Saturday, October 8, 2016

Starting Over

Despite my good intentions, I have not spent the time I should have sharing about where I am in my journey right now.  To be completely honest, there is a part of me that was waiting until I got to a better place with my postpartum weight before going public with the world, aka my little group of blog followers. I have written and erased this blog post in my mind hundreds of times over in the last 6 months. I wasn't ready to "come out" with where I am right now.  It was too painful.  Too hard.

Instead I have contemplated giving up this Fitness and Encouragement blog, my finger hovering over the "delete page" button on Facebook more than I care to admit.

I have also not made a major effort to reconnect with old friends here in the area now that we have moved back.  Not because I don't love them, or that they aren't important to me, or even because I'm not happy to be back. If I'm being completely transparent, it's because I am feeling some awful feelings about where I am and how I look right now. I have had days where I didn't have the courage to leave the house, I hated how I looked so much.  I'm avoiding mirrors and pictures at all costs. If I catch a mirror at all, it's highly possible I will change my mind about venturing out.

I'm reminded of the Clara from 2009.

I LOOK like her.

I FEEL like her.

I AM HER.  I weigh the same as I did at my heaviest.

Yes, you heard that right.  Me, Clara, who has been regarded as an "example" and an "inspiration," (not my words, yours!) who has beaten the odds dozens of times, who lost a significant amount of weight (120 pounds at one point) and then kept off most of it (over 100 pounds for a solid few years), has gained it all back.

Here is the obligatory "BEFORE...AFTER...NOW..." picture.

June 2009 (285) - July 2013 (`82) - September 2016 (285)

I realize fully how unflattering my new "now" picture is, but I was serious when I said I've been avoiding the camera.  It's literally the best picture I've got right now.  And well, while we are being real, there you have it.

I realized recently that I am not going to get to a good place until I am totally honest with not only myself, but those of you who have supported me through the years. {This is in large part due to a heart to heart talk with a very dear friend this past Monday.  Love you so much!}

I have always been REAL with my successes and failures.  But I have never quite hit ground zero again like I have now.

Having lost 100 pounds and kept it off for a few years, to gain it all back...this is hard, my friends.  On so many levels.

And I can't even say something encouraging like, "On Monday, I'm starting this new plan!" or "And I have my journey BACK down Mud Mountain totally planned out and navigated!"

Because you know what? I don't have a perfect, fool proof plan.  I am not sure when I'll be able to really start making progress back down this path to being fit again, from the scale's perspective.  

This is a really really hard place to be, but there is a silver lining.  What?  I know.  I'm questioning this line of thinking myself, but stay with me. I realized something really important when conversating with the above mentioned dear friend and she encouraged me to share it with you.

I really thought, at one point, that this healthy lifestyle that had become a habit for me, was easy and that anyone could do it.  I've ALWAYS said I'm not a super disciplined person...I'm really truly not. I was sure that if someone wanted it enough, they could have the same successes I did.

That very narrow thinking has me kind of lost right now, almost in a haze of confusion, not understanding how I managed to land here, or how to climb back out when I don't even have the energy to food prep. With all I have accomplished and overcome, this should be super easy. Just do what I did before. Retrace my steps.



When we decided to expand our family in late 2014, I kept worrying that I would gain too much weight while pregnant. I voiced it a few times and anyone I talked to reassured me that I was different now. I knew how to eat.  I could stay active.  I was an athlete! This would be no problem.

It's quite possible that this would have been true had I not experienced the miscarriage.  Or at least partially true. But when your whole world comes crashing down on you and you lose a baby completely unexpectedly, your life as you know it, will never be the same.

So I gained weight during my first, albeit short pregnancy.  Then I gained weight being depressed about the baby we lost, wondering if I had waited too long, and was too old now to have a healthy baby again.

Then there was that moment when I had a positive pregnancy test, just three months after my loss, where I was SO torn.  I felt absolute fear, total elation and was totally upset with myself from a health perspective.  I weighed 225 at that point, and was newly pregnant AGAIN.  There was nowhere to go but upwards on the scale.

My priority was bringing a healthy baby into the world and having a successful pregnancy, so I focused on that.  I tried a whole 30 during the first trimester and finally gave up and ate crackers and cheese because I was starving - I couldn't stand the thought of a green vegetable and raw meat made me want to throw up.  I never did throw up, but just felt like I needed to.  For MOST of the pregnancy.  Only when I gave into cravings did I feel partially decent. And this baby liked S'mores of all things in addition to tons of foods I hadn't indulged in regularly for YEARS.  Part of me felt sweet relief eating any and everything.  I had been so "good" for so long, and everyone encouraged me to eat up, you're pregnant!  I was plowing my way through this pregnancy eating all the things, and feeding that emotional eating demon that made me overweight in the first place. While things seemed to go ok with the pregnancy, I did not know, until they laid this sweet baby boy on my chest, if I would get to meet him this side of heaven.

