Pierced Through the Heart
And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Life of Glamour, Grace & Class Out the Wazoo

What I Have Done Today To Make Me Feel Proud

Since there was a small handful of requests, I bought these shoes on Mother's Day.

I also bought...a pair of running shoes. 

Last year, after Blogher, I kept seeing pictures of myself crop up on Flickr and Facebook that made me cringe, a little bit. My chin, my face, my arms...everything was a bit rounder and softer, at least compared with the photos from previous years that occasionally popped up out of order, for side-by-side comparisons. I told myself that I was simply not photogenic, and holding on to 10 pounds or so because I was breastfeeding. 

By January, when we went to Jamaica, I was most definitely not breastfeeding any more. But the pictures looked worse, not better. I deleted most of them: practically erasing my presence from the greatest family vacation we've ever taken, save for a small handful of pictures that happened to be taken at more flattering angles.  Or from far away.

There was no way around it: I'd been slowly but steadily gaining weight since Ezra's birth, instead of the other way around. Not a lot, oh, not really a whole lot. But enough. Enough to make me delete myself from the memory card, to glare at myself in the mirror while I struggled with zippers and pinched extra skin around waistbands and bra straps, to walk around in public in forgiving work-out wear that I certainly didn't work out in, to go from having sex on kitchen counters to under covers with the lights off, getting uptight about OH GOD, don't grab me THERE, it's SQUISHY. 

I had an eating disorder in high school -- I starved myself non-stop. I didn't hit 100 pounds until college. I'm five-foot-five. And a half. 

I don't want to ever be that skinny again -- photos of myself at a senior-year pool party were a reverse wake-up call, when I saw just how vile my protruding ribs and hip bones were, at least compared to my curvy, healthy friends. Who were smiling and laughing while I mostly looked sort of dazed and miserable. 

I didn't look dazed in any of the Jamaica photos, and I was smiling and laughing. But I was still a little bit miserable.

Not like, oppressively so: Most of the time I was able to push my feelings aside, or under a baggy sweater or the aforementioned fake work-out wear. Or under a plate of cheese fries. 

Jason noticed, though -- not ever mentioning the actual weight gain but the fact that I never, ever bought clothes for myself anymore.

"Not true!" I'd protest. "I got a couple new dresses for Jamaica!"

"I bought you those," he'd point out, and then he'd say that all those tees and yoga pants from Target didn't count either. And then something like:

"When was the last time you even bought shoes? Your feet haven't changed. You love shoes. I know you get easily wigged out about spending money but seriously, you can buy yourself some shoes, if you want."

The truth was? I didn't want to. I'd just...kind of stopped caring. I watched other bloggers get up and get moving and train for marathons, and instead of feeling inspired, I cheered for them while sinking deeper into the ass-groove on my couch. That pesky 10 pounds of "baby weight" was turning into something closer to 20, and I didn't have the first clue how to reverse course. I was afraid of falling back into disordered thinking about food while totally using that fear as an excuse to do absolutely nothing instead. 

Over at MamaPop, BHJ posed a challenge: we'd all set weight-loss goals and do weekly honor-system weigh-ins, for the duration of one season of The Biggest Loser. 13 weeks. We'd be the MamaPopLosers, and it was an awesome idea. I pledged 10 pounds, mostly because I was afraid of completely embarrassing myself if I promised more and failed. 

I planned to give up my Coca-Cola habit.. I threw out the remaining Halloween candy. I made some vague noises about less snacking and eating better and exercising. 

My progress was slow -- a pound here, a pound there, a big gain in Jamaica, etc. 

But I was making progress. I was eating better. Eating less, feeling full sooner. No processed foods, no HFCS or anything hydrogenated or artificial or "diet." (Basically: the way I feed my kids, but didn't realize how often I cheated on those standards myself until I started paying freaking attention.)  I caved and picked up some fast food at the drive-thru on one super-rushed crazy day and couldn't even choke half of it down -- it was so gross! Ew! This isn't even food! I drank water. I stopped missing Coke. I hated the way junk food made me feel. I still splurged on nice dinners out with Jason and the occasional REALLY GOOD WORTH-IT DESSERT, but had no problem turning down mediocre crap food eaten out of boredom or convenience. I started wanting to maybe wear some cute clothes. I started wanting to exercise

And I lost that 10 pounds. I've lost another five since the weigh-ins ended, though I've decided to stop weighing myself and instead focus on getting in really good shape.  I've started the Couch to 5K training program (I have never run in my entire life). I can't believe that the small changes I made had such an impact -- small changes that I put off making for God knows how long for God knows what reason. I'm ready to see what else I can do...off the scale, away from Wii Sports, outside in real life. 

