January 8, 2013

Bigger and Smaller

I may be one of only a few non-impoverished American women to say this, but I have never been on a diet. I've never had a desire to go on one either. I hate having to pay close attention to stuff like that. Food and I are likethis. And dessert and I are like this (that's "this" with rainbow sprinkles and a line of chocolate sauce)! So, I've spent my brief times in life when I've wanted or need to lose a little weight just trying to be moderate and sensible with portion sizes, healthy choices and variety. And working out more.

I realize how blessed I am that weight has not been a big issue for me. I was a pretty thin kid and teenager. Never unhealthy and very active with a good metabolism. I won the award for biggest appetite when I was a senior in high school because I ate so much without seeming to "put" it anywhere. The yearbook picture is epic because the boy who won was nicknamed "Grub" and was a 250 pound football player and we're both holding up the free Little Debbie snacks they brought as props. (I'll have to find the picture to share with you guys.) I totally kept the props because there was no way I'd pass up free food! My grandmother used to ask me (usually at Thanksgiving) if I had a hollow leg. My reply was that I had two.

Much of my lack of issue with weight came from being very active with sports, activities and gym class. Another blessing I don't take for granted is that I am athletically able, for lack of a better word. I have decent coordination, good balance, am flexible and have pretty good natural muscle tone. That definitely makes it easier to stay active! Thank God I didn't get my mother's athletic ability (which would probably be counted in the negative, if that's possible). But in addition to my activity level, I never had an addictive or over-doing things type of approach. Even though I loved (and still do, of course) candy and dessert, I've never sat down and eaten a whole bag of cookies. If I want pie, I have one piece. If I'm eating a special cookie (like Girl Scout Carmel Delights, mmmmm) I try to eat small bites to really taste and enjoy them. I also enjoy just about every type of food and have made a point to eat my vegetables and fruits. And I've done these things since I was young.

The combo of high activity and moderating food intake has helped me avoid getting overweight. However, once I reached adulthood, it got harder and harder to stay at a comfortable level of thinness. Once I wasn't working out, competing, etc all the time, or going to daily gym class, a little bit of extra fat snuck in. I have usually been able to include some sort of workout in my life, but with varying levels of commitment.

Having kids is the next change. I gained about 45 pounds with K. I lost about 35 after the first six months but then had to work very hard to lose the rest. I had actually gotten an extra five pounds gone by the year before I was pregnant with S. But pregnancy for me was a time when it was so hard to moderate! I was hungry a lot and, until the last couple of months, the weight gain was all belly. So I got a little lazy.

After S, though, there was a BIG change. I had only gained 35 pounds but I lost 45 within five months! I credit the natural birth (as opposed to the c-section with K) and nursing S. I had forgotten what it felt like to be that slim. I was wearing size six pants and small shirts. And sometimes those were a little big on me! It was a great feeling. I definitely felt lighter than I had in a long time. If I got sick and couldn't eat, I felt so much more vulnerable because losing a few pounds at that stage actually made a big difference. But when I was well, I felt so much better being smaller.

After I stopped nursing though, I gained 20 pounds in about seven months. Ugg. After being thinner, I could feel the difference that I didn't notice when I had more gradually gained weight earlier in my twenties. I had forgotten what it felt like to not have a belly in my way when I bent over. It was obvious how much more effort it took to run around, move around, etc. when I gained the weight again. I could feel more jiggle when I walked.

Now I've gained another 8-10 pounds and I officially hate it. I'm no where near obesity but I am getting uncomfortably close to getting into the overweight for my height and age category. This fall I've been very tired and a little depressed, so I've been less active and less careful about what I eat. For the first time, I'm feeling like I don't have much ability to change anything.

James and I tried the GM diet cleanse in the fall. We followed it closely and I only had one cookie during the week, toward the end. I didn't loose any weight in that week, but I did feel more clarity of mind when I had cut out carbs, sugar and dairy. By half way through, I was feeling very mean so I was glad I hadn't tried a really restrictive diet for the long term!

Now I'm at the point where I need to make a real change. I need to have a check up to make sure there isn't something bigger wrong with me. I need to sleep more. I need, need, NEED to cut down on sugar and fat in my diet. For the long term. So I need to change the way I look at what moderation means and how much is too much if I really want to be healthier. And I think I need to change my general attitude toward life, to be more positive and hopeful. (More on that aspect later.)

Everyone always tells you to take care of yourself while you are young because things change as you get older. And it's excruciatingly clear now that my parents are aging, and grandparents are aging, getting sick, dying that how you treat your body has a direct effect on your health and well being later. I want to make changes that help my family and I be healthier, so that we can live more productive lives and are able to do the things that will make our lives more interesting and effective. I guess it's my New Year's resolution!


  1. Good luck lady. I have had the complete opposite experience always having issues with my weight and always seem to have to watch what I or I end up gaining 30 lbs and not knowing how the heck it happened. :) I really hope that nothing is wrong with you - other than you getting older. You are one of the strongest women I know and if you set your mind to this you will do great.

    1. Thanks, Heidi! I always want to be careful with my approach to weight and what I say about it because I know so many people have struggled more than I have. I guess we all have a journey to go through with accepting the body we have while also being as healthy as we can be.