It’s now the end of summer vacation for the kids, and I’m happy to say we all made it through in one piece. Coordinating care for the kids wasn’t too bad; I had lots of help from my husband and mother-in-law. I’m now trying to get back into the swing of things around the office, figure out my schedule, and cook up lots of other wonderful things here at BabyLove Headquarters.
As I type this, I’m wearing a pair of jeans for the first time in…10 months? A year? It’s not just that jeans aren’t very comfortable, but I didn’t have a pair that fit me until last week. Why? Well, for the myriad of usual reasons, my weight has inched ever-upward since last fall. I had to face reality when I was at my last check with my doctor for my anxiety meds and saw the number on the scale.
I’m not sharing this just to bitch or complain, but I have had a lot of thoughts about this issue as I struggled with my own response to my weight gain. Weight and health are such a complicated issue, and I’m not a doctor or even weight loss expert (obviously!), but maybe some of what I’ve come up with will resonate with you, too.
First, yes, my weight gain jumped up a little after my first pregnancy; it didn’t help that the resident I was seeing during my pregnancy didn’t blink once as I gained 89 pounds during my first pregnancy. By the time I was pregnant with #2, I was lucky to have a great midwife who WOULD speak up if I started to gain too much weight as my pregnancy went along. I think I gained something like 34 pounds before I gave birth to my son. By the time I was going back to work, I had mostly lost all of the pregnancy weight; the milk I was pumping while I was gone was 75% fat. However, once we quit breastfeeding, my weight started the slow, irritating creep upwards, up to where I am today.
With a pre-teen daughter who is just starting to understand body changes and body image, I don’t want her to buy into the seduction of thinness and body shame. I’m trying very hard to dress and act and speak in a very body-positive way. I don’t want her to see me “dieting”. I absolutely, under no circumstances, want her to label entire groups of food as “bad”. I think it’s OK to talk about “sometimes” and “almost never” foods, but beyond that–it’s important to me to have kids who have a positive relationship with food. To that end, I try not to telegraph my own complicated relationship with food. When I eat a salad or lots of veggies, I try to emphasize how my body feels better when it gets fresh fruits and veggies. Instead of it being something I have to do, it’s something I enjoy doing. So that means a rigorous, strict diet plan is totally out.
I’m aware that I could be trying to get more exercise, but that has it’s own challenges: namely, time and money. We did the whole gym membership thing for a year; we had no time to use it and it cost us an annoyingly significant chunk of money. I have other excuses, too: child care, my asthma, my wrist injury…all of them add up to me not formally “exercising”. I am trying to be more active throughout the day and count the steps with my phone, and I do notice some things have started to get easier. I’m going to try to keep up the extra movement as the Fall rolls on.
Beyond that, I’m trying to practice self-acceptance. My blood pressure is far better than it was a year ago. I’m making some better choices. My mental health is DEFINITELY better than it was a year ago.
My old pants may not fit. I may not look as svelte in pictures as I used to. This is my mommy body. This is the container that carries me. I’ll try to like myself a little better, take each day and each choice as it comes, and maybe, just maybe…you can find the courage to do the same. Comparing my body to yours and trying to make a value judgement about either one of us is just plain silly, right? Right.
Now, pass the veggie tray and box of chocolates. Ahem.