Growing up I was never comfortable with how I looked. I was always extremely self conscious about my nose, my boyish legs, broad shoulders and non existent ass. I always thought I looked like a 13 year old boy with tits. I was not, however, once concerned with my weight. Through my 20s even, I would eat whatever I wanted and never exercised. I wasn’t skinny…just normal and I was fine with that. At age 29 I comfortably wore a bikini all summer long. But then a couple things happened to change all that…forever.
When I was 30 I rushed to the ER with a racing heart. Normal resting heart rate is 60-90 bpm. Mine was around 170 for over 5 hours sustained. There was no reason for this…I was not being active, not taking any stimulants, was not even experiencing anxiety when it started. It was a very scary day…one of the scariest in my life. Top 3 for sure. At one point my blood pressure suddenly dropped to 50/30 and I thought for sure I was a goner. If that has ever happened to you, you know how horrible that feels. Anyway, I was later diagnosed with an arrhythmia and started taking beta blockers daily (to this day) to keep my heart rhythm slow and normal. They have worked wonderfully for the most part.
Two weeks after my diagnosis, I became pregnant with my daughter – my first, my only biological child. It was prescribed by 3 different doctors (cardiologist, OB and GP) to continue on the beta blocker through out the pregnancy, which I did with no effects.
I started gaining weight VERY rapidly. At 3 months, I looked at least 6. At the end of 9 months I was 210 pounds and had gained 70. I did eat a lot of M&Ms…but I really didn’t pig out much more than I did prior to the pregnancy. But yes, I should have eaten MUCH healthier. Prior to becoming pregnant (several months before), I gave up cigarettes and caffeine. When I became preggo I stopped drinking (not that I was a big drinker at the time) as well. So food was my thing. I really started to love cooking…and I did want to eat. But the weight gain was ridiculous. I really did not feel I was eating THAT much.
I later found out that the weight gain was likely attributed to the beta blockers. Some doctors denied that, but the cardiologist said without a doubt that was a factor. After I gave birth…I was still so huge. It was like I was still pregnant. I had a very difficult labor and delivery and had a LONG recovery. But when I could, I started exercising some and definitely started watching what I ate.
I then started to become quite anxious and depressed. Not sure why, just happened. I finally broke down and agreed to take an antidepressant. I had taken some in the past throughout the years and I just hated the side effects. I was prescribed Cymbalta and pretty much promised it would NOT cause weight gain. Going on it was pure hell. It was like a really bad flu for the entire 6 weeks of weaning up to a therapeutic dose. But once finally there, it was nice. For a while. It did seem to help the depression. During this time I had tried EVERYTHING to lose the extra weight. I had lost some since the pregnancy – about 35 or so. But the rest would not budge. I bought a treadmill, joined a gym (a Curves like place), Nutrisystem, Slimfast, Chef MD, countless food journal and weight loss websites. I was exercising and eating very healthy and not a single pound would come off.
This seemed to cause a whole new depression and I found that the Cymbalta was no longer working. I wanted off. I weaned myself off the medication very slowly – as prescribed. It was even worse than going on it. I was miserable mentally and physically for weeks. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. At that time, I was 182 lbs. and absolutely disgusted with myself. I rarely would leave the house. I felt everyone was thinking or saying behind my back, “Look at how FAT she got!!!” I was certain others were looking at me and snickering. As I mentioned in a previous BLOG , I had been asked countless times when I was due by people I know and by strangers. It was devastating.
But then it started to happen. I continued with the exercise and eating healthy as I was before and it DID start to come off!! Once I saw I wasn’t a lost cause, I joined a website called www.sparkpeople.com and began logging everything I ate and all of my exercise. And it just happened. Clearly, the Cymbalta was creating some kind of block which would not allow me to lose weight. All the doctors kept telling me that wasn’t it…I just wasn’t working hard enough. But I KNEW that wasn’t true. I went off the Cymbalta the last week of February and started Sparkpeople in April. Since then, I have lost 34 lbs.
I have had to get rid of all my clothes and now my wardrobe is at a bare minimum as I am trying to slowly build it back up. I still want to lose about 8 more pounds so I do not want to buy too much yet. I never thought 140 would ever be an actual goal for me. I thought for these past years if I could just get to 160, I would be thrilled. Now, I see it is possible to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. This doesn’t mean I will be wearing a bikini again…things still do not look the same. When you have a child in your 20s…chances are you will bounce back pretty well and quickly. But the longer you wait…the more permanent the “damages”. And though I would LOVE a breast lift/reduction (cannot afford it, however) I have to say that I am very happy and proud of myself for what I have worked so hard to accomplish.
With that happiness also comes a great fear. My mom and husband are always telling me that I look so good and make a big fuss…which is nice. But it also makes me think – God, was I THAT bad?? My husband tells me that he cant keep his hands off me now. Well, what if I gained some back? What if something happened and I had to start on some medication which caused the same reaction as the one before? What if I cannot continue this level of fitness and eating forever and I gain some back?? All of those years he assured me over and over that I was still sexy and beautiful…which I certainly didn’t believe…but I thought maybe HE did for some wacko reason. Now, I can see how much of a difference the weight actually did make in his behavior towards me. It just makes me question so much…worry and wonder about the what ifs.
But that is where I need to start practicing my desire and goal to live in the now. To be present in each moment and not have concern for the past or future. Today, I am happy to put on my size 8 jeans and plan a boat trip with my husband. I no longer fear wearing a suit – well, not like I did anyway. I still do not love the way I look, but I do love the accomplishment i have made. And, today, I will be happy for that.