So despite the disappointment of not having surgery today due to a slight infection and having my muscle separation fixed being placed on indefinite hold due to work and other obligations, I’m still in a good mood due to the necessary changes I made to my lifestyle pre-surgery that I’m going to hold onto. Three years ago I weighed 225 pounds after having a partial hysterectomy and having to take multiple medications to deal with the post partum-like depression and anxiety that came in due to the hormonal changes.
For those of you who are curious, I gained between 40-50 pounds with each of my children, topping out at 190 pounds on delivery day. With my oldest, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within a year. With my middle child, six months. With my son? Three weeks (you try having a five year old, an 18 month old, a sick father, and a newborn to contend with all at the same time and tell me how well you’ll hold onto your weight). Four months after my son was born I went under the knife for what was hopefully the final time to have a partial hysterectomy. And everything changed for me.
Certainly, I could have done a few things differently: I ate fast food once a week (if not more) and Starbucks saw me at least once a day. The medications I was on to treat the anxiety and depression I was suffering from added to the weight I was accumulating once my hormones went haywire and my metabolism disappeared.
In January of 2012, after taking a family photo, I cried when I saw myself. Despite being only 5’3″, I’d always been healthy at around 140 pounds. But there I was, almost one hundred pounds heavier than I should have been, and I looked awful.
I gave myself one last weekend of bad dietary indulgences and started removing the unhealthy stuff in stages. The medication I was on was no longer working as it was supposed to: I was still depressed, and I was gaining weight and losing hair on top of everything else. After consulting with my doctor, I stopped taking all three medicines and within two weeks began dropping weight. My next step was to break up with Starbucks and start exercising four times a week. Soda went next, followed by meat, followed very closely by cheese.
For the past three years, I struggled with my weight. But instead of crash dieting and losing weight quickly, I resolved to take the time and do things the RIGHT way, no matter how long it took.
I won’t lie: I’d backslide on my efforts to get healthy. I’d feel too tired to take a walk, and I wouldn’t walk. Or I’d give into wanting Starbucks. I’d get a cheeseburger, which was doubly bad considering I had RA and Fibromyalgia and both were affected adversely by meat.
The biggest struggle I faced though wasn’t what food I was trying to not eat. It was a struggle with mySELF that was the problem. I got lost in the idea that there’s one type of beauty. I focused too strongly on hitting a size two and identified that (very) incorrectly with the only type of real beauty. It wasn’t until a dear friend of mine looked at me one day when I was complaining about my body and said, “Amber, you’re NOT fat. Do you have a few extra pounds? Yes. But I’d never use the word “fat” to describe you. What you are is curvy and voluptuous, and very beautiful. You need to learn to see yourself in a new way.”
It was time to wake up.
Until I learned to truly love myself, no matter the number on the scale or on the clothing tag, I would never really reach what I was looking for. Until I accepted my body as is, with it’s scars from my pursuit of health and motherhood, how much weight I lost would not matter. I could be a size 2, but no matter what size I was, I still wouldn’t be happy until I learned to love my body, no matter what shape it was. Until I learned to embrace the body God had gifted me with. The body that while it HAD caused me hurt and heartbreak with its medical issues, also gave me three children and the ability to feed them.
So I began trying to see myself through the right kind of eyes. Did I always see myself with love and compassion and kindness? No. But I learned to love myself.
Back in November when I was told that a tummy tuck was the solution to the problems I was having due to abdominal muscle separation, I did something I never thought I’d do: I cried over the thought of saying goodbye to part of my abdomen, of not seeing those scars again. And that’s not always been my mindset since I scheduled the surgery. I’ve had good days and bad days.
I began eating healthier per my surgeon’s orders to prepare for the surgery. I even went as far as to complete (and totally kick ass on) a 21 day no-junk-food-purge.
I had two goals three years ago when I began working towards a better me: To get to 156 pounds, the weight I was when I found out I was pregnant with my son, and to fit into my favorite ass-hugging jeans. I hit goal two in July 0f 2012, and surpassed it: those ass-hugging jeans were too loose. Goal one? That took a bit longer.
I stepped on the scale this morning, yelped, stepped off and then stepped back on. And damn near fainted. I waited to celebrate until I got to my surgeon’s office, knowing they’d get my exact weight pre-surgery. And the number was actually one lower than what I’d seen this morning at home: 153.6
I’d met my goal. And more than that: I love my body, as-is, despite it’s imperfections.
I’ll have bad days between now and when I fully recover from my abdominalplasty that will most likely take place in May I’m sure. And that doesn’t matter, because I’m only human. Bad days are supposed to happen. But I’ve passed my goal. I’ve done what I set out to do again, like I always do when I want something. And I’m proud of myself, because three years ago, my goal seemed impossible to achieve.
But I still kicked ass….