We have all heard a million “before-and-after” success stories of weight loss, but no one ever hears, “I failed….miserably.” In fact, as I began preparing to get back in shape myself, I debated withholding my story until I had actually lost weight, so I could proudly boast my accomplishment. I mean, who wants to put a story of failure out there? Doesn’t everyone want to be like Jared from Subway, showing horrible “before” pictures only after we have amazing “after” pictures to show alongside it?
As I struggled to get started and workout consistently in May, I finally decided that I would be willing to risk falling on my face for all to see because that’s REAL. In real life, we start and stop fitness programs and health kicks over and over. Some win, but many lose this battle. As someone who has always been an active person, I have never understood this struggle more than I do now as a new mom.
Sadly, I have been this weight (135 lbs) twice before – about a year out from graduating college and when I lost my dad and my job in summer/fall of 2008. (I should insert here that I am barely 5’2″ – probably closer to 5’1 and 3/4″ to be exact – and my comfort zone for weight is usually between 112-118. That being said, I am about 20 lbs overweight right now. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but on a petite 5’2″ frame, there’s not many places to hide an extra 20 lbs….just saying.) However, the weight distribution this time is so foreign to me, as I now have a belly and boobs – two things I have never had to contend with before. I’m a girl who primarily gains “junk in the trunk” when putting on weight, which is a little easier to hide with the right clothing. However, I’m at a loss with this belly, which looks like I might still be about 20 weeks pregnant.
Not only do I now have all of this weight in weird places, I am probably the most out of shape I’ve ever been in my life. Prior to getting pregnant last summer, I had started a little running group and I ran maybe 3-4 times per week on average. During the pregnancy, I tried to stay active by going for power walks through the neighborhood. However, the preeclampsia and bed rest during those last few weeks, followed by C-section and preeclampsia recovery, really took its toll on my body. Additionally, I have the added challenge of just finding the time to exercise, as I have an infant that needs to be fed and entertained constantly. Normally when I get serious and have an intervention with myself, I do restrict calories in addition to exercising and making healthy choices with eating. However, this intervention is particularly challenging because I am the primary food source for my baby girl, so calorie restriction is not an option.
This struggle will be real. This fight will be open and candid. I may come out looking better than ever…..or I may fall flat on my face with failure. But either way, I hope that other moms out there can relate. Maybe they (or you) will join in with me, or maybe I will just motivate folks to start their own fitness challenge. My goal is simply to say, “Hey, I get it. It’s hard – really hard.” And for all of you who think that petite folks such as myself never have to work at this, you are so wrong. I am not one of the blessed ones who can eat anything and everything and not gain weight. When you see me in good shape, I have worked hard through healthy eating and regular exercise to achieve that figure.
So here goes nothing. Won’t you join me?
June 2013 Rear in Gear Challenge (downloadable calendar of exercises for June 2013)