I did get my rainbow baby.  I have zero regrets about what it took to get him here.

What I honestly regret is not sharing this with you sooner.

I'm left with these difficult to process, challenging facts:

- I haven't been able to make huge dietary changes since baby W arrived without severely affecting my milk supply. Believe me, I have tried.  More than once.  I am one of those breastfeeding mamas who struggles with supply.  I make JUST enough, not a drop more, and that's with tons of supplements, etc., and, unfortunately, tons of carbs (and sweet potatoes and white potatoes aren't enough - trust me, I tried.)
- I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. I had a touch of this with Lizzie so I recognized it when it reared it's ugly head.  It's MUCH better now thanks to supplementation and talking about it, but it's also been a vicious cycle of stress on top of everything else a new mama goes through.  We moved while I was on maternity leave to add to that stress.
- Breastfeeding does NOT equal weight loss for everyone. Some women get super skinny while nursing their babies.  I have not.  Instead, I've actually gained 20 pounds since Wyatt was around 2 weeks old.  Not everyone just loses weight - some women are very fortunate to be able to.  Others, like me, do not.
- I haven't had a full night's rest in almost a year.  I had terrible sleep issues while pregnant.  I would get up anywhere from 5-7 times per NIGHT to potty.  My back hurt constantly.
- I have almost zero extra time/energy for anything once I am done with work, and feeding a baby every two hours ALL DAY EVERY DAY. I am so spent many times the "what's for dinner" question in my house has been answered by a local restaurant or peanut butter and jelly.  Ugh.
- I am solidly around 280-285 pounds.  I seem to move daily within that range.  My highest weight was 285 in 2009.  I'm there again.
-I am scared.

Yes.  I'm scared that I won't ever be fit again.  No, I'm not being dramatic.  I have a hard time getting up off the floor.  I tried doing some kettlebell workouts recently and ended up throwing out my back.  I've never thrown out my back! I was literally down for days.

I share all of this for THREE reasons.

ONE - I need this blog, probably more than anyone reading it ever needed me.  I started it in early 2010 when I had lost 30lbs and then broke my ankle. I sat at this same dining room table articulating my first post, having no idea what the result would be but praying it would help me not lose focus since I was unable to walk/run.

TWO - I need to say I'm sorry.  I'm sorry for not coming to the realization that this is NOT easy, especially for a mama of more than one kid, especially for a woman in the workforce, especially for someone who travels for work.

THREE - My story is NOT over.  In 2010 when I began this journey, I had NO IDEA I would lose 100+ pounds and get as fit as I did.  And yet, I did.  I surpassed my goals.  I experienced tons of wins and just as many setbacks.  This setback, this one is toughest.  But it's far from over.

Somewhere really deep down, I know, underneath these squishy layers of motherhood, beneath the exhausted puffy bags under my eyes, and the entire wardrobe that is packed away, lies the strength to do this again.

Will I do it the same way?  Probably not.

Because I am not who I was when I started this journey.

Had you told me I was going to gain all of the weight back, I am not sure how I would have responded.  Probably would have scoffed at you. I was overconfident in my ability to do this.

Today, I am humbled by my reality.

Thanks for reading this all the way through. I hope it made sense, and if nothing else, resonated with someone else out there who isn't where they want to be today.  We can do this, my friends.  One day at a time, one step at a time, and for right now, one hour at a time.  More to come on what's next, and hopefully soon.




Amanda Towne said...

(((Clara))) You are beautiful. You have a lot on your plate. Please be gentle with yourself.

I never lost weight when breastfeeding (and I had enough milk for a small country). I gained weight after each baby, and then some. Heck, my "baby" is almost 17, and I'm still struggling. I got skinny ONCE in all those years.

Thank you for your honestly. I look forward to seeing your successes as you move forward.

Unknown said...

Oh Sweet Sweet friend. I love you so much. I have so much respect for you because your doing your best to take care of Lil man. To supply milk for him is a very selfless act. I'm having to learn the hard way with my sweet husband reminding me not to beat myself up because so much has changed since I had Zoey. I'm telling you the same thung. Give yourself and your body a break. I love you friend.

God Bless, Crystal Smith

Melanie Gao said...

What an amazing example of honesty and vulnerability. You make it feel so okay to say "I thought I had something figured out but I didn't and I'm scared and not sure what to do next." Everyone can relate to those feelings. Not many can say it as openly as you did. You're amazing and I'm so glad to know you.