Body to Baby: A Lifetime of Struggle, A Blessing and Now a Curse

For as long as I could remember I was always “chubby”. ‘Oooh my gosh! Look at those chubby cheeks!!’ Is what my mom says was a huge draw for people when I was a baby. When I was older I got into sports but before a softball game my mom would make me a grilled cheese for breakfast, this lasted well into my teenage years. “Balanced Breakfast” was never in my vocabulary except when it was taught in Health class. In one ear and out the other though.

My weight problem would haunt me throughout my childhood. I was into sports but exercise could only do so much. Then I became a teenager. A teenager with too much angst and a mother who wasn’t so much helpful on the emotional end. ‘You’re fat/that doesn’t fit right’ etc., was said to me almost daily, to where I could have become bulimic but instead I hid in large clothes, ate when I was sad and used my “bright personality” as a crutch.

Like any overweight kid there came a barrage of “mean girls” and idiot boys who also liked to point out that I was fat. By the time I got into high school I turned the whole thing into a self-deprecating joke. ‘Oh am I fat? I didn’t realize that, THANK YOU for the memo.” One time I can remember I was helping out as a backstage person for a play our school was putting on. Because I was, and still am, helpful I was putting makeup on for a guy who was part of the cast. Apparently the guys girlfriend, or the girls in the cast, didn’t care for my friendliness and I received a letter written in black eyeliner (black eyeliner I had purchased for the cast to use). The letter basically said that I was a fat cow and I should kill myself. That was one of the lowest points of my high school experience.

I graduated and moved on into being an adult. Adult stressors kicked in, work, college, boyfriends, and I just didn’t pay attention to what I ate, and then there was booze. While I didn’t drink myself into a stupor or anything when I worked the graveyard shift in my early twenties nothing was open except for bars, diners and fast food establishments. I never thought anything of it. I dated on and off and none of my “significant others” thought it was their place to tell me that I probably shouldn’t eat five tacos and wash it down with a beer on Taco Tuesday. I just kept on keeping on all along still using my personality to get me by when mentally I was still that high school nobody that wanted love and acceptance.

I tried so many times to do the gym thing, but when you don’t know what you’re doing and you cannot afford personal trainers or the classes, $10 dollars a month got me nowhere. I tried Slim Fast, Jenny Craig, and TrimSpa, you name it I probably tried it and got sick cause of it. My turning point regarding my weight loss was actually my Dad. While I learned to tune out the negative conversations from my Mom it was my Dad who made a passing comment to me while I was visiting that turned my world upside down.

“You’re getting kind of fat no?”

That was it, my dad thought I was fat…not cute chubby, but fat. It sent me into full on panic mode, I weighed myself when I got home. 290….two-hundred and ninety pounds. I cried and tried to figure out how that could even be. I gave up and gave in. I needed help.

I started my bariatric journey in January of 2013 and had my surgery in July. I remember in group therapy we had to choose one thing we would do in a year we never thought we could. I chose running a Tough Mudder. After I was cleared to work out and was able to actually eat something more than just broth and cottage cheese, I hit the ground running…hard. I signed up for Crossfit and broke myself mentally and physically. I followed my nutritionist guidelines and never stepped on a scale because I knew if I focused on the pounds lost I wouldn’t see the muscles gained. I ran my first mudder, the Dirty Girl, in June of 2014. Over the next two years I would sprinkle in two more mudders, two inflatables when finally a chipped bone in my left foot landed me in physical therapy the summer of 2016. By the time I was benched I went from 290 to 155, a size 22 to a size 8, I could squat press 200lbs. I was determined to get healed and back into the fray.

Then November came. I was still in physical therapy because I’m an idiot who couldn’t sit still and made a few things (besides my foot) worse. I was coming home from a camping trip and realized I was “late” honestly, I thought because I was camping in below freezing temperatures for 2 nights straight I froze my insides. At that point I had been married to my husband for only 6 months and I was a half a pack a day smoker, surely I couldn’t be. I was. We were over the moon excited, until I started gaining that baby weight.

I was a hormonal crying mess my first trimester, partly because of my body rebalancing for growing a tiny human and partly because to me everything that I worked hard for crashed down like a house of cards. I tried to watch what I ate but physically didn’t have it in me to work out any more than walking to and from my car to work and up and down the garage stairs. Oddly enough what I usually ate (or forgot to eat) before I was pregnant wasn’t enough, I had to think of not only myself now, so I ate more, which made me feel worse. It’s kind of hard to accept that “it’s for the baby” when in group therapy “weight was my enemy.” So I went from 165 to 215, needless to say I wasn’t happy about it but wasn’t able to do much to prevent it.

On July 18, 2017 I gave birth to my handsome little man. I am a Mom and it’s exciting and exhausting.

But now…what about me? Last time I weighed myself I was 195, good but I have 30 pounds to go to get back to a weight and a pants size I am happy with. But getting back to Crossfit is not in my cards, sleeping isn’t in my cards either and yet I keep ebb and flowing through my days, my work outs are lifting my son and the walk to and from my car. I’m still not eating great but eating less.

I have to go back to being accountable for my actions, I have to start pushing past the pain and making time for myself. But, how do we do that? How do moms of infants make time to work out? You can straighten out the “eat right ship” again, but man it’s hard when you have had chicken nachos at 2am because the “baby” wanted them.

So I guess my journey starts anew.

Submitted by Jenn M., with light editing by permission.

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