How I lost 40 Pounds Without Depriving Myself

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I’ve dropped 40 lbs since this photo to the left was taken last March, so I decided it was a good time to open up about this journey that I didn’t even really set out for.

I guess I’ll start by going way back…back to my birth weight. I was born at 9 lbs 8 oz so from my earliest moment, I was not a small human. I was chunk city as a baby – I had rolls for days. I was never overweight as a kid, but I always had more muscle mass than my peers and wasn’t ever “skinny” – it’s just in my genes; my athletic legs are a spitting image of my father’s and you can even see me here at four years old (pink swimsuit) with defined muscles in my legs. I resent tiny people that make fun of people who say they are “big boned” because I legit have a larger skeleton than most other girls I hang out with.

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Fast forward to high school – Again I wasn’t ever “small” but I didn’t have much fat on my body and was more muscular than anything else and my abs were always flat despite consuming Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, Round Table Pizza and Taco Bell almost every single day. I was just active and did occasionally workout. I was a cheerleader, but never a flyer because I wasn’t 98lbs like the flyers on my squad were; I rotated between being a base and a back-spot for stunting. I was told by multiple people I had the same body as Britney Spears (I was in HS 1999-2003 so Britney was major back then). Britney’s muscular legs helped me to be more confident in mine. Like so many other girls, I always thought I had to look like an anorexic Abercrombie model to be considered attractive. So many articles have been written about how Kim Kardashian has helped change the trend from Kate Moss bodies to more curvy Kardashian bodies, but I think Britney deserves some credit as well for providing young girls with a positive body image. If you haven’t seen what Brit looked like back then, Google her. Then check out her instagram because she is killing it as of late. #abgoals. I should also mention that I’m not dissing skinny body types AT ALL. I’m just referring to pop culture and how media defines what is “beautiful” and how so many girls grew up thinking they were fat because they didn’t look undernourished.

Once I got to college, I gained like 30 lbs because drinking and eating fast food and not working out will do that to ya. I started eating healthier and working out, the weight fell off because young metabolisms are the best.

By the time I was preparing for my wedding at age 26, I was in the best shape of my life and decided to give Ryan a little saucy book of myself as a wedding gift. I tried to pick a photo to share that didn’t reveal any more of my body than a swimsuit, but sorry if this is offensive to any of you. I’m actually pretty modest by nature. My point in showing this is that I hardly had any fat on my body, but as you can see, I wasn’t “skinny.” I do not have “skinny” in my genetic makeup. But even here, I weighed 150 lbs and was considered “overweight” on the BMI charts according to my 5’6” height. My doctor looked at me and chuckled. “You’re not overweight, these charts are archaic and I don’t know why they’re still used. You are in great shape.”

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Ryan and I were married for a little over a year when we conceived Porter. By then, I had probably gained 5 or 10 lbs because I was working 10+ hour days with a 2 hour commute (one hour each way) and was barely holding my head above water, stress-wise. I certainly wasn’t going to the gym and I was fo-show eating carbs.

The beginning of my pregnancy threw me for a loop. Morning sickness is rough, folks. And I didn’t even have it that bad compared to some. I just felt nauseous ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME. The only thing that would make me feel better was to eat very specific foods. I craved salty foods and cheerios almost constantly, which was a great recipe for weight gain.

By the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 60lbs. Riiiiiiidic. Some of it came off naturally and through breastfeeding, but only about 1/3 of it.

Postpartum, I had a tough time. You can read my birth story if you want, but basically I wasn’t doing well mentally because I felt traumatized from the birth. By the time Porter turned one, I finally started feeling like myself again and I got into spinning classes at my gym. The weight slowly started to come off as I developed healthier habits, but by the time I got pregnant with Preston eight months later, I hadn’t lost all the weight I had gained with Porter.

