I had been doing weight watchers for about a month, exhausted from carrying around a 5-month-old and general lack of sleep, when I sent my best friend Lauren, the text.
“I’m fat, and I’m killing myself inside about it”, pretty much sums up what I said.
I was 15 lbs heavier than my pre-baby weight and I was brutally beating myself up about it. The kind of self-loathing I was putting myself through was akin to chaining a cannon ball to my ankle and jumping into the deepest part of the ocean; I was suffocating and I was stuck. Every time I looked in the mirror I told myself something horrible. It didn’t help to see women around me lose their baby weight without lifting a finger (thanks facebook). And I tried everything. I tried going vegan (like healthy vegan, not oreo and french fries vegan) I tried cutting out bread. I tried cutting out grains. Obviously, I tried Weight Watchers, and over the 6 weeks I paid to try and lose weight, the number on the scale NEVER dropped. I tried to exercise but with our living situation at the time and a husband that worked 2nd shift, it was very difficult, and I was exhausted just from everyday life. I was failing.
Now I am going to put myself out there and assume that at some point in your life, maybe your whole life, my story has been your story. Whether you are a man or a woman, had a baby or not, fit or overweight, at some point you have beaten yourself up about how you look as well. And I am going to assume that this ‘self vs. self’ boxing match produced very few results. But, my story doesn’t end here. My story is not only about weighing myself down with hatred and pummeling my spirit with insults. It’s also about freedom. And if your story is like my story, then it isn’t over, and there is still hope.
Willow had just turned 9 months when I met a young woman, who like me, had struggled losing weight after having a baby. Only, she had gained a lot more weight than I had, and she had found a way to start losing it. She looked fantastic. I nonchalantly asked her how she did it, trying to pretend like I wasn’t dying to dump my hurting soul all over the car and beg that she tell me her secret or I would kidnap her until she let me know. But I didn’t need to know what she did. All I needed to know was that she did it. The encounter with another human being -not pinterest, not health magazines- who was going through the same thing I was but had found success gave me hope that I could too.
It has been three months since that conversation. I am not beating myself up (as much) anymore. I started running. I eat good food, food I like, food I use to nourish my body rather than comfort my soul. I have lost 12 lbs and fit back into my pre-baby clothing. I have learned to take the energy I used to think poorly of myself and use it to empower myself to move forward. I have learned to love my body no matter what stage of health I am in. And how it started, my journey towards health, both body and soul, was with someone else’s story. So, I am going to share my story, my promenade towards health. I want to share what is working for me, how I am struggling, where I find the strength to move on, because if I can do it, you can do it. Because our stories can inform someone else’s stories.
Here are the first two steps I implemented that are really working for me, and they’re both apps and they’re both free:
My Fitness Pal You may have heard of this before. I think I may have jumped on the band wagon a little late, but this app really helped me take control of my eating habits. The app helps you configure a daily calorie target based on your weight and goals and you can easily keep track of how many calories you have consumed in a day. You can also keep track of your activity. Let’s say you burn 400 calories jogging, you are then able to eat an extra 400 calories that day. You can add recipes, keep track of your weight and measurements and observe your nutritional intake. There is also the option to sync with all kinds of neat gadgets that make the entire process a little easier. Don’t have a smart phone? You can also sign up on their website and keep track from your computer. I will be talking about this handy dandy little tool more in the future but if you want to look a little more into My Fitness Pal, check out the link here.
Nike Training Club
Having a newborn baby makes getting out of the house for a jog kind of a task, and don’t even think about the gym unless you have an extra 3 hours to spare. Nike Training Club provides an intense 30-45 minute workout you can do in your living room. And it’s hard. Really hard. So hard my cut, high school wrestler of a husband only made it half way through an advanced workout the first time he tried, and it’s designed for women. This app is like a personal trainer in your pocket. It builds athleticism, balance and strength. It has helped me run longer and faster. It also shapes my body in a way that going for a jog cannot. Very little equipment, if any, is needed. And seriously, it’s really hard, –I used to train for triathlons and I gave birth, I should know– so take it easy at first and be gracious to yourself. To read more on Nike Training Club you can visit their website here.
This is the beginning of a story of empowerment and strength; it’s my story, and it isn’t over. In fact, this post is timely as it has been hard to stay in the groove with all the snow and activities going on in my life the past week. If you need encouragement, feel stuck, are continually putting yourself down or just like health and fitness, I hope that my story gives you the power to change your story. If you’re hating yourself, I hope it helps you love yourself better. If you feel like nothing is working for you, I hope it can be a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. If you are failing, I hope it gives you the courage to get up and try again.