Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Weight Loss Journey to Loving Myself

Get ready internet, this post is the real me. Not only are you about to find out my actual weight *gasp* but I'm also going to tell you how much I used to weigh, show you some unflattering pictures of myself and give you the down and dirty and how I got from where I was to where I am today.

"But Jocelyn, why in the world would you expose yourself like that?"

Because this whole weight loss journey has taught me so much about myself and has given me a new appreciation for my body. There is so much body hating going on in the world right now for women and men and if I can share even a little of the joy I've reached with someone who is beating themselves up for not being Hollywood's idea of beautiful then I will have achieved my goal with this post.

A little background

A month prior to getting pregnant
Before I got pregnant I was 127 lbs which is a bit on the heavy side for me. The number I was usually more happy with was 123 lbs. But at 127 I didn't look bad or "fat" by any means. I was still constantly trying to eat healthier and workout having never been happy with how my body looked.

I gained a whopping 45 lbs with my pregnancy which brought me up to 172 lbs. I felt enormous but I figured I would just lose most of the weight after Evelyn was born. Unfortunately for me, I was not one of those women that just bounced back right after pregnancy. I lost an initial 17 lbs of baby and placenta and whatnot, but after that I couldn't get past 155 lbs.

2 days after having Evelyn
Stuck at 155 lbs nearly 6 weeks post partum.

I decided to resort to my normal mode of weight loss which is counting calories. Only the problem was that I had no idea how many calories I should be eating. Before when I wanted to lose weight I would go to 1200 calories a day but now I was breastfeeding. I knew I needed to eat more but I didn't know how much more. I was lost and frustrated and really hating myself.

I went to school everyday completely embarrassed of how I looked. No one there knew I had just had a baby and I hated people looking at me and thinking I was just another fat co-ed. It brought me to tears on more than one occasion. To make matters worse, I had friends who had recently had kids and told me how they didn't diet or exercise and the weight seemed to just fall off of them. I was discouraged and embarrassed and lost.

My mom was still living with us at that point and was being so wonderful and supportive. She took me shopping and bought me some new jeans since I was done with maternity clothes but was still too big for my pre-pregnancy pants. Then after watching me break down again, she suggested weight watchers.

Losing the Weight

I sat in that first meeting with two morbidly obese women and all I could think was that I was a failure. This was a place for fat people and I was a fat person now. This was my life. But I was too busy having a pity party for myself that I didn't key in on the fact that people come here to get help losing weight and that's exactly what I was doing.

The cool thing about Weight Watchers is that they don't tell you to stop eating your favorite foods. There is not list of "can eat" and "can't eat". You're allowed to eat all your favorite foods, the goal is to just eat them in moderation. So if you want a donut today, then eat a donut.....just not a dozen of them.

Weight Watchers is on a point system instead of calories. They've decided that even though a candy bar and a piece of fruit might have the same number of calories, the fruit is ultimately better so the candy bar is going to be more points than the fruit. (Fruit and most vegetables are actually 0 points.) So every person gets a point value that they can consume a day. This is determined based on your height and weight and if you're breastfeeding you get 14 extra points!! I didn't even have to figure out how much extra I should eat. They did it for me!

So I got 40 points a day. That's a lot. I thought there was NO WAY I was going to lose weight eating that much. In fact, for the first few days I didn't even use all of my points.

But then the week after my first meeting I went in for my first weigh in. Eating my 40 points a day (and an extra 49 points that I could use throughout the week) doing no exercise, I lost 2 lbs. TWO POUNDS! I had never lost that much in one week. Ever!

As the weeks went by I continued to drop weight. I stayed pretty consistently at losing 1-2 lbs a week. It was amazing. I added in exercise and that helped even more.

Mallory's wedding: I'm the red head (duh)

I managed to lose 18 lbs by my best friends wedding. I was crazy proud of myself but I still had a ways to go.

But something else was happening as I lost the weight. I'm not sure if it was because I was exercising so much or what but my body started looking more toned and more cut than it ever had before. I still had more than 20 lbs that I wanted to lose and yet I looked in the mirror and was happy with what I saw.

I saw an incredible body that grew a human being and then slowly returned to it's normal size.

I saw a girl who, even when it was hard, put in that extra hour to work out everyday.

I saw a form of myself that was getting smaller and firmer and I knew that I was the person actively working to make it that way.