With Preston, I gained another 40lbs. Breastfeeding didn’t go well so I didn’t lose as much weight right off the bat. By the time he was four months old, I was completely done breastfeeding and that was stretching it as far as I could go. I found stay-at-home-mom life to be challenging with two kids, and I definitely ate more crap (hello toddler snacks) and drank more wine to cope. Taking an infant and toddler to the gym was more of a challenge, and I didn’t make it a huge priority. I tried doing Beachbody, but found the program to be ineffective. I needed cardio and a break from my kids, not living room weight training with a crying baby and toddler interrupting me. By the time Preston turned one in March of 2017, I was definitely not healthy and in retrospect, wasn’t that happy.

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When I saw this photo of myself, I decided it was time for a change; I started running and going to the gym regularly.

I put my house on the market that May and by July we were living in a new neighborhood. Our neighborhood is bursting with charming homes and large trees, making it a waaaay happier place to run around in compared to my old neighborhood. I started running with my girlfriends who live right by me and it became routine…and we were pushing our kids, which made our runs extra tough. I ran my first 10k that November and the weight was definitely coming off.

By January, it was pretty cold here in Sacramento and my friends and I opted for the gym instead. I got an Apple Watch, and I started to see how many calories I was burning per day; I set my goal for 800. My friends and I don’t belong to the same gym, but I can still see what they’re doing through the watch. My friend started doing the stair climber, something she had always done apparently. I had literally never gotten on one before, but decided to give it a try. WOW. That thing WORKS. I started doing the stair climber five or six days a week and when I’m on it, I really push myself. I make a point to burn at least 400 calories doing the stairs, followed by light weights. I’m not crazy about weights and I get bored, so I don’t do them that hard core. But what I’m doing is working! I’m down 40 lbs from that picture in the red shirt and I still drink wine, eat cheese, pizza, etc. For the most part I eat healthy, but I don’t deprive myself, because #BALANCE. Life is too short to not consume cheese and wine in my opinion. I don’t ever want to be one of those people who Google how much sugar is in an apple.

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I’m not yet at a place in this journey to where I’m completely satisfied with where I am – I still want to lose another 20 lbs. But I’m heading in the right direction and I have the most encouraging circle of friends and husband. I feel like I need to share that Ryan NOT ONCE ever made me feel anything less than beautiful. Never one tiny comment about my weight gain. He’s always only ever made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world and oh my gosh, I’m so grateful for that. If he had criticized me in any way, it would have crushed my soul. Having our babies really took its toll on my body, so thank you Ryan for loving me so unconditionally.

One quote that’s written on my gym wall that I have found to be so inspiring is this:

 

“Success does not come in one giant leap, but in small steps over time.”

 

Thank you California Family Fitness for having such a wonderful kids program; one that my kids are genuinely excited and ask to go to; one that always has enough staff to cover all the kids; one that remembers my kids’ names.

11 thoughts on “How I lost 40 Pounds Without Depriving Myself

  1. Beautifully written. Thank you for your honesty and striving to be healthy You are beautiful inside and out.

  2. Great job Bethany! Loved hearing about part of your health/wellness/fitness journey.
    It’s never easy to make time for ourselves, but it’s so important.

    PS. um, the boudoir picture…smoke show!

  3. You look great!! Finding a balance that works for you and still working towards you goals is so important.

  4. Wow congrats! That kind of work and discipline is not for the faint of heart. So inspiring to see so much progress!

  5. You look great, and happy. Life after baby calls for major adjustment, especially with a baby and a toddler. Good for you for taking care of yourself.

  6. hey girl,
    When I first saw your “before picture” I thought but she’s amazing!! but then I zoomed on the after picture and I was WOW she looks fabulous!

    What a story, I loved reading all these inspirational details!
    I’m a working mom of a 3 years old boy, that commutes 3 hrs a day (1,5 each way) and finding time and energy to workout is really challenging!

    I hope I can find a way to be more consistent with that

    I believe that running will be my ultimate solution, but never had the courage!

    thank you for sharing your experience

    kisses

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