What Gives

If you’re just joining this blog, you probably don’t know that when I wasn’t obsessing over babies and sleep, I was obsessing over weight loss and body image. In the subsequent years since I began in earnest to change my life – loosely translated, this means I no longer drink like a fish, eat like a trucker and smoke like a chimney stack – I stopped talking about it all so much.

I hated obsessing over my body and my health. I knew I had better things to do, other things to focus my energies on, and I had to learn to trust myself that I’d figured out how to love myself and care for myself so that I wouldn’t let my health spiral out of control again. And so I did, and I was right: I never gained back more than 15 pounds of what I’d lost in total from 2002-2004 (55 pounds), I primarily made healthy food choices, quit smoking and curbed the drinking to a glass or wine or two once a week during the workweek and one night on the weekend.

Then I had the baby. While I didn’t drink and smoke, of course, eating was tough. I can count on one hand the times I ate a vegetable. Oh God, the thought of eating a vegetable made me want to vomit. I managed to eat fruit every day, but for the most part I was following a carb-and-protein diet. And even then it was a crapshoot. I beat myself up a lot in the beginning – like so many folks, I had grand plans for the pristine diet I’d follow on behalf of my child until I had day-long sickness up until midway through the second trimester. And of course I did fine in the 2nd trimester, but the third was all about survival once again.

I am fascinated by how my body responded to all of that, especially since I was in pain quite a bit and could barely walk across the street by the end, much less do any formal working out. I gained 35 pounds, 25 pounds of which I lost within the first two weeks, 10 that remained after.

And now I’ve lost five, with five more to go before I’m at pre-baby weight.

But the ubiquitous “they” ain’t kidding: it may be only five pounds,  but it’s not as though my body even looks close to what it did before I had the baby, and even then I was still 15 pounds heavier than I’m comfortable with.

I lost five pounds this month by watching what I eat, which has meant little-to-no processed food, cooking more, portion control and using a Bodybugg. I work out 4xs a week using Chalean Extreme DVDs and walking. I use a Laptop Lunches bento box for my food every day, which I highly recommend, and I’ve completely cut out drinking Diet Coke, save for one on the weekends.  While I’m not a proponent of cutting out food groups, I do shy away from bread unless it’s really awesome bread or I have a low-carb version. I try to not have seconds of anything, unless I’m actually hungry, and I do quit eating about an hour before bed, though with the baby that can be tough.

Physically I really do feel much better. I feel tighter where I should be, lighter and less toxic, if that makes sense. Obviously I still can’t fit into the majority of my pre-baby clothes – see above about the big body changes – but I’m making headway into more items every day.

Oh but sweet Jesus I am exhausted.

Mentally and physically, I just am spent. I started to notice this last week, and adjusted accordingly. There is a pretty regimented calendar with Chalean Extreme and I couldn’t make it work logistically with the baby – someone needs to be here so that I have the bandwidth to work out, plus with her erratic schedule (not always sleeping through the night and waking up at the same time), saying I’d “always work out before work” was lame and next to impossible. So from Friday-Monday I worked out, modifying the calendar. Until this weekend. I could not deny how tired I was, and went ahead and modified things once again, skipping a workout completely.

Another item of parenting I simply didn’t count on: how all of my energies would be used up in the act of parenting. From the planning to the execution to the strategy that is The Business of Raising Abigail, fitting in 40-minutes of fat burning is ridiculously hard. This is a common complaint of parents, of course, but until you’re doing it you don’t get it. You add heading back to work and any other life commitments, and it’s draining.

I’m not scoffing at the added health benefits I’m reaping; honestly, it’s nice to not feel bloaty and sluggish. But admittedly I am uncomfortable being at this weight, and I don’t much feel like myself. And I’m vain. I am. Not so much that I’d go to great lengths to lose weight, but enough that I’m serious about doing what I can to continue the scale’s downward spiral, even if it takes some time. And I don’t know that I have much of a choice in that regard with my life looking as it does now.

I was watching OWN yesterday, and the show Extraordinary Moms, and one of the women profiled mentioned the ol’ “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once.” I thought about that long and hard and it’s true. I can get back into shape, but I can’t have it right now as fast as I’d like. Because I’m not willing to compromise on sleep or my job. I’ve thought about working out during my lunch hour, but I like that time for eating and reading blogs and taking care of things I don’t get the chance to with Abigail on the weekends. I could do it after she goes to bed, after work, but I’m so exhausted that I can’t even pretend that I enjoy it. And the last thing I want to establish for my kid is the idea that exercise is a chore. It should add joy to your life.

So for now I’m only working out on the weekends, and watching what I put into my mouth. I’m going to try sleep earlier, though really? 9:30 p.m. is pretty early as it is and I do like to have time with my husband, get more work done, and still have time to cook and get ready for the next day. All of these things are just as necessary as losing weight, if not more so.

Something had to give, and that was it.

What have you had to give up or scale back on or put on pause?