Thursday, March 5, 2009

Self-Care and Other Fun Stuff

This post has been a long time coming. When P and I got engaged, I weighed ~60 pounds less than I do now. When we started trying to conceive, I was ~45 pounds less. When the first pregnancy ended, I was ~35 pounds less. When I got pregnant with Harry, I was ~25 pounds lighter. At my six week post-partum visit, I was 15 pounds lighter. Yeah, you read that right. I've regained 15 pounds. While breastfeeding.

I do not look good. I never had cellulite before, but I have it now. I don't fit into my clothes. I used to be fit and athletic, but now I am out of shape. I am not modeling a healthy way of living for my son. And it's part of a larger problem. I haven't plucked so much as a single eyebrow hair since Harry was born. In that time, I've put on makeup once, and it was last weekend. I've had two haircuts since July 2007.

P fairly recently installed iLife 09 on his computer and spent some time using the facial recognition feature. I watched as he went through hundreds of photos from our collection and from my father's, many of which were of me at various points throughout my life. And it was really hard. Because even the ones taken during periods in which I thought myself fat or unkempt or otherwise unappealing looked great compared with how I look now. And I'm honestly not sure what happened. I could come up with a thousand intellectual/emotional/physical explanations, but they'd just be conjecture. I really don't know.

What I do know is that I need to do something about this. About my body, my hair, my general level of self-care. So...
  • Last month, I started using our WiiFit to get some exercise. It's incredibly hard to find the time to get any exercise, and it's only going to get worse when I go back to work. That said, I need to do what I can to make the effort. Even just once a week is better than never.
  • Inspired by Manda, I joined Weight Watchers last week. Aside from an overindulgence in pizza when my brother was visiting last night (followed by a chaser of granola bar-type foods), it's been going okay. I picked up some fruit and veggies at the store today, which should make it easier, as I was trying to change my diet without altering the contents of the fridge. It's going to be hard to stick to a diet, since P will continue to buy and eat foods I just can't if I want to take this weight off (and I don't want him to feel like he has to make changes in his life, though I wish he'd stop asking me if I want -- or bought, when I go to the store -- foods that aren't good for me). The reality is that he and I have very different relationships with food, relationships that are embarrassingly in line with what is expected based on our biology. And I don't think he gets that it's not as simple as 'just don't eat so damn much.' Even though it is. It's just hard.
  • I am getting my hair cut and my brows waxed tomorrow. I'm part of a large mom group (500+ moms in the Boston area) that is run through One of the recurring events lately has been women taking turns hosting a stylist (also a member). Five-ish moms sign up, and everyone shares in watching the kids while each woman gets a haircut. The stylist also does waxing. You pay for whatever services you get. I'm going tomorrow.
Really, though? I need to change my attitude. Intellectually, I know this. But I'm still struggling. And it's a self-perpetuating problem as well. I don't feel great about myself, so I don't take good care of myself, so I feel worse, so I take worse care. And it's spilling over into my sense of self more generally. And P doesn't say much one way or the other. I get neither reassurance nor criticism from him when it comes to my appearance (or anything else, for that matter). I'd say our relalionship has changed a lot since Harry, and it has, but not on that subject -- he hasn't really ever provided much feedback on my appearance (or the contributions I make to the household, unless it's to criticize my many failings). But I suppose that ties into a variety of other things that are really another topic entirely. (Not that I'm bitter or anything :)

In short, I need to break the cycle. I'd like to feel healthy again. I'm never going to weigh what I did when we got engaged again, but I could and should get back to what I weighed two years ago. To that end, there's a ticker in the sidebar. I encourage all of you to keep on me about this.


Jen said...

You can do it!

I know how you feel. Elizabeth looks at me strangely when I wear my hair down because she thinks I am an imposter. She is used to ponytail mom.

Meghan said...

Good luck with it! I know exactly how you feel. I'm heading down to FL next week and just realized that if I want to see the baby in the pool, I'm going to have to put on a bathing suit...which brings up a host of frightening issues!!

Oh...and I love the idea of that mommy group. How fantastic! I might have cut my hair once since last May if I had something like that

Nicky said...

I have managed two haircuts since LL was born (leaving him at home with daddy on a Saturday works like a charm) but I hear you on everything else. When you don't have time to cook or exercise, you end up sitting around eating junk and take-out. At least, that's how it's been in our house. At least when I was home with LL, I could take him for walks around the neighborhood. Now that I'm working, I have no idea how to fit in time to exercise (much less the energy to do it).

If it makes you feel any better, though, a bunch of recent studies have shown that most women either maintain weight or gain weight while breastfeeding, rather than losing weight like people have long thought. The theory is something about fat stores to prevent starving the child in case of motherly famine. And the majority of these women lose that weight within a few months of *stopping* lactation. So don't beat yourself up too much about the weight.

Neve said...

I'm all over the support. First, get excited because the weather is finally getting warmer and our whole damn state will be getting outside more, which inevitably means fun stuff to do that involve physical activity. Yay!

Second, I've been packing a lunch for work and snacking throughout the day. It's cheap and I make sure it's realitively healthy. I also never get too starving or too full, which I think is good for my metabolism.

Third, I felt like a vagabond going into the office the first month because I had long, unkept hair and I wasn't doing it. I went to my hairdresser and said, "Give me a short, difficult doo so that I have to do it every morning." She was like, "Really? Are you sure about this?" I got 5 inches cut off and lots of layers. I have to get up earlier in the morning to actually do it, but it's worth it. I go into the office looking the part of a professional, and that feels good.

I look forward to watching you succeed on this journey, K!

Mommy, Esq. said...

I feel your pain. I put on weight after I weaned the kids - because I couldn't stop eating like I was still BFing/pumping. Being back at worked has helped. But unlike Neve's Mommy I cannot manage to pack a lunch - instead I've been going to free department lunches and/or buying stuff at ABP (lots of good pre-made stuff). Sure, more expensive, but gets me up out of my desk and is still relatively healthy and easy. Are you back at work yet?

niobe said...

I know someone else already said this, but, honestly, though I know some people lose weight while breastfeeding, it seems, for most of the women I know, breastfeeding resulted in a weight gain of 10-20 pounds, much of which usually went away fairly effortlessly when they stopped breastfeeding or soon after they went back to work (even if they were still pumping).

Geohde said...

Oh I can relate....

My self care? Not ideal.


Amanda said...

I'm right there with you on needing to take care of myself. I weigh about 60 pounds more than I should (and did while we were dating). I'm working on focusing on me and liking myself a little more.

Yay on the 5 lbs so far!

Oh yeah, I'm starting Weight Watchers April 1. Luckily Tim likes their recipes (for the most part) so it's not as much of a struggle in our household. Plus, he likes that he looses weight when I diet.