I’m not sure exactly where my transition from normal to overweight took place. It was a gradual thing, but the freedom I gained in the time between high school and college proved to be detrimental to my waistline and my health. I will save the longer version of this story for another time, but I think I could honestly say that I have struggled with my weight for all of my adult life.
I have tried pretty much every diet there is. Except the grapefruit one. And definitely not the cabbage one. But a lot of popular diets. The problem I ran into is that a diet has a start and a finish. My finish usually ended several days or weeks in, after being so GOOD and then falling off the wagon. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl, so falling off the wagon usually meant that I never got back on, and ended up doing more damage. I think my highest weight after 4 pregnancies and 3 surviving kiddos settled somewhere around 70 pounds heavier than my body should be. After my youngest was born my heath wasn’t horrible, but the weight needed to go and I just could not stick with anything that would take the weight off.
Last May I turned 40, and how often had I said I was going to lose the weight by then? And finally take care of ME? Pre-diabetic symptoms and numbers were creeping up on me, and even though I had cut gluten out of my diet to take care of a mysterious side pain that couldn’t be diagnosed (it ended up making a difference in my PCOS symptoms, too), I felt better, but the weight still stuck.
I had seen friends rave about a plan called Trim Healthy Mama in the past, and I had skimmed over it and the skeptic in me decided that there were too many ingredients and with all of our food allergies (there are 6 between 2 of my kids) there was NO way it would work. My friend Erin had mentioned it in the past, and I’m not sure what sparked the interest this time, but I ordered the THM book after Christmas this past year and read it from cover to cover in 2 days. And you know what? It clicked. All of the stuff that I had learned about choosing better carbs from my days of gestational diabetes and the whole foods from my Whole 30 days finally came together and MADE SENSE! It was like God flipped a switch. Things started making sense. I started making good choices and not snacking mindlessly or emotionally. If I messed up, I just started over at the next meal, and didn’t throw the towel in all together. Most diets feel like a prison. THIS was so freeing!
Another thing that helped was that my friend Erin asked if I wanted an accountability partner. It really helped knowing that I had someone who understood the program a little bit better than I did. We shared what we ate, where we struggled, where we were victorious. I needed that!
I get daily devotionals from a ministry called Finding Balance. I did need help with figuring out what foods were best for me, but I also needed to figure out the WHY behind the emotional eating. Finding Balance has had a big part in helping me with that, too.
I started running again, not because I wanted to burn calories or earn food or punish myself because I had been bad. I did it because it was ME time. Time with my music. Time being outdoors (even when it was cold). Time alone with God. I had gone back and forth with Couch to 5K through the years, and even got up to Week 9, Day 3 last summer. I had a horrible run and just QUIT!!! I couldn’t explain it. I let one bad run ruin all the hard work I had done all summer. This time was different, too. I had some weeks where I was sick . . . or the kids were sick and I couldn’t get to the gym . . . or I tweaked my hip after running outside and not on a treadmill. I had signed up for a local 5K, thinking I would be close to being finished with my training. Life happened and I was nowhere near ready. Normally that would be my ticket to not even show up if I couldn’t run the whole thing. But I went anyway. And it was cold. Like, 30F cold. I ran more than I thought I could have! I ended up only 4 minutes slower than my first 5K that I ran about 5 years ago.
My definition of success and failure has been turned on its head.
So here I am, 4 months into this new lifestyle. It has not been without its challenges. At our house, eating healthy means more cooking and dishes and planning and budgeting. Our dishwasher broke. My darling husband decided to finally fix the drippy kitchen sink which meant some time without. Our schedule is about to get crazy with baseball and softball and tball and ALL THE BALLGAMES. I’ve stuck with it this long, so I’m praying for God’s strength to help me through the crazy and I can stay the course.
You want to know a few numbers? Here they are:
- 20 pounds down
- 14.25″ total gone, including 5.5″ from my waist
- 75 miles ran
- 2 5Ks completed and another one to run in 11 days
- 3 new garments sewn for ME
I’m OK with this slow pace. To me that helps me know that the changes I’m making are going to stick around and that this is sustainable. I don’t do a lot of the special ingredients on the plan and I don’t make any of the desserts, really. I still have some work to do in the freedom department. I’ve had minimal sugar (almost none) in 3 months so I’m learning to enjoy being with people and not making everything about food (even though the food I’m eating IS really good). I think it’s a sensible program, but just like anything else, I’m sure it’s not for everyone.
Proof is in the pictures, so here are my before and progress pictures. My goal is to sew one new thing for myself each month, and to use yummy fabric that I usually save for my daughter. Even though she grows out of stuff and I will hopefully continue to shrink out of mine. Self-Care Sewing is here to stay!
I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments, or you can email me at snickerdoodlestew (at) gmail (dot) com if it’s more personal in nature. If you’d like to learn more about Trim Healthy Mama, you can find the book that outlines the program at Amazon or many online bookstores.