Monday, March 15, 2010

How I Gained the Weight

I'm starting Weight Watchers again in one week. It's not that I particularly want to, it's more like I need to at this point. I haven't truly worked out in ages. Though I have indulged in unhealthy foods, more often than not, I have overindulged in perfectly healthy foods. Instead of only having a glass of wine every now and then, I've enjoyed a few glasses of wine a few nights per week. I know how to lose and maintain weight, but I chose to ignore that knowledge. And it just kills me that I willfully did this to myself.

It wasn't always this way. I used to go to the gym five days each week and thought nothing of doing 90-minutes of cardio on the elliptical, stair climber (that big escalator-looking machine), or the bike. And by 90-minutes of cardio, I don't mean I was chatting with friends - I was seriously working out. I wasn't big on using weights (typical woman, right?), but I did muscle-building workouts every now and then. I walked the dog most days of the week. I enjoyed a healthy and delicious diet. I wasn't at my goal weight, but I was within ten pounds of it. Then I finally got pregnant.

I had been trying for nine or ten months to get pregnant and was so excited. I stopped my workouts and didn't work out once while pregnant (pregnancy exhaustion is a real bitch), but I remained very mindful of my diet. Unfortunately, I developed a love of bacon. . .something I'd eaten only a handful of times in my life. I was disciplined and allowed myself one bacon & egg sandwich each week - see what I mean about being mindful of my diet? Thanks to my efforts, I gained a respectable 27 pounds.

By my six-week post-partum check-up, I had lost all but a few of those pregnancy pounds. By eight-weeks, I weighed just a little less than before I conceived. In fact, I wore a sexy swimsuit to a pool party when my son was eight-weeks old and I looked better than I ever have before. You know, those super-impressive nursing DDs. I really miss having nursing boobs. . .

So what happened? Well, for the first time in my life, I developed a sweet tooth. I don't mean that I liked candy, I've always liked candy, but I NEEDED candy. I didn't need a piece of candy every now and then, or even every day - I needed several pieces of candy each and every day. But I still didn't gain weight because I was exclusively breastfeeding and producing milk takes between 300 and 500 calories each day. My son never took even an ounce of formula because I produced so much milk and that milk production kept me from gaining weight even though I had an impossible to satisfy sweet tooth.

At around five months, my son had his first taste of anything besides my milk. On the advice of his pediatrician, I started letting my son have solids to stop his near-constant spitting up. Though I wanted to exclusively breastfeed until my son was at least six-months old, I followed the pediatrician's advice - which didn't work anyway. Grrr! I have identified that that's when I started gaining weight. Double Grrr!!

Anyone who knows how breastfeeding works knows exactly why my weight started creeping up at that point. For everyone else, here's a quick explanation: Your body tailors it's milk production based on how much your baby eats. If your baby nurses often, you'll make more milk. If your baby only nurses a few times each day or doesn't adequately drain your breasts, you'll make less milk. Anytime your baby eats anything other than at your breasts (formula, solids, even your own pumped milk), it is a missed feeding and your body will decrease it's milk supply unless you pump. Since my son started eating a small feeding of solids, that was a nursing session that he was missing and my body began to decrease it's milk supply at that point. My body no longer needed the full 300 to 500 extra calories because I was no longer nursing exclusively. However, I didn't cut back the calories I was consuming and the weight began creeping up.

By the time I fully weaned my son, a little over one-year of age, I had gained back between 10 and 15 pounds. Why didn't I join Weight Watchers then and nip this in the bud? I really can't say, but I sure wish that I had!

My son will be two in a couple of months. I can no longer claim to be "pleasantly plump" because I have grown quite fat. I'm embarrassed to admit that I weigh just shy of what I did on the day he was born. So there it is. I need to lose 45 pounds to be at my goal weight. Really, I should aim for 50 pounds so I can be below goal with a five-pound cushion - you Weight Watcher members know what I'm talking about!

My next installment will be about how I've been Preparing for Weight Loss. . .assuming nothing else grinds my gears in the meantime! Family Guy reference for you animation domination fans out there!

No comments:

Post a Comment