in which I come to terms with my new body. sort of.

Since Zach was born on April 4, I’ve lost 36 pounds. That’s a lot! I know this! But I’ve still been so frustrated with how slow my progress has been, getting back to my Old Self.

I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy with him. The most I’ve ever weighed! And it was all my fault. I ate a lot of pie last February and March. It was really awesome, I won’t lie. I was exhausted and huge and working and taking care of two kids (one of them was in a walking boot with a broken foot) and Dan was traveling a lot and I have a weird relationship with food where I reward myself with treats for surviving the days. All of that plus just normal pregnancy weight gain led to… this.

11.5 weeks, you guys. YOWZA.Breakfast with my sister. 39 wks tomorrow. Not pleased about wearing pants. But excited about pancakes.

in labor. yay.
in labor, waiting for my mom to arrive so I could go NOT BE PREGNANT ANYMORE.

Zach was born and almost immediately, I felt better (aside from my emergency room visit the night we got home with him). I felt so much better that when he was about 3 weeks old, I started walking in the hopes that soon, I could start running again and start losing some weight. Then I gave myself a stress fracture and was in a boot all summer. So: FAIL. Between being sidelined with that injury, being exhausted from having a newborn, breastfeeding and not wanting to diet because it would kill my milk supply… weight-loss nearly stopped for a while. And that was frustrating. Some tears maybe were shed a few times while getting dressed and possibly while wearing a bathing suit on vacation. SIGH.

I’ve been boot-free since early August, and I’d love to say that I’ve been exercising 3 days a week ever since. HAAAAAAA NO. I did start walking again and doing yoga and some other random workouts. But after a few weeks of having the boot off, my foot started aching again so I panicked and did nothing for about 3 weeks. Except for eat. I was able to fit in a few haphazard workouts for a while, usually during my days where the kids are at daycare and I was “working”. But work has been getting busy (yay!) so I feel stressed using that time for exercise because a 20-30 minute workout also means a shower, so it’s easily an hour or more out of my precious alone time. Zach isn’t sleeping super-consistently yet, so waking early to workout is just NOT happening right now. And evenings are INSANE. The hours between 5-8pm are a blur of dinner prep, shoving food in front of everyone, cleaning up dinner, packing lunches, helping Maggie with her homework, baths, putting the kids to bed… by the time all of that is done, I just want to stare at the tv for an hour before faceplanting into bed.

I realize this problem is not a unique one. Finding time/motivation/energy for exercise is a challenge for all of us! So I’m trying to suck it up and figure out a plan. We have all the workout options I could want in the basement- a treadmill, an exercise bike, and a Bowflex! The issue is for me is that there are always 900 other things that distract me from going down there and DOING IT. Laundry! Cleaning up! Making dinner! Watching the kids! It may come to me just locking myself in the basement and putting in my headphones and letting the mayhem commence upstairs for Dan to deal with. heh. I had a cold last week so I took a break from thinking about it, but it’s time. IT’S TIME.

For now, until the clock magically gives me an extra few hours every day, I’m adjusting some things in my diet to see if that helps. The last two weeks have been motivating and my (fat) pants are sloooowly starting to feel a little big on me. So! Progress!

Anyway. I don’t really have a point to this whole thing, other than to just get it out there. I’ve been feeling Not Myself for almost 18 months. I was pregnant, had a miscarriage, got pregnant again, hurt my foot… for a while, I was actually ANGRY at my body. WHY DID IT HATE ME SO MUCH? But then I look at Zach and I’m like YAY, LOOK WHAT MY BODY DID! Such a weird dichotomy of thinking, right? I’m tired of feeling out of control with things, tired of seeing pictures of myself and wincing because… wow, that does NOT look like how I feel. There have been some dark thoughts and not good weeks for me over the last 7 months. Times when I felt guilty about ordering dessert or eating things in public because I could feel (imaginary) stares from strangers who were OBVIOUSLY thinking that lady does NOT need that pasta/donut/cake/ice cream with her kid, look how FAT SHE IS. And that thinking is horrifying and dangerous and ugh. So unhealthy. I hated my brain for a while. I also hated my new double chin.

