Why I Will Never Take My Body for Granted Again…

I have written this post about 4 different ways, and it has been sitting in my “draft” section for almost 3 months.  I’m having trouble conveying everything I want to convey, without sounding generic or cheesy–or sounding like some rambling girl who likes to think she knows (but is always learning) what it takes to be healthy.  I’m kind of just putting this out there and hoping for the best!

I’m passionate about being healthy, I’m passionate about the right way to lose weight and I always have been.  I’m so far from perfect, but putting it all out in the “blog universe” makes me feel so much better and helps motivate me.  I’ve been a size 0, I’ve been a size 10, I’m been thin enough to see major bones, and I’ve had (and still have-to some degree) love handles.  I wouldn’t ever call myself an extreme yo-yo’er by any means, because I’ve never been one to make major changes like going from a size 10 to a size 0 in one summer, or anything like that.  When I say I have been a 0 and a 10, I mean over the course of 12 years.

Before getting pregnant with Brayden, our first little guy, I was a comfortable size 4-6.  This seems to be my body’s favorite “resting” spot and I’m completely cool with that.  I don’t freak out when I have to buy swim suits or jeans at that size.  When I was pregnant with Brayden, I gained around 50 pounds.  That’s right kids…50 pounds on this 5’3 frame.  Most of it was water because I was THISCLOSE (my dr was watching, but I never got to the scary point) to having preeclampsia with him because I was retaining horrible amounts of fluid.

As you can imagine, when someone as short as me gains that amount of weight, it puts major pressure and stress on your body.  I was miserable.  I could barely walk, I was swollen beyond what anyone can imagine and even though I could barely eat and all I could drink was massive amounts of water, I was in a lot of pain because of the extra weight and swelling.  As I was in the final weeks of my pregnancy, I remember telling my husband and my mom that I didn’t understand how people could let themselves go and gain so much weight, because I knew they had to have felt the effects of that weight gain.  I know they had to feel different, out of breath, in pain from time to time on top of how it affected them mentally.  I made a pact with myself that as soon as I had Brayden, I would enjoy dropping every single pound and getting in the best shape ever.

I’m going to spare you the long story, but I had a horrific recovery after having Brayden.  He was born July 30th and my doctor did not clear me to get on the treadmill or workout until that following February.  Obviously I was trying to eat healthy, but not being able to exercise put a damper on my goals.  Right around Brayden’s first birthday, I was still carrying an extra 15 pounds of baby weight on my body.  I started having a pain behind my knees that felt like a throbbing sensation.  I had to get an ultrasound on my legs to make sure there was not a blood clot causing the pain.  No blood clot, but the ultrasound tech told me that I had a deep varicose vein as a result of being in labor for 33 hours and gaining the weight (water and all) that I did.  Since my legs are so short (I mean….seriously….so short) the varicose vein developed from all of the pressure of the weight/water and the long hours of pushing.  At this point in time I was between a size 8 and 10 (the ONLY time I’ve ever been a 10 in my life).  I was disgusted with myself and hearing what the ultrasound tech told me was a major red flag for me.  No one had ever told me something was hurting me, or a hindrance to me BECAUSE of weight.

I joined Weight Watchers because my mom had a really successful run several years prior.  I lost about 7 pounds, which put me in a solid size 8.  When spring time came around, Brayden was about 20 months and I felt awful knowing he was almost 2 years old and I still couldn’t fit into my usual size of a 4 or 6.  I started hitting the treadmill and work out DVD’s.  I also started counting watching every single portion, which meant spending a lot of time hungry until my stomach got the message that it was going to be getting less from now on.  I started losing the weight and the pain in my leg from the varicose vein was completely gone.  If that’s not a testament about what your body shows you when you are too heavy, I don’t know what is.  My body was working so hard to function, that it was causing me a minor pain by developing the varicose vein.  With cardio and major portion control, I was able to make the pain go away.  I know the vein is still there, but by staying healthy, I’m able to control it before it controls me!

Is something like a varicose vein minor?  Sure.  Nothing was wrong with me on a larger scale (praise Jesus!) but having a doctor tell me that the reason something was causing me pain was possibly due to the extra weight I was carrying was enough for me to REALLY think about never wanting to be in that situation again, no matter what!  You only get one body!  Love it!

