I began my pregnancy with Abby with really good intentions--I carried a snack bag of Kashi Good Friends cereal in my Hallmark apron so that I could have a healthy snack when I felt a little nauseated. I didn't want to gain a ton of weight, but I also wanted to enjoy my pregnancy--aka, the first time in my life when I didn't have to worry about my weight. Pregnancy is beautiful! I ended up having some complications during my pregnancy with her that required what my doctor called "limited activity." It wasn't bedrest, thankfully, but I did a lot of sitting and reading Jodi Picoult novels (which I didn't love, but weirdly couldn't stop reading...). I ended up gaining 60 pounds before Abby was born--and she weighed a tiny 6 pounds, 9 ounces!
|Overdue--the day after my due date with Abby|
I tried not to stress about it, but I definitely wanted to lose the baby weight after Abby--that proved really hard for me. I had heard that breastfeeding was a surefire way to lose weight...unfortunately, Abby didn't much feel like cooperating with the nursing, so that never got off the ground. I started a "Walk and Talk" stroller walking group with my moms' group, and walked at least once a week with a few other moms. I also took Abby for many walks in our awesome neighborhood. My sister and I started something she coined "Walkie Talkies" after she had her baby (1 year after Abby was born)--we would call each other and walk on our treadmills at the same time, while sharing stories about our little girls and our lives as moms. I wasn't exercising heavily, but I was walking (which worked for me in the past) and slowly losing some weight. Like I've said before, I've never really been one to pay that much attention to what I eat. I used to make Abby macaroni and cheese every day for lunch, and she and I would share a big bowl--I didn't know until probably 2 years ago that mac and cheese is really super fattening! Oops... I was just sort of oblivious to that kind of stuff, and that was my fault. I did plug away at trying to lose the weight, and in February 2008 (more than 1.5 years after Abby was born), I finally bought a new pair of jeans--I had been wearing an old pair of men's jeans since Abby's birth because women's jeans were hugging in all the wrong places for my post-pregnancy body. I was super excited to go buy a pair of women's size 8 jeans--I felt pretty good about where I was, even though I was about 20 pounds over my light pre-pregnancy weight. I knew we wanted to have more kids, so part of me didn't want to lose all the weight...why put in all the effort just to gain it back again with another baby?
|Valentine's Day 2008 with my sweet girl!|
In May 2008, we learned that I was pregnant with Jake--and I was so excited! We couldn't wait to add another baby to our family. That pregnancy with pretty uneventful, meaning that Jake grew without much fanfare in my belly--outside my belly, a lot was happening! We moved to Texas when I was 20 weeks pregnant, and then we moved again temporarily to Virginia when I was 29 weeks pregnant so that Dan could attend a school. I lived at my parents' house with Abby while Dan was about 2 hours south of us--he came up on the weekends. I gained about 40 pounds in my pregnancy with Jake, and if I hadn't gotten so sick about a month before he was born, my final weight would have been pretty close to where I was when I gave birth to Abby (instead, it was about 10 pounds less after my sickness weight loss!).
|6 days before Jake was born, at Dan's brother's wedding!|
After Jake was born (a whopping 6 pounds, 10 ounce baby!), I had two kids (duh). My focus wasn't really on losing the weight, although I did want to get back into shape. We moved our family of four back to Texas when Jake was 6 weeks old, and we moved our treadmill literally into the kitchen/dining room of our house there because the garage was too hot for me to work out. I got back to walking, and was losing some weight again...but it's always a challenge with me (perhaps because I'm a little slow on the uptake about calories in versus calories out...). I had success with nursing Jake, and hoped that would help some of the weight melt off...but it didn't. He was a pipsqueak, and I didn't produce much milk, so it wasn't a big calorie burner for me. I was back in my men's jeans, slowly trying to walk off some weight.
