I'm going to share a little bit more information than I have about my weight loss journey, if it means that even one person can realize "Hey, I CAN do this too!"
I've been a little vague about where I started. When people ask, I just tell them how much I've lost, never giving past and current weight numbers. This past week, I finally got the info from my old laptop imported into the right user account on the new desktop. One of the first things I did was pop all the pictures into iPhoto. Talk about a slap in the face! I knew I'd gotten big, but wow. It didn't really help that people were always shocked when I would tell them my weight, they would always say they'd never guess that high! So here I go. My highest weight was 250--but that was when I was ready to deliver Munchkin. So give me some slack! I dropped 50 in the first 6 weeks from normal baby-related stuff and breastfeeding. I rocked along there until Mark came home from Afghanistan. I gained about 25 of it back. I stayed there for, well, until I was pregnant with Lil Man. I fluctuated a bit, but I started my pregnancy with him at 224.
I'd been exercising at Curves for a few months, so I continued to exercise throughout my pregnancy (until the end when they put me on modified bed rest). I didn't have horrible morning sickness, but I was avoiding food a little at the beginning. Then the scary part--I felt like I could never get full!! I would eat, and try to make healthy choices, but it seemed that nothing would fill me up. I was terrified that I was going to gain way too much weight (due to my starting weight, they wanted me to gain as little as possible), but I steadily lost weight throughout the first half of the pregnancy! I was down to 202 for most of that part. Then as Lil Man really started to grow and everything else that he needed, I got back up to 227. Technically only a gain of 3, so not bad! 4 days after his birth, I was back into my regular jeans and at 204. Hey, a 10lb baby and everything else that goes with it will do that!!
I started exercising at Curves again at the beginning of February. I gave myself the 6 weeks (it may have been a few days less, but I was fully recovered) and then I really wanted to see changes. We joined The Alaska Club in March because I couldn't go to Curves regularly because of the lack of child care. I was tired of choosing exercise over family time. One of the best things we've done. As a new member, you get a consultation with a fitness manager so that you can learn the club and get an idea of where you're at and what your goals should look like. After a body test, the computer popped out that I had a great lean body mass ratio (never would've thought that!!) and my goal weight should be 160. Remember at this point I'm about 204...I was thinking, "yeah, right, ok..."
Enter a fabulous employee, Daniel. Not a trainer, not a nobody, I'm not sure what his official job description was, but he went above and beyond and was amazing. They have a weight circuit called the ExpressWay. Easy to use machines, cards to keep track of weight and seat settings, pretty much dummy proof. Daniel was always super cheerful and so motivating. Three days a week--Mon, Wed, Fri, I was in there and he was making the workouts fly by. Before I knew it, change was happening!! I also did yoga classes on Tues & Thurs, so I was at the gym 5 days a week. I was doing cardio on the elliptical or the stationary recumbent bike on my weight days as well. I also used the LoseIt! app on my phone--an amazing way to see what you're eating and burning!
It wasn't too long before Daniel started helping me understand the weights in what I call "the big boy room". More free weights and those types. Completely intimidating if you don't know what you're doing and even more intimidating if there's a bunch of buff guys in there! I also got some exercises to do from the physical therapist to help my knee--and it was basically just things to strengthen my inner thighs and bum! Well, a bad day happened. Daniel no longer worked for The Alaska Club. From what I can gather, his "above and beyond" was a little TOO above and beyond and it got him in trouble. So yes, you can be too good at your job. I hit a bump at that point. He'd made the workouts fun and seem to fly by, even though I was working hard. I can't afford a personal trainer, especially not 3x/week! I kept going on my own, but found myself skipping parts because I was bored. I went back to the fitness manager to talk about what I could do. (I'd had another consultation or two to see how I was progressing and it had all been great!) She recommended spin class and a weight lifting class. I tried the spin class for a few weeks but I'm not a huge fan and I tried the weight lifting class once and got hurt because I couldn't keep up with the techniques and the class was so big I couldn't see the instructor. (Excuses, I know, but hey, I didn't like it, end of story.) I also wasn't a fan of that class because it meant I couldn't go to my yoga classes because of my childcare time limit. At that point, I realized there was a yoga class every day of the week. I added in the other three days and I've been in that routine since.
So it's been a few months of nothing but yoga and I'm at 165. Within 5 pounds of my goal weight. I don't see these budging without some major changes--Lil Man is still nursing, my goal is til 2 and we'll reevaluate our wants and needs at that point. I've been told it's not uncommon for a nursing mom's body to want to hang on to that last 5-10 pounds until the child is weaned as an emergency backup, so I'm viewing this as normal. Also, I could eat better. We don't eat horribly, but nothing great either. We cleaned up our act a bit when Munchkin was diagnosed with so many food allergies, but still, nothing amazing. Mark attempted paleo for a bit but it didn't stick. I try to view it as a lesson in moderation. I'm not depriving myself of anything because if I do, I'll break and ruin all my progress.
Today I was at Target and I decided that I had to get new workout clothes (hey, I'm wearing them 5 days a week, I deserve ones that FIT!). I knew I wasn't an XL anymore, but figured with the compression capris I was wanting, a L would do. Nope...too big!! Even a sports bra, I had to get a M!! This is AMAZING. I went shopping on President's Day at Old Navy and got two pairs of jeans. One a size 10, the other a size 8!! When I started this journey, I was happy when I fit into a pair of size 14 jeans from ON! I'm solidly in the medium category now! I also got fit for a new bra. OMG, I felt like a Barbie doll when they handed me a 34G. Previously wearing 38F (38DD prior to pregnancy)...yeah, it was a trip. It's insane. No tricks, no gimmicks, no pills, no starving, just honest to goodness exercise and attention to what I eat--even if that attention is "I'm eating too many oreos." as I dunk another one in milk!
I promise, I'm not the best role model in the world, but I feel that because I've done this slowly and without any "extras", I'm setting myself up for this to be a long term loss. My strength is so much better and I'm still noticing improvements. My Friday yoga class is intense. The instructor has been described as "boot camp yoga" and he teaches a lot of kickboxing classes and I believe he also does one of the weight lifting classes. He's a challenge, I tell ya, but I'm already noticing my strength is better and I'm better able to handle his classes as time goes on. I used to think that there was no way on God's green earth that I'd ever be able to fit into a size 6, but I'm seeing that may be possible--and no surgery included! I don't think I'll lose much more weight, but I do see myself losing more inches as I can tone what's left. My belly still needs some work, but it's always been my trouble spot and after two kiddos, it didn't get any better!
So here I am, nowhere near the end of my journey, but I feel like I'm far enough that I can say that I'm a success story. I know this will be a lifelong commitment, but hopefully, I'm making it a longer journey by reducing my risk of weight-related disease. I'm excited to see where I go, sad that it took getting so bad before I really worked for change, but now that I've been there, I'm not going back.