When a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Feelings

On Tuesday night I received the link to the family pictures we had taken a couple of weeks ago. These were our first professional pictures since we became a family of four, and I couldn’t wait to see them. I scrolled through sweet pictures of my two girls, but then I got to pictures with all four of us, and my heart dropped. I could not believe how HUGE I looked in the pictures. It’s ridiculous that I was blindsided by this because I own a scale and have been on it recently, so it’s not as though I was unaware of how much I weigh or what size clothing I currently wear. I think in my mind I was still picturing myself at a lower weight, but pictures don’t lie. Seeing these pictures woke me up to the fact that I have allowed myself to reach a weight I never thought I would see again. I’m currently the heaviest I’ve been in nine years, and that is a tough truth to acknowledge. I love the pictures of my sweet family, but I can’t help but wish that I looked a lot thinner.

Mount 7 (Sans Tissue)

I know I had a baby two months ago, but even before I got pregnant I was heavier than I wanted to be and yet doing little about it. I used the pain in my hips and the depression that accompanied that pain as an excuse to eat poorly and not exercise. Instead, I fed my sadness and hopelessness with food. I knew what I was doing, I saw the number on the scale gradually go up, and yet it was hard to stop. After I got pregnant with Ava, I let pregnancy be my excuse for eating sweets more often and generally being a lazy bum. I told myself that after I had Ava I would get serious about losing weight. If I lost the weight before, there is no reason I can’t lose it again, and yet I look at pictures of me when I was at my lowest weight and feel like I don’t even know who that person is anymore.

So here I find myself, completely overwhelmed by how much weight I have to lose and disgusted with how I look, but have I done anything about it? Not yet. I keep telling myself that something has to change, and then I keep on doing the same things that got me where I am today and then feel sad that I’m this fat.

However, moping about my weight isn’t going to make me thinner. Moping about my weight isn’t going to make my clothes fit better. Moping about my weight isn’t going to make me pick healthier foods. Moping isn’t going to change anything, except maybe to make me feel even worse about myself. Dwelling on the past has rarely served me well. Instead, I want to dwell on this fact: God doesn’t want me to be skinny as much as He wants me to be holy. I have to stop being so self-absorbed and remember the truth of the gospel: I am approved before God because of the work of Jesus on my behalf. How I look has absolutely nothing to do with God’s love and acceptance of me. When I remember who I am in Christ, I can let go of the feelings of despair and hopelessness. When I remember who I am in Christ, I can fight the temptation to eat to excess. When I remember who I am in Christ, I can have confidence not in myself, but in the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me. Food does not love me back. Food will not satisfy the deepest longings of my heart, but God will.

The battle I am fighting is a spiritual battle as well as a physical one, and it’s time I put on my armor.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11

“With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
    with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
    and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27 For you save a humble people,
    but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28 For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:25-30

May 2011 Goals

I’m sneaky.  I made goals for this month on May 1 but am just now sharing them with you.  Honestly, though, this is the first chance I’ve had to share them.  Those who have read my blog for over a year may recall that I was a big advocate and practitioner of making monthly and even weekly goals, but that goal-setting dropped off substantially once I got pregnant.  Now, however, after my closet meltdown, my sweet husband Stephen encouraged me not to wallow in my dissatisfaction with my weight but to make a plan to change it.  After all, that’s exactly what I did on January 21, 2008, and that’s exactly how I lost 90 pounds before I got pregnant.  So without further rambling on my part, my weight loss stats and goals for May:

Starting weight (as of May 1): 197.6–Not gonna lie, this number totally depressed me because at one point postpartum the scale got down to 191.  At the time I was sad that it was even that high, but now I’d LOVE to be back at 191! 