When Brayden was 4 in 2012, I was the thinnest and healthiest I had been since 2003!  I felt amazing!  How did I do it?  LOTS of cardio (think stationary bike, treadmill, walking a track at our local park and family playtime in the back yard on most warm days/nights).  On top of this, I was tracking EVERY.SINGLE.CALORIE on My Fitness Pal.  I found that I really am in the weight loss zone at consuming around 1300 calories a day.

I gained right under 40 pounds with Mason, our youngest little man.  I tried to stay active the first part of my pregnancy until I started having contractions at 20 weeks.  After that, I was put on modified bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy.  It was scary and stressful and I don’t wish it on anyone!  I ended up having a C-section with him because he was laying transverse breech, which I’m told is the scariest position for a baby to be laying in, because labor could cut off the oxygen in the umbilical cord as they progress into the birth canal.

I was determined that this time was going to be different.  As soon as we got home and settled, I started eating healthy and counting calories.  Most of my friends thought I was crazy for counting calories and trying to lose weight after being home only 2 days after having a C-section.  I literally could not wait to eat healthy items like lunch meat, sushi and steak kabobs on the grill (cooked medium).  I lost a huge chunk of the baby weight before Mason was even 8 weeks old.  When I went back to work, I had about 10 pounds to lose.  I was doing well and kind of hit a road block with the holidays.  In January, I was determined to stop thinking about it and just get it done!  I teamed up with FormulaZone (which you can read about here) and on January 28th I officially started making every day count again.  I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to exercise so I was making sure I was staying within my daily macros on My Fitness Pal and preplanning meals from the recipes I printed off the FormulaZone website.  Success!!  I had lost all the baby weight in 8 months!  It didn’t take me 2 years this time…only 8 months!  Woohoo!

So here we are–10 months after having Mason!  Baby weight is gone, but now I’m starting cardio back up again to try and tone up a little.  I know this will inevitably make the scale move.  I joke that I can look at a treadmill and gain 3 pounds.  And guess what, I have been walking 3 miles a day since last week and I have gained a pound according to the scale.  It’s discouraging and I knew it would happen, so I took measurements of my waist and thighs so I can track my progress that way.  In a perfect world I would lose about 7 more pounds and be a lot more toned, and hopefully I can get there.  All I know is that it takes MAJOR dedication.  10 years ago I always thought to myself “I can work out tomorrow, I can always lose weight and have any type of body that I want, I just need to put the time in.”  5 years ago I thought “I wish 5 years ago I would have put that time and dedication in that it would have taken to lose all the weight I wanted and get as toned as I wanted.  Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.”  Now I’m constantly thinking “what if I would have given it 200% 10 years ago, what if I would have given it 200% 5 years ago?  What’s holding me back?  I’m only getting older and this is only going to get harder.”  Even though I feel like age shouldn’t have anything to do with age–realistically I know it does a little bit.

I’m busy, I have 2 kids and a husband (who, by the way, has also lost a crap ton of weight recently), I have all these side projects that I want to succeed at and I also work full time.  You know what that last sentence has the potential to be full of?  Excuses.  Not this time–no excuses here.  Rather, simply the realization that it’s not going to be easy, but that I CAN really do this, if I keep my focus.  I know that I said I wouldn’t be the queen of “before and after” pictures, but seriously….I do love a good before and after!  Here are some pictures that help me see the path I have been on and I’m really liking where it’s headed!

2002--Size 0.

2002–Size 0.

4 months after Brayden (baby #1) the only time I've been a size 10.

4 months after having Brayden (baby #1) the only time I’ve been a size 10.

3 months after having Mason (baby #2).  Size 8.

3 months after having Mason (baby #2). Size 8.

June 8th, 2014!!!  Solid size 6, and 4's are a close runner up!!  Yay!

June 8th, 2014!!! Solid size 6, and 4’s are a close runner up!! Yay!

I will never take my body for granted again.  Instead, I will treat it right and only make it thrive.

What are your “red flag” stories?  What made you want to make a big change in your life?



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