From twins to baby three back to me…my weight loss journey of 2020.
Hello! Thanks for being here. If we don’t know each other my name is Melinda. I am single mom of three kids under 3 ( as I write this, in Feb of 2021): twins who are 2 and a half and a 14 month old baby. I became a Mom in my 40’s, which only matters because I had time (so much time!) to think about how I was gonna do this whole mothering thing, but I also had time (so much time!) prior to the kids to become very attached to my pre-kids body and fitness routine. I was determined, with 100% confidence, that I would get my body back to “normal”.
Did it take me the better part of a year? Yup! I realized with hindsight that I moved through 4 distinct phases in my weight loss journey. I am going to share them with you, phase by phase.
Phase 1 “Denial/Exuberance/Delusion”
Phase 2 “Reality Check”
Phase 3 “In the Zone”
Phase 4 “Top of the mountain: the view from here”
Phase 1: Denial/Exuberance/Delusion
I had twins in August of 2018. I gained close to 50 pounds, which is healthy, but also leaves a lot to lose when its all over. I had already gained almost 15 pounds before I got pregnant because in order to be a Mom, I needed a Mom job. Before all this, I was a full-time yoga teacher, adjunct professor and freelance yoga/fitness professional. I ran all over NYC -literally – leaving my house at 5am everyday and 8am on weekends. If I was home before 8pm during the week, that was an early night.
To fuel this crazy lifestyle of working on my feet, running from place to place, face-to-face with people, live and direct, I chose a combination of brute strength and yoga self-awareness. I lifted heavy weights almost everyday, and practiced intense Ashtanga yoga several times per week. My body was strong, fit, flexible, unbreakable. Every time I lifted a weight I thought was “too heavy for me”, I was empowered both physically and mentally. Every time I practiced a pose that was “too challenging for me” I felt empowered. Every time I sat in meditation, silent with myself, I gained perspective on myself as a person. I took those tools with me into the world and into my work and it showed. I was super busy, successful, and trim. I had no time to eat garbage (would slow me down!) and little time to drink alcohol (would make me fall asleep!).
When I got my office/Mom job, I had to shift all that. Now I was sitting, eating cupcakes because it always seemed to be someone’s birthday or baby shower – the weight gain was slow but it happened. Clothes were tight but I ignored it (denial) and moved forward with plans to get pregnant. For the wonderful story of how that happened, read here.
Bam, twins! I tried to workout; I really did. All these mythical women who work out and keep their muscles during pregnancy, I wanted that to be me! But by week 14, I was bleeding and my doctor said Stop it! Don’t even lift groceries or laundry. I was so freaked out by the bleeding that of course I immediately stopped everything. So here comes 50 pounds and two beautiful babies. Literally as soon as I am able to walk after giving birth, I am planning my workouts (exuberance). I cannot get outside for a “run” fast enough! Well let me tell you that after months of not even lifting groceries, I was SO OUT OF SHAPE, going up a flight of stairs made my thighs shake uncontrollably. I was determined however, so I kept at it and pretty soon I was running for 30 min. I also joined Weight Watchers. I was breast feeding/pumping, so I didn’t scale back my diet quite that drastically but I did start to bring awareness to my eating. The scale moved, but slowly!!!!! The only issue I have with WW is that because they allow you to eat anything, it was very easy for me to rationalize things like Chinese food, or a burger without the bun, or one slice of pizza…(delusion). I knew these foods were not foods that encourage weight loss, but I deluded myself into thinking that it was OK. It was not OK! The scale was stuck, I was stuck, and by October, I knew I had to make some serious changes. I had lost the weight from the immediate post-partum period, but I was still a good 20 pounds over where I wanted to be.
Oddly enough, I went through this same phase after having baby 3. Literally, after her birth, as soon as I could walk safely, I was trying to “run”. During this pregnancy I had been able to sustain a fraction of fitness, so it actually wasn't as hard as coming back from the twins. I started with 30 min of run/walk on the treadmill and the weight was coming off!...Kind of. It was trickling off and I wanted it gone! (Denial). I also thought that my little walk/run scheme was going to be enough, and you know what? It wasn’t. I forced myself to get outside, because I knew I would run further just being out on the streets. It’s the middle of winter -January, February, and I get all my gear dusted off -winter layers, hat, gloves, iPhone holder, run-keeper app set to go (exuberance). And I am doing it! I am running, and eventually make my way to 45 minutes, pretty much 5 times per week. The weight is coming off, slowly, but off. I also re-joined WW, and like last time, it takes me seeing slower-than-I would-like progress to realize I was lured into delusion. I was eating “healthy” but it was a cheese/candy-is-ok sort of healthy – in other words, not healthy (delusion).
What I have come to learn from this stage, having been through it twice, is that my approach to weight loss is centered around a belief system that says “this will be easy. This should be easy. All those other moms do it. They can’t possibly be working harder than me!” this is flawed for SO many reasons, but mainly because it simply does not reflect reality – it reflects what I wish was reality. It is so easy to fall victim to our own belief system, because we convince ourselves that we know best – our ego tells us that “there is no way I could even possibly work harder!” All of that is a lie. Enter Phase 2: Reality Check…stay tuned for my next post as I detail what Phase 2 was like.
What is your phase 1? Do you deny, only to go hardcore into exuberance, and get lured into delusion, thinking you can sneak in foods that you really cant? t