A tiny glimpse of my former self…

“Hello, old friend!” I went to yoga last week for the first time since I was five months pregnant with Teddy, and it felt like seeing an old friend!

One of the things that is a big challenge for me right now is the feeling that I’m so weak. It’s hard for me when I run because I’m working so hard and going so slowly. My effort doesn’t match my output. Yoga is different- when I’m practicing yoga, I feel like I’m challenging myself right where I am, and my yoga practice is meeting me right there. There is no expectation that I’m going to be at the same level that I used to be. I’m thankful for yoga and I’m going to keep going.

Weight loss is weird like that, too. I miss my body. I get down on myself a lot because I miss the way I used to look. I miss my clothes. I miss not having achy joints and being able to do more without getting tired. I miss walking into the gym and feeling like I belong there, rather than an outsider. Teddy was worth it, and I don’t regret this journey at all, but I miss my former self.

I didn’t realize quite how judgmental I used to be of other overweight people. I used to think that everyone was just like me, and just needed to prioritize themselves to lose the weight. If they just realized that they deserved better, and could spend the time and energy in meal planning and working out, they’d be able to lose weight, too!

It wasn’t until my experience with Zoloft and weight gain that I realized there are lots of reasons people gain weight or are unable to easily lose it.

Right after Teddy was born, I lost 25 pounds. That’s probably the 25 pounds I was supposed to gain with pregnancy. It’s too bad that I gained 50. Anyway, I was so proud that I lost that weight and felt like I was well on my way to losing the rest of the pregnancy weight and the 30 pounds of fertility hormone weight. That was until my postpartum depression set in and I needed help managing my emotions. Unfortunately, every time I had a dose change of Zoloft, I gained ten pounds. After four of those, we decided I should go off that drug.

Where does that leave me now? I’ve lost 21 pounds since February. I’m basically a quarter of the way back to my ideal weight.

When you have such a large weight loss goal like I do (almost 100 pounds!), it’s hard to enjoy my progress. I feel really good about it for a while, but then I see a picture of myself and I’m vaulted back into reality. It’s hard not to let my weight be my defining characteristic when it affects every part of my day. Brian and I had a conversation last night where I realized he didn’t know the calorie count on his two dinner options. I wonder what my life would be like if I wasn’t mentally calculating the calorie content of everything I’ve eaten for the past 25 years.

So what can I do now?

I’m currently working on giving myself credit for the work I’ve done and trying to stay motivated for the future work to come- and not let myself get discouraged.

It’s so easy to be discouraged in the world of parenthood- I see moms of one year olds who look fantastic- both the baby and the mom!Their kids are sleeping through the night, and the moms are back at work full time, and they are thinner than they were before they got pregnant. There is so much space to feel inadequate. I’m fighting that feeling all the time, and trying not to let my postpartum depression take over. I can barely get teddy fed (and hosed down and scrub the high chair) three times a day, nurse him, keep the dishes done and stay on top of the laundry. I really miss having a dishwasher. I’m constantly cleaning the floors and trying to meal prep and play with Teddy to keep him engaged. On my lucky days, I get my laptop open during nap time and try to frantically get as much work done as possible. I feel guilty for not keeping up with my friends and returning text messages and emails. When people are mad at me for not being good at keeping in touch, I cry and berate myself for not being good enough. I feel like there isn’t enough time in the day, and I end every day feeling like a failure, regardless of what I’ve accomplished.

I know this is a season of life, and my journey is different than others. I may feel better if my mom was here to help. If I wasn’t grieving her. If I was able to prepare for having a newborn while pregnant instead of being lost simultaneously in grieving and in finishing my master’s degree. If I hadn’t had to sell my home when Teddy was a month old and frantically pack and temporarily move to my mom’s house while we remodel the new house. If my sweet husband was cloned so he could simultaneously work on that new house and be home to help me. If I wasn’t missing my mom while living in her house and if I had my own space to relax. If I had my own appliances and a dishwasher to help me sanitize all the bottles and breast pump parts. If I had a parent who could watch Teddy during the day so I could get work done and make some money to take some of the financial pressure off. If I didn’t have a huge student loan payment and see people on Facebook reminding me that I’m an idiot for having loans and going to college and that I deserve all the financial stress I feel now because I should have known that I’d be paying for my undergraduate degrees until I’m 50. If we weren’t trying to pay for two houses at one time so we had more flexible finances. If I was better at asking for help.

There are a lot of reasons that things could be different and this journey could have been easier- but this is my difficult road to follow and I’m doing my best.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to try to be proud of the work I’ve done and give myself grace as I try to be the best mom and housewife and friend and businesswoman that I can be. I’m failing all the time, but I keep trying.

2019 pounds lost: 21

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