Realizing Reality

3:22 PM

Yesterday we had perfect weather here in Western NC. Well, almost perfect. The wind had a mean streak up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Other than that... perfect.

So, the hubby, the baby and I seized the opportunity and went for a hike. Well, considering Michael is five weeks old and I am still recovering/getting back in shape, it was more of a nature walk.

This nature walk made me realize that everything takes time.

It's going to take time for us to adjust to being a family of three rather than two. It's going to take time for me to get back into the shape I once was in, and even longer to get into better shape, which was my goal before I found out I was pregnant.

I am excited for the "taking time" process. I am an impatient person in general, and I think that this life lesson is really going to be a process. Normally I'm not excited about learning to be patient, but this time I really think it's going to be a lesson... and I hope I really pay attention to it.

Every woman's pregnancy is different. Some women have trouble gaining weight, some gain too much, and some seem like celebrities: "perfect".

During my pregnancy I had to remind myself everyone is different. I came to the realization a little too late that I was gaining too much weight. Part of this was due to my swelling issues. It made it hard for me to exercise, because my hands and feet would swell up so much I couldn't do anything else the rest of the day. It really wasn't healthy, which seems strange to say. However, I didn't help the situation by indulging in eating some things that I had given up for years because of their unwanted effects on my body.

Now, post pregnancy, I'm suffering the consequences of my actions. But I've found a way to deal.

I'm going to be open about it.

I want others to realize that you don't have to let yourselves go after pregnancy just because you did before or during your pregnancy. I want others to experience the agonizing months following giving birth where it's hard to get back into shape. I want others to be with me when I realize that it's really worth it.

Women do not feel good when they let themselves go. I've learned this through many sources who I probably should not name on here. Let's just say that older women who have had children have told me, "It's not easy getting back into shape. Take it from someone who knows." Then I look at these women and tell myself I won't let myself get that way. It's not meant to be disrespectful, it's just me giving myself motivation.

My freshman year of high school I was severely overweight. After two somewhat traumatizing moves with my family, I had given up on sports and really trying with friends. I let myself go because food consoled me. Once I got my butt in gear and got into shape for my senior year of high school, I promised myself it'd never happen again.

Because of those years, I have some difficulty really dieting. I've never been at that breaking point, and therefore a few extra pounds here and there didn't seem like a big deal. Following high school, my sophomore year of college (after getting married a year before), I went through Rush. For those of you who don't follow, I decided to join a sorority. This was another point in my life where I got into serious shape. There wasn't really pressure from the Rush experience, but I put pressure on myself because I didn't want to end up in a "reject sorority". I know... awful.

After I dropped the sorority, I let myself go a little soft. I wasn't putting as much pressure on myself to stay in shape. When I got pregnant, I was around ten to fifteen pounds over where I really wanted to be. So, letting myself go during the pregnancy only put me past my limit even more.

What does this mean?

It means that now I'm biting the bullet. I can't "diet" like I used to, however, because I'm breastfeeding. I still have to eat some carbs, and I still have to eat enough calories to maintain my milk supply. But I can be strict on what type of calories I take in. I can eat only the good carbs, the good calcium, the good protein.

It's a completely different ball game.

So, these are the only pictures I have to offer right now. Here is where I'm starting:
and I've put two pictures following of where I want to be (or as close to it as possible).

With this diet I'm not paying as much attention to the scale as I am to pictures. I have weight in different places now that I can't control as much, but I can tone the main areas: my tummy, my arms, my legs, and my buttocks.

Care to join me? Let me know your secrets! I'll be posting my results monthly. I'm hoping to fit into a pre-pregnancy outfit by Christmas and a new little black dress by Valentine's Day. What are your goals?

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  1. Emily, I really connected with this post and the theme of coming to terms with the necessity of patience! So much of what you said really hits at the core of what I'm going through right now, too.

    I am SO tired of being sick and what it is doing to my body - I was actually starting to build muscle again and gain back some flexibility with yoga that was helping me fight the chronic pain I've had since high school. Now I'm wasting away, weaker than I ever was before. As you know, I've always cherished having control over my weight - but losing is NOT control! It sounds silly, but what I am going through now is just as frightening as gaining weight to my mind. Feels like I'm just shriveling further away with every passing week and I keep wondering how does this end? When will I be in control again?

    Pregnancy, while of course not an illness, is definitely a medical condition that changes our bodies in ways we are simply powerless to control. In that respect, it sounds like us two chronically impatient girls have found ourselves in the same boat. :P We've got goals that we are more than willing to accomplish and expectations of ourselves that we are determined to meet, but circumstances just do not allow the strength of our conviction alone to dictate the outcomes, as it ordinarily would.

    These situations we are in do not call into question our resolve. We've already proven a million times over that we have more than enough of that. So now, we are left with the waiting game. But we have the comfort of knowing that as soon as we can safely, slowly grasp back control over some of these involuntary processes that are changing our bodies and thwarting us from feeling how we want to feel for the time being, there will be nothing in the world that could hold us back!

  2. My dearest Emily,
    This was such a motivation for me! I know that Law school is nothing like having a baby, but it, too, comes with an extremely busy schedule and stress. Since my wedding and starting school I have gained a significant amount of weight and almost none of my clothes fit anymore. I've been reluctant to buy any new bigger clothes because I don't want to let myself think it's okay to stay at this weight. Aside from feeling bad about myself, this weight is just not healthy for how short I am! I know I need to lose the weight and that it will take time, but I have also struggled with patience!
    This post just helped me to remember that losing weight takes time and I will have to devote, at least, 15 minutes a day, and if I can manage it with my schedule, 30 or 40 minutes on the weekends and eat better. When studying is the primary focus, it seems so much easier to grab something quick, but not as healthy, or to allow indulgences more often because of the stress. But I am going to start eating better, and knowing that you are going through the process at the same time makes me feel so much better!
    I love you!!

  3. You both are so wonderful! Thanks for the comments. Hearing from others just gives me even more motivation. I promise to post if I find any secrets, Becca. And Cindy, I can't imagine going through what you're going through with the finesse that you do :). Love you both.