Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Struggle

I do not want to write this post. In fact, it downright scares me.  In order for this post to mean anything at all, I have to lay it all out there.  I have to be open and vulnerable and honest with you guys and myself.  

But I have to do it. 

You see, this post has been sitting in my brain, simmering and growing.  It has crept up to the door of my heart and knocked. Persistently.  Maybe even annoyingly OCD like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.  

Knock knock knock. Amanda.  Knock knock knock. Amanda. Knock knock knock. Amanda. 

I have to write this post.  I have to. It's not going to go away.  It's time to move forward.  It's time to not be stuck anymore.  

For some of you, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  I know you will because we've talked about it. We've lamented together.  We've struggled together.  

Some of you will have a hard time relating.  That's okay.  We all struggle with different things.  

I am not writing this for anyone's sympathy or pity.  I simply want to share and in return I gain accountability.  Maybe some prayers.  Maybe someone else who is struggling with the same thing will be encouraged or motivated. 

Here it goes......
This month, I have been on a little journey: 31 Days of Revising Home.  I have tackled some projects around my home and also issues concerning being a wife and mother.  But I cannot take a hard look at those things without first taking a hard look at myself, the one who runs the day to day household. 

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I would always hear, "You have such a pretty face," or "If you would just lose weight you would be pretty." In high school, I was "the big girl." In college, I gained even more weight.

College years:  I was at my heaviest weight ever.... 

Then I went to Hawaii for the summer on a Summer Missions program through the North American Mission Board and gained even more weight. I weighed 263 lbs. as a 19 year old.  

A semester later, I had accepted a Semester Missions position in New York City and was about to fly up there for eight months. That was January 2002.  A friend's mom took me to the airport to leave and as we drove, she very plainly asked me if I had ever tried to lose weight.  She shared with me her own struggle with weight since she was a child. I was blown away.  She was so fit and thin.  I couldn't believe it. No one had ever confronted me about it before. I had gotten to the point that I accepted that's "just the way God made me." You know, Big girls unite! She told me that she would be praying for me and I was encouraged that maybe, just maybe I could do it.  Deep down, I didn't want to be the big girl anymore. 

I lost 60 pounds in the eight months while I was in New York.  After I left NYC, I moved to Oklahoma City and there lost another 37 pounds.  Over the course of two years, I had lost 100 pounds. Now, don't get me wrong, it took a lot of hard work and perseverance.  I was extremely mindful of what I put in my body.  With God's help, I was very disciplined.  I didn't drink soda, worked out/ran/walked almost every day and watched my portions. I was not on a diet! Let me say that again....I was not on a diet. I didn't begin the journey with a specific plan in mind.  I just wanted to be healthy.  And "all things in moderation" worked for me. 

At my smallest weight ever: 163 lbs.  For my 5'10 frame, it was great for me.  My BMI was in the healthy range.  

The day J and I got engaged in 2004.

Give or take a 10 pound fluctuation, I kept the weight off.  I felt absolutely wonderful. I finally felt like the person God had created me to be.  Not just because I was thinner, but because I was healthy, I had a great outlook because of what I had accomplished.  The sky was the limit!

About 9 months after we got married in January of 2005, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were so excited and I was determined to have a healthy pregnancy and not undo all the work I had done.  I worked out and walked and ate healthy throughout the pregnancy and only gained about 30 pounds. 

Here I am almost eight months pregnant.  

This is only a couple months after the birth of our first child.  I lost all but 10 pounds of the baby weight before I became pregnant with our second child.  

Okay, so this is where things get rough for me.  After the birth of our first child, I really struggled.  There were a lot of factors, one being I had postpartum depression. It was pretty bad, but after about five months, I seemed to finally snap out of it for the most part, but I just wasn't the same. Being a new mom, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the "perfect" mom. I had started being a stay-at-home-mom after her birth and it was a big adjustment.  

If I'm honest, my struggle with food began escalating during K's first year.  I was dealing with a lot of things that I really don't think it would be wise to share. There's no need in rehashing the past. But it really threw me for a loop. I used food to cope.  It calmed me down.  It gave me energy that I so desperately needed. I was excercising twice a day so it kept the weight off for a while.  It hid the fact that I had increasing compulsive behavior concerning food. I couldn't control it. I felt like a slave to food. 

 K had terrible reflux, food allergies, and tonsils that were so big that she wouldn't even swallow her food and stopped breathing at night. She didn't sleep consistently through the night until she had her tonsils out a couple months before she turned two. I. Was. Exhausted.  

So, while pregnant with our second child, I gained fifty pounds. (I still had that ten pounds of baby weight that I never lost from pregnancy number 1 as well.)  I didn't have the time or energy to work out like in my first pregnancy. I was barely getting by doing the bare minimum at home. 