Like I said, I HAVE lost 36 pounds so things are headed in the right direction. But I still have about 20 to go to be where I know I’m more comfortable in my own skin and confident and not feeling like I have to hide my backfat so much. (UGH. BACKFAT.) I’m not expecting to have my 20s body again, ever. I’m almost 35! I am trying to be realistic! And I know I have a LOT of work to do in order to get my body in shape again. I want to run. I miss it. I want to feel strong and have muscles and not feel weak and worn out and tired. I want to love my body for what it is- not perfect, but beautiful and strong and amazing for creating three babies and not something I feel embarrassed about.

Maybe I’ll fit in two workouts this week, in between diaper changing and work and errands and appointments and sleep.

Can someone send me a wife? That would help!


  1. Mel

    November 18, 2013 12:29 pm

    Jen, I’m only one kid into this motherhood thing but I know precisely where you’re at. Avery will soon be 6 months old and I’m still 15 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight. And 25 to where I was before a hip injury a few months before getting pregnant. I haven’t felt like myself in….18-19 months. It’s so hard. I want to eat all of my feelings in salt n vinegar chip form. I have some days I’m good with it, because I know it was all worth it. But other days? I am breaking down into an ugly cry. And kind of freaking Dan out because, well, men just don’t get it. I was at this weight just once into life and haven’t been since. And my body wasn’t at all this lumpy/bumpy and misshapen. My boobs are huge. I was maybe a D at this weight before. Now? DDD/F. I’m working full time so there’s almost no time to exercise here either.

    Sending you a fist pump. We got this. We may be miserable but eventually we won’t be. :)

  2. Janet

    November 18, 2013 12:56 pm

    Oh, man. Me too. Me freaking too.

    Now that my boys are one I am like — okay! gonna start working out again! But I’m lucky to work out a few times per week. I know I should be better about motivation and all that but they don’t sleep great right now and there are always a million other things to do.

    • Jen

      November 19, 2013 3:47 pm

      ALWAYS a million other things to do! And if there’s not? I just want a hot minute to sit and stare at the wall or do something pointless. SIGH.

  3. Jenn

    November 18, 2013 1:24 pm

    I only have two sprogs, and both are in elementary school now (8 hours a day to myself, YAY!), but I’m right there with you in terms of wanting a sister wife or three. Some days I swear I wouldn’t mind sharing my husband in return for even one extra set of hands to assist with housework and cooking and homework and general kid wrangling.

    If it’s any consolation, a combination of stress + anti-depressants gave me 13 very much unwanted pounds that I am still dealing with. Now I realize that 13 lbs doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering that TODAY is my four year anniversary since having gastric bypass surgery (through which I lost and have mostly kept off over 150 lbs), well… my neuroticism over 13 measly pounds can be understood, I think. Heh.

    Here’s to hoping that Zach starts sleeping through the night more consistently (man I don’t miss those days) so you can have a few more hours and better sleep hygiene!

  4. Caitlin

    November 18, 2013 1:59 pm

    I have zero kids, but I am right there with you. I had already been feeling frustrated with my body and my weight and the last 2+ years of being sick and surgeries and just generally Not In Charge of my own body (while also comfort eating) has been hard. Really, really hard. I have accepted that ‘this is the body I have right now’ – and some days I have to work harder than others to continue accepting that – and I try to focus on making small changes. The good news is that they are adding up! The frustrating thing is that it is taking so much longer than I want. But I also know they are changes that will stick, and in many ways that is the most important thing. I have some bad habits I need to get out of, and good habits I need to get back to. And I am. So anyway: you are not alone and I think you are pretty great for being so honest about all of this. Hang in there!

    • Jen

      November 19, 2013 3:50 pm

      Not having control over our bodies is so rough. I think it’s almost worse mentally than physically! (ALMOST) I’ve tried to focus on the small changes too, because otherwise it’s all VERY overwhelming. And I have to let myself take a break now and then or I’d go insane. So: cookies, sometimes. heh.

