When the worst is actually the best.
I’ll never forget my one month postpartum appointment after having my daughter Ozzie. I was 41 years old and deeply exhausted. I was in unimaginable pain from nursing a baby with multiple frenulums. I was going back to work in 8 weeks and had a mental list of real worries no one could take away. And not surprisingly, I wasn’t exactly “bouncing back” the way I was expected to. My heart was heavy.. grateful, but heavy.
I stepped on the familiar OB/GYN office scale for my one month weigh in. The number blinked loudly at me like a warning light. All it needed was a siren. My face burning with shame, I nervously smiled at the beautiful, petite 20-something year old nurse and cracked some self deprecating joke to make a painful moment just… awkward. And as I walked to the exam room, I fell face first into the deep end of depression and defeat.
I was nursing.
I was walking.
I was eating “healthy”.
I was doing the things.
So why the hell was I heavier one month later than I was the day I delivered?
I could make a baby and survive. I could break a leg and have it heal. So why on earth could I not just be at a healthy weight? It felt like I was fighting my body. I felt like a failure.. And sadly, there was plenty of outside validation that I was.
And that is where my weight loss journey began.
Now, I’ll be honest. It took a minute to figure out what I needed. To admit that all the fad diets were just that.. Fad diets. And that there was no “one size fits all” coming to the rescue. That no one had written the “Guide to Maggie’s Health and Homeostasis” and there would never be a “Welcome to Healthy Town” at the end of any road. So for 4 years, I read, I listened, I experimented and ultimately decided to put myself back in school. Hello Institute of Integrative Nutrition. And.. hello Primal Health Coach Institute.
When I am talking with clients, patients, friends or strangers, this is where I tell them that there isn’t anywhere on the weight loss spectrum I haven’t visited. I am more than familiar with the ups and downs, the shame, the frustration, the dopamine kicks of little successes, the joy of inspiration, and everything in between. Hell, I can talk all day about both sides of dysmorphia: Thinking I look fine one day believing that the washer and dryer are simply shrinking all my clothes again, and then the next day thinking I’m back to square one when I’m absolutely not.
So here is what I know now.
I wasn’t wrong. Our bodies can make babies and heal broken bones, so we can absolutely achieve homeostasis. Thankfully, at IIN, they say it from day 1, “Given half a chance, our bodies want to achieve homeostasis”. We literally just have to get out of the way. And for me, that was really good news. I no longer had to fight against my body. I could stop feeling betrayed or unequipped. But this also meant I was never going to get healthy until I got real with myself and admitted how I was getting in my own way.
I was doing things that I knew weren’t good for me (ie. sugar, alcohol, etc.) That internal tug-o-war (aka. cognitive dissonance) meant I was failing myself at least once a day. That wore on me.
I was measuring my self worth on how good I looked rather than any of my other accomplishments or character traits. Say goodbye to recognizing the miracle and sacrifice of motherhood and hello to the ever present feeling of “I am not enough”.
And believe me, there was more…
Now I’m not going to tell you that a flip switched and all of a sudden I was skipping my way to the gym thinking I was amazing. Not at all. (Did I mention this journey took a few years?) But what did happen was that I started to recognize that my life was a series of “banks”.
A nutrition bank.
A physical fitness bank.
A self care bank.
A family bank.
And every day I get a choice to either make a withdrawal from that bank, make a deposit or leave it alone.
That two mile run through the neighborhood.. A deposit.
That low-carb home made organic dinner… deposit.
That 10 minute meditation in the sauna… deposit.
That hilarious board game with my family.. Big deposit.
And just like with money, if I make enough deposits, I can afford the withdrawals that make life fun…
Sharing a fluffernutter churro at Disneyland with my daughter.
Enjoying the pasta dinner my friend Fletch made from scratch.
Skipping the gym to watch a movie with my husband..
So when I am blessed enough to meet with someone that is discouraged, depressed, sad or defeated, I know exactly where they are and how to find them. I will sit in the dark with them anyday and light up the way out when they say it's time.
There are two days in my life so far that felt like one of the “worst days of my life” at the time, but ended up being one of the best. That weigh in day was one of them.
Coming soon… My Weightloss Journey - Part 2: The Truth About Before and Afters