I ate nothing but salad last week.
Well, OK, almost nothing but salad.
There was that one day when I HAD to have pasta (No, really, I was literally FORCED to have pasta, true story…) because we got snowed in YET AGAIN, and it was the only thing left in the cupboard. There was also the glass of wine that night. Er, the glass and a half of wine. OK, OK, THE TWO GLASSES OF WINE, WHAT AM I, A MARTYR?
For the MOST part, though, I ate salad all week – and it wasn’t the hugely calorific kind, that’s laden with dressing, and just pretending to be healthy, either. No, this was your standard, no-frills, can’t-even-Instagram-it-because-that’s-how-boring-it-is salad. (Actually, it was mostly your standard pre-packaged, calories-clearly-stated-on-the-bag salad, might as well admit it.) I did not have chocolate. Well, not much chocolate, anyway. I did not go out for cake. I didn’t even have a fancy Starbucks coffee, complete with the requisite 5,876 calories, and, actually, you know what? I TOTALLY AM A MARTYR HERE. I mean, FFS, people, I’ve basically STARVED all week. I’m like a MONK or something!
On Friday morning, I stepped on the scales, exactly one week since my last encounter with them. I even removed my hair elastic, just in case it was adding some serious poundage to my weight. (Answer: it wasn’t. Because obviously.)
Want to know how much weight I’d lost in the course of that week, folks?
0.2 of a pound.
Big whoop, huh?
The next day, we went out for lunch, and I bought Pick n’ Mix on the way home, because who can resist Pick n’ Mix? Not this girl, for sure.
The day after that was my birthday (cake and champagne), and the one after that was Mother’s Day (out to lunch again). On Monday morning, I got back on the scale, and guess what? I’d gained back that 0.2 of a pound. Who’da thunk it, huh?
And that’s pretty much how it’s been for the almost 11 weeks since Max was born. As you’d expect, I lost a lot of weight in the first couple of weeks (SPOILER: IT WAS A BABY. And also a TON of fluid, apparently.), but since then? Nothing. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do or don’t do, my weight remains more-or-less the same, hovering at a point roughly 10 pounds over my pre-baby weight, give or take that 0.2 of a pound. And I’d kind of like to do something about that, really.
Now, quick pause here while I address the inevitable objections I know I’m going to get….
Weight is a very loaded subject, especially for women, and even MORE especially for women who’ve had babies. In my position, everyone is very quick to reassure me that it’s totally normal to still be carrying some extra weight right now: they’ll point out that I literally JUST had a baby (Well, I mean, 10 weeks ago I had a baby. Which isn’t, like, yesterday, obviously, but still…), and that I need to go easy on myself, not expect too much, and understand that if it took me 9 months to gain that weight, it’s probably not going to disappear overnight, is it? Especially with, you know, THE WINE.
More than that, though, weight is a loaded subject for ANY woman, because it JUST IS. Right now, we’re at a point in our social history where body acceptance has become all-important: people are slowly but surely starting to reject the idea that there’s only one “right” way for a woman to look, and to accept that all shapes and sizes can be beautiful. I can’t go onto Twitter these days without seeing someone talking about how we should all love ourselves, because we’re ALL beautiful, and that’s a wonderful thing, truly. I’m all for putting an end to body-shaming and embracing diversity: it’s been a long time coming, and anything that makes people feel even a little bit better about themselves is just fine by me.
(You could sense it coming, couldn’t you?)
I read all this stuff about body positivity, and how we’re ALL SO BEAUTIFUL, and I find myself thinking, well, it’s great if that helps people and all but what if you DON’T feel ‘beautiful’? What if you’re now 10 pounds heavier than you used to be, and you’ve literally worn the same outfit for three days in a row now, because it’s the only thing that still fits you? What if your face still looks oddly puffy to you, and no matter how many times your husband assures you that, no, really babe, it’s totally back to normal now, every time he shows you a “cute” photo he took of you and the baby, you’re just like, “Wait, what’s the Pilsbury Dough Boy doing with my child?” I’m honestly amazed that the facial recognition on my phone knows that this is still me right now, seriously. Stop letting me access my bank account, iPhone, FFS!
But I was saying.
