A couple of weeks ago, in search of inspiration for my next Parenting post, I went back through the archive of past entries. When I saw how many comments there were for The Mommy Weight Trap™ I was floored. I was even more stunned by what the comments contained — the pain, embarrassment, shame, disdain, humiliation, and disgrace so many of us feel about our post-pregnancy bodies.
It turns out that there are a lot of us caught in The Mommy Weight Trap™. So, in the spirit of our struggle, here's a serious, honest update on my progress.
Oh, wait — did I say progress? I meant to say here's a serious update on my
progress status. Quite honestly, it would be a bold lie for me to come here and blab about progress when so little has been made — at least if progress is measured by the numbers that appear when I stand on a scale, or the size of clothes I reach for when I open my closet.
Did I mention that I have four different sizes of clothes in my closet, ranging from 6 to 12?
But I digress. I would love to say that I'm frustrated by my lack of progress because I have been working so hard to lose weight, but I think the remnants of Lucas's leftover Happy Meal I gobbled down would give me away. Or the ice-cream sandwich I had after dinner. So what if it was a Weight Watcher's ice-cream sandwich? I tell myself it's "diet"...but it's still ice cream!
Does the second chin I've grown count as progress? I didn't think so....
Once upon a time, I used to be careful about what I ate, but today it seems that not only is my body a slave to hormones, it is also a slave to the Mommy Diet Disorder — with two small children to care for, a house to maintain, and a job to go to, I am just too tired to monitor what goes in my mouth; if it's not moving, it's fair game.
On the bright side, my weight has remained steady — at a nauseating 177 pounds, a full 40 pounds heavier than the day I learned I was pregnant with Lucas — but still steady, Happy Meals and all. And to my relief, those silvery stretch marks that in some circles are referred to as badges of honor are slowly fading, though I can't say the same for any reduction in the circumference of my abdomen.
More importantly, I continue to be completely committed to training for that 100-mile bike ride I mentioned two months ago in my previous Mommy Weight Trap™ Update. In fact, the most MWT™ progress made has been with my bicycle.
On the first group ride, I didn't think I was going to survive the entire 12 miles, not to mention that I got incredibly winded just trying to peddle up a wheelchair ramp. Not a good sign for someone preparing for a century ride that boasts two 10-mile climbs! But now, five weeks later, I am eagerly peddling 40 miles in a day, and making it up hills I used to think were only a distant dream.
Unfortunately, in the time that has passed since I first wrote about The Mommy Weight Trap™, my feelings about my body have not changed.
I still hate the way I look, which begs the question, why haven't I made any serious progress in losing weight? "Paralysis by analysis," says my husband. I spend so much time lamenting about how I hate the way I look and how far I have to go to get my body "back," that I overwhelm myself — and end up doing nothing.
I might count calories for a few days and when I don't see the scale move I throw up my hands. Am I destined to have a pre-Mommy body and a post-Mommy body? It's at these emotionally trying moments that I begin to not only second guess all of the life decisions I've made up to this point, but also doubt myself as a person. After all, aren't body image and personal worth so inextricably linked in our society?
But then I snap back to reality — snap back to my life, to who I am now.
I honestly believe that to be the best mother, wife, friend, and person I can be, I need to be happy with what's on the inside. How I look on the outside certainly affects the way I feel about myself, but no matter how much weight I gain or lose, or how I otherwise change my physical appearance, it will not change the person I fundamentally am.
So when I notice that I've started to question my inner self, particularly when it's because I'm so miserable with my outer self, I take a few minutes and close my eyes. I think about my husband, my boys, my friends, and my family, all of whom honestly don't care what I look like on the outside as long as I don't change what's on the inside. And no matter how clichéd that might sound, when I open my eyes everything makes sense again, and the extra weight doesn't seem that bad.
And maybe there is a light at the end of my Mommy Weight Trap™ tunnel. Maybe all of the progress I'm making with my bike riding will truly inspire and motivate me to do something more for my outer self. But even if that doesn't happen, I think I can live with myself, inner and outer, as is.