I was clinically obese for years after giving birth to 3 children. I still am overweight, but not as much as 5 or some years ago. I know it may seem frivolous to those who do not experience weight issues, but I felt beaten. I didn’t see my old physical self anymore, and I felt for sure that I was being judged by friends and family for having let go.
For my first baby in my late 20s, the lbs just shed off. I am now certain that in my case, a reliable metabolism comes with age. Second child, I had a few too many banana splits at Friendly’s in New Jersey--so much so that the staff there sold us the chocolate fudge at wholesale and taught my husband how to make some of the ingredients because we would travel from Bloomfield to the nearest branch--which took about 45 minutes each way. Just for ice cream. They didn’t want us driving far, which was very empathic and kind of them (and why Friendly’s will forever hold a special place in my heart), but only indulged my pregnancy cravings more.
But I am getting there, and part of the process of my body acceptance is remembering that self love is a place I should inhabit. I don’t just visit and expect to see results. It takes time, effort, discipline, patience, and acknowledging my little victories.
I had my 3rd child when I was already 36, and since I didn’t shed a lot post 2nd child, the weight kept piling on. Add to that I am a prolonged nurser, and when they say that breastfeeding helps you lose weight, it didn’t hold true for me. I nursed my eldest for 1.5 years, middle 4 years, youngest child almost 4 years--and all those years I was hungrier than usual, and in my mind, I honestly didn’t want to deprive my children of any nutrients they could get from me. I bunkered down and promised I would slough it off after I’m done nursing. It didn’t happen because I was busy raising my kids and working, and any free time would go to resting or something more fun to me than working out or watching my caloric intake.
For years I felt insecure about going to parties because I felt like my clothes wouldn’t fit right, and I would be the fat girl in the room. There were even times that a friend I haven’t seen in a while didn’t recognize me, or asked if I was pregnant. I would have said, "Yes I am, but 5 years ago!"--if I had the strength for banter. I was working full time in print media, and the industry, especially then, calls for a certain standard.
In 2015 I jumpstarted my fitness project by enrolling at a gym for some cardio and weekly hip hop classes, which eventually got dull after I couldn’t keep up with the younger set. Too bad because I love to dance, but goes to show my high school cheerleading days are clearly behind me. When you see those weight loss videos where people are crying, and they feel like a burden has been lifted when they started feeling more like themselves after losing weight--I can relate to that.
I pored through Instagram fitness coach pages, and saw this BBG program which I enrolled online at for about a year. For the first maybe 3 months I was gung-ho, but came to the realization that I am not a girl who likes jumping around, and burpees were my clear enemy.
I think that some of my self affirmation has to do with my physical appearance. If I see my good clothes don’t fit, or photos of myself looking homelier than usual, it has an affect on me. I tend to then fall into that rabbit hole of self deprecation and disapproval, then the cycle begins again.
I am worthy, I am enough, I am LOVED. Just stay healthy and stick around, especially for the latter who do.
Three years ago, I decided to take up yoga. I am currently practicing only when I want to, and am not stern or beating myself up about missed weeks nor months. Yoga somehow gave me hope, and to think I was laughing at my husband who tried to do it years before, because watching him struggle while holding the poses seemed funny. I didn’t know I would be doing the same. I also met friends in my yoga classes who made me feel safe and comfortable in my skin. And more importantly, it took away some of the inches and weight that dragged me down. I also take it as a chance to meditate and thank God for keeping me alive, and to be grateful for myself for showing up. I am also looking into intermittent fasting, as I've seen some friends achieve results with that.
I am not oblivious to all the, “if she can do it, so can I,” especially on social media. Regrettably though, I belong to the group of the easy to discourage, so I am in a start-stop relationship with myself. But I am getting there, and part of the process of my body acceptance is remembering that self love is a place I should inhabit--I don’t just visit and expect to see results. It takes time, effort, discipline, patience, and acknowledging my little victories. I cannot expect the weight I built up over the years to be something that melts off in a month or two--it is unrealistic and can be dangerous for both the mind and body. My achievements are a side effect of the daily things I do, to get to where I want to be, and I have to assimilate that.
Oscar Wilde wrote, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” And in case I still forget, please remind me? That I am worthy, I am enough, I am LOVED. Just stay healthy and stick around, especially for the latter who do.
Love you always,