50 pounds in 5 months

Five months ago, I gave birth to Holden. That day, I weighed 203 lbs. I hear people say that losing baby weight is easy afterwards and the weight just flies off of you. Well that may be the case for some people. But I had already given birth to two children and each time retained an extra 20 pounds. I have an underactive thyroid and don’t breastfeed, which I hear helps lose weight. After I have a baby, I just look like I just had a baby.

I refused to retain 20 more pounds with this child on top of the 40 I was already up. I was just too big. I was hoping I would return home from the hospital 20 pounds lighter, but when I weighed myself, I was only down 14 pounds, which I thought wasn’t enough. Hell, my baby was nearly 9 pounds and I hear the placenta is another five. What about all the water I was retaining and everything? Why was that weight all still a part of me? I couldn’t get started exercising right away due to the C-section – I wasn’t supposed to do much for the next six weeks. I’d like to say I started eating healthy, but I’m an honest person so I’ll admit that I really wasn’t trying too hard there, either.

Then in May, I started walking, doing pilates twice a week, and yoga once a week. Yoga was brutal. In fact, I could only do four minutes the first go-round. But each Wednesday, I tried again until I could finish the DVD and even worked up some balance. My walking was pretty slow to begin with – about 18 minutes per mile. I was no athlete. I was in the worst shape of my life, hands down. I mean, I’m never a physical specimen, but me after Holden was quite a fright sight.

Once June rolled around, I decided to start running a little bit during my walks. I began running just the downhill parts. I got my miles down 12’30” averages. I started eating better. No more pop, fried foods. I began eating salads for lunch instead of my usual giant plate of pasta. I stopped eating ice cream each night. I made sure to work out most days. I had a goal each day to do better than the day before. I wrote it on a post-it which I stuck to the treadmill. That meant going farther or faster. By the end of the month, I cut my walking portion down to just 25% of my workout. The rest of the time, I was running.

In July, I was able to run for my entire workout without stopping to walk (but still usually did stop to walk up the giant hill on my outdoor runs because I wanted to save some energy to get home). I knew that my siblings were doing Hood to Coast in August and I hadn’t signed up originally because I had no idea what kind of shape I’d be in right after having Holden. Now that I had been running, I kind of wished I was a part of the relay team. I told my mom I’d be an alternate in case anyone had to drop out. Low and behold, my uncle dropped out and I immediately arranged childcare and bought a plane ticket.

In August, as last minute preparation for Hood to Coast, I ran six miles a day, five days a week. I didn’t expect to be winning any medals or anything, but I didn’t want to slow down my whole team and be a laughing stock to the other runners. Somehow, I averaged 9’08” miles and passed more runners than passed me. And today, August ends and I put in 127 miles this month. I have also continued to do pilates and yoga and am now in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Seriously, at age 31, I have muscles I have never seen before. I could still lose 10-15 pounds because this belly is still hanging around – goals for the next few months to keep me motivated, I suppose.

I feel accomplished and so proud of what I’ve done. But now I’m going to take a bit of a break. I’m going to do more puzzles and take some baths. I will do more yoga and less cardio now. I’m starting to enjoy yoga, after our very rough start. And I can do it rain or shine, day or night. I will continue to keep my Excel spreadsheet of running PRs and try every month to beat the previous month’s, because I’m competitive with myself like that. But I like to think the worst is over. I shed Holden’s and Brandon’s baby weight. I have some of Gracie’s left on me, but I also blame that on age. I can’t expect to weigh now what I did at 21. I’m ten years older, for God’s sake.

I’m not a size 4, but I’m not a size 10, and I can live with any size in the single digits. I’m not trying to be the hottest thing around, just trying to be a healthy version of myself; and most days now, I am. I can keep up with Brandon now while he dances around to Toy Story’s “Strange Things.” Now my kids will see that I don’t just sit around and watch TV and eat ice cream. They know now that we don’t eat out every time mom feels like it. I didn’t need a personal trainer or pills or a wrap or a meal service or hormone injections. I believe in the good old-fashioned method of hard work. I have now learned that there is liberation in discipline.

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