Friday, July 22, 2011
My constant struggle
It hit me right after high school. That's when I stopped my stints with cross country and track, went to college and gained the freshman 15, or maybe it was 20, or could've been 25. I wasn't counting. I had a meal plan, plenty of time to sleep and no desire to attend class. It was coming on fast.
And from that point on, I began the Weight Struggle.
I'd balloon up, get tired of being overweight, and shrink back down. I'd have a baby, gain 60 pounds, then work my tail off to get back down to a healthy size. It was a constant yo-yo that took control of my 20's and continued into my 30's.
Oh, and I have excuses. Plenty of them.
Bad DNA. My parents have both had their fair share of weight struggles.
Four Babies: Any woman who has four kids in 12 years will fight weight, right?
Loving Husband: He doesn't care if I'm as big as a house. And he likes to eat and never worries if he gains a pound or 10.
But the bottom line is that I wasn't exercising, and eating anything I wanted. I love food, good food, and hate healthy options. It was my own fault, plain and simple.
My weight hit home during the pregnancy of Baby No. 4. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It was awful. Poking myself four times a day and eating apples and chicken for months to control it was miserable. I knew I didn't want to be diabetic. Not during a pregnancy; not ever.
And I was heading in that direction. I already have high blood pressure and take pills for that. I already had high cholesterol. I was a walking time bomb who was falling in line with my father, who suffers from all of the obesity-related diseases a person can muster.
I made up my mind quickly that I love my father, but didn't want to carry on his health problems. I needed to get healthy for me and for my family. It wasn't an option.
Three weeks after Emery was born, I drove to the high school track, where I started running. I did this for a few weeks until the weather interfered, then I joined the local gym. I've been at the gym religiously since the beginning of November 2010. I go three to six times a week, depending on my schedule. I can run 5 miles, and I'm as physically fit as I've ever been in my adult life. I started eating better. I cook with ground turkey, not beef. We eat a lot of chicken and vegetables. Fast-food trips include a salad, not a burger.
And so far, I've lost almost 50 pounds.
That's not enough. My goal is still about 20 pounds away, although that number is quite negotiable. If I lose another 10, I'll be happy as a lark, and if I lose another 25, I'll be thrilled beyond measure. I'm still considered overweight on the BMI scale, but not obese. And all measurements indicate I'm "healthy."
It's not easy, but after coming to the end of my rope, this is my only option.
But being overweight isn't easy either. It's not simple to see your son come home from school crying because kids at school were calling his mother fat. It's not fun to answer your toddler's question: "Are you having another baby, because your stomach looks like it?"
Weight is a struggle for many people. America is as fat as it has ever been, and nearly 30 percent of Hoosiers are obese. No amount of government intervention is going to change those numbers. It takes personal resolve. You have to want to do it, and you have to do it right.
A friend the other day asked how she could lose about 30 pounds quickly. I laughed to myself, and answered, "Diet and exercise." There is no magic pill, no simple solution.
And when my son turns a year old on Sept. 25, I can't wait to pose with him for pictures. It's amazing the difference one year can make.