Hi Friends. It's been a while since I've been active here on SparkPeople, so I thought I'd return with a few musings from today... Life is full of fluctuations and changes...
So let’s talk about weight and body fluctuations, shall we? Ten years ago, I lost about 40 pounds. My top weight (before pregnancy) was around 185 (where I was too ashamed to even have a picture documenting it), and my lowest weight was right around 143. I was young, really motivated, and learning about nutrition for the first time ever. (“There are HOW MANY calories in THAT?!”)
Jump ahead. I went from focusing on weight loss, to muscle gain. I began diversifying my exercise routine, adding running, strength training, yoga, hot yoga, home workouts, long distance races, etc… I fluctuated up from my lowest weight to around 150-155 consistently. At first, this stressed me out so much. I was addicted to the feeling I would get to see the NUMBER drop on the scale. And now the scale weight was going UP?! What the what!?! It was a constant focus of anxiety, so I eventually took a hiatus from weighing myself.
Life changes, and with big shifts in life, sometimes we experience big shifts in weight. I got pregnant in 2015. Even though I ate really healthy (100% vegan, mostly whole-foods) and continued to exercise while pregnant, I gained almost 60 pounds. That’s just how my body responded to pregnancy - in spite of my making healthy decisions to feed myself and my growing baby.
The first two years postpartum were uniquely challenging in my life as well. I breastfed for 22 months, which kept my body holding onto some softness and weight to nourish my child… I lost most of my pregnancy weight at first, then returned down to 160 pounds, but out of shape from a nearly 2 year gap in regular exercise. As my son weaned and I went through some pretty hard times (divorce, moving, raising a toddler single-parenting, quietly letting go of so much I had held onto in my life…), I started exercising again. Weight went down, then up, 5 pounds.
I got to a place in the last 2 years where I could consistently fluctuate 155-160, without really more than normal routine healthy habits (vegan diet, lots of H2O, plants), and regular exercise. Just a few months ago with diligent focus on my strength training, I saw my body change again in a positive way, without having any notable loss on the scale. I felt awesome and strong, confident in my body.
Now, after quarantine, I’ve found myself displeased and irritated with myself for being thrown from so much of my exercise and gym routine I had worked hard to solidify. I went from my happy 155 up to 163, and have camped out in that low 160’s again for longer than I’m comfortable. Yesterday, feeling irritated with my softness on my hips/tummy, I scrounged up my old “before/after” photo from 10 years ago… and it was keenly eye opening.
I’ve had a marker of “145” as my “most attractive” weight where I felt the best about my body. But in reality, I still remember feeling unhappy with my body when I was that weight. I felt like I still needed to change something. Now, as I look at the comparison between photos, I can see that so much of my body SHAPE has changed, as my weight has fluctuated. I’ve redistributed body mass, increased muscle tremendously, and my hips are wider since childbirth. Honestly, I like myself and my body more than I ever did even when I lost all my weight… and though I have low-esteem days, I can honestly say that the positive shift has happened through time and consistency of healthy lifestyle habits.
Sure, I have detours. I get off track, put on a few pounds. (See above: Re: Quarantine, soft tummy.) But right now, my aim isn’t to reach 145 (I know I’d have to sacrifice a lot of muscle mass to get there!)… my aim is to feel strong and well. To enjoy the food pleasures I love (yes, that includes wine AND kale, chocolate AND fresh veggies!), to live with activity in my life because it makes me FEEL good, and to not fixate on a *feeling* that I’ve attached to a *weight.*
Feeling a certain way comes with habits. Not weight.
Bodies change, and lives change. That’s okay. You’re okay. I’m okay. Let’s work on being okay being ourselves through the changes — without living in a distance memory of a version of yourself you thought you used to be.
Visit my newly updated website to learn a little about what I'm up to lately!