In which I join the legion of women in complaining about my weight…OK, well, maybe not, because I don’t want to complain – complaining is not constructive really, is it? So call this a history – a typical mom’s weight struggles.
When I was growing up, I was one of those “off the growth chart” kind of kids. I was often the tallest girl in class, and my weight was proportional. I wasn’t chunky – I was just bigger. This ended in the sixth grade, when I hit about 5′ 3″ (I’m 5′ 4″ today) and stopped growing while everyone else kept on. And that was fine, really. I was pretty average in high school and on into college.
I don’t really regret much about my life, and don’t like regretting things and live to avoid that, but if I could change one thing about my upbringing it would be the lack of activity. I was the child that played piano (which I still love). I did a couple of active things in my early childhood – ballet and “cheerleading” – but for some reason these never lasted long. But sports (and I’ll group dance into it) was not a part of my childhood, so I never developed any type of exercise philosophy. I never saw that type of activity as important, and I never really liked P.E. to top it (except jump rope. I liked that). I especially loathed running – cripes did I HATE to run the mile.
Anyway, despite lack of exercise I did OK throughout high school. I even went to college and didn’t initially gain the freshman 10 – I actually lost weight (which how I did that on my Ramen and rice diet is beyond me). I should disclose that a friend pressured me to jog, but it was very sporatic.
Then I stayed with my folks for the summer and probably put on about 5 lbs. or so. Then I went to Mexico for my junior year.
I went as a vegetarian, which I was at the time. And let me say that, based on my experience, Mexicans do not “get” vegetarianism. I’m not denegrating the culture there at all – I love Mexico – but (as I was told by Mexicans I met) – they just don’t understand why people would choose NOT to eat meat. In that culture, you don’t eat meat because you can’t afford it – and many can’t from time to time. So choosing to cut out that food option is just stupid in many Mexicans’ viewpoint. It probably smacks of gringo elitism, truth be told.
But I remained a vegetarian in Mexico – a bad vegetarian. I ate A LOT of avocado and cheese sandwiches, and without the hallowed hills of UTK to walk daily, the weight started to pack on. And I returned to UTK the next year probably one-two sizes bigger than I had been (I don’t weigh myself. I go by how the clothes fit on me and how healthy I feel). My Pasta Roni diet my final year at UTK didn’t help matters.
After graduation I got a job and moved back to Nashville (no longer a vegetarian, I should add, but this was unrelated to the weight gain). About a year after moving back, BHE and I joined a gym. And the weight started to come off, and I felt healthier than I had in quite a while. I recommend the ellyptical machines – they’re fabulous. We were members for a couple of years, but then I got pregnant with the Monkey and we dropped membership.
Pregnancy was pretty normal with the Monkey, and my weight gain was pretty normal. By the time we hit toddlerhood, weight was starting to drop just due to chasing a little man around all the time. My pregnancy with the Bear was right on track – I had actually gained LESS weight than with Monkey – and then, in the third trimester, I broke my leg. Lacking mobility and craving ice cream, my weight gain (while not terrible) was more than I would have liked. And we won’t talk about what two pregnancies have done to my stomache.
So I’m trying to attend an exercise class regularly, because I’ve learned that exercise is the only thing that’s going to make this weight budge. No gimmicks, no miracles – just simply getting in shape. Life gets in the way though, so I missed the last two weeks. And boy did I pay tonight when I returned to class. The class is intense and old-school and includes a lot of that running that I dreaded so much in elementary school. But now I welcome it. I want to be healthy. I want to be more comfortable in my clothes. Do I expect 18-year-old me to reappear? No; my body’s been through too much and it just ain’t gonna happen, though I wish I could tell that version of me that she’s a lot hotter than she thought she was.
Then again, 18-year-old me didn’t have BHE yet, and lacked that constant that I’ve had – no matter what shape my body’s in, I have his love and support. And for that I love him, and for that I thank him.