Finally. I stepped on the scale and saw that number I’d been waiting for – 10 pounds gone. This is the hardest I’ve ever worked to lose ten pounds. At my weight, ten pounds should be nothing at all, but my body keeps proving that it, too, can learn new tricks.
When I look at pictures of myself from before I started this journey, I can tell that I’ve lost some inches. I can see my muscles becoming more defined, my body changing shape ever so slightly, and I can feel in my clothes that I am not the same size I was however many weeks ago. I have my measurements from when I was at my all-time highest weight and I am glad to say I’ve lost a fair number of inches from all over my body! My gym performance is improving, too. I feel myself getting stronger in day to day life. I can stand up from squatting or kneeling and I can lift Bethany with ease. These are what we call non-scale victories in the weight loss world, and they are what have been keeping me going as my body clung to those stupid ten pounds like our life depended on it.
No, you don’t understand, I would gently chide my extra padding. You’re not wanted here. You’re actually a burden. I know you think you’re helping and, trust me, one day when the zombie apocalypse comes and food is scarce, I’m sure you’re right. I’ll rue the day I wanted to get rid of you. But let’s just plan on the best case scenario and assume everything will be fine. You can let go now.
And finally, after weeks and weeks of eating right and exercising, that last couple of pounds fell away. Like Kate Winslet watching Leo disappear into the freezing water, we said goodbye.
WHAT DO YOU WANT MOST?
In the past, I would definitely have given up by now. I would have said, Well, this isn’t working, so how about I just enjoy my life and forget it? This time is different, though. This time, I have a purpose and a goal and a vision for what I wish my life to look like. When I’m fighting myself to get in the car and go to the gym, I think about Bethany. At the gym when I want to just phone it in and do something easy, I picture my next pregnancy and holding another fresh, new baby. I envision myself running and playing and bouncing and swinging and doing all the things fun moms do with their kids. I think about the travelling we want to do and the moments we want to have and all the ways my weight constantly interferes with those goals. I think about my family and how I do not want to be a burden to them. When my muscles are screaming during my workouts, I think to myself, You gave birth. You’re a warrior. This is nothing. Suck it up.
I recently heard someone advise anyone trying to achieve a goal to ask themselves, “What do you want most?” Not, What do I want right now? But, What do I want most? I’ve made that question my phone wallpaper and I ask myself at least once daily when I’m tempted to give in or make a choice that doesn’t align with my goals.
This journey is off to a much slower start than I ever expected it would be. I knew that as I neared the end of my goal the weight loss would slow, and I expected plateaus along the way. To hit a plateau right at the beginning, though, was a bit of a shocker. It has taken a lot of will power to keep going. And yet, not as much as you’d think because I am committed to a healthier way of life, weight loss or no.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
There is power in having a vision for the life you want. In the past, my weight loss goals have largely been about size. I just don’t want to be this size anymore – I want to be thinner. This time around, I have a kid to think about. I have future kids to dream about. I have momming goals and writing goals and travel goals to think about. This isn’t about something as shallow as what size pants I put on in the mornings. This is about choosing a better life for myself: honouring my own callings into life and ministry and motherhood by taking care of the body God has created me in.
On the practical side, I realized a few days ago that I haven’t been eating enough. I know that sounds contradictory but something ironic I learn every single time I try to lose weight is that I actually need to eat more than I think I do in order for my body to feel confident enough to let go of those extra pounds. When I did keto the first time, way back before Bethany was even conceived, I was really focused on the high fat portion of the diet. When you drop your carbs, you have to give your body an alternative fuel source – fat. It goes against everything we’ve learned in our Standard American Diet, but actually, the body can burn fat and fuel itself effectively on high fat. The last few days I’ve added my keto coffee back in (like bulletproof but with a twist) and I’ve been trying to eat a full lunch and dinner on top of that. I’m convinced that’s why the scale finally moved again.
I’m going to continue to eat more until it’s time to drop my calories again due to losing enough. I’m going to continue to exercise as often as I can. Right now, I’m trying for exercise on all the week days, with weekends off (but still spent being active when possible). I’m doing 10-20 minutes of cardio followed by 20-30 minutes of bodyweight/weighted exercise and that formula seems to be working. I’ll need to extend my time spent sweating soon, but for now, it’s enough. I’m looking forward to my jeans becoming looser and my shirts giving me a little more room to breathe. I’m looking forward to the continued confidence that comes with knowing I’m doing something good for my body, my family, and my future.