I saw a mom who wasn't embarrassed to be in photos with her daughter.

I saw a beautiful girl and I was proud of her and the work she put forth to become who she was.

Despite the fact that the number on the scale wasn't that "magic number" that meant that I was as skinny as could be, I still felt like I looked good. I loved my body. I really think that this happened as early as it did because I learned what my body was capable of. Not only could I create a human and push it out but I had the strength and endurance to shape my body back to the way I wanted it to look and I was proud of that. No number on the scale could tell me how I felt.

My Exercise Regimen

I've always loved exercise. It's come much more easily to me than eating well. I felt like all I had to do was workout harder and I could have more hands on control over my weight loss. At 6 weeks post-partum I started with Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. It's a 20 minute workout with no breaks. It's quick and to the point but super effective.

 When I finished that I had lost 15 pounds and then moved on to her 6 Week 6 Pack DVD. That one is 30 minutes focused more strictly on abs but still works in cardio. I only did about 3 weeks of that before I got too bored. Then I started Jillian Michael's Banish Fat Boost Metabolism video (it's on Amazon Prime instant video).

After I finished school, I had more time to exercise and tried to do it at least 6 days a week. The Banish Fat Boost Metabolism video is a whopping hour long intensive cardio/kickboxing video. It kicked my butt but I kept up with it. Then I started alternating it with Jillian Michael's No More Trouble Zones which is also an hour long, uses weights and puts emphasis on toning muscles. Lately I've been adding some hip-hop dance to mix it up.

Which Brings us to Present Day

The week of my birthday in January I pulled out my box of pre-pregnancy jeans and THEY FIT! All of them fit! Well...I didn't put on my skinny jeans because I didn't want to feel like a sausage and a few pairs were still a bit tight but it felt so good to be able to button them!

So here I am today, about 7 months post-partum weighing in at 121 lbs. I'm not where I want to be yet but this journey has become more than a number. 

These days I'm more concerned with how I feel and what I can do. My workouts are not something that I dread, I look forward to them to see how much stronger I've become and how my endurance has increased. I like being able to see the muscle definition in my legs and arms. 

I can now fit into those skinny jeans I was afraid to try on and in fact, I have several pair of jeans that are just too big now. 

I am still trying to lose weight but I'm not focusing on the number. I don't want to be one of those people that reaches the "magic number" and goes back to their old lifestyle and gains it all back. I don't want to become complacent. I have learned to enjoy my exercise and paying attention to what I put in my body and I am always going to work towards bettering myself. 

No, I am not on a constant diet. I am just being mindful of what I eat instead of taking the traditional American point of view and stuffing my face until I feel sick.

Am I nearing the end of my journey? Nope. There is no end. I am simply in the midst of a healthy lifestyle and I don't want anything to change. Except my body getting stronger.

Things this journey has taught me:

1. Eating is for nourishment, not entertainment

2. Food is not something you "deserve".

3. Eating does not have to be a socializing event.

4. No matter what society and the media says, there is 
never a reason to eat so much to make yourself sick.

5. Dessert is a treat to taste, not something to fill up on.

6. Food never fixes a bad mood.

7. You don't have to cut delicious food from your diet to be healthy.

8. Moderation is key.

9. Exercise should be a lifestyle not a means to a goal.

And most importantly:

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed readng your article Jocelyn. I am 3 months pp and breast feeding my little girl. I gained 55lbs while I was pregnant and I had to have an emergency c-section :( I kept thinking oh thats just great I am NEVER going to lose this weight now! I was 179lbs the day I went into labor and I lost 20lbs in the hospital. After I was fully recovered from the surgery and was able to start walking I would walk from my driveway to the stop sign at the end of my road in my neighborhood and back to my house which is about half a mile. I did that everyday until I was 6 weeks pp and my OB said I could walk further.. I am gettin closer to my goal of being toned and losing the pregnancy pooch and his has just encouraged me to push even harder. I am still not really able to do any core exercises like I would like to yet because of the healing. I have about 3 more months but even in this short amount of time just walking I have seen the lbs coming off and my body shrinking and It amazing! My thighs are skinnier than they have EVER been and I have been i dance my whole life. So I thank you for sharing this, you are an inspiration to keep pushing and keep going because anything is possible wih the right amount of work and effort