Underlying motives (SparkCoach blog topic)
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Like many people on here I have been struggling to lose weight for a long time. My motives have ranged from looking as good as I have in high school to wanting to fit in certain clothing.
My biggest motivators, the people around me at the time, good or bad. A lot of memories that seem to fit this topic come to mind for me here and it only seems fitting for me to really look into them and reflect on my journey to this point in my several attempts at weight loss.
I remember when my first husband and I were dating, when the weight started to go up. I'm sure part of it was being in my senior year of high school/second year of college and getting pretty burnt out on life like it was for most people but there are a few moments that tell me it was more than that. Plus I just lost 10-15 pounds right before that from working at Subway and not eating greasy fast food every day and was starting to wear my YOUNGER sister's clothes (she joked in her very Bailey way that because she was the little sister I was wearing hand-me-ups) so I don't think it was the so called "Freshman 15."
When he and I ran off to Florida together and I ate ice cream, my comfort food, constantly. I didn't realize it was more than usual but when my sister's pants stopped fitting there was silence from him as to why that happened, even when I reached my first all time high of 180, 30 pounds higher than what I had been on average the entire time I was in high school.
Another memory comes from a few months later when I was back home in Federal Way. We were celebrating a monthiversary of some sort--five months? seven months? Oh who cares--and I don't remember what I mailed him but his gift to me was a bunch of Atkins approved low carb candies. I'm sure it was meant to be encouraging but to me it said that he saw my body the change the same way I did, flabby and unattractive.
Even sadder, a time when I needed new jeans and he came along with me to the thrift store. I was used to being anywhere from a 4 to an 8 depending on the brand but this time I couldn't fit in to any of these. For the first time in my life I was a 12 and considered a plus size. I was walking around value village that night crying that I was fat and he said nothing. Here I was, about to marry this man, and getting no encouragement or reassurance that I was beautiful in spite of my size or being comforted that I can be loved by him even through my insecurities. I couldn't even get tough love from him.
I know a lot of me was clueless as to how to lose weight at the time, but never once did I get any assurance or encouragement that I needed from him. I even went on a liquid diet and was moderately successful at that, getting down from a new high after we got married at 211 to a 162, the closest I ever got to my high school weight and as much as he loved my new body, again I had no help to keep it off.
My first boyfriend after my ex-husband wasn't much better. My weight was once again hovering around 180 and I was really hoping to get down to a healthy weight but he actively encouraged me not to. He preferred what he called a "real woman" and thought that Marilyn Monroe was way sexier because of her curves. Although I understand the sentiment to an extent and like many women I admire her beauty and her sexy hourglass curves, I'm no Marilyn Monroe and I'm pretty sure most curvy women know they aren't either. It also didn't help that once again, I had little assurance that my body was beautiful, just that it suited his preference. A part of me wanted to lose weight anyway to defy him.
My first big push to live better came when I had Hazel. Her father left the picture a month before she was born and I got into this new stage of motherhood. My time on maternity leave was unlike anything I ever experience before. I saw how big I was to this newborn baby's world and I wanted to look at the world the way she looked at me. I wanted to explore and know it, particularly my own backyard. I stand by that I live in the most beautiful state in the damn country and I'll defend my position to the grave that my state is better than anyone else's, even if I like your state too. I would see mountains and think "I need to be there, right now" even if that wasn't realistic. I craved the rainforests. I also had a ridiculous amount of energy. Weight loss came off because I harnessed it. I could literally spend two hours straight on the elliptical and I would. I wanted Hazel to learn a healthy lifestyle as early as she could and I knew that this was the time for me to learn it so I could teach her. I took advantage of that entire three months I was home with her.
Then reality came. Like most single moms, balance was hard to find for me, especially as I didn't even have her dad around part time to help me out. I didn't date for a long time because I didn't have that balance, plus I was scared to introduce her to a revolving door of men in my life or see her heart break if that relationship ended. I was really worried about how that would mess her up.
