By Heather C.
With all the New Year hoopla over, I scanned my Facebook page and saw many statuses regarding weight loss. As predicted, it seems a lot of my friends have goals to lose weight this year. And sure, you could probably put me in that boat, except my goal is not really about the weight.
With nine pounds to go, I did not put a ton of effort into weight loss. It was hard enough keeping up with three kids, major life changes and exhaustion, I figured I could get rid of the last few pounds another time. I was breastfeeding and pumping, burning calories as I expressed milk. With my first daughter, I gained 19 pounds and by the end of my 15 month long nursing stint, I’d lost 42 pounds. This would be easy! Nine pounds is no. big. deal.
Guess what happened to that nine pounds? It became 21 pounds. Somewhere in that first year, I began I horrible habit of eating when I was stressed. Fritz’s Turtle concretes and cookie dough ice cream and Jack in the Box’s Ultimate Cheeseburgers were my downfalls. Nutella and Triscuits didn’t help. I went through a full nine ounce box if Triscuits in one day (on more than one occasion). I never felt like I was eating too much.
I’d grab 3-4 crackers as I walked through the kitchen after putting down the kids for nap or on my way out of the bathroom. I’d hide in the corner of the kitchen where the kids couldn’t see me nibbling a few bites of Nutella on graham crackers to take a mini break from the chaos. It didn’t feel unhealthy.
I stopped stepping on the scale somewhere around six months. Then at the one year mark it happened. I weighed myself. I saw a number higher than I’d been in four years. My husband did as well. And we both broke down. How could we let ourselves go? After everything we went through. Knowing the family history of blood pressure, diabetes and cancer that we have combined, we let ourselves go. Sure, no one will fault us. And we could just blame it on low metabolism from lack of sleep or stress from having three small kids but let’s face it, we have to hold ourselves accountable.
And that’s the thing. No one held me accountable. No one saw me munching or snacking. No one told me I was pudgier than before. No one was honest. My husband, who undeniably loves me for more than my looks or body or weight, was honest with me. And rather than being hurt or upset, it clicked. He was right. I tried holding myself accountable but it just didn’t work. Maybe I’ll work on that too one day but for now, it’s an app on my phone that works for me.
I downloaded the app Lose It. My account is linked with my husband’s as well as my best friend’s. We encourage and support each other. We log our meals and our exercise, we count calories and portions. We make smarter choices as we find where we were going wrong.
Do I still sneak snacks? Yes, but I don’t lie about them. If I snack, it goes into my totals for the day. If I end up over budget, I exercise before bed. I don’t beat myself up. I don’t feel like a failure. I make a promise to do better tomorrow.
There are plenty of other weight loss or eating apps that you can use. It may work for you, it may not. But what will work is to stop making excuses. Hold yourself accountable. Treat yourself as human and able to make mistakes. And worry more about putting healthier options into your body than the number on the scale. If you eat “right” the rest will come with it. Healthier eating has given us both more energy, giving us more time for our kids, for each other and for ourselves.
After almost a month, (because I started as soon as I was ready, I didn’t wait for the New Year) I am down five-ish pounds. It still fluctuates because I’m still learning to make the right choices. My resolution though is not just to lose weight, it’s to learn a new coping mechanism for my stress and to stop overeating!
You can contact Heather by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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