Weighty Issues

So I’ve sort of sprinkled here and there on this blog that I’ve had a bit of a past when it comes to eating disorders. I’ve never fully addressed it, and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I ever would. Then I read a really brave blog about a woman who was terrified that her old weight obsessions were going to cause her to do something stupid like try not to gain weight while pregnant. I realized I couldn’t stay silent.

Here we are, so buckle in.

I can’t promise you the exact timing of the first skipped meal. I’m guessing about 12, because that’s when I started losing weight. I know by 15 I spent time actively seeing how long I could go without eating. I rarely ate breakfast and usually only had diet coke and maybe some skittles for lunch at school, because those were two easy times I could go without eating and my parents wouldn’t know the difference.

I’d been a chubby kid. I matured young (in a bra by 8) and grew fast.  At 12 or 13 I had my spine X-rayed to see the level of scoliosis I was dealing with. It was mild, and nearly concealed by my flexibility, but it hardly mattered as my growth plates were fused anyways. I’d be almost 5′ 3″ forever.

The summer Casper came out, I was in Toronto. I don’t know that Casper had anything to do with what happened next, but it’s possible. I know Christina Ricci always made me feel like I could actually be an actor. (We had a similar look back then…)

Somehow I managed to spend my nights running laps around the outside of my grandparent’s huge Olympic swimming pool, jumping the diving board each time. I say somehow, because I’m not entirely sure why no one was concerned that I was running said laps. I remember my grandmother catching me once and her having no idea what the hell was going on, but that was the only time in a long summer.

I’m sure there was more to it than that, but all I really remember is coming back to school the next year and everyone wondering where the rest of me was.

That was addictive, that notice. I’d forever been the chubby little girl in the background, great for a sympathetic ear, but no one you’d actually want to be friends with. Suddenly, people talked to me when they didn’t need something from me.

So I wanted more. It took me a few years, but I managed to get down to a size 3. Not terrible considering I was wearing an 11 by eleven.

Then I really got into the local acting. And then Dancing. It was so easy not to really eat a meal all day when you didn’t get home until after dinner because of rehearsals. (To be fair, a lot of the time I had food with me. I guess by that point I’d trained myself to not notice anything but MAJOR hunger pains, and working on my lines/song/dance got me long past that point.) At this point I could comfortably wear 1s or 0s depending on the store.

Oddly enough, my weight really never dropped off the way you’d think. I was usually around 120 lbs, heavy for my height and pant size for sure. It wasn’t until later that I found out that I was ridiculously muscle dense. But I’m getting ahead of myself here…one thing at a time.

Right around 16 or 17 I found myself around a new grouping of friends. I still hung out with the old ones, but they were newer (and much healthier) relationships. I still ate poorly, but I ate better with them. I starting working out more.

By the time I graduated, I felt comfortable enough with myself to admit to my parents that I’d spent years doing horrible, terrible things to my body. They didn’t actually believe me. I think, like most parents, they’d assume they would notice if one of their kids had an eating disorder. And I think it’s really, super important for me to say that out of the girls I knew (or knew of) who did have eating disorders, only the one’s who ended up hospitalized had parents that found out.

My size fluctuated a bit in University, but nothing that required me buying new clothes. I’d notice things getting tighter and I’d work out and/or eat less. When things got super loose, I’d happily eat crap.

It may surprise you, but acting actually really helped me turn things around. After 3 academically heavy semesters, I was about a year ahead in University. So I asked my parents if they’d let me have a semester to come home, get ready, and try to obtain a SAG agent. They agreed, and I moved back home.

I converted to the Zone diet and I worked out. (Roll your eyes, but the Zone saved me. It required me to eat every three or four hours, something I’d never done. It also let me focus on feeding my workouts, rather than obsessing over food for myself.) And what were my workouts like? I spent a solid hour lifting weights. I ran as far as I could on the elliptical in 45 minutes (usually 7 miles). I did an hour of Pilates or yoga. And then I worked on stretching and core work at home. Four hours, every single day.

At my fittest, I was 107 pounds and could bench press 125 lbs. Plus I was eating, so awesome, right?

Except…I wanted to lose ten pounds. Where exactly those ten pounds would have come from, I have no idea. All I know is I desperately wanted them off me.

From my acting days...