Enter my husband. I was starting to lose the weight again when we started dating and he was really impressed that I as a single mom I found a balance of parenting, work, school, fitness, and diet. He didn't throw off that balance but rather encouraged it. He lived closer to my parents and would often help babysit so I could work or go to the gym. This gave me more free time so I didn't have to make room for him. He was open to trying my crazy gluten free, soy free, and vegan recipes and surprisingly enough, he ended up loving a lot of my recipes for foods he previously hated. I'll never forget his face the first time he sampled my tomato basil soup. I actually was able to stay vegan in a relationship with a meat eater.
Then one day something amazing happened. I found out I was pregnant again. We were six months into our relationship and secretly knew we were going to get married eventually but wanted to take some time and enjoy dating for awhile. This pregnancy changed that. We started talking marriage and were married two months later on Christmas eve, 2018.
Throughout the pregnancy, a couple of things changed. I not only gave up on being vegan, but I gave up even being a vegetarian after 11 years. It wasn't necessarily because I was like Phoebe Buffay and "the baby craves the meat" but mostly because it was one of the only things that didn't make me even slightly nauseous. Also, I didn't restrict the way I ate much at all. It meant the weight came on again, higher than ever, but I was ok with that because I remembered what it was like when I was a new mom with Hazel and what an encouragement that was.
There were times when I was pregnant that I took my eating too far, and Corey was incredibly gentle and brought his concerns to me in a way that I had never experienced before. He was not only encouraging but also comforting and made me feel beautiful in spite of it. He would say things like, "babe, you've been eating a lot of ice cream lately. You might want to slow down."
When talking about my weight, it wasn't like he told me I should lose to tell me to be quiet about my insecurities and tell me to get over it. I would talk about times when my body was at its peak he would say things like, "you're right, I would have loved to see that." All the while he still enjoyed my body for what it was, but saw what I wanted to accomplish and wanted that for me.
He also understood the health problems that came from the extra weight, like my oversized liver causing breathing problems or my exacerbated PCOS problems, and wanted to see me healthy just like I did. One night in particular we were having a friendly argument on how far down my weight could go and I told him I think that if I stick to it I could get down to 150 pounds again. Corey looked surprised at first but then said to me, "Ok fine I'll tell you what. If you can get down to 150 pounds within one year of having this baby, you and I will go to Maldives. If you keep it off for a year, or stay within ten pounds of it, you can even pick the next vacation after that." After further discussion, he even gave me an extra month so I could rest and recover after having the baby before getting into full on weight loss mode.
My last month before having Lila was another memory for my weight loss motivation story. I was 30 pounds heavier than I was during the last month of my pregnancy with Hazel and I really felt every one of those extra pounds. I felt a lot of physical pain from breathing, I would get a really weird and painful sting between my legs whenever I sat down, I would sometimes sweat so much my skin would chafe, and my feet were so swollen it hurt to walk. I wasn't just uncomfortable, I was in a lot of pain. Some of it may have been the difference between having a June baby and a December baby but I really think the extra weight was a bigger factor. I told myself and Corey that I hope that if we ever have another one that there was no way I would want to be in this condition at the end. He looked worried and said to me that he wasn't sure we should have another one because watching me go through it worried him too much.
And now Lila is here, yet another reason to lose weight and live healthy. I want my girls to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and not struggle with their weight, sure, but I also want to enjoy them as much as possible.
Even more so, I want to lose weight and live healthy for my husband. I want to ease his worries by not wincing in pain because my liver ran out of space in my ribcage or because I'm dealing with more back pain. I want him to see my body at its full potential in all its glory and appreciate my hard work to get it back. I want him to see my PCOS symptoms minimize and possibly disappear completely. He should have that side of me that's still in there somewhere.
With the 10 pounds I have already lost in the week and a half or so that I've been on 30/10 my body doesn't look too different, but Corey has already noticed a huge difference. Immediately my mood has been more stable and I have had less of a temper and don't get emotional as easily. My skin also looks better and my face is slimmer. It's a huge blessing that I usually lose weight there first. My back and neck pain have also been much less of a factor. As pricey as this plan is, it's worth every penny as it's been improving the lives of my entire family. Seeing this change has made a huge difference in all of our relationships with one another.