There is so much context necessary for a post like this and I hope if you’ve been following along for awhile that you know me a bit so you can understand all that I’m going to say.
Let me begin by stating my true, honest to my core feeling about body image, weight, and self esteem.
The number on the scale is how much you weigh. It doesn’t represent how pretty you are, how fun you are, how many friends you have, how cool you feel, etc. It measures the weight of your body. Not your soul, not your personality, not your identity.
The number matters for health reasons. Beyond that, it’s just a number.
My parents raised me with a healthy body image. I’ll reference my mom a bit more here simply because she played a larger role in my self-esteem as a woman! I never heard her say mean things about her body. There were things she didn’t like, but it was very much a casual, “in passing” kind of tone when it came up. I remember her telling me that my weight would likely fluctuate throughout my life in a very matter of fact, kind way. I agreed with her and that was pretty much the only comment about my weight that I can even remember.
When I went to college I gained the typical freshman 15. Then I lost all of it and some when I transferred to the university in NC in 2006. I was down to a size 2! I truly don’t remember how I lost that weight, but I know part of it was busyness and being full to the brim in love with my new boyfriend Justin.
Justin and I both gained a bit of weight during the first year of marriage, which is affectionally called “the happy weight”. But he promptly lost it by doing P90x and I lost mine by training for a Spring Triathlon that he and I both completed in 2012.
I was in the best shape of my life, very healthy, and felt really great about treating my body well during that season.
I got pregnant with David in 2013 and gained about 40 pounds during the pregnancy. I lost all but 10 pounds by the time David was 6 months old, but I was already pregnant with Luke at that time! I gained another 40, perhaps a bit more, during Luke’s pregnancy as well.
The first year of two babies 14 months apart was tough. I would do it again in a heartbeat but it was a lot to manage in the day to day! I swiftly put myself and my health at the bottom of the list and was totally fine with that. I lost weight, but had a nagging 15 pounds or so that clung on.
When Luke was a bit older I started going to bootcamp and pretty swiftly lost 10 pounds of leftover baby weight. I felt great. I was finally working out regularly again and felt strong and healthy. I was proud of myself and happy to see the results on my body.
I got pregnant with Emily while I was regularly attending bootcamp but decided to stop fairly early on in the pregnancy for a few reasons. I was very sick and tired during the first trimester and I wanted to find low impact work outs to do during the pregnancy.
I did work out some, but not nearly to the degree I did while I was pregnant with David or Luke.
I gained over 40 pounds with Emily’s pregnancy. I lost 20 in the few months after she was born but I still had 20 extra hanging on that I could lose.
And during all of 2018, I wasn’t really trying to lose those 20 pounds. I was very intently focused on breastfeeding, working, managing 3 children, and general day to day life. Sometimes I would feel uncomfortable in my skin, but mostly I didn’t have time to think about it and I knew that I would be able to lose the weight when I *tried* and was ready.
I finally got to a point where I was feeling ready to change my lifestyle a bit to accommodate different eating and implement daily working out in December of 2018. I rejoined the bootcamp I attend at the beginning of the month. I knew it was going to be tough to get there but I tried my best and probably attended a class a total of 8 times that month.
But you know what? It was better than nothing!
A conversation I had had with my mom popped into my head in December as well. She said that she had a great experience doing Jenny Craig when she was losing baby weight after having my sister Lauren. I googled it and decided to pursue it at the start of 2019.
Jenny Craig is a meal plan that consists of mapped out meals and eating based on pre-portioned mostly frozen food. You have a coach, weekly meetings with weigh ins, and have as much or as little support from Jenny Craig as you desire.
I felt a little sheepish talking to Justin about it but he was extremely supportive (as always) and that helped me decide to do it.
I went to my first meeting on January 2nd of this year. It was humbling and I was nervous walking into the building, but I left feeling so happy about finally take the first step in adjusting my eating in order to lose weight.
I knew in order to be successful I needed to stick to the program as closely as possible, but also accept that there would be times I’d be out to dinner, or at a friends’ home for a meal, and would need to simply make wise choices on my own. I also knew I needed to be going to bootcamp 4-5 times a week, which I was able to do!
I was dedicated and consistent all through January. It was not difficult to lose 10 pounds and I was so thrilled to see some baby weight lost and also learn a few things about my eating habits. Things like portion sizing, carb to vegetable ratio, and how satiated I could be after a well thought out meal instead of a “scrounge through the kitchen looking for something” meal were good lessons for me.
February and the beginning of March got a little crazy between work, travel, sick kids, etc. I pretty much got completely off track, though I didn’t gain any of the weight back. I started the program back up again last week and had actually lost a few extra pounds from my last weigh in.
For my personality, Jenny Craig really made it easy. There are so many diet options that are trendy, with new ideas popping up almost every day. I thought through a lot of those (like Keto, Whole30, Paleo, etc) but ultimately I knew I needed something that was sustainable for a long time and still contained normal foods that I was used to eating (like dairy & gluten).
Having all the food decisions (except for snacks) made for me and knowing all the food was in my freezer or cupboard helped me from derailing and coming up with my own meals. I had to make EXTRA effort to AVOID the diet, if that makes sense.
I’ve got a personal goal set that I feel will be challenging but I think I can do it. Justin has been endlessly supportive and encouraging, and I even talked a few of my friends into doing it with me so it’s fun to have some camaraderie now! I’m trying my hardest to get to bootcamp 4-5 times a week and sticking to the eating program as closely as possible.
I’d love to answer any questions you may have about it, and perhaps a follow up post may be the best way to do that, but I also want to wrap this post up with a final thought. I can completely see that frozen meals versus fresh, farm to table organic food may not be the absolute tip top of pure healthy options HOWEVER, for my lifestyle, my time, my daily activities and what I needed to get this journey in motion, Jenny Craig worked for me.