A Weighty Subject

As I look at my post-pregnancy body, I realize a few things.

1) I have my work cut out for me.

2) I have a whole new level of envy (is hatred too strong of a word?) for celebrities and supermodels walking out of the maternity ward in lingerie with washboard abs.

3) I’ve read that during pregnancy (and even when not pregnant) your body may have some food cravings because you are in need of certain nutrients those foods offer. I probably should have realized that some cravings are just cravings and Taco Bell is probably not the equivalent of a multi-vitamin. (Nor is candy. Or ice cream. Or chili cheese nachos…)

I’m once more embarking on an attempt to lose weight (and be healthy, but for me the weight loss is what tends to take priority). I’ve been down this road before. Many, many times. This is my first time actually making an effort to do it properly. My very first attempt as a teenager started out well. Counting fat grams and watching portion sizes. It quickly spiraled into an eight-year eating disorder. I lost weight, for sure. I also ate packets of ketchup for lunch, ruined my metabolism and could have damaged every organ in my body. Being in recovery led my weight to yo-yo for years. Food has so many meanings to me and I can easily avoid it altogether or completely indulge and overeat. I love food. I loved food when I was starving. I just knew the levels of my willpower and allowing some meant going overboard and I couldn’t have that.

As strange as it sounds, my attempt to do it properly seems a little like I’m betraying myself. I know how to lose weight in a much easier way. But I know that’s not okay. I know if I weren’t breastfeeding it would be a much finer line to walk and I could fall into old habits with ease. I have chosen a responsibility to provide my child with nutrients from my own body and I know that if I’m not taking any in, he’s not going to get any. I know at the core of my eating disorder were emotional issues that I’m no longer dealing with, but I also know that baby blues and life changes have given me a new set I could easily bow to instead of figuring out how to manage them and work through in a healthy manner.

In a society where eating disorders are now becoming rampant with girls (and boys) as young as five, it frustrates me that my weight has always been more about how I look instead of being healthy. That if someone is too thin, my first emotion is jealousy (although closely followed by concern). I was frustrated recently by an uproar on Twitter over a guy (a wannabe celebrity whose claim to fame was appearing on Big Brother) who started a new stance on what he was calling managed anorexia. (This is actually a term, and many women “practice” it). He had thousands of followers and spouted many thinspirational sayings such as “nothing tastes as good as thin feels” (many thanks to Kate Moss for perpetuating that one) and claimed that anyone over a size zero was “gross”. For an interesting read on the guy, check out this article where he is essentially called out by the reporter and backpedals as fast as he can once he realizes she’s actually going to publish his idiocy. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/promoting-anorexia-an-int_b_807807.html?ir=Style). It infuriated me that hundreds (thousands) of girls were probably taking to heart what he was saying and beating themselves up further. In a time where girls and women are already battling so many messages about the importance of looks, this piece of crap was endorsing everything they are already trying to overcome and triumph over, no matter how they look.

But I digress, as usual. This is about my attempt to create a new way of thinking for myself. I’m attempting a completely different type of willpower now; one that requires figuring out the balance between excess and necessity, nutritionally. Not to mention making myself realize that my health should be the main priority. It’s an example I need to set for not only myself but for my children. I’m not trying any fad diets or any with short-term results, it’s more about understanding how to make proper food choices; not allowing the naughty stuff because “I’m already overweight, what’s it going to hurt at this point?” and that deprivation only causes overindulgence. I’m making an attempt to retrain my ways of thinking in how I make choices in general and paying attention to long-term results. I know I’ll come across some hurdles, myself being one of them, as well as mastering and maintaining a healthy diet on a limited budget. In addition, I have to figure out time management that will allow me to include a daily workout in my routine. I’m not sure I can use the elliptical while holding an infant, but I’ll figure it out because I have to. So in the end, here’s to changes and their success and learning to like me. More to come, I’m sure…