*Disclaimer- This post was actually started yesterday afternoon, but thanks to a cranky Judah who wouldn’t nap, 4 hours of teaching aerobics last night and a much anticipated “Bachelor Pad party for one”, it had to be continued today.
Today is one of those days. I woke up not feeling that great about myself. A little too much eating over the weekend, not enough resting and my clothes fitting a little tighter than I’m comfortable with will do that to me. But, rather than get down on myself or feel guilty about things, I decided to look back at how far I’ve come and just be thankful for where I’m at now and the many blessing I have.
and savoring the last few bites with huge chunks of SunButter.
Here we go.
Sixteen years ago at this time I was starting my Freshman year in college.
Anyway, there I was. It was the start to many years of way too much processed food and a few too many grown up beverages. My dorm room mini fridge was filled with packages of Twinkies (the low fat ones of course) and chocolate milk cartons. I still worked out every day, but I was tired a lot of the time. I was not the happiest person although I put on a good show.
(How could I not with a tumbleweed snowman? Notice the scrunchie again. And, um, love you bro? Good thing he doesn’t read this.)
After college I maintained my Freshman
15 20 weight gain for a good 4-5 years. It was hard work, but I kept it up with days of eating anything processed I could get my hands on followed by days of restricting calories. I would go from eating my way through entire bags of processed food and/or sweets to restricting calories and exercising 2-3 hours a day. I turned to food instead of dealing with my emotions.
I thought that that’s just who I was supposed to be. I would lose the same 5-7 pounds and then gain them back again. I would have a really good month, and then have a really bad month. I always wanted to be that healthy person, but didn’t quite know how to change.
It wasn’t until after I got married that I really started to change my habits. I got into running and realized what an important part healthy exercise and good nutrition played in being a better person. I knew I wanted to be a good wife and take care of my husband as well as be a good role model for my students and clients. I had always been really active and worked out daily, but days of binging did me in.
Around 5 years ago I made a conscious effort to take better care of myself. Running slowly became my therapy and I started to really think about how my poor eating habits were affecting my daily life. I still had the occasional days when I would go crazy and eat everything in sight and proceed to feel gross and tired for days afterwards, but they became less frequent.
When it became time try to start a family, I found out I was a little reproductively challenged. I won’t go into the details, but I’m convinced it was because of the stress I was putting on myself with specific eating and exercise habits.
after an amazing family vacation two and a half years ago to Belize…
(I had to put two pictures since Andrew didn’t make the cut on the first one.)
My life was changed.
While we were there I was forced to take a step back, relax and enjoy every moment with my loved ones. Then, after years of struggling with issues, God blessed us with two little miracles that were conveniently born 9 months later.
Throughout my entire pregnancy I was living my dream. I wanted to be that pregnant lady that kept running, working out and staying fit. I wanted it bad enough that I made it happen. As a fitness instructor, I continued teaching classes until I was about 7 months pregnant. I remember getting a lot of weird looks and comments. I wonder why?
When my doctor pulled the plug on my running, I still kept active using the elliptical, walking and lifting weights. I even went for a walk the morning I gave birth.
That was me on the elliptical just a week before I had the boys.
When I look back, I actually think I was the healthiest I’ve ever been in my entire life those 9 months of being pregnant. I realized that I had been blessed with an amazing gift and I needed to take care of my body and my babies the best that I could. My mindset changed and instead of having a list of foods that were off-limits except for special occasions (which added to the desire to binge), NO foods were off limits. I was focused on eating for health rather than eating to lose weight. I knew my body needed a certain amount of calories a day to feed two babies and I exercised to FEEL GOOD rather than to burn off all the “junk food” I had eaten previously or because I “had” to.
After the birth of my boys, I got back into my workout routine and lost the baby weight rather quickly.
However, after a few weeks of sleep deprivation and struggling to figure out how the heck to be a mom, my old eating habits resurfaced. It felt like the only thing I could control. It just added to the complexity of being a new mom and trying to figure out what direction my life was going to go. Not only did I feel guilty that I ate that way, but I was disappointed in myself that I had gone back to my old ways (after finally being “normal” during my pregnancy).
One thing I did do though was keep my focus on being active. I went running a lot, I pushed that stroller everywhere I could and I resumed teaching my fitness classes 5 weeks after the boys were born. Even despite falling back into my old eating habits, I managed to run a half marathon when the boys were just 4 months old.
Somewhere along the way I turned a corner. It was a lot of trying to find other ways to deal with my feelings and stress and being creative with how to distract myself away from the kitchen. By focusing on my boys, my health, and trying to become the best mom that I can, I’ve gotten to where I am today. I may not be the ideal size I want to be and I still might not fit into my goal jeans, but I’m healthy. There’s a part of me that is always going to struggle with the same issues, but for now I do the best I can to eat in moderation, fuel my body the right way and make exercise a priority.
It’s a lifelong journey.
It’s a tough one while trying to take care of a family and work three different jobs.
But, I think we’re all on the same journey.
The journey to find balance.
That’s where the whole inspiration behind this blog came from.
Thank you to those of you that have been with me the past few months. I hope you stay for awhile and enjoy the ride. You are why I write. I look forward to reading your comments and emails every day.
Now, who wants a hug?
Have a good one!