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?