Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weighty Issue

You know, my weight has really been bugging me lately. As a woman, I understand that's par for the course. It happens. I look at old pictures of myself and think how thin my legs looked and know that I did NOT think that they looked thin in any way, shape or form at the moment that picture was taken. So I understand that being female means never being completely content with your body.

Pre-pregnancy I was at a fairly happy place with my body. I was content with it--it was strong and relatively fit. I still wasn't a fan of my hips, thighs, butt (except in jeans), or stomach (unless I was sucking in and stretching my torso), but it was acceptable. Would I have been content if someone deemed that that was as good as it would ever get? No, but it could have been worse...and it's always good to have something better to shoot for. I made a serious effort to maintain my fitness level throughout my pregnancy so I would be more comfortable, have less aches and pains, an easier delivery (Ha! Though I can't imagine how I would have survived three hours of pushing had I not been in shape.), and an easier recovery. I ate reasonably well and my weight did stay in check. I only gained about 30 pounds, and most of that was gone rather quickly. I attribute that to nursing, mostly, because most of that weight was gone by the time I actually headed back to the gym.

The gym helped me tone up a bit, though my stomach appears to be a lost cause. No matter what I do, it doesn't seem like I can get rid of the pudge or regain the abdominal strength and control I once had. Apparently kegel exercises (yes, the ones in the nether-regions) help with that, but I HATE them. I felt guilty during my entire pregnancy because I didn't want to do them. Regardless, by the time I finished nursing when Jacob was 14 months old, I was about 110-112 pounds, at least eight pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight. My butt was almost too small (flat...ugh) but I was pleasantly surprised by how slim my thighs and hips were. My stomach was still a mess, but I could deal if the rest was that good. Not that clothes fit any better, but that's a whole other issue. Well...a year later I'm back up to at least my pre-pregnancy weight, if not more. I tend to go between 120-122 pounds right now, and I'm horribly afraid that it will only continue to rise if I don't do something about it. Even worse, I just don't like how I all. My stomach is flabby and won't suck in, my hips, thighs, and butt are as big as ever and laden with cellulite. And it's not just my imagination. My clothes definitely aren't fitting as well, and I can't even find underwear that will actually cover my butt and stay there. The whole thing is making me nuts.

To make matters worse, I still have high cholesterol. I know that much of it is probably genetics, but I'm trying to be careful about what I eat anyway. I don't eat a lot of high cholesterol foods, though I assume that I'm probably taking in too much saturated fat, even though I generally monitor that anyway. I know I don't eat that well when I go out to eat (who can? or who wants to pay for food they don't love?), but that's not that often. I snack more than I should, but I'm trying to work on that. I need to work out more, but that has been a major challenge. Between Craig's schedule, my schedule, dinnertime, and not enough hours in the day to begin with, it's tough. I have my one day on Thursday to go to my class, and that's been it. Jacob is now old enough to be in child care at the gym, but I just haven't given it a shot yet. I know our metabolism slows as we age, but if it's this bad now, I'm screwed. Sometimes I wonder if there isn't something more, like a thyroid issue or (God forbid) something worse. The fact that it seems so much worse now than pre-pregnancy, even though I venture I spend less time sitting on the couch these days, is what confuses me. It has been three years since my pre-pregnancy life, however, so I guess now that's a considerable amount of time in which a lot could have changed metabolically. Ugh.

Over the weekend my cousin Lori asked me if I would like to be her workout buddy. She's moving closer to our side of town (and already works there), and wants to start going to the Bally's that I've had a membership at but haven't been to in ages. My monthly dues are low enough that I keep it just in case (my Thursday gym is a different one that I get a free membership to through Craig's job), because no one else is that cheap. It's practically across the street from our general neighborhood, so I have no excuse. Lori is aiming for three times a week, though I know I can only commit to one or two in addition to my Thursday class. I figure I can fit in one more evening during the week and maybe a weekend session as well. If Craig isn't around on the weekend, Jacob can come with me and hang out in the child care room. I hope he'll cooperate, anyway. Having a workout buddy definitely helps, and I would love to encourage Lori in her weight loss/health goals. And, as it turns out, now I need it too. The workouts won't be anything crazy, probably a good dose of cardio and maybe some other general toning. I can do an hour's worth of that, I think. I think it might be enough to get me back to a good place both weight- and health-wise, so it's really a win-win, as long as I can make myself do it. And I really do want to. I think it will be good for me in so many ways. It'll improve my energy and my self-esteem, give me another little break from the craziness, and release those endorphins I so desperately need. Yes, it's less time with Jacob and a bit more of a weight on Craig's shoulders, but if he could play softball twice a week this summer (well, pre-calf injury...and that included postgame festivities sometimes), then I can work out an extra time or two each week for an hour. You do what you have to do sometimes.

I will admit that I've fantasized about being pregnant again and being able to eat (mostly) what I want and not worry about my weight as much. I also dream of miracle weight loss thanks to nursing again. However, nothing's a given. I could be so sick that food will be the last thing on my mind, or nursing just won't work next time around. God forbid, on both counts. And I know it will only get harder after another baby, so I'm trying not to use that as my escape route (though if it happens, I'll deal). The weight thing is tough, no doubt. I know I still look normal and am active enough that it's not a dire situation, but I don't want to get to the point where it is a major problem. I want to be the best mom, wife and woman I can be, and it's going to take a little work. I hope I'm ready.

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