This is going to be a really difficult post for me to write, but I hope you will hear me out because I have a lot to say. I am about to share something with you that I don’t normally like to talk about, but it needs to be said. I am sharing because I know countless of you will be able to relate. I am sharing because if you know me (or even if you don’t), I would really appreciate your support. I am sharing because I feel like it will keep me accountable as I continue on with my lifestyle change and relearn how to eat correctly vs. eating impulsively.
I am referring to my weight.
A very touchy and slightly taboo subject in our society.
Something I have struggled with off and on for the past 10+ years.
The thing that has made me incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin and is a major source of embarrassment.
The thing that, if I continued on the path I was on, would probably leave me a victim of heart disease or diabetes or worse.
The thing that I ineffectively tried to camoflauge with loose shirts and unflattering clothes.
The thing that taunted me in photos to the point where I either avoided having my picture taken altogether…or strategically placed my kids/friends/colleagues in front of me like a shield (see just one of countless examples below).
Something that my husband and I — both former athletes — really needed to get under control.
Now, I know that I am more than the number on the scale. But, I also know the difference between healthy and unhealthy. I have not been very healthy over the past few years and it was time to rectify that. I also just never could get used to the new Jenn, the heavier Jenn staring back at me in the mirror. I think we all have a number, or a size that is unacceptable — I was there.
I’m not sure exactly where things went so horribly wrong for me or why. I believe it was somewhere in between getting married and having my first child. I think that once I gained all that baby weight and had a hard time taking it off, I kind of waived the white flag and gave up on myself. It was easier to do that than try to juggle my own needs with the needs of my baby and my career. When I got pregnant the second time, I was much healthier and instead of gaining 74 pounds — I only gained 14. I looked better after my second child than I had in three years. But, I was still carrying more weight on my frame than I should have been. And, so it began. The yo-yoing. The up 20 pounds, down 20 pounds. Work out. Be sedentary. Eat right. Eat whatever. Plus sized. Regular sized. Devastated. But, always with a smile on my face.
It took a toll on my psyche and my self-esteem and I intermittently tried to do something about it. But, there was always something that I let myself use as an excuse to hold me back: my kids, being busy, my job, no time. I remember getting fed up and going on this massive fitness kick in 2008. I found a class I loved and successfully carved out time for myself three times a week. I made new friends at the gym and became a trusted confidante to one while she got me back in the weight room and cheered me on. I was her life coach and she was my fitness coach. I lost weight and inches, got substantially stronger, and was feeling pretty good until that friendship bit the bullet. And, then I retreated again. Stopped going to the gym. It was painful. I had been a great friend to this person. I felt betrayed. So, I ate carbs and withdrew from that environment. The only person I hurt by doing that was myself.
And, as I struggled in my own quiet battle, I was also aware of my husband’s struggles. His bad habits and genetics were catching up with him. He was also gaining weight. We were enabling each other to be unhealthy. But, he was tremendously resistant to change and I was too tired to fight about it. I was frustrated with him! Frustrated because I felt like he didn’t care. Frustrated that we had let ourselves go (yet a little grateful that he loved me unconditionally, despite the added girth). Frustrated because I felt powerless to make any changes without his support. It took a couple years of sporadic conversations, tearful pleading, rational discussions, and two very stern warnings from his doctor to get his attention. He was finally on board — ready to make some lasting changes after hitting his own physical rock bottom.
So, we took the plunge. We agreed to make a lifestyle change (note I didn’t say diet — I hate diets. The name itself insinuates failure.). We committed to eat healthier and take better care of ourselves. We pinky swore. Not only for us, but for our children. It killed me to know that our girls were picking up on every bad habit of ours and it would eventually catch up with them, just like it caught up with us. We came across a program that would give us a tremendous jump start and we went for it. We were determined to go big or go home. We have spent the past month eating clean (no processed foods, sugar), taking superior supplements, using a product that helped us to shed abnormally stored fat, drinking lots of water, and keeping a food journal. It was drastic, but simple. It required planning, but we were committed. We relearned portion control. We are setting a better example for our children (who, last Friday, shunned the offer of pizza because they “wanted to eat what we were eating”). And, I want to run up a massive flight of stairs and jump up and down at the top with my arms pumping above my head like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky because I have successfully turned my whole family on to spinach (a 15 year battle royale).
My husband has dropped 28 pounds and 20 inches in a month (he is down 2 pants sizes and looks absolutely amazing). I have dropped 25.5 pounds and 25 inches. We feel phenomenal! We feel healthier! We feel like we are well on our way to a fitter, trimmer future. Our girls have embraced the lifestyle change as well and that is more rewarding than I can articulate with words. But, not only that, my husband and I are much closer because we came together for a common goal. We supported each other. We kept each other on track. We worked as a team. We did the (seemingly) impossible. Despite having different fitness styles, we are now looking for ways to work out together, like yoga, bike riding, and TRX training. And, I really feel like we are going to succeed. As a bit of added insurance, I am re-educating myself about food and arming myself with information.
A month ago, I made a commitment to myself that I would lose 40 pounds by the time I turned 40 in December. It was a four month goal and I am thrilled that I am already more than half-way there in only 30 days!! I want to be able to be the star of my 40th birthday pictures — without having to hold any human shields hostage! 🙂
So, my final request for this post is that you lend us your support. Be happy for us. Be the angels on our shoulders, not the devils. Check in with us every once in a while to see how we are doing. Encourage us. Every once in a while, invite me to a yoga class or out for a walk instead of out to dinner. And, not that you would do it intentionally, but please don’t sabotage. Losing weight on this program was a piece of cake — but the key for us is to keep it off, and that will take a lifetime of discipline and commitment. I’m not scared. Anything worth doing is often difficult and challenging.
(Footnote: When I met my husband, I was a picture of tight abs, toned legs, and defined arms. I remember a picture of us when we were dating: I had on a short sleeved purple sweater, fitted just so you could get a tiny glimpse of my navel ring and hip-hugging jeans. **If anyone has a copy of that picture — please send it to me so I can put it on my fridge for inspiration!!)
Much love —