9 Months On, 18 Months Off
After Alexander was born, I thought I’d just wait to lose the baby weight until I was done having babies. Makes sense, right? I mean, why work hard to lose all that weight just in time to gain it all back? But that was when I thought I might be wanting another baby around now-ish. And now that it’s now-ish? I’m not ready for baby number 2 at all. Which is fine, except there goes my excuse about not bothering to lose the baby weight. I don’t know when I’ll be ready for another baby, but I do know that I was really unhappy with my post-pregnancy body. So after more than a year of feeling fat and frumpy, I decided to take action and work toward feeling good about my body again.
The latest round of Biggest Blogging Loser (BBL) came around at exactly the right time. Since it started at the beginning of January, I used the holiday season to get all my overeating out of my system. I ate whatever and as much as I felt like eating, and, honestly, by the end of December all I wanted in the whole world was a salad. But! I was about to start a weight loss competition! It certainly wouldn’t do to lose weight before the initial weigh-in. When I contemplated just one little salad to relieve the bloating and feel better, my inner competitor countered with HERE HAVE MORE QUESO. And so I did.
The first day of BBL, though, it was game-on. I was prepared with a Pinterest board full of of healthy recipes and a solid workout plan. I did my initial weigh-in, took my full body pic, cringed at both the number on the scale and the shape of my midsection, and got to work.
In addition to my usual once-a-week, 2-hour dance class, I started going to the neighborhood rec center after putting the baby to bed and running on the treadmill three nights per week. I decided to do the Couch to 5k program, mostly because (1) it was free, and (2) it was something I could do without sacrificing time with my son.
It worked. The pounds started coming off, and for several weeks I was at the front of the competition. But then a wine-filled weekend with my parents that resulted in a gain happened to coincide with other participants making major progress with their losses, and I fell to 5th place.(Look, some things are more important than winning weight-loss competitions, and enjoying a few glasses of wine with my parents is one of those things.)
I never managed to claw my way back to the top, but you know what? It’s cool. At first, I really wanted to win, and the cash prize motivated the hell out of me. But then I started seeing results. People complimented me at work and at the dance studio. I rescued multiple pairs of pants from the stack of pre-pregnancy clothes I’d resigned myself to donating because they’d probably never fit again. Instead of choosing to spend a day at the spa as my 30th birthday present to myself, I signed up for a 5k race. (What better way to celebrate being in great shape when I turn 30? Plus, it’s a mud run, so it’s kind of like a spa day.)
And now, for the first time in a long time, I feel good about my body. I’m not embarrassed if Tim’s around when I’m getting dressed. I don’t spend my 2 hours at dance trying to avoid the mirror, to avoid comparing myself to the skinnier girls in class. I think maybe — just maybe — I might be able to go to the pool this summer in a swim suit that doesn’t scream “I’m ashamed of my body.”
I have an arsenal of delicious healthy recipes to cook for my family. Every weekend, I sit down and choose 5-6 meals to cook for the week and make a grocery list. I never thought I’d be the type to meal plan, grocery shop, and do almost all the cooking, but here I am. And I kind of love it. (Mostly because Tim does all the dishes. If I had to cook and do the dishes, my enjoyment level would decrease drastically.) Most weeks I choose a few tried-and-true recipes with one or two new ones thrown in to the mix so we don’t get bored. Now that BBL is over, I’ll probably start rotating in some of our old favorites occasionally (spicy macaroni and cheese, I’m looking at you). But for the most part, I think we’ll be sticking with the new stuff.
I didn’t win the cash prize. Hell, I didn’t even finish in the top five. (And that says less about my accomplishments and more about those of the winners — those ladies did some amazing work!) But BBL was just the kick in the butt I needed to get back to my goal weight. It’s gotten me to a place where I won’t need to participate in the next round, because I don’t need to lose any more weight, just maintain my current weight. It’s gotten me to a place where I feel damn proud of my body. And in that sense, I won. Big time.
In the spirit of being proud of my accomplishments, here are my before and after pictures. Between January 7 and March 31, I lost 17.2 pounds.
Damn, it feels good to have my body back!