Here's a tricky bit of pregnancy math: Of all three pregnancies, I gained the least weight with Ike. Mostly thanks to the fact that I spent at least six months of the pregnancy actively barfing, and felt nauseous for all nine. I think the final weigh-in clocked my total gain at like, 10 or 12 pounds. Seven pounds of which were the actual baby, so I felt pretty confident that I'd be back to my pre-pregnancy weight in no time.
Three years later, I'm still not there.
Those 10 or 12 pounds just...stayed, even after the baby and all his baby-related accessories had vacated. And then those 10 or 12 pounds became 15. This past winter, it was more like 20. I stopped weighing myself after that. And if we were talking about my weight pre-Noah, well. OMG.
Three years later, it finally occurred to me that oh. This is going to keep on...going up, like that, if I don't...do something? About it? I guess?
Well, okay. It had technically occurred to me that I needed to do something before now, but the whole actually doing something never quite got off the ground too successfully. I'd make some big grand pledge to a diet or fitness routine and last a week or two. The number on the scale wouldn't budge, or would move such a tiny bit that it was simply too easy to completely derail that tiny bit with one nice weekend meal of french fried abandon. Anytime I did make a decent enough dent in the number, I'd immediately "reward" myself by going back to how things were before and gain it all back in no time.
Jason was trapped in the same cycle, albeit always on a different schedule than me. One of us would look in the mirror or at the waistband of another pair of pants that were now too small, freak out, make our big grand pledge...while the other one eyed them warily from the couch, because I Really Really Wanted To Order A Pizza Tonight, Man. C'mon.
Inevitably, one of us would slack off, skip workouts, open a bag of chips, and completely demotivate the other. And then we'd both wind up right back where we started. Lazy, out of shape, and out of pants that fit. An unfortunate by-product of being completely in love and comfortable with your partner, I guess. I thought he looked just fine, he thought I did, then someone would snap a cute little candid of us at a dinner party and we'd be like...oh. OH. Can u delete that plz?
And even more important than awkward chin angles and hating my upper arms, both of us had officially crossed into unhealthy weights for our heights/frames by just about every scale out there, Jason's blood sugar levels weren't looking all that hot, and our completely sedentary, couch-centric lifestyles weren't the best example we could set for the boys.
Finally, Jason had enough and came up with a new plan: We'd have a behavior chart, just like the boys.
A chart that Ike likes to scribble on and mess up with the eraser all the time. It's not pretty, but point is, it's working.
Each goal has a dollar amount assigned to it — $2 for eating healthy, $3 for strength training and cardio, a buck for resisting late night snacking, etc. (And yeah: lololololol at the $1 "no alcohol" one. That one gets ignored a lot.) At the end of the week, we tally it all up and put that amount of money in a jar, with the goal of going on a grown-ups-only getaway when it's sufficiently funded. No IOUs, cash only, so you better watch your spending. Rethink that Starbucks run or impulse vending machine purchase.
The plan was no fad diets, no unsustainable deprivation, no eliminating any particular food or thing as "bad." We didn't download any fancy phone apps or join a gym. We focused on portion control, mindful food choices and daily exercise. 30 minutes a day, hopefully, with the treadmill and weights we've had gathering dust in the basement for ages. Basically nothing that I hadn't tried and failed at a million times before, because OBVIOUSVILLE. Moderation and exercise! MADNESS! ALERT THE MEDIA!
The only difference was that we were going to do it together, with little messy chalk Xs in the kitchen to hold us accountable.
I set my initial target weight at what I weighed before getting pregnant with Ike. Not the thinnest I've ever been, but still a healthy weight for my height, nothing too crazy. etc. And yet a weight that I've been struggling to come even CLOSE to for three years now. When Jason drew up this chart, I was about 15 pounds away from it. Hardly the daunting amount that other people have successfully conquered, but when you let yourself sink into a fog of complacency, I imagine any number can seem hopeless and pointless.
As of this morning, I have five more pounds to go. I don't even care anymore. Even if I don't lose another pound, I feel good. I feel better. I feel strong! I've lost some flab, gained some muscle, gotten back into some pants. Jason's accomplished the same, plus his blood sugar is back to normal.
I never took an official "before" picture and don't really care about taking any "afters," either. I have no interest in being obsessive about trying to look younger cuter thinner hotter — I'm 36 years old and I had three kids. There's a limit to what a chalkboard behavior chart can accomplish and that's okay. I guess just by even writing about this I've probably crossed some line into "braggy," and I really don't want it to read that way. (I mean, I've still got weight to lose and a LONG way to go on the treadmill before my endurance level gets anywhere north of "embarassing.") I just...whew, man. And finally. You know?