Sunday, October 19, 2008

Junk in the trunk.

I'm a petite person. I've been thin all my life without much effort, I might add. Good genes, really. Even after having three children, I was able to return to prebaby weight fairly quick. By now, you're probably wondering if this entry is to brag about my great metabolism or if it actually has a point.

Well, in the last three months, I've gained some weight. Not much, but, on my small frame, it's hard to hide extra pounds... especially when it ends up right on my belly.

Oh, people tell me, "It's just baby weight. You can't expect your body to look like it did before you starting popping out wee ones," but I know the difference between natural curves created by motherhood and plumps and bumps created by bad eating habits. And this (points to gut) is the latter. (And I realize, I'm still a small person, but the point here is that there is a little extra pudge that looks adorable on my one-year-old... but not on his mama.)

It all started when my husband got a job in Texas. I stayed in Louisiana while he worked in Texas, three hours away from our home. Instead of coming home after work, he'd stay at my parents. This gave me a break from cooking, because, well, my kids preferred cereal and pb&j sandwiches over baked chicken and pulled pork. As the days narrowed down to the moving date, I didn't want to buy anymore groceries that would just have to be thrown out when we moved, so we ate out a lot.... sometimes McDonald's.... sometimes O'Charly's or Chili's.

And there was a lot of snacking.

While things have changed quite a bit since settling back in Texas (We rarely eat out, and I cook healthy meals every night.), the snacking has not. I was eating one candy bar a day (Milky Ways are my favorite), along with other foods loaded with sugar. I would consume half a pan of fudgy brownies in one day (and that was with restraint!) and down a couple fresh baked cookies (thanks to Pillsbury) when the brownies were gone. I hate to think of how much sugar was spinning through my system.

Last week I realized I had to change. I had been avoiding the scale because I knew I had probably gained a few pounds, but I was shocked to find I had gained five pounds more than I suspected.

Oh crud.

I knew it was bad when people kept suspecting I was pregnant. And, to be honest, I thought I looked pregnant as well. To be even more honest, I thought I'd be pregnant by now so the extra chub would just serve as a little boost.

Besides, during pregnancy, I have severe morning sickness, so I thought, "Hey, a little reserve will do me well." I end up losing anywhere from ten to fifteen pounds before my stomach finally gets a grip and manages to keep food down.

My friend Viki told me she hadn't ever heard someone refer to "pregnancy as a weightloss tool". Ha!

This month has been very emotional for me. It's been a month in which I have asked God, "What is going on?" and "What do I do?" and "What do you want, LORD?"

As I cried over my desire to have another baby, I was reminded that I haven't taken care of my body- the body which will be the nourishing taxi for my baby for nine months. Then I had to confront my bad eating habits, and how I was feeding emotional needs with food, which never satisfied. When my husband was gone, I ate. When I had a frustrating day with the children, I snacked. When I thought about wanting a baby, and watched my friends' pregnancies blossom, I ate. Then, when I looked at my body... hating how it looked... I ate!

The other day, I thought I'd try out a slimmer. Before I had Keagan, I was talking to a woman who had just had a baby, commenting on how slender and lean she looked so soon after having a baby. She said, "It's not me, it's the slimmer." I filed that information away thinking, "Hmm, maybe I'll get one after I have the baby."

I recalled this tidbit while browsing for a sportsbra, and decided to try on a couple tummy-slimmers. There's were so many different styles to choose from, so I grabbed a few and locked myself in a dressing room.

Torture. Seriously. Why do we do these things to ourselves? I felt so ashamed trying to shove myself into this little... thing. I felt myself tearing up right there in the fitting room as I tried to wiggle out of it. I didn't purchase one. I couldn't bring myself to. Cried all the way home from the store, though.

I've been on a diet, eating fewer carbs and no more than 2 grams of sugar a day (if any at all). So, when I got home, I headed for the scales to see if there was any progress, and I'm glad to report that I've lost two pounds. I don't really see it yet, but these things take time, I know.

I started walking in the evening when Brandon is home to watch the kids. I put the baby in the stroller and do some hardcore walking- you know, the power-walking yo'mama use to do (or at least my mom did). Pushing the stroller gives my walk a little extra umph.

It's been difficult- especially since I have a major sweet tooth (which I overly-spoiled for too long), but hopefully I'll continue to make progress.

Sometimes, we moms get so caught up in taking care of our children that we forget to take care of ourselves. We feed our munchkins healthy meals and make sure they get plenty of fresh air and exercise. We can't neglect our own health. We can't keep putting off things like "getting in shape".

We can't lean on comfort food when we need comfort. We have to lean on God.

Okay Mandy? Got that?


Mommy N said...

I feel your pain. I finally got into my pre-baby pants b/c I finally cut the sweets out. For me, I cut them out b/c they were causing terrible mood swings. The effect was a happier house, calmer mom, and pre-baby jeans. Now, it's been over a month since I really craved a sweet. Just like any other habit/craving/addiction, you'll beat it with God on your side. Good Luck!

Heather said...

Did the same thing after my son. You are a lot smaller, naturally, than me (I am 5'3" and muscular not thin) however I had to cu out the sugar and eat wiser--I was moody and sick all the time. Actually I ended up going through the Candida diet (I spent most of my high school years on antibiotics, messed up my body big time.) Now as long as I keep the sugar and carb intake relatively low I do fine and feel much, much better. (Aldso good was the bible study The Lord's Table over at helped me rely on God instead of food.

Arlene said...

I used to never worry about my weight, I could eat and eat and not gain a pound. Unfortunately our metabolisms change as the years go by, and I do have to keep a watch on what I eat if I don't want to balloon. I'm probably about 5-10 lbs over what I'd like, but keep in mind healthy is what we need to aim for. It's better to be a few pounds overweight and healthy, and not slim and unhealthy.

Shannon C said...

I feel you, girlfriend! My husband was away for the past 3 months and my kids also don't prefer or appreciate home cookin' so it was either nuggets or grab fast food. Along with that I have just recently(perhaps as a comfort while dh was gone) started ramming down candy. I'm addicted and since i used to be able to eat what I wanted, I didn't think much about it. I've gained 6 pounds since dh left. He's back now so we will be eating better and I will have him watch the kids while I workout--I always feel guilty about working out when my kids are awake and I just don't wake up earlier and am too tired at night!!! I hate that belly fat that I can't disguise at all unless I decide to wear jeans up to my chest!
Shannon C

Aaron & Cassie said...

I have exactly those same thoughts about weightloss. I eat because I want to be pregnant, (and because I think the extra pounds will help me when I am pregnant) because Aaron's working late, because Lias is taking a nap and I have a few minutes to myself so I deserve to have a brownie, etc. It's hard, but I need to fix my eating habits and start bike riding again. Saw your parents and Chip at Georgetown. Hope you're having a good, sugar-free day!

Lauren said...

I guess this is an older post, but I sure appreciated it today! Thanks for sharing!

Lauren @