I have always wanted to lose weight. Always. I remember being 12 years old and wanting to lose weight because I was heavier than most of the other girls in sixth grade. I think I weighed 120 pounds. I wish I could weigh that again.
There was a golden summer when, at 17, I felt slim and attractive. It was the summer before my senior year, and my reduced weight had a lot to do with the fact that I stayed out in the evening to spend time with friends instead of eating dinner at home with my parents. But, you know, also my teenage metabolism didn’t hurt.
Then there was the time I had my wisdom teeth extracted, age 20. Because the pain medication nauseated me and I couldn’t keep any food down, I lost enough weight over the course of a week that I fit into a pair of size-eight jeans, and I was elated.
I remember being 140 pounds as a junior in college and positive I needed to lose weight. I would go for long walks where I lived on Park Point (the other side of the lift bridge) in Duluth and tried veganism for two weeks. Before it was trendy and convenient. I gave up because it was too expensive for my minimum-wage student life.
When I was pregnant with my twin boys at age 30, I gained a lot. It was mostly on purpose, as I had read in multiple twin-pregnancy resources that it was very good for the little suckers if the mother put on weight early in the pregnancy. Supposedly, in the third trimester, fetal growth in a twin (or more!) pregnancy is such that it is not possible for the mother to eat enough calories to meet the needs of the babies, so they feed off of fat stores. In laymom’s terms.
For the sake of my unborn children, I indulged in ice cream almost daily. I can’t tell you how many cartons of monster-cookie ice cream we bought in 2010. I gained about 90 pounds by the end of the pregnancy. I was a (small) whale. I was swollen and uncomfortable and couldn’t wear my wedding ring. I ate nutritious food as well, but the ice cream was definitely my and my husband’s favorite, most memorable food highlight.
But the babies were healthy and large, for twins. Our first twin was six pounds, one ounce. Respectable. I will never forget hearing the doctor as he pulled out our second twin: “He’s big! He’s a lot bigger than his brother!” He was a whopping seven pounds, 14 ounces. Almost eight pounds. Bigger than a lot of singleton babies.
Combined, I had been carrying almost 14 pounds of pure baby. I have to wonder how much the placenta weighed. And when, due to complications from the C-section, I had to go back to the perinatal clinic several times, it was gloriously satisfying to see how much weight I had lost from my highest weight ever.
I have since returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. About a year and a half ago, completely due to financial reasons, I gave up alcohol for a few weeks, and my weight dipped down to lower than it had been in a long time. Because when I don’t drink at night, I also don’t snack at night. I was probably abstaining from at least a few hundred calories every day, and my body responded.
That didn’t last for a long time. So, I am trying to reduce yet again. For my health, my vanity, financial reasons. For upcoming photo shoots and vacations. For cute clothes that look cuter on the hanger than hanging on me. For all my friends who show off their amazing bodies and their weight-loss and -control success stories on social media. For my neck, which is feeling fat these days and about which I’m not feeling great (RIP Nora Ephron). So I might be able to slip my wedding ring off my finger once in a while.
My plan thus far is to cut way back on sugar, alcohol, bread, pasta, rice, like, all the good things in life basically. Just kidding. And of course to add in more physical activity, but since I kind of hate that, I’m really putting more emphasis on my diet. I’d rather cut back on things I love than force myself to do things I hate. I’m going to focus on finding joy in life, not in food. In experiences that I enjoy rather than in the food I consume.
I want to be a hot mom, not a dumpy mom. I want to feel good about myself and not resigned to the current shape of my body. I want it to resemble the state of Wisconsin less. I don’t have illusions about my pooch ever being taut and bikini-ready again without surgery, but I know my daily efforts will pay off. They have to, right? Right? Wish me luck.