Monday, September 28, 2009

My Number

Every female knows their number. Your number isn't necessarily how much you currently weigh, but it is the number you once weighed or the number you've never weighed but always wished you'd weigh, or the number you think your friend who is your height weighs so you figure you should weigh that, too. Maybe your number was your weight in high school or college or at your wedding. Whatever the significance, I think most of us are always on a quest to get to that number.

So my number for a long time was 130. I don't think I've ever weighed 130. I may have briefly weighed 130 on my way from 129 to 131, but I've never actually held my weight at 130. Why did 130 become my number? I'm not exactly sure. It seemed to be a healthy weight; not to fat but not unattainable. 130 was the weight my Mom was (maybe is right now) and she seemed slim and pretty, a good role model as I grew up. 130 is toward the bottom of my range as provided by Weight Watchers. 130 seems like a number you could have on your driver's license without fear that the bouncer carding you might think you're a fattie.

When Shawn and I got engaged, I went back to Weight Watchers, hired a trainer, and set my sights on 130. If I didn't get to 130 for my wedding day, I figured, I would never get to 130. So I worked out, lifted weights, saw vast improvements in my fitness level, ate a very healthy, balanced diet, and never saw 130. I felt great on my wedding day, despite being many pounds heavier than I had planned. My dress fit beautifully, my arms didn't jiggle violently, and I was head-over-heels in love with my fiance. Had it been a different time in my life, had I not lost my Dad 3 months before my wedding, I probably would have obsessed over the number on the scale. But that spring, those awful weeks when we helped my Dad leave the world with all the dignity he could hold onto, really put the number in perspective. I was surrounded with all the people who loved me the most and people who gathered to celebrate a milestone for me and Shawn and 130 seemed irrelevant. So, that's how I gave up on 130. I guess after seeking it so long, there is still a part of me that believes at 40 I will become one of those late-blooming triathlon athletes and maybe then I'll see 130. But that's a pretty small part. Like maybe only a pound of me.

The bigger part of me, like the other 145.8 pounds of me, figures this weight is about where I shake out. (If you are a between the lines reader and also good at math, you may be able to figure out how much I weigh. When my number was 130 I NEVER would have released that info to ANYONE without MD following their name. And even the MD's usually got the -5 estimate.) I'm eating relatively healthily, lots of greens, leaves, and fruits, no red meat, and the breastfeeding allows me more sugar than I'd probably get without it so my sweet tooth is satisfied. I've felt compelled to offer Violet fresh food, including lots of veggies and fruits, and I think it has rubbed off on me. Wine is a regular part of my diet as is pasta, and I put butter on things that need butter. I feel happy after meals, though I still occasionally overeat, I feel more relaxed about it. Truly no guilt.

There are improvements I could make, must make, to be as healthy as I want to be. Mostly, I need to get back to exercising regularly. Around this time last year, when Violet was 5 months old, I found an elliptical trainer on Craig's List for 80 bucks and convinced Shawn we HAD to have it. This piece of equipment, I knew, would be the end of my puffy, jiggly, post-baby body and the only route to shedding the 25 pounds that stood between me and my pre-pregnancy weight. So, we bought it from a chubby lady, jury-rigged it in the CRV, and drove home with it sticking out of the back end.

Our tiny bungalow was filled to the brim with baby paraphernalia and had no space for the machine except for a corner in our leaky, 90-year-old, basement. So it wasn't exactly the most appealing place to spend 20-30 minutes sweating off baby weight. I had worked out on the machine 4 or 5 times the morning I saw a mouse in our kitchen and then never used it again. What is the mouse-elliptical connection? If that mouse ventured to the bright, cheery, kitchen to fuck with me, imagine all his creepy, skittering, mouse friends darting around the basement waiting to drop down from the ceiling onto my head and down my shirt while I was on the elliptical listening to my ipod so I couldn't hear them coming. See? Case closed, workouts over.

A year later, through no herculean efforts on my part, I've gotten back to where I was when Violet was conceived minus and extra 3 pounds (have I sung the praises of nursing frequently enough on this blog? If not consider me belting it out right now)! The oft-neglected elliptical made the move to the new place where it is waiting in the garage to find if and when it will be allowed in the house. I know I need to initiate and stick to a regular workout schedule; the things that are most important to me in life rely on it. I actually love working out once I establish a routine and I know that fitness will be key if I want to have a successful VBAC with our next baby. The lung disease that killed my Dad as well as his siblings is showing disturbing familial ties and I suspect cardio-vascular fitness won't hurt my chances of avoiding or surviving it should (God forbid) Pulmonary Fibrosis be in my genes. And, not as tragic, but definitely worth a mention, I have the beginnings of Mom-Ass and I would like to nip it in the bud before Lee is the only brand of denim that fits me.

So, I'm moving the elliptical in today. It will sit in one of the spare bedrooms and I have my fingers crossed that it will fit in a spare closet when we have guests or parties. If it doesn't fit and has to sit out, I suppose that there are worse things than having people know that Shawn and I own a piece of exercise equipment. Like, for instance, wearing Lee jeans.


Corey said...

kudos for getting to pre-vi weight!
I know I have blogged about this too... and my number is 150 (gasp... my skinny friends talk about what it was like to hit 150 when they were pregnant and how awful that was...)... I weighed 150 when we were married and everyone told me I was too skinny... I'll take it... the only time in my life I've been called too skinny... this week, just as you've moved the elliptical in, I've joined a new gym with a pool and taken swimming up again.
pasta and wine are staples in life and there has to be a balance... as my mom used to say 'if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy'...
Enjoy the elliptical and your pre-baby body!

Aly said...

I think you look fantastic! You are someone who has a glow of confidence -- maybe that's what happy looks like -- that is enviable.

I hear ya on the mom-ass though! My butt moves independently of my body much to often these days. This is not helped by my desire to bake fall goodies instead of exercising!

We should start regular walking dates. The non-Lee moms club. :)

julie said...

i distinctly remember busting the belt loop on my pair of size 8 levis about ten years ago and i thought, "what a lard ass!" the other day i tore the belt loop of my size 12 jeans trying to hike them over my giant mom muffin top. next stop: mom jeans! lee riders! panic! panic!

why can't we all be heidi klum?

Anonymous said...

I think you look great! I will exercise with you as long as you keep making cookies and cakes.


Jen said...

I know you weren't fishing for compliments here, but you are beautiful. And you'd still be beautiful at 398 wearing Lee jeans. Just remember though, if 150 becomes 250, Nystatin cream might be in order. There's a yeasty visual to keep you motivated.

Babs said...

Well...I've thought about your post for a while but didn't think I had a need to respond. You know, I think you look the best you've EVER looked, and I do mean EVER. As I recall, my 30s were the easiest time to get comfortable with my body. Yes, I started out thin, but in my 30s it seemed as if the universe just said, go ahead & live your life. Do your thing, & we'll take care of the rest. So I did. And now and then these days, I pay the price in several ways. Looking back, I wish I'd begun a life-long routine of self-maintenance that might've served me better in this period of my life.
But I don't believe I own any Lee jeans. At least there's that.