What if all of this is true, and it makes you feel a big crappy, really, but everyone just keeps telling you to “go easy on yourself” because your feelings are invalid and you’ve “just got to love yourself!” anyway?
Also, just a thought, but what if, rather than continually insisting that “everyone is beautiful,” we tried insisting that it doesn’t actually matter? Maybe then I wouldn’t be writing this post because, rather than just trying to pretend I don’t care about those extra 10 pounds, I genuinely wouldn’t care.
Like I said, just a thought.
The truth is, though, I DO care. And now I’d like to do something about it.
The problem with that, though, is that I’ve never been good at losing weight – possibly because I’ve never really had to. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been roughly the same weight my entire adult life: I’ll normally gain a few pounds over Christmas, and when I’m on holiday, but then I’ll lose them again without trying, just by going back to my usual routine. And I guess I’d just kind of assumed that was what would happen here: that I’d have the baby, and sure, I’d be a whole lot heavier for a while after, but that the weight would slowly but surely melt away, just because I was no longer pregnant (Once I was past the morning sickness stage, I spent my entire pregnancy feeling ravenously hungry all the time, so I figured that stopping would HAVE to make a difference, right?), and would be able to be more active.
Instead, after that first couple of weeks, when you really do lose weight pretty rapidly (Mostly fluid and, you know, ACTUAL BABY…), my weight has remained stubbornly the same – and it’s really not hard to see why, is it?
I’m one of those people who tells herself she’s only eaten salad all week, neglecting to count the glass of wine she had afterwards. Who tells herself that ONE square of chocolate doesn’t really count – and a tiny handful of Pick n’ Mix, eaten while tidying up the kitchen (Well, it was RIGHT THERE, people! I AM NOT MADE OF STONE!) definitely doesn’t.
I’m also a person who’s currently suffering from severe cabin fever, and a huge amount of anxiety. (No, it doesn’t stop once the baby arrives – but that’s another post for another day…) Getting out of the house as much as possible is, of course, the best way to deal with the cabin fever, but we’ve had too much snow to be able to go for all of those long walks I’d planned, which means we end up going out for calorific coffees and non-healthy lunches instead: D’OH. The anxiety, meanwhile, makes me feel – wrongly, of course – like I “deserve” a treat: or that I could at least use one as a distraction technique, and finally, the presence of a small, demanding human in my life means I don’t have the time to work out at home, even if I wanted to. Which, honestly? I really, REALLY don’t: I absolutely hate home workouts, to a degree that means I can never motivate myself to do them more than once or twice before telling myself I can’t possibly find the time any more.
Oh, and I also have a serious addiction to Haribo MIX: HELP ME.
Of course, all of these things – the snow, the anxiety, the hatred of workout videos – are just excuses. I know that: it’s knowing how to stop making those excuses that’s the hard part – and I’ve not quite worked out a solution to that one yet.
Last night, though, I did that ridiculous, “I know I’m going to eat these sweets at SOME point, so I may as well eat them now, and get them out of the way, so tomorrow I can start afresh,” thing, which means that today I’m starting afresh.
I have no grand plan other than to eat less – or more healthily, at least – and move more. I’m not really into faddy diets or impractical exercise regimes, and I’m not under any illusion that I’m going to be able to lose the weight quickly – or, you know, AT ALL. If I can make even a small dent in those stubborn 10 pounds, though, it would at least let me get into my clothes a little more comfortably (Right now I can get into quite a lot of them, but as I said in this post, just because it zips up, it doesn’t necessarily mean it fits, and I’m very aware that although I can get some things on, they don’t exactly look great on me…), and that would be AWESOME, seriously. Spring is, after all, my favourite season, and I’d really rather not spend it in sweatpants, so I have to try SOMETHING, right?
Anyway. I’m hoping that by putting this intention out into the universe, it’ll inspire me to stick to my resolutions, and stay away from the Pick n’ Mix stand next time I’m out. This week will be a particularly difficult one in that respect – we’re going to be eating out at least twice, and, at the time of writing, the roads are clear, but there’s still snow blocking a lot of the footpaths around the village, making walking with the pram a bit tricky – but I’ll report back on how I get on, and you can all feel free to tell me off if you happen to catch me posting photos of chocolate on social media.