Why I’m Keeping the Last 10 Pounds
I am 31 years old. I have spent the last 16 years completely obsessing over 10 pounds. That’s 15 years of self-loathing and ridiculousness, and nothing to show for it except for a few great bikini shots and a sleek profile in my wedding gown.
During my senior year of high school, my diet consisted of oatmeal, diet coke, and frozen yogurt. Occasionally, when on the brink of fainting, I’d indulge in a handful of trail mix that my mom and I kept in the freezer for “emergencies”. Keep in mind, I had no weight to lose at this time. Not a pound. My ass was perfect in my Miss Sixty jeans, my thighs didn’t touch, and my arms were just the right amount of bony.
College consisted of more of the same insanity, only this time I did have those pesky ten pounds brought on by raspberry Smirnoff vodka and late night pizza delivery. Life became a vicious cycle of eating as little as possible, working out as much as I could, and drunken pizza binges in between. I wish I could say that I graduated college with less dysmorphia and more confidence, but that was definitely not the case. Whether I was up those ten pounds or not, nobody seemed to really care but me – but it was all I cared about. ALL.I.CARED.ABOUT
Even in the worst of times, just after my 28th birthday – after a horrific car accident nearly took my life, I focused not just on healing my broken bones and devastated soul – but on how thin I could get in the process. The last thing I needed was to lay around in bed getting fat while I healed. So I restricted my diet to apples, kale, quinoa and tea, and when I took my first step after 5 long months – I looked the best I had ever looked. High school good.
As you can imagine, when I moved to Miami, met my husband, and started planning a wedding shortly thereafter, the pressure was on. I punished my body in ways I never imagined – hour long sessions in a “sweat capsule”, six mile cardio sessions in the Miami heat, and daily sessions with my trainer. I treated my wedding dress fittings like the end of the world, surviving on spinach, salmon and grilled chicken for almost 6 months. When I finally walked down the aisle to meet my beloved, my skin so badly dehydrated, each muscle in my body aching, all I could think about was “well at least I look good.” Oh, and cake – I really wanted some cake.
On my honeymoon, my husband and I discussed when we might start trying to get pregnant, and he made a comment that still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
“You’re going to gain weight when you’re pregnant, you know. And I certainly don’t want my child growing up in a home where looks and diet are the only topics of discussion”.
Shit. Um, well, if we have a boy, I won’t have to worry about that, I thought to myself. He probably won’t pay any attention to that kind of stuff.
Maybe that would have been the case – except I was pregnant shortly thereafter, with a girl. I remember sobbing for hours on end when the doctor called with the blood test results – how could I have a girl? What if she ended up like me?
My pregnancy weight gain was a real shock to my system, both physically and emotionally. Having just come off months of starvation and compulsive exercising, my doctor insisted I start eating a more “normal” diet and stop abusing my body. I realized very quickly that this body of mine needed to be treated with much more love than I had ever given it, and with each pound I gained, I fell farther and farther away from that ideal image I had strived for, and was surprisingly okay with it.
By my third trimester, I had stopped obsessing over how long it would take me to lose the weight and just embraced the process. With each kick in my belly, I would remind myself that I would soon be responsible for the emotional well being of a precious and impressionable young girl, and would sooner die than ever let her feel even an ounce of the self-hatred I inflicted upon myself for years. I gained a total of 38 pounds in 39 weeks, and I had a really good time doing so.
Our precious Isabella was born on a Monday morning. I will never forget the moment when I was first alone with my girl, in my hospital room while she lay naked on my bare chest. It was in this moment that I knew that I wanted nothing more for this girl to one day love herself as much as I loved her, and that I had to protect her from the horrors of our image obsessed society.
I am pleased that the bulk of my pregnancy weight gain is gone. It disappeared a lot more easily than I anticipated. But like many new mamas, the last ten pounds have decided to hang around, mostly in my hips and booty. I am back in all of my pre-pregnancy clothing, although they don’t really fit like they used to. My arms are no longer toned and tight. I have a slight muffin-top situation, but nothing major. Before Bella, this would have killed me.
I’ve decided to keep these last ten pounds. Why? My health is not at risk because of them. They don’t make me any less of a loving mother, wife, or friend. My husband is happier when I’m not starving. In fact, he appreciates this booty. But most of all, I am keeping these last ten pounds because the fight to lose them would paint a horrible picture for my daughter. I would rather be making her giggle than running off to the gym. I’d rather her see her mama enjoying a meal instead of punishing herself for it. I want to teach her to make healthy choices for her well being and not for her waistline.
I want to teach her to love every part of herself, not to obsess over the parts that “could be better”.