Labor Day weekend 2012, I discovered something my family already knew: I was pregnant. To say the least, I was very surprised. I was engaged to a wonderful man, had purchased my wedding gown, counting down the days until my November wedding. I was looking forward to being the mother to adult children in the next few years. You see, I am a mother of five children. There had never been a time in my adult life that did not incur some kind of responsibility for them be it financial, emotional or otherwise. When I discovered this new life, Kids 1-5 ranged in age from 13 -20 (yes they are assigned numbers because I get tired of scrambling for their names). Needless to say, I thought I was finished giving birth to new humans, as did my husband. He had three children from previous marriages. We had already scheduled measures to keep us from having more children. We had it scheduled during our honeymoon, aside from the standard birth control method we were already using. Only…God had other plans (I’m sure He knew this was the only probable way get me to have another child before then).
During my pregnancy, I lost 47 lbs. I went from weighing 235 to 188. I never looked like I weighed that much before becoming pregnant, and no I wasn’t sick during my pregnancy. Quite the contrary. While I was a bit anemic, I was extremely healthy. Six didn’t care for too much sugar, bacon, fast food or meat while I carried him, so it was easy to lose weight, especially when breakfast consisted of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and brussel sprouts every day. My doctor wasn’t concerned about my weight loss because the baby kept growing, and losing the weight was good for me.
It’s almost four years post baby. Stressful living (read: an insane job and teenage life challenges) encouraged unhealthy eating habits (read again: fried foods, eating late, lots of fast food). In December, I decided I was tired of looking this way. And by our fifth anniversary in November, I wanted to look different. I noticed I wasn’t looking at myself in mirrors anymore, and I was using makeup anytime I left the house for anything more than work or grocery shopping. In short, I felt like I let myself go, and I wanted a better body back.
Rather than pressuring myself with a diet my wallet and lifestyle couldn’t handle, I decided to start small. Starting with water. I wasn’t consistent at first, so I didn’t really see a difference. I can now. I drink about a gallon to a gallon and a half of water daily. I didn’t set out to start drinking this much – it started because I have no moisture in either my home or work environments, so I realized I needed to hydrate. This became much more important in December because I began having strange headaches, was excessively tired and had serious mood swings. After several doctors visits, it was discovered I was iron deficient and extremely anemic. If I had continued on, I could have had serious problems, including death. My veins are extremely small and have a tendency to roll around, which makes drawing blood or administering any kind of IV troublesome. I knew I had to drink water to stay hydrated, and improve my veins. The treatments to correct the iron deficiency required IV’s. *sigh*
I started to drink more water, less coffee and soda. By the first of the year, I had completely dropped soda and other sugary drinks. At the end of December, the doc told me that the iron supplements I used weren’t being absorbed and I’d need iron infusions. *sigh again* It occurred to me I needed to change our eating habits. I got to work on making meal plans. Balanced ones that would fit our budget. This doesn’t mean we cut out eating altogether, but we definitely do MUCH less of it. Prior to this, I was already planning meals via crock pots and such out of sheer laziness, but didn’t have a targeted reason aside from that. This meant the meals weren’t always the most nutritious thing we could eat. It was still better than eating out though.
Friday, I got ready for a party and noticed my face was a little thinner. I couldn’t tell if this was due to the really bad lighting in the bathroom, or if I was really losing a little weight. My hubby confirmed, my face is getting a little thinner. Today, while going to the bathroom for the umpteenth time at work, it occurred to me I need a scale to track my progress. So this weekend, I’ll buy one.
Change doesn’t have to be scary – it does have to be worthwhile for you in order to be successful and lasting. One of the reasons I have decided to do this is simple. I want different. I won’t get it by waiting for it, or wishing about it. It doesn’t matter how you start, except that you start for the reasons important to you. To maintain anything, the reason to continue is bound in the reason you started. Sometimes the reason and desire to continue will change, however, if you have the initial goal/initial commitment written, you can be led back to your original why. At this point, you can reevaluate. I never wrote down anything I haven’t been committed to, or had a plan for. Writing makes it real, makes me responsible for it. What gets measured gets done. Even if the measurement is small. For me in this part of my journey, it means small, small steps. Small revelations. No pressure except to be my best and not to disappoint myself. Little by little, I add activities to what I’m already doing. The additions are not on a set schedule, though. The additions occur when I feel I need to do more. That still small voice tells me when it’s time to do more.
More occurred twice for me in the last two days: this weekend when I noticed I needed to move my body more often and hearing today about a scale purchase. (Working out sounds entirely too much like work for me, so I prefer to say body move.) Anyway, relying on this ‘do less’ factor I seem to have going for me right now seems to work, so I looked up bed workout videos and committed to doing ONE every morning including today. And I did. Boy, it hurt. Just because it’s being done in the bed, doesn’t mean it’s easy. I found that out today. However, I noticed it helped. It helped a lot. I did a leg work out, just for five minutes. Seriously, five minutes was all I had, and was all I could commit to. Even those five minutes made a difference. Eventually, I’ll work on getting out of bed to workout and making better time to workout, as well as more intense workouts. But that day ain’t today or tomorrow. It’s when the small voice tells me it’s time to move on, and He makes sure I’m ready. No pressure, really. Just small increments to help me do and be a better me. I didn’t get this way overnight, and it may take more than overnight to develop better habits to get me where I want to be.