And so I bought myself some shoes



Good for you! You can do it!

I started doing Couch to 5K in February or March and will be doing my first 5K on my birthday, June 5th. I'm excited and, more importantly, I feel spectacular.


I was laughing all while reading your post because I have had the same epiphanies... minus the kids! so how do I justify the weight gain!
I was also really skinny (95lbs for 5'5") until I was 25 (hereditary, pls don't hate!), and then steadily started to gain. Its strange how there is this sweet spot between OMG I poke out everywhere to feeling fat.
I took on the healthy eating plan a long time ago, so changing up the diet was difficult for weight loss. I hate exercise. I don't think it ever gets better/easier/funner. I think there are people who feed off of it and love it; and me... just hate it. So I decided running was the best return-on-investment - most calories for least amount of time. A friend talked me into running the Baltimore 10-miler in June (this was in Jan when I could only do 1 mile) and right now, even though I can do 6, 10 is DAUNTING, and I bang my head against the wall every time I think about it.
but. I do feel better. More energy, more relaxed, a little bit thinner. Goddam that running for "working". argh!


Thank you for this. Two weeks ago I started the same sorts of changes for the same sorts of reasons. I mean let's face it: Not *every* pair of pants I try on "runs small." And not *every* photo can be taken from a "bad angle." And oh yes, the squeezing of the squishy. Thank you, five-year-old son, for making that a favorite hobby. It was time. And I think I've lost two pounds so far, which is at once exciting and daunting because I'd like to lose 13 total. Can I keep it up? I hope so. But I'll tell you this: Hearing you say that you lost a pound here and a pound there and it eventually added up to 15... That gives me hope.


2. What a wonderful and HEALTHY idea. I got laid off a little over a year ago and started yoga. Then I got another job a few months later and started getting some "office spread" again and added the 30 Day Shred to the yoga and it's done me so much good. My weight is about the same, but I'm in such better shape, and I feel strong. Good for you for being motivated, rather than letting it get you down!


Amy, I just ran my first 5K last Sunday, the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure in Pittsburgh, PA. Never in a million years did I ever think I would finish, or enjoy doing it. After training myself for 3 months, not only did I finish but I LOVED it. I am running in the Great Race in September and I couldn't be more excited. It's easier than you think and you can do it! Good luck!


Woot! Way to go!

Keep it up! I'm doing C25K also ... in my third week.

I hate it, but dammit it's getting easier! :(


You bought shoes!! That makes me so happy. I also made myself disappear from any photographic evidence for about 3 years. It took starting the divorce process for me to lose any weight. And he's being absurdly childish, not giving me any money but wanting to continue mediating "in good faith". When it all gets settled, I plan on buying a cute pink house & frilly curtains to reward my 12lb (+180lb.) drop. You're lucky to have someone in your life to remind you to care for yourself. You're SO worth it. Thanks for sharing!


Yay you!!

Average Jane

That's awesome!

I have every intention of doing Couch to 5K as soon as it stops raining so much. In the meantime I've been stepping up my yoga attendance, which seems to be helping. My goal is to lose a clothing size before BlogHer. Keeping my fingers crossed.


Amalah! I am so excited for you. I started running last August, did two 5Ks by the end of the year, and ran my first half-marathon last week. My second half is in August. Running is hard, and it takes commitment, but it's so worth it. Good luck!


I freakin' NEEDED this post. You have no idea.

I just started. Let's see if I can lose my 15, too.


I am cheering madly for you! WAY TO GO!!!


When are you running? Early in the morning or in the evening?


Wow, awesome! That's great to hear. In fact, I think I read this post at just the right time, because I was contemplating having ice cream for a snack. Now I'm starting to think, okay, maybe baby carrots is a better choice. :) Once I give birth I'll have to look into that couch to 5k thing, too.


When are you fitting running into your day?

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