Monday, February 22, 2010

The Twelve Year Project, Part I

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 cleaned.

I decorated.

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.


Amy said...

Oh my, you could be writing this about me as well! The babies are what does it to me. I always seemed to lose the weight just in time to get pregnant again. Or to not have lost it all just in time to get pregnant again. And for me, pregnancy includes 55 pounds gained. And only 20 of that being baby, etc. I am glad you are writing this. I am about to start another blog dedicated solely to this topic. It's so huge and all consuming in my life that I realized I need an outlet for it. I am excited for part 2 of this!

Sarah said...

I can relate to this. It is a long process. I've had many moments where I feel totally defeated trying to lose weight. You are looking so good though!

Heather said...

You write it so nicely!

Kelly said...

You're beautiful and always have been. Your title to part 2 had me cracking up...can't wait to read it.

tharker said...

Umm, how bad is it that after reading this, I just want some Salt & Vinegar chips and a Diet D.P.? Is that a problem? :)

I love you for writing this. I know how hard this struggle has been for you over the years, and you are brave to share. You have done an amazing job, and I am SO proud of you!

And yeah...the title for Part II...hilarious! I can't wait to hear the rest.

Anonymous said...

I tuned in on the right day as I've been anxiously awaiting this particular "moment of truth"! To those who don't know me, I am a true KJ fan and have been rooting for her as long as I've known her! Go Team Karen!!!

You are beyond brave for going down this path with honesty. I admire you for accepting accountability for the choices you have made in the past that got you to that exact moment of saying "enough already"! And now for the choices you are having to deal with in the present...ouch!

You could of easily chosen to keep it all inside which would have hindered growth for yourself and for those of us who love you and draw strength through your unique experiences!

So I thank you and I support this road you are taking, AND mostly I'm grateful to be your friend along the way.

Love, RG

Amy said...

Oh, and I must ask two things. Are the friends you talk about at the beginning of this post Sonja and me? Cuz I seem to remember trying to rope you into doing Weight Watchers with us. And secondly, how do I email you? Do I have your email? I haven't even checked. But I have a little something I want to email you about. Love you!

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PRP said...

Yes, Amy it's you and Sonja! And my email is

stylist to the stars said...

I can hardly wait to hear the rest! Eagerly anticipating what will be next :)

vwbabe said...

Great work Karen. I am very proud to call you sister. You have been very inspiring to me that I am able to regain this thing that I call my body!! Thanks for that inspiration and I can't wait to go down this road with you!

AOlson said...

Hurry up with Part II already!! I so love how you write and that you share yourslef with us.

Lisa said...

Oh boy, do I get it!

I never worried too much about staying trim during 'the baby years' because I knew it was pointless.

But now that I am through having kids I need to get back to an acceptable weight again.

Easier said than done...