  5. Erica

    November 18, 2013 2:32 pm

    I miss exercise a lot. It’s not only good for looking good, it’s so good for how I feel in general. I too, am looking forward to the day I can exercise again. I’m sure we will both get there again eventually.

  6. Melissa

    November 18, 2013 3:59 pm


    As you know, I was in that same boat while struggling with some extra weight after Andrew was born–and I stayed in that boat for full two years and then into my pregnancy/postpartum with Matthew. I was SO grateful and happy to have more kids (esp after the miscarriages), but I was still frustrated and ashamed of my body every time I saw myself in the mirror or in a picture and every time I got dressed. The extra 10 lb was not even a health issue; it was all the mental/emotional negativity that was truly unhealthy. So I totally understand where you’re coming from and why you want to feel better and like *yourself* again… it’s about so much more than the weight.

    When I’ve talked about my post-third-baby over the past year, I’ve tried to stress that I’m still struggling alongside everyone else in trying to find a balance between doing what I can to take care of my body and accepting what I can’t change. It’s not easy. One of my neighbors who has two kids, works full time, and goes to school part time (and is two years older than me) is running a bunch of 15Ks and half-marathons and posting pictures of herself in a bikini on FB, and my first thought is always, “Wow… if she can do all that, why can’t I??” But I have to shake it off and remind myself that’s not my life, and honestly? I don’t WANT to run every day OR wear a bikini, lol. So I’m slowwwly getting to the point where I can put outside influences into perspective. My goal is to be healthy at a level I can manage/enjoy and in a way that is true to ME–if I am meeting that goal with less time-consuming and less impressive methods, I don’t need to nitpick at what more I could be doing or the things I can’t change.

    You are one of the most awesome people I know because you are an inspiration as a great mother/successful business owner/etc, but you are also open about stuff like this that isn’t easy. Just know that we’re all cheering you on and we’re here to make sure the negative thoughts don’t take over while you work at it. :) You are beautiful and so are your kids. xoxo

    • Melissa

      November 18, 2013 4:01 pm

      *Oops, that should say “When I’ve talked about my post-third-baby weight loss […]”

    • Jen

      November 19, 2013 4:10 pm

      What you said about outside influences? YES. For me, it’s not about wearing a bikini (I haven’t done that since I was 15, so….. ha) or eating perfectly at every meal, or even exercising every day! I’m just impatient about getting to mental place where I’m feeling good about myself, confident about going to social things and not feeling awkward about what I’m wearing or how my clothes are fitting or how my double chin is looking that night. heh. And I absolutely know that it’s all on ME to make that a priority over watching tv at night or eating a cookie after dinner or whatever. But when the kids have been whining in my face all afternoon and nobody has napped and the house is a wreck and I have a million emails to return and even more dishes to wash, etc… the only thing I want to make a priority is SLEEP and SILENCE. heh.

      YOU are an inspiration to me because of all you’ve overcome in the last few years, physically and emotionally and how you’ve handled focusing on yourself (in a good way!!!) in the midst of absolute freaking chaos!

  7. bessie.viola

    November 18, 2013 4:06 pm

    I love this post so much. My body is still a total wreck. I didn’t take great care of myself after Madeline (PPD) and since having Luke I’ve lost about 60 pounds but I still have that much again to go before I’m back in shape. I’m still nursing, with just two weeks left to my goal of one year, and anytime I decrease calories or start working out with any intensity my supply tanks. I’m working full-time and attending school part-time and I really lack motivation to do anything other than sit on the couch and stare at the wall once I’ve made it through another day… especially considering that my little darling (ha!) still gets up several times each night.

    SO – All that to say, I so understand. I was crying in the closet this weekend because NOTHING FITS – it’s all either too big or too small – and my husband doesn’t get why I don’t just get more clothes. It’s because I don’t want to be this size or feel this way anymore… but I know that I don’t have to explain that to anyone here.

