Some people have asked me how I started my weight loss. My first few months in the blog archive explain it all.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Seasons Change

I have been fat and thin alternately all through my life. I think of the times I have faced challenges in my life and it is easy to tell when those took place by looking to see in pictures when I was fat. Eating was the way I unknowingly faced those problems. Each time I lost weight I did so through diet and exercise, but the paths I took to get there were different. My husband reminded me of Nephi and all of the times he had to deal with Laman and Lemuel. He was led by the spirit using different means to accomplish the same purpose. Once he reasoned with them, once he inspired them, once an angel spoke to them, once he shocked them, and once his wife and other women pleaded to Laman and Lemuel in his behalf. Each solution fit the situation perfectly, Nephi couldn't have interchanged solutions because they were custom made for each particular challenge. Using the same strategy for each problem makes no sense for us as well. The problems I faced as a young mom were amazingly different from the challenges I face today, not harder or easier, just different. That is why Heavenly Father is so important. He can help customize solutions for every season in life.

My mind keeps coming to one particular season over and over, if I don't write about it I think I will be letting someone down. Before I was married I was a skinny, peppy, educated, well dressed returned missionary working at the MTC who had finally grown out her bad perm and had just gotten smooth longest ever (shoulder length) hair. I had a cute boyfriend, cute car, darling roommates and a tan. In just 2 years I became someone completely different, and it all had to do with becoming a mother.

My happily ever after ended right about the time my husband and I found out that I was pregnant. I really was excited about it, thrilled really, but I had no idea what hormones could do to a nice girl, and that eating wasn't going to solve it. Right before I gave birth to my first son I realized that I had gained a bit too much weight. Even after the baby came out I knew he would not be packing 60 pounds with him. I needed a plan, and thinking I could hide the 60 pounds by adopting Jane's short hair cut on "Melrose Place" (pictured above), I whacked all of my hair off . Somehow I reasoned that a cute short hair cut would make me look thinner. I was still in the one size fits all thinking and it looked darling on her, so it should be darling on me. Alas, after the cut I just looked like a fat adolescent boy. In a fit of desperation, thinking I could hide the cut I went to a beauty school and had my hair colored for the first time. I was excited and sure that I discovered the ultimate disguise for my fat. When it came time for the unveiling the student gasped and said something about coloring hair with red pigment was tough... I looked and saw magenta, which does nothing for me, but rather screams "I am completely pathetic - somebody help me!!!". Weeks later, on the delivery table I wailed that I could see my hair from the mirror strategically placed at the foot of the bed, and wouldn't someone please move it???

A few weeks before I delivered, my husband had an ex-girlfriend call and say that she had to return something to him. I knew she was skinny, cute and had long beautiful hair that was not the color of a rather large Purple Dinosaur. There was no way I was going to see her. I did not expect Mel to invite her in and was horrified when he did. I was trapped in the kitchen and was not going to come out. I did not want to see the sympathetic look she was sure to give to Mel when she saw his large magenta wife. Hidden and jealous, I listened in on their small talk, unaware that I was about to be discovered by her dog - she brought her dog - who does that? Why does a student own a large friendly Husky? He came to the very spot where I was hiding. I kept trying to push him away, mouthing the words "GO ON!" but he stayed, wagging his tail waiting for a treat that he must have assumed anyone as large as me would have in my pocket. I panicked, I didn't want her to come and find me talking sign language to her dog. I slipped out the kitchen door, and walked around the back of our little apartment. It was dark, night, and I had no keys and no where to go, my only choice I saw at that point was to crawl into our bedroom window. Of course I was 9 months pregnant and I looked like Shamo trying to squeeze into a tuna can. I was humiliated, depressed and angry at my out of control life.

Once my baby came I tried to play house. I cleaned our little apartment in about 1/2 hour every day, I played with the baby, napped with the baby, played with the baby, napped with the baby, watched tv with the baby, put on my make up, cleaned up, made dinner fed my husband, watched him study and then went to bed. Most days I didn't have a car, and there was no family around. We didn't know it then, but a bit of postpartum seeped in, and I was unable to do things with old friends. I was lonely, but too depressed to do anything about it. My life had changed drastically and I didn't know what to do, so I ate and watched tv, Barney, Maury, Thomas, Oprah...

Pretty soon I couldn't stand it anymore, I finally felt as pathetic as I looked. I prayed a lot, and wrote a lot, and finally Heavenly Father and I made a plan. Even though I had a degree in Psychology I had really wanted to study history. I was going to educate myself and learn about the second world war which I was always interested in. I went to the library and checked out my first book on the Third Reich. Next I studied Goering, one of Hitlers Henchmen, and from there Albert Speer who was Hitlers architect and who many thought would be the next in line for Hitlers job. I learned about the Nurenburg trials and the Spandau prison where many Nazi Leaders served their sentences. Little Colton and I laid on the floor, he learning to crawl, me alternately reading and playing, learning to be a stay at home mom who values education, self imposed or otherwise, we were both pretty wobbly.

Step two in my plan was that I had to exercise. By then it was winter in Provo and I lived in the ghetto, and it was hard to convince anyone to walk with me. I prayed for a partner and Heavenly Father led me to a girl named Cynthia who was just crazy enough to go out with me. We enjoyed our morning talks and felt safe and motivated.

Step three was that I needed friends, so Heavenly Father gave me Kellee. She was funny, and we got along so well, we alternated cooking dinner, we baby sat for each other, we talked and dreamed of days when we would get an income. She and I tried to dress and leave our apartments every day, which for me at that time was huge. We walked to the pet store on Provo's main street, we fed ducks, and when we had cars we walked the mall or went to the library. We planned double dates with our husbands, served in the church together and had many long meaningful talks.

