There are some things in life that we dream of, we hope for, we want more than anything else, but it always seems so far out of our reach. Winning the lottery, owning a successful business, losing weight…all seemingly “lofty” aspirations for most people. Sadly, most Americans will never carry out these dreams.
While there is nothing I can say to increase your chances of winning the lottery, and I’m still piecing together the successful business part, I hope that I can inspire you that weight loss and a healthy life ARE within your grasp!
I haven’t achieved my goal weight yet, but I am almost 50 pounds closer to being there, and I’m ready to talk more extensively about how I’ve gotten to this point, and how I plan to reach my final goal weight, whatever that may be. See, I don’t have a magic number in my mind. I have a range, but more important to me than a particular number on the scale, is the percentage of body fat that I carry. When I began this journey, my body was over 42% fat. Today, I’m somewhere around 30%! Sure, that number isn’t in the normal range yet, but I wouldn’t expect it to be, considering I’m still (ever so slightly) above 200 pounds.
Before I go any further, I want you to understand that while I fully advocate for loving yourself and appreciating the body that God gave you, I do not advocate for an unhealthy lifestyle or carrying around a percentage of body fat that will ultimately lead to health problems and possibly an early death. It is possible for an overweight person to have normal blood sugar and normal blood pressure. It’s also possible for an overweight woman to have a healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated labor and delivery. I did it 3 times! Being overweight doesn’t mean that a woman is doomed to having gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or anything else. Sure, her risk may be higher, but she can appear healthy for any given moment in time. My question is, what sort of things could be going on below the surface that we don’t know about?
During the summer of 2013, I was “blessed” to find out about some “pending” health concerns. I say “blessed” because I had a doctor tell me that I had fatty deposits in my liver, and if I didn’t make a change, I could be full-blown type 2 diabetic within a couple of years. I knew I needed to make a change, but I also needed a push to get me going. That was the push I needed. He told me if I lost weight and developed a healthy lifestyle, then those risks were almost certain to disappear. I walked out of that office determined to find an answer…
The next day, I joined a gym in my area, ready to start a healthy lifestyle. A few months later, I read about a book that seemed to be changing lives. I dismissed it several times because it advocated for stevia while restricting the intake of things like milk, honey and bread. As a big time milk drinker, and lover of all things sweet and carb-y, I tucked the idea in the back of my mind, time after time after time, until I could ignore the testimonials no longer. “Trim Healthy Mama” was calling my name, and I had to listen.
The authors sent me a free copy of the book (at my request) for my review here on my blog. I had no idea that nine months later, with dozens of YouTube videos, blog posts, facebook comments and recommendations to family and friends, that I would be sitting here typing this post, nearly 50 pounds lighter than when I started. More significant than the number on the scale, is the freedom, courage and strength I’ve found along the way. I feel like I’ve broken out of the shackles that held me down for years. No matter how much I tried to quiet the little voice in my mind, it was always there telling me that I wasn’t good enough for my children and one day they would be ashamed of me. Honestly, I wouldn’t have blamed them. A mother should take care of herself. She should take pride in herself and love herself enough to make sure her body is healthy and well cared for. That means providing the proper nutrition and exercise to sustain a life of nurturing her children. A mother who doesn’t take care of herself, cannot take care of her family.
Last week, my family and I went on vacation. It was the first time as a family of 5, and also my first time in a size 12-14. I started this journey at a 20. I played with my kids on the playground, slid down the slide with my baby (and my hips fit on the slide!), and chased them around the beach playing tag–IN A BIKINI!!! I played with my kids confidently and loved it! Sure, there were probably a lot of people who looked at me and saw a woman with too many stretch marks to be wearing a bikini, or still a little more weight around her midsection than should be there. What they didn’t know, and the only thing I saw (or felt) was that I’m actually a woman whose body went through the work to carry and deliver 3 healthy babies, and then went through the work to lose 50 pounds (65 if you count the weight I lost between the time Darian was born and starting THM). I felt confident and proud, I didn’t see the flaws still there because many of them I can’t change (if anyone ever does find a miracle cure for stretch marks, please let me know!)
Yes, I finally have learned to love and accept myself after this weight loss, and it could only happen now because I knew that the previous version of myself was not a healthy one. It wasn’t the one God wanted me to be. He wanted me to have a body that worked properly and to do that, it needed to be lighter. This isn’t “fat hate” or anything like that…it was a mission to discover a healthy Amber…a healthy mom and a healthy wife. I think I’ve found her.
Now…can I help you find yours?
Before: (December 21, 2013)
Current: Taken last week at the Beach (September 2014)