Getting Healthy for Your Kids

By: Stacey Ellis

I’m fat.  Yes, fat.  Okay, not fat.  Chunky. Overweight. Uncomfortable.  In my brain, fat.  My baby is exactly eleven and a half months old.  She’s thriving and tall and thin and happy and healthy.  When she was born, everyone would say, “Wow you look great for having a one-month-old.”  I’d say, “Thank you.”  It was a rare day that I admitted she was adopted because that meant I didn’t look great.  I looked lazy and overweight.

I felt the best I have ever felt in my life on my wedding day.  Everyone probably says that.  We all want to look our best when people are staring at us so we diet and work our butts off (literally) to be as thin and beautiful as possible.  I loved working out.  It was my morning caffeine hit.  I didn’t feel like the day started right if I didn’t get in a solid workout.  And the results definitely showed.  I was strong, happy, healthy.  I felt like I could conquer the world.  I remember specifically coming back to the hotel room from an early morning workout on my wedding morning and lifting up my shirt to show off my taut waist and saying, “Look at this? I’ve never seen my waist this tight!”

A week later it all went to hell.  I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I figured sure enough it was the “after wedding” exhaustion or “after wedding” blues – the event was over, and I was bummed.  Two weeks later, the same.  Three weeks later, not only was I too tired to get out of bed in the morning to work out, I was going to bed by 8PM every night.  I felt like a zombie all day who never woke up.  I just couldn’t figure out why I was so tired.

I gained 16 lbs in 6 weeks.  Besides not working out, I’ll admit it: I certainly wasn’t completely eating healthy.  Every magazine says to lose weight, you need to sleep and eat right. I was definitely sleeping but was still tired all the time.  It wasn’t until I had a thyroid test that I learned I was extremely hypothyroid.  I went off the pill days before my wedding and right after, my thyroid apparently went crazy.  I had no idea the brittle nails, dry hair, 24/7 exhaustion were all signs of hypothyroidism.

That said – by the time I was diagnosed, I was 16 lbs heavier and learned it would be nearly impossible to have a biological child. Both of these pieces of knowledge sent me into a tailspin.  So, I did what depressed people do.  I ate.  Today, I am 30 lbs overweight and extremely uncomfortable.  I want to not only look good, but I want to be healthy for my daughter.  My husband also gained his pre-wedding weight loss back and is uncomfortable too.  Right now you are saying, “Well, do something about it!”  I want to, yet, we can’t seem to get it together. Actually, I can’t seem to get past the past.

Now that my thyroid is controlled with meds and I have a beautiful little girl, my motivation that got me out of bed every morning to work out for the past ten plus years is simply gone. I’m angry at myself for letting myself go like this. I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to just stay on course at least with the eating part.  I used to see other moms out and about and think – when I get married and have kids, I’m still going to put on makeup and dress nice and keep myself together.  I’m not going to let myself go.  And that is exactly what I did. And I’ve only been married two years.  And I keep making excuses.

I joined Weight Watchers online and at first – filling in all the foods was fun BUT now I’m bored with it and can’t find time to always fill it in –especially on weekends when my eyes are always focused on a toddler and I am not near a computer.  I got Cardio Barre classes for Mother’s Day. I have two left and I love it, BUT I can only get there maybe once a week or once every other week.  I want to work out in the morning – we have a FULL gym in our garage -BUT because of my work commute, I have to get up at 5AM to do it – which means going to bed at 8PM, seconds after my daughter goes down, which means, I’m once again exhausted all the time.  We have a membership to the YMCA which has a great gym.  I’d love to work out after work BUT afternoons are not about me any more – they are about my daughter. She hasn’t seen me all day and I haven’t seen her.  Plopping her in a stroller for a power walk seems really unfair.  Going to YMCA and putting her in gym daycare for an hour seems even more unfair.  Or are those more excuses?

I definitely know my time is not “my” time anymore.  My guilt over not being with my daughter during our limited time together will rage long after any workout so I defer to being with her.  Then I open my mailbox and get the latest People Magazine where I see all these “stars” in magazines who have their bodies back in two weeks after giving birth – or even two months.  I know in my mind they have trainers, chefs, and lots of nannies and they don’t have a full time job during the day for a few months after giving birth so taking an hour or two for themselves to work out, get a massage, or simply relax, is a lot different than being at work 8 hours then coming home and taking another hour or two to myself.   But I have to find some time…and not only time, motivation.  It’s not about my looks anymore…it’s about my happiness and we all know children can sense when something is wrong or off.  I want to be happy and healthy and fit for her, so she can be proud of me as much as I am proud of her for eating her first grilled cheese sandwich this week.  Now I just need to not “try her food” as well.

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