February has always been an interesting month for me. Yes, I fall somewhere in the group of those who want a little more winter but are also secretly hoping for Spring. Yes, I celebrate love and look forward to an extra special date night with my one and only. But it also marks an anniversary for me, one that I wish I never started celebrating.
Twelve years ago, in February, I woke up fat.
I had gotten married the previous September and took to marriage like salt and vinegar chips and Diet Dr. Depper...we were made for each other. I relished my new roll as wife and did everything I thought wives were supposed to do with excitement and verve.
I sent my husband off to school with freshly pressed pants and a homemade lunch in hand.
And I developed my love of cooking.
Oh. Cooking! How I loved it. I loved having Brad walk in the front door and be greeted with magnificent smells that I had created. I loved having dinner parties in our teeny-tiny apartment. I love trying new recipes and tweaking them until they were just right.
I also, as it turns out, loved eating everything I made. With excitement and verve.
And so I cleaned and decorated and cooked my way into the new year when I found myself having a conversation with some wonderful friends. They had both mentioned how they were struggling with their weight after having their first babies and were going to try to nip the problem in the bud. When they turned to me and asked if I wanted to join them, I was slightly surprised because, although yes, my pants definitely had shrunk a bit in the past few months, surely my weight gain wasn't noticeable to other people. Right?
I stepped on the scale for the first time time since the morning of my wedding and nearly fainted dead away. Surely something was wrong. Surely it was malfunctioning or in need of new batteries. Surely I had not become a wife who gains 27 pounds in her first 6 months of marriage.
Surely I had.
I. was. shocked. And devastated. And fat.
After drowning my sorrows in the aforementioned salt and vinegar chips and Diet Dr. Pepper and a whole bunch of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I decided to get right to work. I made a goal, changed the way I did things, revamped my favorite recipes and exercised.
Except that sometimes I really wanted to snuggle on the couch with my hubby and watch a movie. While eating a bowl (or trough) of caramel popcorn.
And sometimes, even though I swore to myself the whole day through that I would order a salad, when we got to the restaurant, I wanted a burger instead.
And then Sundays would roll around and everyone knows that you bake on Sundays, right? Cakes and cookies, brownies and bars. And then there would be leftovers for the rest of the week and I couldn't toss it out...
You see where I'm going with this.
And before I knew it, the Baby Making Years were upon us and I entered into my first pregnancy a solid 35 lbs ahead of where I should have been. But since everyone told me that the weight would fall off as I nursed I wasn't worried. But they forgot to tell me that I would be FAMISHED while nursing so that didn't really work for me.
And soon babies two, three and four had joined our ranks, each bringing a whole lot of love to our family and a whole lot of pudge to my tummy. And thighs. And arms. And face. And bum.
The next thing I knew, a whole decade had gone by. A decade that had brought me more joy than I thought possible in the creation of my family but also a decade that found me in tears more than I care to admit. A decade that found me beating myself up, withdrawing from friends, and feeling horrible, HORRIBLE, because I was ashamed. Ashamed and embarrassed and fat.
How could I not take control of this? How could I waste so much time feeling so bad? How could I let this become the central theme of my life? How could I?
I didn't know the answers but I was finally ready to find out.
Stay tuned for Part II, appropriately known as The Truth Hurts But Not As Much As Thigh Chaffage.