By the time A was born (one month before K's second birthday) I was just plain worn out.  I had about a month that K had started sleeping through the night, but I was pregnant and didn't sleep because of that then I had a newborn. So it was probably another eight or nine months before she consistently slept through the night.  

When A was about a year old.  The weight had begun to creep back up. 

To top everything off, I had a really bad case of postpartum depression this time. It was much worse than after my first pregnancy.  When A was about a year old, I finally got to the point that I needed some help.  Really, I didn't know what was going on with me.  I didn't understand that that was what was wrong.  I went to my OB/GYN and told him that I thought my hormones were out of whack. He ran a full panel and everything came back normal.  He told me it was severe postpartum.  It had never been treated so it just escalated.

I remember feeling like I was in a fog all the time.  Almost like I was trying to run through quicksand.  I just felt stuck.  I finally got some medicine and took it for about a year until I was better.   I initially lost about  35 pounds and that put me at about 205lbs. 

The last four years have been the hardest in my adult life.  I have struggled and wrestled with things.  Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally it has been difficult.  When I was at a healthy weight,I knew what it felt like to finally be healthy and love my body. I was on cloud nine.  So when I began struggling, I put a lot of extra pressure on myself to get the weight off.  That made it harder and the compulsive eating was terrible. I literally could not stop.  I would absolutely hate what I was doing and still did it.  Then it would upset me and I'd be mad at myself and then I would eat to self-medicate then get upset at myself again. It was a vicious cycle. (I did see a counselor about this and the compulsive eating isn't something I struggle with presently.  I just am an emotional eater.)

Since A's birth five years ago, I have lost 10 pounds and gained 20. Lost 5 pounds and gained 10. Lost 15 pounds then gained 25.  Over and over and over. But all the while my weight has crept up, up, up. And today, I am at my highest weight EVER. 

This has been the fight of my life. And somewhere along the way, I think I just gave up.  I was tired of struggling, of fighting a losing battle. I feel like I got down and then every time I would start getting back up I would get kicked down again. 

I pictured myself lying wounded on a battlefield, unable to to rise up.  With so many arrows in the sky coming at me it blacked out the sun.  I have not been myself for a long time. My weight has caused me to be a lot more withdrawn than I normally would be. Maybe even less friendly because in the back of my mind, I am absolutely mortified of what I have let myself become.  I am always shrinking back from the assumed judgement of others. 

But, I AM TIRED OF BEING THIS PERSON!  The real Amanda is trapped inside this body.  Guys, I want to be healthy. I want to be happy. I want to feel good about myself physically. I hold no illusions that I will ever be a supermodel, nor do I aspire to be.  This is much bigger than just a number on a scale. This is about my life. This is about being the best me I can be. About setting a good example for my girls.
I am so thankful that I have a husband who, at my highest weight ever, looks me in the eye and says he loves me no matter what size I am.  And he means it.  I have never doubted that.  But does he want me to be happy and healthy? Absolutely!  He sees more than anyone else the war I'm in.  He wants me to have victory. 
These family photos were taken just two weeks ago. They are precious and the photographer did a great job.  It is the first one we have taken in six years because of my weight.  I have had pictures of the girls done, but not of all of us.  I just didn't want to face it.  But, I decided to stop hiding and face the truth of the matter. This picture represents for me the girl I am about to leave behind. 

So, now that I've put all this out there, I am accountable.  To myself and to you all.  I have to stop treading in the same place and start moving in the right direction.  I hope you will pray for me!  

I've decided that every Wednesday will be "Weigh-in Wednesday."  I will report how my week has gone and my weight loss progress.  Next week will be my first weigh-in and hopefully I will have some good results to share. Be sure to subscribe to this blog and don't miss my updates.  Also, if you haven't liked Cultivate Create on Facebook, head on over and do so. I will check in more often on there about weight loss. 

So, what about you guys?  Anyone else want to take this journey with me?  A journey towards health and victory. Leave me a message below and show me you are in!  Have you already won your victory?  Please share!  I would love to hear about it!

*Update:You can read each week's weigh-in by clicking on the links below. 

Weigh-In Wednesday #1
Weigh-In Wednesday #2
Weigh-In Wednesday #3
Weigh-In Wednesday #4
Weigh-In Wednesday #5
Weigh-In Wednesday # 6
Weigh-In Wednesday # 7
Weigh-In Wednesday #8
Weigh-In Wednesday #9
Weigh-In Wednesday #10
Weigh-In Wednesday #11
Weigh-In Wednesday #12
Weigh-In Wednesday #13
Weigh-In Wednesday  #14
Weigh-In Wednesday #15
Weigh-In Wednesday #16

Love you guys!

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