When I got pregnant with Ben, I used it as an excuse to indulge in all of my favorite crappy foods. Cheese sticks, pizza, Steak -n- Shake, ice cream, McDonald’s, you name it, I ate it. And loved it.
In my defense, I was 20 and able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted anyway, so it wasn’t a stretch for me. What was a big surprise (to me anyway) was that I then gained about 70 odd pounds. I don’t really know the precise number because I eventually stopped looking at the scale go up when I’d go in for my weekly weigh-in’s torture sessions.
10 pounds of that was water weight (I was swollen like my pre-eclampsia sisters) because it was damn hot that summer, and 8 lbs was baby, but the rest? Fat. All fat.
For the first couple of months, I tried desperately to lose the weight: I joined a gym, ate better, you name it, I tried it. And the scale moved upwards again by about a pound. This was enough to throw me over the edge and I gave up. Eventually, my metabolism kicked in and I lost most of the pounds, and dieted away the rest of them.
Then my thyroid went wacky, but was undiagnosed, and again, I couldn’t lose the weight no matter how many hours I spent at the gym. In fact, the scale moved up again and I was beating my head against the wall trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Despite both of my parents having thyroid issues, it never dawned on me that I could have the same problem. Because I am brilliant.
By the time I got pregnant with Alex, several years later, my thyroid issues had been diagnosed (thank GOD I was suffering from an inability to get pregnant, or it would never have been picked up. Doctor’s don’t seem to be overly trusting of women who are “tired all the time” and “gain weight easily.” I’m altogether certain that my own doctor would have told me to “eat less” and “exercise more”–not bad advice, medically speaking, but I already WAS doing this) and I was down to what I weighed when I got pregnant with Ben.
Because I am (as previously mentioned) an idiot, I never thought to get an endocrinologist at this juncture, assuming that my OB would monitor this closely. Oh! how wrong I was, and Oh! how the pounds packed on no matter how often I was christening the porcelain god.
The thing is, when you’re either a) getting fatter or b) pregnant, people always assume it’s because you’re eating like a teenage boy. No matter how much you don’t eat or how well you do eat when you’re able to hold it down, people don’t believe you when you tell them what’s going on. They think you’re hitting up Krispy Kreme’s all day, every day. For example, when I was at one of my sicker points from about 6 to 9 weeks (I heart you hyperemesis! Can we be BFF?) I gained 11 pounds in 3 weeks.
I’m pretty sure that the only person who believed me was The Daver, because he knows that I wouldn’t lie about that stuff. If I was eating garbage, I’d have owned it. I have no reason to deny it to anyone else. I heart junk food, and would eat it more often if I could get away with it and still fit into my size 8’s. I loved him for that.
So again, after making a huge effort to eat well (although exercising was out of the question because at about week 10 into Alex’s pregnancy, my hips stopped, well, working and walking became excruciating) I found myself at the time of delivery at about exactly what I weighed with Ben, minus 10 or so pounds of water weight.
I resolved to breast feed those pounds off, just like La Leche League said I could! And nurse I did: 10, 12, 17, 20 hours a day, all while eating about 900 calories a day FROM DAY 1 POSTPARTUM. I joined a gym 6 weeks after he was born and went for at LEAST an hour a day 5 days a week. I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t force myself to eat, and you can guess what happened to the scale, right? I gained 4 pounds.
I gained 4 pounds and my heart was shattered (to be fair, I had a bout of PPD issues that I was dealing with too and was sleeping very, very little.) I felt like a failure, like I was destined to be a fat chick for the rest of my life, and ended up crying my eyes out in the Gap when I went to buy non-elastic pants: I’d gone up 4 sizes since I last wore real pants.
All I wanted was some external validation from someone outside of my head to tell me that yeah, dude, this isn’t your fault, and I couldn’t seem to get anyone to tell me that.
My validation came many months later, in October of last year when I went into my OB’s office to have the PA look at my boob (not mastitis, it turns out, but a spider bite.) and she drew some labs to check my thyroid. Turns out where normal range is something like 0.4-2.0 (for people with previously diagnosed thyroid issues) and mine was….
Um….yeah. No wonder I wasn’t doing well, even though I was on Weight Watchers.
Since then, I have been in titrated treatments and have finally found a decent dose for me (although I need a repeat blood draw soon) and have lost 21 of the pounds I’d gained, and that coupled with a 16 pound loss after Alex was born, means I’ve lost….simple math, Becky, you can DO it, 37 pounds since last March.
I hit a plateau in Weight Watchers in November, so I went off it in January (because why fucking bother?) and lost a couple more pounds.
Last week, after 2 weeks of going to the gym 3-4 times a week, I started back on Weight Watchers, telling myself that if I didn’t lose even a pound in 3 weeks, that I wasn’t going to bother. The scale had to move in the right direction if I was going to measure every damn thing I put in my mouth, right?
Today was the first day that I had to weigh in, and I wasn’t expecting much to happen. I’d been working so damn hard for so damn long to see results go in the wrong direction, and that’s just so fucking discouraging.
After months of no real progress, I have now lost 2 pounds. In a week.
What’s interesting to me right now is how much better that makes me feel. It’s such a minor change, really, in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like I lost 20 pounds in a week (although that might be cool, too) and it’s not like I’m not aware that the first weigh-in is typically the one where you lose the most.
It’d be one thing if I’d gained the weight the old fashioned way (eating my brains out) and I would say things like I did after I had Ben, “Damn those cheese fries we’re easier to put down than to take off!” and feel like at least I enjoyed the hell out of eating like shit.
Remember how fun it was, Ashley?
Maybe I can get the rest of this weight off before Alex’s 15th birthday, right?
37 lbs down, 17 to go.
Now if I could only tell my body to remove some of this booby fat, I’d be thrilled. My enormous breasticles seem to be my children’s gift to me, but I want to exchange them for a slightly smaller size now. They’re ridiculous.
So what can buoy you out of the depths of despair and give you a sense that the Universe sometimes does really like you?