Friday, April 24, 2009


Warning: this post is nothing if not honest about my life and what has been one of my greatest struggles. I'm writing it because it makes sense for where I'm at right now, and in hopes of helping or encouraging someone else out there reading this. It's also a testimony of sorts.

Growing up, I was always overweight. It stunk, I hated it, I felt awful about myself, and it left emotional scars I'll probably have for the rest of my life.

During my Junior year of high school, I got up to the highest weight I'd ever been (until I got pregnant of course, ha!) and I was disgusted with myself. My greatest fear was that I'd never get married and have a family, and the biggest obstacle in this that I could see was my weight. My whole life it's always been very difficult for me to lose weight, and very easy to put it on, but I decided that when I went to college, I would look like a rock star (figuratively speaking) and would feel good about myself and be healthy. I did it - I lost 30 lbs. my senior year of high school, going from a size 12 to a size 4/6. I remember being SO proud of myself, feeling SO good, and dating a bunch of guys in college - I won't lie. That was fun :)

Then as I got married, I gradually gained a little here and there. Then when I got pregnant with Bennett, whoa buddy. I gained 45 lbs. and felt miserable at the end. After I had him, I dropped 25 lbs. pretty quickly from nursing, and then was left with 20 more staring me in the face. And in six months, I lost all of that, too. (Jazzercise class was my best friend, no lie).

Now here we are today, and as you've read, I've had another baby, which means another journey. Jasper will be six weeks old tomorrow. I behaved myself better with this pregnancy, and gained 35 lbs. I have 10 more to go to get back to where I was before he and Bennett were born, and 5 more after that to feel really rockin' awesome and to love every article of clothing in my closet. So there are 15 lbs. staring me in the face, and I started working on it all 2 weeks ago.

You may be thinking Who cares and what's your point? Fear not, friends - I have not one but two points today - how lucky can you get? :) Number one is, if you have been or are now or ever become fat, you CAN do something about it, and you CAN lose the weight. I've done it twice, and I'm doing it again. Number two, here are some tips I've learned for anybody else who cares or may have weight to lose, since I know all about being-fat-but-getting-rid-of-it :) (warning again: there's just a bunch of advice down here, then a wrap up paragraph - if this doesn't apply to you or you could care less, you might want to stop reading :) ).

1. Think of your goal in 3 lb. increments. Concentrate on losing just 3 lbs. at a time. If you think about losing 5, 10 or 20 lbs., you'll get discouraged and feel like there's no way to reach such a big goal. I've also found that about 3 lbs. is what it takes to feel a slight difference in clothing, or to see a slight difference in the mirror (slight, mind you).

2. I've found that for the most part, you can eat what you want, but portion control is critical. When I lost the weight initially my senior year, I was cutting my portions of what I used to eat in half. That's how much excess I'd been eating before. So when I'd go out to eat, have a snack, whatever, I'd determine how much I needed to fuel my body ahead of time and only eat that much.

3. Yes, you have to exercise. There's just no way around this one, so you might as well find something you really like to do, or something you can do with a friend, and get busy. After a while, you'll look forward to the "high" those endorphines give you, and that combined with the way your body feels will be enough to motivate you, weight loss aside. I don't run or do anything else painful that I hate, but I make sure to do something, and I change it up a lot so I don't get bored. Along with exercising, get an ipod or something of the like and download some BUTT-KICKING music that makes you want to get your rear in gear. Sometimes what gets me to the gym is thinking about how super-fly I feel cruising on the elliptical with my bad self to the stellar music rockin' out in my ear.

4. When you get sick of working on it all, take a break, just not a really long one - like a day or two.

5. When you've met a bigger goal that you've set, reward yourself. i.e. every time you reach a new clothing size, go buy a new outfit that you feel and look amazing in.

6. When you hit a plateau (and you will), push through it by taking slightly more extreme measures until you're over the hump (i.e. exercise twice a day instead of once, cut out all the bad stuff you eat, not just some, etc.). My plateaus come up every 10 lbs. or so, but everyone is different. When you keep doing the same thing you've been doing and suddenly the scale won't budge for a couple of weeks, that's a plateau to push through. Don't let it discourage you or make you stop.