The last problem, my hair was the hardest of all to solve, but I was led to bandannas, ball caps and Clarol Herbal Essence. Time and a vow to never touch the scissors again solved that problem eventually.

These steps seem so normal and mundane, but to me they were life altering. I had lost my anchoring and comfort, I didn't know how to walk in my new role as a mother. Heavenly Father gently instructed and taught me. Learning and following Him made the weight I was so worried about come off. Of course I faced other challenges later and gained weight for other reasons, but with His help we custom made solutions to fit those problems. I am going to spend each day this week sharing other times I have had to re strategize. Problems change so the way we solve them must as well.


Rebecca said...

Very thought-provoking post. The only thing I wanted to be more than anything else was a mother. What I didn't know then was how it would affect me, and that I wouldn't somehow feel magically fulfilled. I'm starting to learn now, after being a mother for over seven years, how to feel fulfilled in my role. Since I'm slowly learning "line upon line, precept on precept" there's pretty steady progress. Of course there are setbacks, but I don't allow them to make me feel like a failure for more than a day or two at most.

Thanks for coming by my blog! After reading you I'm writing in it more now. It's theraputic!

Courtney said...

I have tried that haircut too. And when I'm skinny it's the cutest thing. When I'm not, I can't hide my chins anymore.

After my first child, the weight came off pretty easily and quickly. I was back into my clothes in just 3 or 4 months. After my second it took a year and a half and Weight Watchers to even start. I had run my first marathon and it still wasn't all the way off. I just had my third baby and I'm having a hard time staying healthy. Moderation is not my forte, so I haven't been eating nearly enough.

You give me hope that I can find balance in my life. It's not all counting calories and hours on the treadmill.

"Delights" is a recipe blog that my sisters and I started. I'm glad you like it. You can leave comments on my other blog I don't know why it doesn't show up in my profile.

Yvonne said...

I can't wait to read all of your posts this week. It is so true that Heavenly Father will help us customize the solution to whatever situation we are in. It's great to be reminded of that.

By the way, I noticed you have a link to Gen. Wolfe and Barnwell, Alberta--I have a good friend who was from Barnwell--her name is Marsha and her dad was M.P. in Guam--I don't like to use last names.

Davis family said...

amazing post! as usual. I have had a horrible week staying focused on the goal. When I pray for help, I am more motivated. But this morning I was fighting the desire to stay in my nice warm bed, and not wanting to go out into the cold, I thought of you, and how you tell us to keep on going, we can do it - in your many wonderful ways. Thanks. I appreciate the help this morning. :)

Kimberly said...

That really, really got to me. So much of my own experience is mirrored here. But I'm not all the way through. I still need to get dressed and leave the house very day. Battle depression with the only cure - doing the things that make me happy.

Recognizing the steps needed is such a huge thing. Thanks for reinforcing that for me.

And maybe I'll put the bottle of hair dye out of reach for awhile.

New low today!

Tara said...

I got a horrible, really short cut after my first baby, too! The hair grew out pretty quickly but that dear boy did give me an extra sixteen pounds that I've never been able to lose.

I love your thoughts and perspective. I've had several challenging seasons in my life and I appreciate the way you remind me to turn to the gospel for the strength to endure them.

Trixie said...

I laughed outloud when reading your pregnant/new mommy paragraphs, our experiences were almost identical,it's almost like we were sisters. The lessons taught and learned were achieved by lots of little babysteps,lots of hindsight and a lot of prayer. It's easy to look with knowing eyes to the past and understand now what was happening then. But now, even with faith, I find it hard to see my current experiences as ones worth the price of suffering for the maturity and understanding I will draw from them in the future. Good thing God's in charge, because if it was left up to me, every day would be *happy day*, and we'd all me small spiritual children.

Heffalump said...

Thanks for being you, and for sharing your stories.

Jennifer B. said...

I love this post--thanks for sharing it.

Amy said...

Like many of the women commenting here, your experiences as a new mom are what I am experiencing now as a relatively new mom. It's harder then anyone led me to believe. Thank you for your insight.

General Wolfe said...

I have no comment other than. I love your hair red, brown, short long.

Janice said...

(You have a great husband... noted only by the previous post!)
I am 40, and I, too, looked foreward to the milestone..."the new 20!" only I never reached my goal of being healthy by 40. While I was never thin, I used to me alot less than I am now, and thanks to your inspiring me and my friend giving me a treadmill(!) I have begun a routine! Thank you for all of your transparency, and for your daily motivation! I thank God with you, and for you!

Lucy said...

I am seriously in love with your blog. I really enjoyed that because I am that girl (minus the magenta hair). But, I've thought of getting that cute hair cut....when I've lost the weight.

Thanks. I needed this.

happy mommy said...

This is my favorite post of yours, so far. I really really needed this one today!

Michal said...

a friend, deborah gamble, recommended your blog to me, and i find it compelling, inspiring, and enjoyable to read. i can relate to so many of the things you are sharing. thanks for having a positive perspective, even about the hard times. and for not tossing out motherhood just because of the parts that seem mundane.
i can't believe how many familiar faces i see in your comments--other blogs i visit.
i'm adding you to my blogroll.

Lisa said...

I haven't been here in a while. This is a really good post. Thank you for sharing. It actually fits well with my life today. I have quit my job and have older kids. I'm home alone everyday. I can clean and clean, and I feel good when I do. But it is lonely, too. This week I made sure to schedule two lunch dates with friends. It is a wonderful uplifting thing to get out--even when our kids are big.