Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Baring my Soul

I used to keep an excellent journal. From Junior High, Highschool, and my first 2 years of college, I was an almost daily diligent writer. Then my mission happened, then 2 majors happened, then Eric happened, then working full time happened, then Gwen happened... and my journal writing has petered off to non-existent because I'm so pooped by the end of the day. So it occurred to me that my blog is a way to recapture that journaling habit. I post daily happenings and experiences. I only need to add some personal soul baring, and it is a bonafied journal. Here's to radical honesty:

I cringe every time I see a photo of myself.

Is that what I really look like? I don't feel that frumpy, but it definitely looks that way.I gained quite a bit of weight during my pregnancy with Gwen. Pretty normal, as far as pregnancies go, but I haven't really lost it. Just redistributed it. And since I was trying to get back in shape when we got pregnant, I have quite a ways to go before hitting my target. I decided during all the Easter festivities that as soon as the holiday was over I would finally go on a healthy diet. True to that commitment, I spent a few hours yesterday researching healthy caloric and nutritive intake levels for lactating women. I talked to friends who have been on successful healthy diets (not just the crash kind) to find out some tips and secrets for lasting motivation and enduring results. And then it really started to sink in.

This is going to be HARD work.

I have a long way to go. We got a scale last week so I've spent the week tracking my daily weight. I hover right around-- am I really about to share this information to the entire online bloggerdom?-- 170 pounds. Since my target is 145 (that's what I weigh when I'm fit and muscular. Without the muscle, it should be even lower for my height.), that is a 25 POUND LOSS! Those aren't going to peel off overnight, folks, or even in a couple of months. We're talking long term commitment if I want to reach this goal. It'll be difficult because:
a) I LOVE food! And gourmet international cooking! To me it sounds like a culinary disaster to replace key flavor ingredients with low/fat free substitutions or to skip those recipes altogether. Who wants to have feijouada without the various fatty meats? What if I want to grill lemon-barbeque pork ribs in the summer? What's a good chowder without cream? I know there are alternatives, but most reduce the flavor and therefore, enjoyment, of the food. I want complete freedom to pursue any recipe I find that sounds delicious, not a stunted range of options. Plus, I love to bake and enjoy cake decorating... how can I not eat it when it is sitting right there? This will be very challenging for me.
b) I am tired. and busy. It will be just too easy to make excuses for skipping my exercise each day.
c) but mostly because I am not sure I can really do it.

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid I will give in to temptation. I'm afraid I will lack willpower. I'm afraid I'll tire of healthy menus and snacks and indulge a little too often in a non-healthy recipe. I'm afraid there will be holidays, birthdays, and special social events that threaten my consistency. I'm afraid the weight will be stubborn in coming off. I'm afraid I'll compare myself to other, more successful postpartum moms. I'm afraid I will become frustrated. I'm afraid I will lose motivation after a short 2 weeks. I'm afraid I will fall terribly short of my goal. I'm afraid I will never feel confident about my figure again. I'm afraid I will never feel satisfied looking in the mirror again. I'm afraid of giving up and consigning myself to frumpdom for the rest of my life. I'm afraid I am not going to be able to do this. I'm afraid I don't have what it takes to stick it out to the end of my goal. I'm afraid of failure.

*sigh*. I know I can't have faith and fear at the same time. All things are possible if we put our faith in Christ. Funny to think that my diet matters to Him. "Fear not; Only believe"

I can't really ask you to pray for me and my 'diet' because that just sounds like a really shallow prayer. But if it occurs to you sometime in the next 6 months to pray for me to stick to my nutritional plan, I would be really grateful. I need all the support I can get. My plea is the same as the father who brought his sick daughter to Christ for healing and needed help doing his part:

"Lord, help Thou mine unbelief".

Thanks for letting me bare my soul.


  1. I am so right there with you, hon. What a struggle it is all the way around.
    I do know that skim evaporated milk is an acceptable substitute in the chowders. :)

  2. Ok you must have snuck into my bedroom late last night as I couldn't fall asleep because I was worrying about literally ALL the same things. Same fears and concerns. I didn't want to get out of bed to grab my journal so I turned on my bedside lamp and wrote all my thoughts and fears and goals in the back "cheater" pages of my before-bed-wordsearch book.

    I have kept on 10 pounds from each pregnancy. I also have about 20 pounds that I want to lose. I just can't seem to make any kind of commitment. There's really no reason why I can't. It's my life, my days, my time. Why can't I seem to get off my butt and exercise instead of reading my book (or blogging?) when I have a few minutes of downtime. Why can't I seem to choose carrots or apples or cottage cheese instead of chocolate and chips as snacks? Not quite sure.

    Part of me rebels at the idea of a "diet", but the other part of me sees no other alternative. My new plan is to get Ian in on the commitment and see if we can't keep each other in check and bribe ourselves with a really good non-food reward. I'll let you know the progress. In the meantime you have my email and I am definitely an understanding ear. Good luck! We can both do it.

  3. I'm so there Elisa... I committed to losing weight in January, and I've been playing with the same 10 lbs since then - up and down and back up and back down. Ugh - but I just re-committed myself today - I've GOT to get this 40 lbs off that Savanna so lovingly game me! ha ha - I worked so hard to get the 80 off before her, I just can't give up and be happy here - I've got to get back where I was! Best of luck to the both of us!

