I've been wanting to document why, exactly, I've decided to participate in Jennie's Biggest Blogging Loser contest, but the post that I write in my head is about 700 pages of angsty weight-on weight-off struggle. You don't want to know all of that. So, since it's Friday, and since my children are either sleeping or playing outside with my mom, we'll give it a condensed whirl.
1.) Never in my life have I been thin. As such, my weight has (for as long as I can remember...even in my early elementary years) been on the forefront of my mind. Looking back, I see that even when that weight rested at a healthy number, I would still worry and stew over it because I didn't look like my friends. I remember going in for my high school sports physical, getting weighed by the doctor, and being told, "Wow. You don't LOOK like you weigh THAT much." Compliment? Criticism? Backhanded compliment? I don't know. But here we are fifteen or so years later and I still remember it, for what that's worth.
2.) In college, two of my dearest friends and I participated in the Weigh Down Workshop. What a fantastic ministry this is, and I highly recommend it. Through it, I finally learned the value of my natural hunger and fullness signals. It's amazing to me that I had to TRAIN my body (and my mind) to do what it is created to do naturally. Focusing solely on hunger and fullness, I lost fifty pounds. That's TEN five-pound bags of flour. I can't figure out how to carry that much weight around, and yet I was doing it for a long time. I loved following the Weigh Down principles and that program was exactly what I needed at that point in my life. It seemed to me to be Weight Loss Truth, and I couldn't understand how or why anyone would choose any other program to try to lose weight. I was young and naive and didn't give much credit, at that time, to the fact that maybe (JUST maybe) people are different and have different needs when it comes to these things.
3.) Weighing fifty pounds less than ever before, I wore a bikini in Hawaii. Then I moved to San Francisco to be closer to Tim. Then I married Tim. Then I got pregnant. Then I gained 85 pounds. Seriously. Eighty. Five. I was frustrated by the weight gain at the time, but didn't worry too much because I had the key to weight loss. After Christopher was born I remember telling my doctor that I'd "lost weight before. I know how to do it." And I did. But not well. And while I was struggling with hunger and fullness while breast feeding, a nagging feeling began in me about nutrition. You see, the Weigh Down theory is that God, who created you, created your body to know what you need. It knows when you're hungry, so your stomach growls. It knows when your satisfied, so your body feels full. It knows what nutrients you need so when you're hungry you will desire certain foods to meet those needs. I believe all of this to be true. Really, I do. But I also know myself well and I know that my mind is A LOT stronger than those body signals. Sure maybe my body wants the protein in the scrambled eggs....but my taste buds want that giant chocolate muffin from Costco. I began to realize that, as great as Weigh Down was for me, if I was good at listening to the signals my body was sending I wouldn't be overweight in the first place. I began to think there was something more that I needed.
4.) Around that same time, other bloggers who I was reading were starting up with Weight Watchers and having great success. I wanted nothing to do with it. My mom did Weight Watchers when I was a kid. I remember she had to go to meetings and weigh herself in front of other people. NOT FOR ME. But those bloggy friends were having too much success for me to ignore and (AND!) they were doing it all from the anonymity of their computer screens. I signed up on my second wedding anniversary - Chris was nine months old. The weight loss was sudden, dramatic, and easy. By his first birthday, I had only 20 pounds to go to my pre-baby weight.
5.) One week later, I discovered that I was pregnant with Jacob. Scared to death about gaining 85 AGAIN (especially since I was starting 20 pounds up) I was VERY careful about what I ate during that pregancy. After Jacob was born I hit the weight watchers hard, lost all of the Jake weight by his 7-month birthday and only had ten pounds to go when....yup. When I discovered my pregnancy with Nathan. Jake was ten months old.
6.) And now here we are. Nathaniel is 14 months old. His first birthday had me at the highest first birthday weight of all three boys and, while it didn't drag me down, I was aware of that fact. Aware enough for it to bug me, but thinking I'd get to it eventually. I was ignoring my Weight Watchers (but pretending I wasn't) and pretending the Weigh Down principles didn't really exist. While I had goals for the weight loss, I wasn't reaching them. I was just pushing them back. And back. And back.
7.) Jennie's contest came just at the right time. It's given me the kickstart that I needed and the motivation, too. Since our first weigh-in on January 3, I've lost 15.8 pounds. My clothes are getting bigger and going shopping in my closet is getting more and more fun as I rediscover my style (believe it or not, I used to have style....not just this winter's "fleece chic" look I'm sporting.) I'm in control and so very happy to be regaining the confidence that I had before. The competition is stiff, for sure, but the benefits are beyond awesome.
(And winning a few dollars to replace the hideous chandelier above our dining room table is pretty motivating too!)