came back off, I am determined to figure out if I can get some of this other extra padding off. Jack is definitely not to blame for the rest of this. This was all me. But perhaps he can help me get it off. Having a baby as a weightloss plan? That is a new way of looking at having children. But that is what I am going to find out. 

I am now wearing my size 16 pants and a few of the 14s....don't even get me started on how random it is that all my pants are sized differently despite being the same number. And I am giving myself 6 months....although I am feeling pretty relaxed about this, so if it takes longer so be it. My goal is to get to be 175. So 30lbs by Christmas, give or take, just to give me a date to shoot for. But unlike my weight loss "plans" of the past, I am going to give myself a break. I am not going to freakishly count my calories or limit what I can and can't eat. I am sure if I gave up some stuff that the weight would be gone in half the time, but I want to be a real person. I want to eat and drink and enjoy life the way it is meant to be enjoyed. I am not going to go crazy and eat hamburgers and fries everyday, but I don't want to deny myself a hamburger every once in a while either. I never want to think 'oh I can't have that because I am dieting'.

Therefore the majority of this weight has to come off by physical activity. Which means, I am officially becoming a runner again.....well my version of a runner. If you are a real runner, don't offer to go for a run with me. I am not a real runner. I am slow. I can't talk when I run so we wouldn't have fun running together anyway. And after about 3 miles I usually say to myself 'that's enough. Any more than this and I should be driving to the destination'. I would say I am running about 1/2-3/4 of a mile right now. A couple more weeks of this and I should be ready to start ramping up. Basically I want to get to the point where I am not crazy panting at the end of the run. I am sure I could push myself now. I could go a mile or even more if I really pushed myself, but this is the new Natalie. This is the "get healthy, but don't hate on yourself" Natalie. So there it is blogisphere: a goal! 30lbs, 3 miles, and 6 months. Give or take 10lbs, 1 mile and 3 months. Hahahaaa. This is officially going to be the most relaxed "get fit" plan I have ever been on.

I am really writing all this out for me. The main goal of this post was just to tell you not to worry. My "baby weight" came off really quickly. And I also want to encourage you all to take it easier on yourselves. I know I used to be a nut case when it came to my weight, but I feel like I've wasted a lot of my life because of it. So I am picking up a glass of something delicious....let's make it a strawberry margarita, yum!, and I am making a toast/promise to myself. I, Natalie, will not try really really hard not to look down at myself for my weight ever again.

If after 6 months I am running 3 miles and I still weigh 205, I will be happy with it. It is just a number. My goal is to be healthy and happy. And in my opinion, it doesn't matter what you weigh, if you can run 3 miles regularly without dying, you are probably not too unhealthy.

I haven't really decided if I will check in with you all regularly. I feel like I should. To keep myself going and to let you all know I am still working at it. But I also don't want to report back every week, that is too much and I don't want to see my scale that often. Hmmmm. What to do? How about we talk in a month? You and I will meet back here on July 13th and see how it's going. There we go. A goal, a plan and a date with my favorite peeps.


  1. I love your new way of thinking and now want to adopt both your baby and your attitude. What...too much?? :) Just kidding! We'll be your biggest cheerleaders!

  2. I really really appreciate you putting numbers out there. I know that takes a lot of guts to do, putting your weight on the interwebs, but you made me feel SO much better about getting pregnant at my current weight (its more than your pre-pregnancy weight but not by all that much). I looked at your pregnancy pictures and always wondered! Thanks for taking the leap. :-)