|September 2009--Jake was 8 months old!|
Less than a month after that picture was taken, we discovered (surprise!) that I was pregnant with Alex. It hit me pretty hard--I wasn't even thinking about a 3rd baby for at least another year. The week before learning I was pregnant, I jokingly told my mom that I would shoot myself in the head if I were pregnant again...so that tells you how prepared I was for the news. My mom's first request when I called to tell her about the positive pregnancy test was, "Please don't shoot yourself in the head!" (For reference, we don't own guns...so that wasn't even a possibility, despite my fragile mental state.) I did put my maternity jeans on the day I took the positive pregnancy test, though, so just about the only thing I embraced about that pregnancy was the ability to not worry about my weight again for 9 months. Alex's pregnancy was particularly hard for me, because Dan left for Iraq when I was 6 months pregnant--he missed the later, bigger stages of my pregnancy, and Alex's birth. And I was super depressed--we got pregnant in September, Dan left in March, and I moved us up to Virginia (with my mom's help) for the duration of the deployment. I lived in my parents' house, which was awesome for the help, but my head was not in a good place--I didn't want to be pregnant, I didn't want to be pregnant while my husband was in a war zone, and I didn't want anything to happen to me, my kids, or my husband while we were all separated. And I felt super guilty for not being excited about the new baby--my pregnancies with Abby and Jake had been such wonderfully anticipated events, and I just hated that I couldn't get myself to happily await a new baby. If I could have kept Alex incubating for an extra 8 months, I would have. It was a very emotionally stressful time for me, and when I'm stressed, I eat. I also eat when my mom is cooking--yum! I was worried that I would get over 200 pounds in that pregnancy because I started heavier than I had been in previous pregnancies and because I was stuffing my face...it scared me, and I managed to weigh in slightly lower than 200 on the day Alex was born.
|a few hours before Alex was born--our last picture with 2 kids!|
After Alex was born in June 2010 (my biggest baby at 7 pounds, 6 ounces), I did the very best I have ever done on the losing-the-baby-weight front...and I had some good motivation for that. Dan was coming home for his 2-week R&R leave from Iraq in mid-September, so I had about 2 months to really work the weight off. I did all kinds of things, none of which were delightful--Slim Fast shakes, walking (and sometimes running!) miles in the heat of the Virginia summer days while pushing a double stroller with 2 heavy kids and wearing a front-pack carrier with the 3rd kid, drinking lots and lots of water, doing sit-ups and leg lifts, running a Couch-to-5K program on my parents' treadmill...whatever I could think of. Dan hadn't seen me since I was 6 months pregnant and not all that huge...I didn't want to scare the daylights out of him if he came home and saw that I'd blown up like a balloon since he last saw me. To clarify, he had seen me on Skype throughout those last 3 months of pregnancy, but his computer screen wasn't big enough to fit all of my rotundness at once (thankfully!). I really dedicated myself to losing as much weight as I could before he came home--I had a plan that I wrote out for myself, and I did my very best to stick to it. I treated myself to some new shirts and jeans for Dan's R&R, and I was able to buy size 10 jeans--they were a tiny bit tight on me, but I remember clearly thinking that at the rate I was losing, I would be down to 8's or even 6's in no time. I felt great when Dan was home for those 2 weeks, because I had done so well losing a lot of weight in 2 months--even though I wasn't where I wanted to be, I was pretty proud of my effort.
|not the best picture, but man, my jeans look baggy! Halloween 2010|
|our family, Christmas 2012|
I've decided that come January, my health (and more specifically, my weight) is going to be a priority for me. I try to feel good about myself no matter my size, but it's gotten to the point where my weight is not something I can feel good about. I'm sick of being big, having the post-pregnancy pouch, not having clothes that fit me. My youngest baby is 2.5 years old...I can't say I'm trying to lose the baby weight anymore. I'm just plain old overweight. I'm going to make eating healthy, exercising, and hopefully losing some weight in the process a Good Housewife Challenge in January, because honestly, being a Good Housewife needs to include me feeling good about myself--I'm not a happy person with Dan or the kids when I feel gross and have such a negative self-worth. I'm going to think about what my specific goals are and what my plan to achieve those goals is over the next two weeks, and post the Challenge after the new year. I'll have you guys follow along with my progress for some motivation--clearly, I'm not very good at this stuff by myself!