Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Personal Victory

A portion of our backyard garden, complete with vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees
I don't normally discuss non-sewing related topics on my blog, but I really wanted to link up with Debbie's Tuesday at the (Herbal) Table series, and I figured that this might count. I share this in hopes that some of you might be coming from the same places that I have been.

Our wedding day: December 10, 2005
Tonight I closed the door on a special achievement for me. I finished a year long contract with a personal trainer at a local gym. For some people this would not be such a big deal, but for me it was huge. Though I was a normal weight when my husband and I got married, the process of having three children in four years threw me off completely.

Hours before giving birth to Mouse
My weight skyrocketed with each pregnancy, and though I was able to lose about twenty pounds after each delivery, the weight always came back with reinforcements. By the time I was ready to deliver my third daughter, I was in so much pain from the pull on my body that I could hardly walk.

January 2011
After I delivered Mouse, I lost a good deal of weight, but the pounds crept back on again. Between lack of sleep and trying to care for three children under the age of four, I was in a constant state of exhaustion and in no condition to start a serious diet and exercise plan. Honestly, I look back on that year as one of the hardest of my life. By the following year, I took a few months to just read books about health and nutrition, trying to get myself in the right mindset to make some changes in my life. That summer my mother-in-law saw me enjoying myself at the pool near their home, reminiscing about how much I used to love taking water aerobics classes when I was single. After we returned home, she called to offer me a membership at a gym near our home so I could return to the classes I loved. I was thrilled. After some discussion with my husband, I also signed up to work with a trainer once a week, but the gym required that I sign a one-year contract. I remembering staring at my signature on that piece of paper and feeling cold sweat run down my back -- what on earth had I done?

Yesterday morning
I stuck with my appointments with my trainer and did my best to work out three times a week for an hour each time. I'm not going to lie: there were weeks when it was all I could do to drag myself off to the agony I knew was waiting for me at the gym. I tried to convince myself that it was a nice break from the kids (which it was, in a way). I bribed myself with a Diet Coke from the barbecue joint next door every time I finished a workout. It was hard, hard work, but I'm so happy and proud to say that I did it. I really did it. And when I signed that paper, I honestly didn't think that I could. My trainer did the math for me tonight. Over the past two years since I had Mouse, I've lost 71 pounds -- 51 of them in this year at the gym, along with 10% of my body fat and 50.5 inches off my body.

Somehow the journey of health this year feels closely tied with my sewing career, as I started quilting just a few months after I started at the gym. Both activities have done so much to save my sanity and help me grow. I still have lots work to do, but I can't tell you how much better I feel than I did a year ago. I'm a little bit frightened to go back to working out at home, scared that I'll fall back into my old ways. My family assures me that they're not going to let that happen. Recently I read an incredible book called Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, a scientist who takes a fascinating look at the topic on the cellular level. This book was a revelation to me, and I feel like I'm finally starting to understand why I am the way I am when it comes to my health. It's given me direction when it comes to my eating as well as that of my children, and we've made changes as an entire family that are already bearing fruit. I'm hoping that the year ahead will bring better health to all of us. More than anything I want to help my children avoid so many of the struggles I've faced in this area, and nothing makes me happier than seeing them running fearlessly around the back yard or happily picking herbs and vegetables with my husband in our garden. I dearly hope that I can help them build great habits and be an example to them of a life well lived . . . in every way.

Linking up to Tuesday at the (Herbal) Table.

25 comments:

  1. WAY TO GO, HEIDI!! That's a huge accomplishment. It takes a serious jolt and/or tons of encouragement and support to do what it takes to lose that kind of weight and change your lifestyle to an active one. And that's *without* having the burden of caring for three children so young. That saps your energy and eats up your time. People judge, saying "why doesn't she just exercise regularly?" OK - *You* try fitting 60 minutes in 3 times a week, let alone 5 or 6, when your children are so young you can't even sit on the toilet for 30 seconds without something somewhere going wrong! lol :) I'm amazed at your accomplishment!! Keeping it up on your own at this stage in life will take a support system with solid commitments to exercise times. Do you have a friend who can trade work-out times watching kids? And keeping an exercise blog, or posting every day with an exercise buddy on Facebook or some other "public" forum helps keep yourself on track - because people see when you slack! lol :) Good luck to you. You've done this much, which shows you have the gumption to succeed in the future as well. Go, Woman!!

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  2. Congratulations, Heidi, what an inspiring post!

