I have struggled with my weight and body image for as long as I can remember. In fact, most of my memories circle around how I looked at the time. I can remember being in size 10 jeans at age 10 and feeling flabby. I can remember the years I was borderline anorexic, limiting my calories to 1,000 a day and my fat intake under 20 grams until my hair fell out and my cheekbones were gaunt, feeling the triumph of fitting into a size 5 dress and wearing what were skinny jeans before they were called skinny jeans. “This, ” I remember saying to myself at age 17, “is the best day of my life” as I stared at myself before prom, in a lithe silver gown that pronounced my hollows and lack of curves.
I have always yo-yoed. I’ve been “dieting” since I was 10 and became achingly conscious of my size, the fact that I was “fluffy” instead of slender, the fact that I didn’t fit any ideal of beauty that I could find respectable. I tried everything: low cal, low fat, pills, low carb, exercising until it hurt.
I remember consulting with my campus doctor at age 25 when he told me I was obsese. at the time, I was working out an hour a day, eating 1500 calories and trying to lose weight. I’m 5 10, I was starving every day, and he said “some bodies like to hold onto the weight. You maybe have a slow metabolism. My wife is the same way. Just keep trying. Try 1200 calories.”
If you’ve ever dieted– or spent a lifetime of diets, you get accustomed to that empty knawing feeling in your stomach where you want nothing more than something to fill that hole. For me, I’ve spent a lifetime feeling hungry and unsatisfied, empty and angry at my body for grasping at every calorie and not letting it go.
When I had a “reason” to lose weight I was motivated and focused. On my wedding day, I weighed 155 lbs. that was the thinnest I have been since those lean high school years (where I was 125 and sick).
Before my daughter, before I was pregnant, I was on the ketogenic diet. (Low carbs, high fat). I lost 40 lbs rapidly, had perfect skin, lots of energy, no gas (really!) but I felt
Sad and angry irrationally. Some people get this way from the lack of sugar in their diet. I remember wondering if it was worth the trade off: I wasn’t happy but I looked good.
Then I got pregnant. Every day I was sick, but after the drugs kicked in and I felt ok, I would eat. And eat. And eat. Long lost carbs were again my friend. I ate sugar like it was going out of business. And all at once I gained– 12 lbs the first trimester (amazing since I really ate very little, but I’m sure it has a lot to do with sugar). Then, it just kept going. And going.
And they just kept coming… A 12 to 16 week progression shot is below
And by the end, I was at 250 lbs. I started at 184 (which was considered overweight to begin with!)
Me in my hugely pregnant glory 2 days before we met our daughter:
So, yes, I gained a lot. About two weeks after giving birth I had dropped from 250 to 225, giving me hope that maybe the weight would just fall off like everyone told me it would with breastfeeding
But three months passed and instead of losing weight, I started to gain a pound here and there. It was awful. I struggled with my milk supply and noticed on the days I didn’t eat an obscene number of calories and fat my supply would drop the next day. I tried going walking at the start of the year and my supply further plummeted
At seven months post partum I am sitting at 235 lbs, the largest I have ever been (not pregnant that is) and I’m miserable in my skin. I kept thinking things would change, but now I realize that things aren’t going to change.
I guess I wanted to post this to go up in the face of the idea that all
Mothers lose the weight when breastfeeding. That’s a myth, and I’m
Proof of it. I know this is just a season of my life and one I try to take in stride, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
To my fellow mom readers, tell
Me about your weight gain and loss journey.