As you know, I. Love. Food. I’m not going to bore you again with my love affair. Suffice it to say my weight loss efforts over the last several months have created an emotional roller coaster.
I was SO pumped about my initial 11 lb drop that first month and then equally bummed by my zero pound drop the month after that; that I may or may not have tried to bite off more than I can chew. My sisters and I got together to try doing the military diet. I’m sure you have seen it on Pinterest. I figured I could do anything for three days, right? Wrong. I had NO problems the first day. By the middle of the second day I had a splitting headache and was shaking. By dinner I was binging on Papa John’s. My sisters were able to finish the three days but felt disgusting by the end (hot dogs and saltines will do that to you).
One of them re-vamped the military diet into one of greater quantity and of higher quality foods. They were much more successful with this new version (consisting of salads rather than hot dogs) and by the third day they were hungry, but not feeling gross. I fared very much like I did the first time. It’s just not enough food for a nursing mother. I would drop a pound or two but I was miserable.
It was about this time that Matt sat me down and gave me a good talking to. He said, among other things:
- Henry is less than six months old.
- He loves me the way I am
- I have better things to do than account for every single calorie that touches my lips
- He thinks I’m beautiful
- Slow and steady wins the race
- He prefers me “fat and happy” to “slimming and grumpy”
Ugh. Why does he have to be RIGHT all the time! The following weeks were filled with the inner turmoil that comes with trying to align my goals with my limitations.
My next brilliant plan was thus:
- Count calories only Monday through Friday
- Not stress about being over my calorie goal (SO hard!)
- Exercise four times a week
- Drink a gallon of water a day
Like most of my brilliant plans, this didn’t quite pan out either. I think that it is actually a very good plan, I’m just far too “free spirited” to stick to it. In the morning I would be gung ho, by lunch time my resolve would be wavering. By the time dinner time rolls around I would have long since jumped in to a pool of chocolate chips.
Why do I have to make things so difficult on myself? I KNOW how to do this! I KNOW that if I push myself too hard and too fast I will NOT lose weight any faster but I WILL be crazy.
I just need to not let food control my life. The problem is not that I had the wrong plan, but that I had a plan at all. Anything beyond “It’s ok to feel hungry”, exercise, and drinking enough water is not practical for me until after I am finished nursing. The ironic thing is that as soon as I stopped stressing (REALLY stopped stressing, not just pretending to stop stressing) and allowed myself to focus on other things, I stopped over-eating and started exercising because I enjoyed it (not because I needed to burn calories).
Predictability the result is that I am not losing weight as quickly as I would like, but I AM still losing it. My clothes fit better and my face is thinner. When I take a step back and look at my progress since the beginning of the year I have come very far. I have lost a total of about 18 pounds and am less than ten pounds from reaching my pre-pregnancy weight.
So what is my new plan? “It’s okay to feel hungry”, exercise is fun, water is awesome.
The important thing for me to keep in mind is that I am NOT giving up! I just have to remember that five little one’s depend on me being in a good mood and one little one depends on me for his food (look at me, I’m a poet but I didn’t know it, budump CHING!) I have been a slave to food in one way or another for 30 years and changing that paradigm will take time. I recently read Elder Perry’s biography, An Uncommon Life. As I was reading, one paragraph leapt out to me. Elder Perry had been somewhat of a workaholic. After his father died he resolved to spend less time at work and more time with his family. Lee Perry (Elder Perry’s son and the author of the book) wrote:
Life adjustments, such as throttling back to spend more time with family [or in my case, breaking free from an obsession with food], are far easier said than done. And no matter how genuine a person’s intent, it’s difficult to break out of existing patterns. Relapses and lag effects are more common than not in most cases of significant change. This is not hypocrisy; it is an integral part of being human while striving to better oneself.
Just keep moving, Courtney. Just keep moving.