7. Know and remind yourself that after you're done losing the weight, maintaining the weight is a LOT easier. You still have to exercise regularly and watch what you're eating, but to a lesser degree, and when you fudge a bit here and there, it's a LOT easier to reign in one stray pound rather than 20.

8. For snacks, eat fruits or veggies instead of chips or chocolate. Have a banana or carrots with ranch. That way you get your servings of foods that are good for you, plus you're ingesting a LOT less calories. It's an acquired taste, but once you train yourself, you'll feel so much better.
And DON'T snack at night.

9. Make a plan. Get together with your spouse to decide when you could go off without kids in tow to work-out and do something good for yourself. Also, sometimes writing down food options for different meals and snacks helps. And sometimes I keep a food journal when I'm trying to get back on track, where I write down EVERYthing I've ingested that day, including drinks. This helps me find and fight my weak areas and eat better.

10. Eat breakfast. Eat something low in calories and healthy, like a small bowl of cereal with skim milk and a piece of fruit, and this will boost you for the day and help you eat healthier later on. If you eat something unhealthy (like a McDonald's sausage egg and cheese biscuit with a chocolate milk...yum) it'll set that tone for the day, and if you don't eat breakfast at all, you'll be STARVING by lunch and be more likely to eat too much and eat the wrong stuff.

This may seem like a really WEIRD blog to a lot of you, but I know that a lot of us (whether we admit it out loud or not) want to lose some weight, want to fit into one size smaller, etc. And then there are some people out there who just feel gross or are really put out with themselves and their lifestyle. I just wanted to write about this because I don't have super will power or self-control, I like food WAY too much, and I currently have a decent bit of weight to lose, and I wanted other people out there that struggle to know they're not alone, and that they CAN do it. (man this sounds like an info-mercial...take heart since I'm not selling anything) I also wanted to hold myself accountable by posting about my past struggles and what I'm working on losing right now. Tomorrow I will have been working my FANNY off for 2 weeks, and so far I've lost 3 lbs. (after the dramatic weight loss nursing helps with). So really and truly, anybody can do it, and you don't need a pill or a special diet or a drink to help you.

Again, if you guys are all scratching your heads thinking What in the world?! then just excuse this post and look forward to the regularly scheduled program to come :) I just wanted to put it out here in case I'm not the only one.

P.S. If any of my friends out there do care about this and you live in my nearby vicinity, let me know if you ever want to go work-out or walk together! I do a lot better with a friend :)


Lori said...

hello zoo sweat, goodbye baby weight! can i get an amen? i'm thinkin maybe tuesdays or thursdays..what do you think?

Kristen said...

I know I'm small (haven't always been, though), but I'm definitly not fit like I used to be. If you ever want to meet to walk I'm game. :)

Unsinkable Kristen said...

I'll be right there with you in a few months! I lost all my weight with Little David by portion control and walking. I'd love to go walking with you some days, although frankly, I have no idea how to do that with three kids. I guess I'll start brain storming now :)

Oh and my favorite nursing snack was a whole wheat, low cab tortilla with reduced fat peanut butter on it. Quite yummy, gives you a ton of energy, and you can eat it one handed while you nurse.

angela said...

I've soooo been there Jennifer (and I will be again in a few months). Maybe at the beginning of fall I'll be ready to sweat with you, and whoever else wants to join! I'm always up for a zoo trip as well :)

Haley said...

I'm all in for zoo sweating! I just really need to find a running buddy, it's my fav way to work out but since d travels all the time now I can't leave the kids at home at night to go do it. :(

Kim Hodges said...

So true, so true. Nobody likes it, but diet (portion control) and exercise really do work! Keep it up!

I should've read this BEFORE the Pop-Tart.

Randi Freeby said...

I want in on the zoo sweating thing. I love the zoo and have a more than a few baby pounds to lose as well.