Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I Hate the Scale

Why is it that someone pointing out the obvious can be so painful? It is, by definition, obvious - and I generally see obvious things. But somehow, hearing things from someone else is not the same as saying the same things in your own head.

Take, for example, my weight. With my first three pregnancies, I gained 59, 59, and 55 pounds (that last one was born 2 weeks early, or I would have hit 59 again). Today I went to the doctor for my regular checkup and was informed, kindly, that my weight gain was higher than normal, and I ought to take some steps to combat this. I mentioned that I had gained just as much during my three other pregnancies, but that didn't fly - he said, it's better for me and my recovery to slow the weight gain. For the record, I've gained 45 pounds in just about 31 weeks. So I have another 14 pounds in 9 weeks to match what I've done in the past, and I think I'm right in line with that.

Here's the four-fold problem. 1. I eat like crap. 2. Logically I know that the doctor is right. 3. I am 100% not motivated to make any changes. 4. The guilt makes me want to eat.

First of all, my eating habits. I've always had a sweet tooth, ice cream in particular being my main downfall, followed by candy and chocolate (whichever I'm in the mood for). In terms of actual meals, they haven't been too unhealthy this time. With my first pregnancy, I loved cheeseburgers. I remember sitting at a Wendy's one night, eating a value meal, deciding I was still hungry, and ordering another cheeseburger. I don't think I've ever eaten two cheeseburgers in one sitting, except at maybe the odd barbeque - I've certainly never ordered two at a restaurant before or since. Also, one time I was driving home from work and stopped at a nearby 7-11 for a hot dog covered with nacho cheese. I ate it in the car and by the time I got from Agoura Hills to Simi Valley, I had to stop at another 7-11 for a second one. It is amazing to me that Boy #1 turned out normal after all that!

This time, though, it is candy and sweets, no question. What is making the situation worse this pregnancy is that we have enough money that when I'm grocery shopping I don't feel the financial incentive to put the bag of jelly beans back. Or the Hostess Cherry Pie. Or the 1/2 gallon of Dreyer's Mint Chocolate Chip. Or the bag of gummy worms. Additionally, I'm tired. I'm tired because I'm not sleeping well, I'm tired because I'm big and have a hard time breathing, I'm tired of being pregnant in general. And with that tiredness comes capitulation. I don't have the willpower to stop myself from buying the stuff, let alone eating it. Once it's in the house, the battle is over.

Second, the doctor is right. My husband, who seriously questions my sanity when he finds a stash of candy in my closet or drawer, is right also. And I know this. I'm not stupid. I've had to lose 50+ pounds every three years for the last 10 years, so it's not like I don't understand the rule of calories in - calories expended = weight gain. And since respiration is the hardest things I've got going for me aerobically, I know it doesn't burn the kind of calories I need to make up for my eating habits. The two of them, plus anyone else that hasn't had the guts to question my weight gain (and good for them! Self-preservation, I always say!) they are right.

Third, I'm not motivated to change my habits. Like I mentioned, I'm tired. It takes me a lot of energy to decide to diet or to make any willpower-induced changes, even when I'm not pregnant. My doctor recommended that I stop eating all white flour and white sugar - which cuts out practically all processed and convenience foods, and leaves all the healthy natural stuff. It is a similar diet to the Weight Watchers Core Plan, which I used to lose the weight after Boy #3, although with less restrictions. He's not telling me to diet, per se, just to limit what I eat to healthy food. It doesn't sound ridiculous - it's not like he's telling me to eat only cabbage soup or hamburgers with no bun, and he's not telling me to do something unrealistic. But it feels unrealistic to me. In dieting lingo, they are always telling you to substitute bad habits with good ones, so when I'm stressed out by the kids because my threshold for tolerance is particularly low, they would tell me to go for a walk or listen to music or take a bubble bath instead of breaking out the Haagen-Dazs. To a regular person that makes sense, but to me in my state of mind (and body) it sounds so overwhelming that it's as if they are suggesting I combat a food craving by jumping out of an airplane. I don't know if you would really understand that feeling unless you've felt it, or been depressed- it's a similar feeling.

Fourth, just to compound the whole situation, I feel so guilty being told by my doctor that I'm gaining too much weight that it makes me want to eat more crappy food to make myself feel better. Which of course makes me feel guiltier, which in turn makes me less motivated for change, and then makes me feel stupid because I KNOW what the right answer is here. And all of that requires a nice application of sweets to make me feel better.

Part of me wants to just blow off what I was told today, not let it bother me or make me feel bad, and say, This is the way it's going to be, I can cut out the more ridiculous snacking but I accept that there are another 14 pounds with my hips' name on them and that is the way it's going to be. The other part of me is saying that I can make a real effort and try to follow these guidelines, because I am the kind of person that follows instructions and does the right thing, and this is the right thing. But I can do that and maybe only gain 10 pounds instead of 14, or 8. Is that going to make a material difference? I won't lose 53 pounds much faster than losing 55, or 59. Of course, health wise, it probably could only help.

I don't have a resolution for this. I'm still churning it around in my mind and I'm open to opinions. I obviously wouldn't be welcome at a Weight Watchers meeting, so I'm looking elsewhere for support or motivation here. Sorry to come off as such a downer - it's been a rough couple of days.

On the bright side, my scars are healing very nicely, I no longer scare children and animals or generate comment from tactless strangers. Also, report cards came in on Friday and both kids are doing very well. Boy #2 had a shoe-tying breakthrough and now can tie his own shoes like a pro. Boy #1 is showing some improvement in his math scores (last 2 tests he got a 90%) and Boy #3 drew a face on a piece of paper that actually looks like a face, so the art gene is still alive and kicking. Although he can't tell you what color crayon he was using, go figure. And there were 5 kids on the swingset just now, and no injuries. (No shortage of fights, which stems in part from the fact that I like to have two of everything that the kids might fight over but Boy #3 plays with a set of twins from next door so there is always one less thing that everyone wants.)


Tim said...

Just YFI, me and dad must be checking your blog like every two seconds to see if you have updated it. You could even see it in his shortage of downloads, whole web pages are shutting down, due to our lack of attention paid to them. Just bored, thought that would be funny.

Tim said...

Man, i spelled an abbreviation wrong, what an idiot!