  4. Oh chicadee, you know you're not alone in this endeavor. I know how much it means to you, and with Eric's support right there with you, I KNOW you can do it successfully. Call if you need a pep talk; email if you need a pep talk; blog me if you need a pep talk. I haven't quite reached the after-math of pregnancy, but I'm sure I'll be experiencing much of what you are. Good luck!! Love you!

  5. Well first off, I was looking at the rest of your blog and thinking "why in the world can SHE look sooo good and just have had a baby and I can't and my baby is 2 1/2?"!!?!?!??!?! So I think you look awesome!

    As far as the weight, who knew it was sooo hard to get it off, right?! I remember my mom struggling with this my whole life and I just couldn't get it. I GET IT NOW!!!!!! It is really hard. I am sorry that you too have to struggle with it. If it makes you feel any better, most moms feel this way too. There are only a few that are lucky enough to not have to worry about their weight... but maybe in my mean little mind i think their babies aren't as cute as mine!!!!!!!! HAHAAHA!!! jk!

    Please email or call if you need to vent more! I totally understand!

  6. It's tough, and sometimes you get hungry, but you set your goal and don't let any "ding dong" interfere with it. It takes a serious commitment but I've seen you do some amazing things, I know you can do this! Good Luck!

  7. I have been feeling extremely self-conscience lately about my body image. My mom sent me this, and all the women in my family are going to do it. You CAN to. If you want. It starts out easy, and has a regular plan. I'm going for it. The best part is all of the participants in the study lost 2 dress sizes WITHOUT dieting. See if it works for you...
    I'm e-mailing it to you right now, but here's the article.

  8. Elisa - I love your 'radical honesty' and I think the world needs more of it! It makes these fears and uncertainties in life so much more bearable when we share them and know that we're not alone. You are definitely not alone in this - as all of the previous comments show!! And to share a bit of honesty with you, it's good for me to hear that someone as amazing and talented as you can have the exact same fear of failure as someone like me! I really look up to you in many ways, and reading this helps me realize that your level of awesomeness might be achievable after all. :)

  9. ps***I love the word "frumpdom" ... never heard that one before. :)

  10. So this may not mean anything to you but I think you are so beautiful! I loved reading this post because I feel exactly the same way. I'm trying too... it really is so hard. I feel like I'm getting no where, except I do feel satisfaction when I stick to my goals! =) Gives me confidence to keep going I guess. I think most moms feel like you do and I think there aren't many that don't put on weight/change shapes with marriage/age/pregnancies/life, etc. Good luck to you! I admire your honesty and guts for writing what you Really feel on your blog. Inspiring. Thanks.

  11. I can't help but laugh! I'm in the SAME boat...except I've been there for about 2 years. Wanna be my walking buddy? Seriously...I won't have a buddy once we move...that makes me nervous!

    I (hold on to your seat!) weigh 164...that's 15lbs LESS than in January. I look like a whale. And feel like one, too. Being short doesn't help.

    YOU, on the other hand, look AMAZING!

  12. Elisa try Nutrimirror. It is a free website with a food log that will tell you exactly how many calories you should be intaking and gives you a plan for dieting. It can really be for any lifestyle. I have started doing it and have already lost 4 lbs. It is so great! It makes it so much easier for me.

  13. Oh Elisa - you are so darling! It is such a hard thing that you get the most beautiful baby from a pregnancy but wonder what happened to your body. I am totally feeling for you! I thought my 40 pregnancy pounds would just melt right off (from nursing right!) but it took me 9 months of working at it.. I am a sugar/candy junkie and I can never just have one of anything so I had to rid my entire house of any junk food and make a candy/dessert bet with my friend to keep me on track.. If you need someone to do a sugar bet with you just let me know:)

    I also have some great workout DVD's in case you want to borrow any. Also, the library has some great ones. One of my favorites from the library is Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. It is a twenty minute workout you do everyday - and its tough!

    I know you can do it - you are amazing. Don't beat yourself up for slipping up once in awhile.

    By the way - I think you are gorgeous!

  14. Elisa,
    Jared and I are somewhat obsessed with diet and exercise, thus his PhD in exercise science and me becoming a personal trainer. It's really important for you to know that if you love to cook and you don't want to alter ingredients then know that you can have all the foods you love, but stay within your calorie goal for the day and you will lose weight. This is the whole idea behind the weight watchers program. Sometimes people think they are being healthy by eating "diet" foods but end up not being satisfied and obsessing over what they can't have and then slip up on a binge.
    One way to jump start weight loss is to eat the number of calories that equals your basal metabolic rate, BMR. you can find BMR calculators online. Then by increasing your activity you will be in the negative calorie balance which is the only way anyone can drop pounds. It's also helpful to eat 5-6 mini meals per day vs. 3 larger meals. It's going to be a challenge to figure out the calorie content in homemade foods, but the more you know individual ingredients the better you can estimate the calorie count.
    Wow, this is the longest comment I have EVER made on a blog but this is a passion of mine, so thanks for letting me share. Call me anytime.