I did something silly….

I signed up to be a contestant on Atlanta’s Biggest Loser.

Now, the odds of my being chosen are slim to none. First, I don’t live in Atlanta. I live in Hickville the mountains, 3.5 hours north of Atlanta. Second, I recently gave birth and am still breastfeeding. That alone is probably enough to disqualify me. (Although, I did read the rules VERY closely, and never saw anything about breastfeeding moms being disqualified.)

I am really struggling with the fact that I’m stuck at a particular weight.

What most of you don’t know is that for almost 15 years, I struggled with an eating disorder. I’d flip flop back and forth from anorexia to bulimia. It got really bad. When I met Gene, I was at my lowest weight. At 5’9″, I weighed less than a hundred pounds. Size 0 clothes hung on me. It was bad. I had a choice: Fix the problem, or be hospitalized and fed through a tube. With Gene’s help, I fought. I fought hard. It was a long, hard battle, and I relapsed a lot. But, by the grace of God, I finally overcame it after Lucy was born. (Note: February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month. I plan to post my entire story on February 1st.)

Now, here I am, at over 200 pounds. It makes me sick to look in a mirror. My maternity clothes have become my regular clothes, and I am disgusted with myself. I hate everything about the way I look. In all honestly, I am thankful that Parker is exclusively nursing. I could easily fall back into old habits. I fight myself every day, forcing myself to eat good, wholesome food so that Parker can get the nourishment that he needs. I have always been able to “flip the switch” on the eating disorder when it came to my kids. When Zander was a baby, I purged once and I felt so guilty about it that I never purged again while nursing. (I never purged while pregnant. Ever.)

So, I guess my problem is, how does a breastfeeding mom lose weight? Everything I’ve read says that a nursing mother must take in an extra 500 calories. But, everything also says that breastfeeding is a great way to lose weight. Apparently not after your fifth baby.

Weight watchers, Jenny Craig, and all of those won’t allow me to join because a) I’ve had an eating disorder and b) I’m breastfeeding. We live on a mountain (literally) and don’t have sidewalks. There’s no where I can walk without packing all 5 kids in the car and driving 20 minutes to the local park.

What is a breastfeeding mother supposed to do? How can I safely lose weight without hurting myself or depriving Parker from the nutrition he needs? How can I be so vain – even after all these years?

I’m a mom. I have battle wounds – stretch marks out the wazoo. I’m ok with that. I know that after 5 pregnancies, my body isn’t going to look the same. But the weight really bothers me. Why is that? Why can’t I look at my body and say, “I’ve given birth to 5 children. I have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of”? Why on earth is that so hard? How do I overcome this?

Angie Vinez (2872 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.



Comments

  1. 1

    All right North Ga! Exercise TV. If you’re a Comcast person you can get it with On Demand for free or you can go to their website (.com) and download workouts. They’re anywhere from 15-20 minutes and they are everything from yoga (my salvation!) to TaeBo to Pilates and In Home Walking.
    Check out Sparkpeople for some more calorie and fitness tracking tools, research sources, and all kinds of interesting and motivational aides.
    You can do it mama! I have 3 of my own so I know those stubborn pounds that won’t go away.

  2. 2

    (((HUGS))) my dear friend! First of all, I think we ALL struggle with our body image. I know I do. I think part of it may be vanity, another part is that it is such a big social issue that puts a lot of pressure on women, and part of it is a healthy consciousness of where we should be. Have you ever gotten the proper support to help you deal with your ED psychologically? I know what a struggle it has been for you since I’ve known you, but I have always worried that you didn’t get the help you really needed. But I also know that it has been hard for you because of the kids and probably cost-wise, too. Surely there is something out there for people with financial hardship? I mean ED’s don’t discriminate based on income.

    I really think you need some kind of outside support. I just wish I knew how you could get it. Are there any moms from church that might be interested in getting a group of you together to work out, come up with healthy diet plans, etc.? Even if you could only get together once a week, at least it would be a form of support for you. You could meet at a different house each time, let the kids play together while the moms do some exercise? Or just go out and run around with the kids for 30 minutes each day. There are lots of ways to get in some exercise without having to go to a gym or take all 5 kids somewhere. Since you have milder weather there even in the winter, that would be an option. But really, look into getting some outside help, because I think you really need that. Maybe your doctor knows of something.

    Breastfeeding moms can diet safely and in a healthy way, you just need to get some information on how to do that. But, just keep in mind that you may not be able to lose all the weight you want to while you are still nursing. You have to keep things in perspective. I’m behind ya, babe, 100%!!!

    Now, to convince myself to get back to losing weight myself! It’s so easy to let it go during the winter.

  3. 3
    Cat@3KidsandUs says:

    Angie, you are being way too hard on yourself. I know that’s easy for me to say right? But it’s true. Having children changes our bodies.

    Yes, breastfeeding is a calorie burner, but for the most part all it does is help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, not additional weight. I know it’s hard but I think you should focus on feeding little Parker and maybe add a few strength building exercises to your day. When he weans, then it’s time to hit it hard. There are so many things you can do at home like wall push ups, squats, lunges, yoga videos are all great places to start.

    I do know how you are feeling. I’m close to hitting 200 right now and it’s killing me. All I can think about is delivering her so I can start losing some weight.

  4. 4

    My dear, you are beautiful no matter what your size. I’ve had only one child and WISH I could be as close to 200 pounds as you are. Bringing five lives into this world is an extraordinary feat. Don’t sell yourself short just because your body hasn’t snapped back like you want it to.

    Speaking as someone with a lot (read a LOT) of experience with Weight Watchers, I do know they let nursing mothers join the program. If you don’t have ready access to a meeting, and if your finances allow, maybe you can try joining their online program.

    Good luck with the Biggest Loser application. I hope they give you a shot!

  5. 5
    morethanapairofchutes says:

    I know what you mean about body image after childbirth. I’m fighting it, too. Troy, what a sweetheart, got me a Wii Fit for Christmas. I’m trying to use it every day…ends up being more like 4-5 times a week. My sil got a workout video by the trainer from biggest looser at walmart. It was $9.99. It has a few different workout choices. She loves it. Maybe you need a workout accountability partner 😉
    You’ve done a lot to your body over the past few years…4 babies and lots of nursing. Thank it for your blessings, then whip it into shape, lol!
    (hope you get accepted, that will be so great!)

  6. 6

    Thank you for posting this, it’s comforting in a strange way to know that there are others out there who go through body image and eating issues and that none of us are alone. I am really sorry you have gone through all of this in your life, but you have come out of it and you are so strong! And you brought 5 beautiful lives into this world! You are a wonderful and beautiful person!

  7. 7

    well, I have only had one so far – but I do know the struggle. I think you ARE being too hard on yourself and you should focus on the grand scheme of things, raising healthy happy kiddos. Get workouts in while you can and focus on what you eat (or don’t eat!!) until they’re a bit older. They’re only preshus li’ babies for so long.. as you well know. 🙂

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