1.  Lose 4 pounds.  A pound a week is a very modest but reasonable goal for me, especially when time for exercise is at a premium. 
2.  Abstain from soda and chocolate candy and limit chips to one serving size.  Though I usually drink Coke Zero when I have soda so I’m not “drinking” my calories, I find that even drinking that makes me crave regular Coke and causes me to indulge in that more than I should.  It also can prevent me from getting enough water each day, so for the next 3 months I am not going to have any soda.  The same goes for chocolate candy, which I would eat in large quantities every day if I could (Cadbury Eggs, how I miss thee!).  The chips are a problem if I eat them straight out of the bag because I eat WAY more than I need to (hello, Fritos!), but I am going to make sure that if I decide to have chips, I will measure out the appropriate serving size and stop at that. 
3.  Exercise 3 days a week for at least 30 minutes a time.  I know that’s only 90 minutes a week, but it’s all I can reasonably expect of myself right now, as I’m still trying to figure out a “new normal.”
4.  Track all of my food either on SparkPeople or on the computer.  This is HUGE for me because when I don’t track, I am sure I grossly underestimate the amount of calories I consume.  So even if I only am able to jot stuff down on a piece of paper or in a note on Outlook, I’m tracking my food. 
5.  Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.  For some reason I have struggled with this since having Charlotte, but I have been doing better with this since being at work, which is odd.  I have a water bottle at my desk that I try to refill often, and I think just having it in front of me keeps me mindful of my water intake. 

These goals are very basic, but I’m in a back-to-the-basics place right now.  I am hopeful I can meet all of these goals, and maybe even surpass some of them (like the weight loss and exericse goals).  I will try to report back each week with my progress.  I will weigh in on Sundays, since that’s when the first of the month was, but it may not be until later that week before I’m able to update.  I know you’ll all be dying of suspense. 🙂 

Do any of you have some goals for this month, fitness or otherwise?  Share them with me!

Back in the Game

I can’t believe that Charlotte is already 3 weeks and 3 days old!  I only have 3 more weeks of maternity left, which is a big bummer.  I really hope Charlotte does okay in daycare; she’s been a rather fussy newborn, but hopefully things will improve in the next 3 weeks.  She at least has graduated from needing to be held to sleep to sleeping in her bouncy seat, but even then she still needs to be held to fall asleep.  She won’t sleep in her crib or cradle for long at all, so we will have to work on that more, especially because she won’t fit in her bouncy seat forever! 🙂

Now that I’m over 3 weeks postpartum, I decided it is more than time for me to begin thinking about fitness and my weight again (not that I haven’t thought about my weight already!).  I had 3 weeks to recover and am feeling mostly normal (except for still being sleep-deprived), so there’s no reason for me to postpone exercise any longer.  I am hoping to reach my goal weight by the end of the year, so I need to get it in gear! 

My starting weight, as of this morning: 193
My ultimate goal weight: 160
My short term goal weight:  183

I am definitely not a fan of that starting weight, but I have to start somewhere, right?  I am not exactly sure what my last weight on my home scale was before Charlotte came, since I started going by the doctor’s scale. I know I weighed 170 when I found out I was pregnant, and I think I gained 40 pounds total, so I guess I’ve lost roughly 17 pounds since Charlotte was born.  I wish it were more than that, but I’ll take what I can get! 

My plan is to exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time.  This is a very modest goal, as I know exercise time will be hard to come by, especially once I go back to work, and if I end up working out more than that, great!  Once I go to my 6 week postpartum check-up and get the all-clear, I am going to start Couch to 5k again.  This morning I got in 35 minutes of treadmill time, but I only managed to run for 2 minutes.  I definitely have lost a TON of endurance, which shouldn’t surprise me since I stopped running in August, but today showed me how far I have to go.  I’m really excited to get back into exercise, though, and I know that if I keep at it, I can be back to running like I was before I had Charlotte. 

I also am going to go back to faithfully tracking my food with SparkPeople and work on making good food choices so I don’t sabotage my fitness efforts.  Even though I have 33 pounds to lose by the end of the year, the good news is I know I can do it because I lost 90 before!  I’ll try to blog as much as I can, which may not be much, but I hope you’ll follow along!