by Michelle Arthur
As a mom, it is pretty normal to put yourself on the back burner and put the kids first. It's what we do, right? It's what we are expected to do, right? Well, unfortunately, I was doing that even before I had children. I didn't put my health first. I have had a weight issue as long as I can remember. I remember it as early as 6 or 7. I was an emotional eater and portions were always too large. I did ok through junior high and high school. I wasn't fat, I wasn't thin. I didn't exercise enough. Enter college and the eating was worse and the exercising was worse. I'm positive I added the freshman 15 or maybe even 20. After college, I entered the workforce. I worked then went home. I have always eaten a lot of fruits and veggies, but I've also always eaten sweets, drank pop, and ate too many carbs. Then came four pregnancies. I never gained much with the kids and I always took it all off. I would gain 5 here and lose 5 there, but nothing more and nothing permanent. I would focus on eating and working out for a week or two here and there. It was always short term and a quick fix. As a result of the weight and eating, after I had my babies, I didn't go off of my blood pressure medicine. It was a permanent fixture in my daily routine. I truly thought I was the size I was and nothing was going to change it.
Back in February, my sister-in-law asked if I wanted to do a 21 day clean eating program with her and another sister-in-law. Sure...why not? What's the worst that would happen? I knew that my eating needed to change, but never took the initiative to do it and it's always better to suffer together, right?
With the eating program, there were 30 minutes workouts. The first few days seemed like torture. I had given up soda back in October so drinking strictly water was easy. Reducing my carbs were a bit more challenging. I did find out that I wasn't eating enough protein nor were my veggie and fruit servings big enough. 21 days actually passed quickly. There were days that I wanted to sway off of the program, but I stuck to it. At the end, I had lost 15 pounds. I felt better about myself and was stronger.
I don't follow the program as closely now, but I have lost a total of 40 lbs since February and have dropped 3 sizes. I would like to lose 5 more, but we shall see. I am the size I was in high school and a few pounds lighter than then. I have done a major overhaul on my eating. I crave healthier, cleaner foods. I search for recipes for my family that are better for them and me. I love finding new recipes for vegetables and whole grains. I know some of my friends laugh at some of the foods I've tried, but honestly, food tastes better now. I eat oatmeal every morning....before this, I loathed oatmeal!!! My new favorites right now are Greek salads and sweet potato nachos. Spaghetti squash isn't too bad either.
I had a yearly physical last week with my doctor. My bloodwork was fantastic! My triglycerides went from 157 to 45. My blood pressure dropped from 150/80 to 106/80. For the first time since high school, my BMI and weight are in the healthy, normal range and not considered overweight or obese. My doctor was quite surprised because my numbers have been similar for years. She asked what I had been doing. I told her lots of exercise and an overhaul in the kitchen. She commented that most people know 80% of their weight issues start in the kitchen, but that most people don't want to hear it. I was one of those people. I've done the working out portion for years now, but every time my food would stay the same or only change for a week or two. I always failed. Now and then, I have foods that are horrible for me, but each day is a new day. I don't feel guilty about it. I just control it. I've given up emotional eating and eating out of boredom. I'm more conscience of it now.
It's not been an easy road and I'm sure it will be a constant battle most of my life (it has been most of my life anyway). I did this for my family...for my kids...for me. For the first time in my life, I am comfortable in my own skin. I feel good about who I am. I'm not embarrassed to be in public with my kids. I didn't want my children to think that their mom was fat. I'm hoping my children will gain a better relationship with food and have the knowledge to make healthier choices and know that exercise is an important part of life.
I'm actually okay with pictures for the first time. I think it is because it is the only place I can actually see the difference. I still don't "see" it in the mirror even though, I have entire new wardrobe with clothes that are sizes I never dreamed of wearing ever. You may not be able to tell much from the pictures. I had a habit of cropping out the bad parts and would only do from the waist or chest up.
|Brayden's birthday last August|
|Jason's birthday in October|
|Top pic is Ian's birthday last year and the bottom is Ian's birthday this year.|
|This year...girls weekend in May|
|Ian's birthday this year|
|Father's Day this year|