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  3. Awesome! We've never met but boy am I proud of you!! Wishing you absolutely the best as you move forward and life as healthily as you can as a family! And the garden - WOW! SO fun!

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  4. Wow, Heidi! An accomplishment greater than any quilt you will ever make! Thank you for sharing your story. I only have one baby and find it hard to excercise. Well, my problem is chosing to sew rather than work out when I have free time... So the fact that you have time to parent, sew and run a blog AND work out regularly is quite impressive. Congratulations!

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  5. What a wonderful, inspirational post Heidi, congratulations on what sounds like a year of impossible hard work at the gym, and getting through it. You have certainly yealded the results. It's also lovely to learn a little bit more about you, and wonderful to hear how driven and motivated you are. You fit so much into your busy life, you really are an inspiration. xxx

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  7. Way to go, Heidi! Finding time and motivation to exercise if it isn't your favorite thing to do is one of the hardest things to do! I don't have the challenge of working around three little ones, but I've never been athletic so it's never really at the top of my "want to do" list! I've lost 20 lbs. since college, but it's been over a longer period of time with less concerted effort. Maybe someday I'll have the will power to commit to a routine like you did and then I'll really be something. :)

    This is super shallow, but I think weight gain is one of the reasons I'm most terrified about having kids in the future. I love my body, and I know the little buggers tend to really whack it up! :P

    I'm glad you interrupted your regularly scheduled quilty blogging to share this. It's so inspiring to see people make and succeed at big changes in their lives! Yay you!

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  8. Great Job!!!!!
    Many hugs to you!!! that is fabulous...good stick to it ness....:)

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  9. Wow, fantastic job. I'm not a mom yet, but am very conscious that I need to start and maintain healthier habits before getting pregnant, because it only gets harder and harder! At the moment, trying to convince my husband that starting weekly pilates is a true investment in my health, especially when baby time comes.

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  10. You should be SO PROUD of yourself! I admire the heck out of your determination. Way to go and keep up the great work!

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  11. Congratulations, you must really proud! This is one thing I am really worried about as I am getting bigger during my pregnancy - will I ever look the same again? It is quite inspiring to see what you achieved!

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  12. I'm so happy for you!! That is fantastic. In my house, we've lost 25 pounds (me) and 35 pounds (partner) over the past year and we're thrilled with how much better we feel. You can keep it off...especially if you're changing how you eat. That made more of a difference for us than anything. Congratulations!

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  13. Good Job and to have people behind you to encourage you and not discourage you will be great.

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  14. That's great Heidi! Good for you.

    I joined a gym a few weeks ago. It's nice to have a break from the kids. And I'm proud of myself too it's been more years than I want to admit since I was in shape. :)

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  15. Congratulations Heidi - you are such an inspiration!

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  16. You have inspired me..I have been going back and forth about joining a gym and getting a personal trainer...I have at least 25 pounds to lose--I am a lot older than you--my problem is the result of surgery and no thyroid gland--I have to get with it and get back to my old self---You look great!!!! God Bless...

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  17. Good for you, loved reading your story. I've read the Taubes book, very enlightening!

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  18. Congrats on your accomplishments and thanks for sharing this!

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  19. Heidi fantastic! What a great achievement and I'm so glad you shared this with us. I have been on the same kind of journey the past two years down 40 and then up 20 and now I'm back down 13 of those 20. I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm never "there" and able to "go back" to my eating and lazy ways. My (not) new motto has been never, ever, ever, give up because as long as I live I'll need to be working on this and striving to be a person who can get up and do anything without hesitation/discomfort.

    You're looking great!

    Fi

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  20. Thanks so much for sharing! I have always struggled with my weight, and exercise has saved me. Having consistently done it for 10 years now, I will say that it really does become habit! You will persevere and you look fantastic!!

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  21. You are so inspiring!!! That is a huge success! Wow! I'm really glad you wrote about it in your blog. I am needing the nudge to exercise regularly and reading about other people who have been working hard to do that are so inspiring to me! Thanks so much! And, you look Wonderful!!!

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  22. Heidi, awesome, awesome achievement and, by the way, I found Gary's book, too! School starts for my kids on the 10th and we are headed for a more paleo diet as well as more exercise time. I've got 70 pounds to lose myself and a trip to Hawaii in January to get me motivated! Best wishes for your continued good health!

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  23. Woohoo! Congrats! Since I recently had my second I can really identify with your post. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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