    Thanks for sharing all of this… I am all for the Maria Kangs of the world, and I think they’re awesome, but it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who isn’t there yet.

    • Jen

      November 19, 2013 4:40 pm

      Nursing makes everything 900% harder, I think! Both logistically and biologically. For me, until I stopped breastfeeding (which was before 5 months each time), my body barely budged. Hormones! Ridiculous. And yes, the guys don’t really understand that it’s not just a matter of buying new clothes. First, it’s EXPENSIVE because if I do lose some weight, I’ll need new clothes again in another 10-15 pounds! And, like you said, I don’t WANT TO BUY MORE STUFF IN THIS SIZE. heh.

  8. Lea

    November 18, 2013 4:24 pm

    You are not alone! Struggling with this myself. And I hate how I “reward” myself with food, too. But ya know, sometimes when things are so stressful with the kids, I think about a sweet treat I can have later, and it carries me through. Is that wrong?? Totally works against what I am trying to accomplish. Why must food be so delicious and exercise so hard? I will conquer this, and so will you!

  9. Sarah

    November 18, 2013 7:47 pm

    In 2009, I remember standing in the plus size dept. at Kohl’s about to be in tears thinking to myself there is nothing hip/cool here. All I could see were flowers appliqued on sweatshirts with fake collars and jeans with elastic waists. NO, JUST NO! I went home and weighed myself… 214…that was an eye opener. I started Weight Watchers Jan 1, 2010. I basically STARVED myself down 40 pounds. Kept it off, but I was stuck and wanted more last summer. Someone recommended the 17 Day Diet. I read the book, did it with my husband, we both lost a ton of weight and then I got pregnant! UGH! He’s kept it off, I’m doing it again and am 6 lbs away from my pre pregnancy weight. My point is…it’s a slow process and you’re not alone. You might run into things that don’t work, things that do work, days you don’t give a crap, days you feel like a rock star, days you feel like you can’t eat another healthy thing. Let those good days lead you through the bad…refocus tomorrow if today you encounter pie or in my case about 8 mini candy bars at work today! You can do it!

  10. Tracy

    November 18, 2013 9:00 pm

    Oh giiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrlllll! I know this. And my “baby” is 2.5 but the stress of working SO much and taking care of the kids, house etc has me too tired to do all the walking/running that I want to. And I too reward myself with a nice cookie or two. Or 4, but whatever.

    You can do it! (I hope some day that I can accomplish all that I want to too!) Twitter and bloggers are with you. And neighbors. IRL friends. Pocket friends. All the people.

    One step at a time. One less cookie at a time.

  11. Sara

    November 18, 2013 9:46 pm

    I think you’re perfect and wonderful at any size. You’re a kind, compassionate and hilarious woman who inspires me in so many ways. Rock on with making strides to feel your best, no matter what number the scale reflects. I’m here cheering you on!

  12. Kayla

    November 19, 2013 3:07 pm

    Back in 2010, I started working out/counting calories. It took a while, but I lost almost 40 pounds. I stopped tracking (and working out), and I’ve gained almost 20 pounds back this year. And I only have one kid. You’re doing a great job! It just takes time…

  13. Jenna

    November 19, 2013 3:09 pm

    You know what sucks? That women give birth (with all the attending hormonal shifts and permanent physical changes) AND are culturally programmed to obsess about what we look like.

    This is what I think about as I’m trying not to “reward” myself with chocolate every. single. night. And when I’m bypassing pants that no longer fit. And when I’m pushing myself to go to the gym (for my health! but also my body image!)

    UG, lady. Just: UG.

  14. Ssfb

    November 23, 2013 12:01 am

    You know what. I only have one baby and still can’t get it together?! Maybe we all just need to give ourselves a break? Spend this time enjoying our babies instead? I’m pretty sure I’ve actually gained weight since she was born (ahem almost 8 months ago now) because I’m tired! And busy! And tired!

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