In 2008, when I returned back to the workforce after having my fourth baby, I was at my biggest. For years I worked hard to get back my pre-baby body. My pre-baby body of four babies before. In 2012, I still had not reached that goal.
I fought through depression with the realization…that pre-baby body was no longer mine to be had. I was a mother now and a mommy body is not only what I deserved, but what was rightfully mine. My body had been stretched to unimaginable proportions all for the status of “momma”. I should really embrace that.
And so I did. My mindset was to be a sexy momma. My goals changed and I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was still eating well, or well enough, and I was still working out.
I was rocking those HiiT workouts that found 20 some year olds struggling.
At this point I probably was not getting smaller but I was definitely getting stronger. And my endurance was increasing.
Growing up I had outright refused to run in gym class. I will never forget one conversation with my gym teacher.
“What if someone held a gun to you and said run or I’ll shoot?”
My response was full of cheekiness and logic. “I would tell them to shoot because even if I was a runner, I wouldn’t be able to outrun that bullet.”
My teacher hung his head in defeat. He lifted his head, hand to forehead, and said, “Just go around the track Rachel.” A pleading look in his eyes.
I loved my gym teacher. So, to appease him, I did as I was told.
It was no surprise that I did not make the track team. I finished walking around the track before gym class was over. A major accomplishment for me at the time.
It took me five years to get here.
But I forgot the most important part of it all.
I still complained about how fat I was. How heavy I was. How I still gave in to my cravings.
I forgot to look at how far I had come. How much weight I had lost overall, not just in the past month. How few and far between those cravings actually were. I forgot to look at the size of my clothes, which in fact, were the smallest I had ever worn since I had become an adult.
I forgot to see how much longer I could play with the kids at the park. How I could keep pace when walking with my husband.
I forgot to recognize that tummy as the honorable ownership of a mother. I earned my stripes and, unlike some women, I was happy to have those. But I forgot the stripes had to have a home. The tummy is where they belonged.
And now I hang my head in shame. In despair.
In 2014 I was in a major motor vehicle accident. I couldn’t look up or down or left or right. I would get dizzy spells that made me feel like my world was tilting or slanting. Then there were times when the dizzy spells would come without warning and I would simply fall over. I would wake in the middle of the night because I felt like I was falling through my bed. I couldn’t walk up or down stairs. I had to be very aware and proactive while driving; always getting in the lane I needed as soon as I could to minimize shoulder checking. Any jumping or running was a definite no go. Any sudden movements sent sharp pains through my head. My life had suddenly changed. My outlet for freedom, to de-stress, to feel good about me was taken away. My only comfort left to me was the one thing I needed to be cautious with. Food. At first I think I handled it well. But then, I noticed small changes. And with these changes, I needed more comfort.
About eight months later I was cleared by my physician to get back to where I was. I wanted to scream at them. Did they realize it took me FIVE YEARS to get to where I was?!
Hand me that tub of ice cream would you please.
All I can do is sigh with a sad face as I put away my winter clothes and prepare for summer. There is nothing to pull out for summer. These clothes, they simply will not fit. And there is no amount of food that will make me feel better about that. In fact, food is the enemy.
Today, I am at the biggest I have ever been in my life. But, I can’t get depressed about it. I will not let myself continue this vicious cycle of eating to help my sadness about my weight. That would be crazy. Instead, I will get angry and burn that negative by working out.
So here I am. Back at the beginning. My supportive husband by my side telling me I CAN do this.
I learned this week that I still can’t do any jumping or any cross body twisting (think roman twists or kettlebells), but low impact cardio and strength will do.
So, I will do what I can and always challenge myself to do a little more.
I am determined.