My therapist tells me that I have a problem with the concept of “all or nothing.” This has been an ongoing issue with resolving my negative feelings about each of my births. I used to think that employing epidurals for pain relief negated all the unmedicated labor I’d gone through before reaching that point. That the only “good” birth was a completely natural one, and because I’d had epidurals, Pitocin and — most recently — a cesarean, that my births were therefore “bad.” And I was a failure.
I don’t think these things anymore, thankfully. I’m not as hard on myself about birthy and parenting stuff as I used to be. Too bad I can’t do the same when it comes to food and fitness.
In my last therapy session I spent almost the whole hour whining about my weight and the fact that I’ve started slipping back into my binge-eating ways. I have almost no self control over my appetite these days. I blame this on breastfeeding, as my body naturally wants to pad itself with lots of calories in order to feed another human. My cravings for sweets are nearly instantaneous whenever I have a letdown.
On top of this is the fact that I have grown and birthed a terribly high-needs (albeit gorgeous) baby who requires constant holding and nursing — sometimes for nourishment, sometimes just for comfort. And no, she won’t take a pacifier.
This makes it hard to prepare healthy meals and snacks for myself throughout the day. I was doing well with prepping a few days’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for a while; but falling behind just once can really back up the conveyor belt and the next thing you know you’re shoveling Pirate’s Booty in your face by the handful because it’s the only thing you can quickly grab before sitting down to nurse Her Royal Highness, Lady Fuss-a-Lot for the umpteenth time. And therein lies the problem.
I can’t just pig out on some of my kids’ Goldfish crackers and move on with my life. You’d think I’d be able to shrug it off, recognize that I just need to kill my next workout to make up for it, and eat normally/healthily for the rest of the day. But that’s not the way my screwy all-or-nothing brain works.
One dietary transgression creates a domino effect. I pig out on the crackers, then I’ll have one, two, maybe even three bowls of cereal. And then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Maybe I’ll just eat peanut butter straight from the jar, drizzling some honey on each spoonful.
Before I know it I’m stuffed to the point of feeling ill. All because I thought, “Well, fuck it; if I’ve already had this one imperfect moment of eating, I might as well skip my workout and keep gorging until I hate myself as much as possible.” And then I’ll cry. I’ll cry because I’m not a triathlete anymore. And I’ll cry because my clothes don’t fit (again, NOT from the pregnancy, but from the postpartum bingefests). And I’ll cry because I hate the way I look, and I hate the way I feel. And I’ll cry because I know that eventually I’ll have to stop using the “Because I’m nursing/ because I had such a hard pregnancy” excuse for justifying my eating disorder and face the real truth: I’ve simply given up on myself.
So I have some work to do. I’ve had a bad week. A bad one. But I haven’t fallen so far down that dark hole that I can’t climb out of it yet. I’m going to take my therapist’s advice (since that’s kind of what I’m paying her for anyway) to forgive myself and move on. I’m not going to see my health journey as black and white/good and bad/success and failure. I’m going to try really, really hard to eat for joy and for nourishment. I will make an effort to move my body every day, no matter what the menu looks like. And I will do this because moving my body always ALWAYS makes me feel better. Case in point:
Today, I created my own babywearing HIIT workout. I’ve really enjoyed the Sara Hailey 4th Trimester program I’ve been doing but since I have the aforementioned high-needs baby, I really need to be able to wear her in order to get my workout done. So I downloaded a Tabata timer app, set it to 30 seconds on/10 seconds rest intervals, and did the following (each exercise is AMRAP — as many reps as possible — during the 30 seconds):
1) step ups on a Step with 3 risers
2) bicep curls
3) tricep dips
4) reverse flys
5) shoulder press
6) plie squats
7) walking lunges
8) reverse lunges
Use whatever weights you’re comfortable with (I’m just restarting my fitness so I only used 8#s) and repeat the cycle for 30 minutes. Dry off your baby — who’s now covered in your sweat — when done.
And you know what happened after I got this done this morning? My day was awesome. I had energy, I felt good about myself, and I intuitively ate healthy foods. So I’m going to go ahead and do that again tomorrow, and hopefully grab a quick run in the evening when my husband gets home, as well.
10 weeks postpartum, pounds lost so far: 0, and most likely a negative number at that. But I’m avoiding the scale this week so I actually have no idea. However, I may have possibly gotten my groove back today so who really gives a crap about the numbers.
Another recap in a week. Hopefully I can hang onto that groove..