Four years ago, my biological clock started screaming at me. It was time to procreate, dammit. But being the planner that I am, I had a checklist I wanted to accomplish before giving into that most primal of urges. At the top of that list? To lose weight. A lot of weight. Fifty pounds to be exact.
So I asked around, on social media natch, to see how others had managed this herculean feat. You see, I know how to lose weight. I have been losing (and gaining and losing again) weight for at least the last ten years. In theory, I knew exactly what I needed to do. But this time was going to be different. I wasn’t going to stick to any particular diet or regimen. I was going to be logical and just track my calories, and to that end, I downloaded MyFitnessPal.
I entered in my starting weight, 250 pounds. Honestly, typing that into the app, and typing it here, now, was probably the hardest part of the whole ordeal. I then selected my weekly goal, to lose a pound a week. MyFitnessPal did the math and we were off to the races!
For ten months, I stuck stringently to the plan and lost 75 pounds! I was ecstatic! I felt better than ever, was active and attended all manner of exercise classes, but I don’t think I was really that fun to be around. I was doing so well, and I wanted to talk about it. But unless you’re dieting or the one losing all the weight, it’s not really something anyone wants to talk about, certainly not at length. I was also obnoxious to eat around. I can modify any restaurant’s most delicious and decadent offerings into something only a rabbit would want to eat. Not exactly enthralling as a dinner companion.
The goal was to get healthy enough to get pregnant, and I succeeded on both counts. Only problem? I was now completely and totally obsessed with counting calories and terrified that gaining any weight would lead to a total backslide. I was so strict that I even logged my calories on the day I gave birth. No, I am not kidding.
To save my sanity, I had to stop. I had to stop tracking every bite of food that passed my lips, stop berating myself for indulging cravings, stop obsessing about my weight.
And guess what happened? I gained the weight back. Not all of it, but some. Enough that I feel like a failure despite having a great career, an amazing family, now including a toddler, and more friends and interests and hobbies than I can count.
So where am I today? I am somewhere between my two extremes and trying desperately to be okay with that. More than anything, I want to solve my own body issues before my daughter is old enough to develop her own. I want to find value in myself that doesn’t correlate to a scale. I want to be able to make healthy choices without demanding that it result in a smaller pant size.
Yes, I want it all. As Caissie St. Onge so brilliantly pointed out last year, if even Oprah can’t be happy with her body, it’s not our weights that need to be addressed. It’s our self-worth. So that’s where I’ll start this time, and I hope you will, too.