Sunday, January 30, 2011

How do people do it?

I'm seriously asking. This is not some throw-your-hands-up, rhetorical question. I really need to know HOW people do it.

Back in 2005 I started making some real changes. I was exercising most days, I ran a 5k (sort of), I dropped a few pounds. I was also eating mostly well. I had some formula wherein I decided that I was 97% vegetarian (or something like that). But it was complicated and the truth was that most days I didn't eat meat, but sometimes I did or I had something that had meat stock in it and I didn't mean to (shakes fist at Uno's French Onion soup!). But I was trying and that was good.

After getting pregnant in early 2006, I was determined to stay healthy and only gain the appropriate amount of weight. I was going to keep exercising. And by 5 weeks pregnant, the exercising was out the window. I was so exhausted I was falling asleep at the dinner table after a day of just working. I stayed pretty active, I ate pretty well despite my cravings. I gained about 35 pounds overall which wasn't too bad.

Within a few weeks of having Nathan, I had lost about 30 pounds. I felt terrible though. I had post-partum depression, I ate anything I wanted or was available (which amounted to an extraordinary amount of lunch meats) and slept in spurts that were usually less than an hour at a time. I was A Mess.

I have not recovered. I was using familiar excuses: I finish Nathan's food. I am eating to make up for my lack of sleep. I am drinking tons of extra coffee with half and half or cream. I have no time or energy to exercise. My mom's health was worsening and that was weighing on me, pun intended. A stressful job situation before my maternity leave turned to unbearable when I got back. Between April, when I returned to work and August when I quit my job, I had put on almost all of the pregnancy weight. By the end of 2007, I hit the weight that I swore I'd never hit, about 50 pounds more than someone 5 feet tall should be. I was 2 pounds under my highest pregnancy weight and there was NO OTHER PERSON LIVING IN ME!!

Then I hit my highest pregnancy weight. It is a sad state of affairs when you go higher and instead of wanting to lose the baby weight, you want to get back to the baby weight.

Flash forward to now, about 3 years later. I go up and down with the same 10 pounds. I can't stick to anything long. I use all the same excuses, but they don't seem valid anymore. I could try harder, I just don't. I eat the way I eat because it's easy and it tastes good. I am constantly at odds with myself because I know I am killing myself. Or worse.

My mother died of an autoimmune disease that numerous studies have shown can be prevented, slowed and in some cases even brought into remission be eating a low-fat, mostly vegan diet while simultaneously being very active. My biggest fear is that I'll develop MS. It's probably not a healthy fear or even one worth putting that much effort into, but it's always there in the back of my mind. I don't want a fatal disease to be the reason I change my habits. I want to do it because I should and avoid the disease completely.

I've digressed again. I woke up at 3am today craving a bologna sandwich on white bread with mustard. I don't know why. I spent a little time wondering if it was possible to get some bologna today. I don't think I can fit it in. I was disappointed. Now, ask me if I've ever been up at 3am wondering if I could fit in exercising that day and then been disappointed if I could not. No, it's never happened. Not ever. There's a huge disconnect there.

And a 4 year old begging for my attention means I have to wrap this up. How do people do it? How do people change their lives and never look back? How do I never eat bologna again?


  1. One thing you should remember, part of your weight issues are genetic. The metabolism of a Roy dictates you will suffer at least some of your years being the shape of a basketball. Grandma, your mom, and I have all gone through it. And once you start gaining, you get depressed and say f-it then I will eat / drink whatever you want. Or you try again, which thankfully is the Beaudoin in you coming out. Now your female relatives also had wonderful periods of inexplicable weight loss (I have pictures to prove it!) and they were not due to illness, just he hormonal possibly pre-menopausal thing. Till then though, you seem to be concerned about cravings...
    Change the word bologna to cigarettes - you did that, didn't you? And that had to be harder. Think of bologna or whatever it is you crave as poison. It will become repulsive eventually. And don't buy it! Now, coming from someone who cannot / will not give up cigarettes, that might sound odd. But I have done that with hard liquor and now with wine...but if it is in the house and something happens to make me sad or angry or anxious, I will drink it all and then some. So work on your emotions, because that is truly why you are eating more. Getting your perspective of those inevitable annoying and stressful things under control, vowing to only say nice things especially to and about yourself, that will help you feel more peaceful and less likely to seek comfort in stuff you know is bad for you. Count calories - i know that is poopooed these days but it works. And accept yourself the way you are, whatever it is at the moment. For a quick exercise tip, place things so that you have no choice but to walk up and down the stairs many times a day. It might be an inconvenience but it is only temporary, and is great exercise!

  2. I can tell you coming from a person who loves junk food and really hates vegetables, that the only thing that motivates me to eat healthy is exercise. The exercise must come first for me. That in itself is a struggle since I don't genuinely LOVE waking up and working out but after I force myself to for the first few weeks, it gets easier and then I actually enjoy it. Just remember it's baby steps.

    I can be an "all or nothing" type of person so in my mind if I'm not going every single day for at least 30 minutes, then what's the point. Well that's not true. Something is better than nothing. And once I start going and seeing my pants get a little looser and how much more energy I have, that is what makes me WANT to eat good because I'm seeing results. Even while dieting though, I did have one cheat day since you can't deprive yourself or you'll go insane and eat the entire house in one sitting. :)

    What motivated me to work out was taking a picture of myself (in a bathing suit preferably) and then looking at the picture. I hated the weight I had gained and hated the way I looked enough to make it worth my time to work out. Just like anything, you have to WANT that more than your bologna sandwich. Once you get to that point, I know you'll do it. :)