Jessica's Recovery: One Year Update
I have been going back and forth on how to write this – I was messaging with a couple of friends the other day and said, “How do I nicely explain and write ‘my world went to hell when George Floyd died and I gained at least 20 lbs’?”
I want to put this off for another 6 months. I want to be in a place where I have it all together, and I feel and look fabulous. But that’s not where I am. This is me, in what feels still like a mess at one year postpartum.
The last 6 months have been incredibly stressful. We live in Minneapolis – so when George Floyd died and the city burned from nightly riots, we evacuated to different families' houses for a week. I really don’t want to get into the politics of it all, but when the world moves on, we will still live with the reminder that our city burned, signs crying for justice are still all over the city, and violence has increased immensely. Due to the stress in the month of June, I gained 10lbs – then I spiraled into an eating disorder relapse. I tried restricting. I was obsessed with my body, and was trying to control something – the world, my city, my husband’s family, my family, all felt like it was falling apart. So I went back to my old ways of body obsession and eating restriction. The thing is though, with nursing, the more I tried to restrict the more weight I gained, and the worse I felt mentally and physically.
At the same time, I kept trucking with my workouts. I am super consistent about exercising – I don’t know how to not do it – it’s a habit built into me from when I started running at 14. I kept up with my workouts and rehab exercises. I would tell my husband and my friends that I feel so strong. I felt in some ways the strongest and more put together than I had in a long time. Doing Shoulder Solutions was amazing for my neck and shoulders, and I was able to continue to increase weight in my compound lifts (i.e squats, deadlifts, hip thrust) Most of the time I didn’t even have to think about my pelvic floor, which is amazing! I even started running!
By August though, I was still struggling – that’s when I said “enough” – and booked myself a couple of therapy sessions.That helped turn things around. I got on top of my triggers, shut off all politics, didn’t read the news and bubbled. I focused on my kids, my work, and what I could control in my little world. I am very religious and started practicing trusting God with my body and things that I couldn’t control. I also worked on not looking at myself in pictures, and stopped videoing myself all together.
Fast forward to October, and I am doing a lot better than I was in August. I am working on weaning my son – and I think while working on the mental piece is very important, my body is also exhaling from not having to feed another human being full-time. Within a week of dropping morning feedings, I noticed a dramatically decreased appetite and swelling in my face went down. For my sanity, as we enter a long Minnesota winter, I got a membership at the nearby climbing gym so I can have a place to go when I just need to get out of the house. I love having a gym in my home – but then I really don’t ever leave the house, and that’s not healthy for me either.
In conclusion, I am not where I hoped I would be weight wise at the end of a year – I had visions of getting my body “back” – but I am leaps and bounds ahead in strength and posture than I thought I would be. I almost didn’t want to do a posture comparison, because I wasn’t sure if I would be majorly triggered or not. But thankfully I was feeling good this morning after fitting into leggings I couldn’t fit into a year ago. It was good for me, I think! I still have a little bit of an APT, but, my forward head posture has dramatically improved, my shoulders sit square on my body, and I have the most amazing butt ever (I literally can’t keep my husband off of me at times *wink*).
I know I am not 100% where I want to be, but the things I learned this year on stress management and working through the mental piece of my teenage eating disorder have been invaluable, and I know no matter what my body does, I believe that my God has me in his hands, and my value doesn’t depend on the scale or the size of the pants my strong legs fit into.