From my acting days…

My twenties is kind of a haze of my body bouncing around between a size 1 and a size 5. Always wanted to be smaller, but I tried to actually eat food when I’d let myself.

Then I met MFH. Not sure why, but I told him about my past with weight and food. (I’d certainly never told any other guy in my life about it.) And you know what he did? He made me food. To eat. Every day. He’d pack me lunches for work, and make me a plate as large as his for dinner. It was too much food (we still eat far too large portions, but that’s a whole other issue) but it came equipped with a guy who liked me in curves.

Somewhere along the way…I liked me in curves too. Yes, I dieted before my wedding, but I certainly didn’t starve myself. And the weight going on afterward didn’t cause a panic attack. I’m healthy and strong and I — SHOCKER — like food.

Mom, me, and Grandma. I think you can easily see in this one that size ≠ happiness. [Photo by Sean Lynn]

Mom, me, and Grandma. I think you can easily see in this one that smaller size ≠ greater happiness.        [Photo by Sean Lynn]

And if I hadn’t gotten to this point? To this wonderful place where my self worth is in no way dictated by the size of my pants or the pounds on the scale?

Well, then I wouldn’t be having the Spawn at all. My growing belly would have been horrific for me. I would have starved us both to try to maintain a smaller form for longer. I might have hospitalized us, or worse.

So if you’re following along on this journey and wondering why I never talk about how much weight I gained, or why I don’t have weekly bump photos, it’s just a mild safety check for myself. So I don’t have to look at a growing number on a page or a little lumpiness and fixate unhealthy on it. (Just as a side note I do plan to take some photos once I’m actually “bumped.” I just don’t think I need to have a weekly record of getting there…)

This all might also explain why I get so crazy about women hating one another. I spent so much of my life hating myself, I feel so strongly about being gentle with myself and others for the rest of it. It’s awesome to be on the other side looking back. Or rather, on the other side never looking back.

Thanks for coming along for the ride…

Preconception Cocktail

Last time I promised to give info in my whole preconception prep insanity, when I had some time to do it justice. I do my best to be a woman of my word, so here we go!

It’s not that it’s all that complicated, it’s more that there are a couple different subsections to the process. So it’s not somuch of complicated as just loooong. Also, maybe boring.

The thing is, I really feel like it’s helping me. My irregular cycles have gotten their (her?) act together. My skin looks amazing and my body is fitter. My hair is finally getting over the insanity of my gall bladder diet and looking less like that of Frankenstein’s Monster‘s bride. I get a a lot of complements. (On my “glow.” As of today, no one has complimented me on my regular cycle. Although, a ultrasound technician did tell me last Summer that I had a perfect uterus… So there’s that.)

Is this the only way? Clearly not. This is just my way.

The Books:
These guys get top billing for two reasons. The first being that books are awesome, and make me feel happy. The second is that a lot of what these two advised me, I picked up and used myself. (I would like to add that I’ve read/am reading several others, but this is the preconception shelf.)

Without further ado:

Before Your Pregnancy

This was my first foray into the Pre-Preggo world. It was literally the only thing I could find regarding the crazy (Read: OCD) desire I had to plan planing to get pregnant. I read it last August. It gave me the idea of having a three-month countdown.

Of course, the fact that my 30th birthday was followed in three months by May…which is sort of the perfect time to start trying to conceive if you don’t want to be hot during months 5 through 9…also helped.

The Everything Getting Pregnant BookMom got this one for me. (Actually she got me two, but the other one was more for couples who are really having problems getting preggo. Fingers crossed I won’t need it.)

Most of the information was doubled, but there was a small section on some useful herbs that sparked my interest and (after an extensive search) led to one of my major daily activities…

(See below, The Tea.)

The Pills:
I was never a fan of THE PILL, as it seemed to do nothing but really make me feel terrible. I mean, I guess it also helped me out with not getting knocked up. I just feel like it only did that grudgingly. (Look, if you haven’t figured out by now that I’m a little (a little?!?) neurotic, well, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.)

But I’m getting off topic here.

What with cooking a new human being, the body of a pregnant lady needs both more and different things than the body of…well, everyone else. And the really creepy thing? If the stuff the Spawn needs isn’t there, it will actually start leaching it from things regular people need. Like, pulling calcium out of bones. The Spawn is like a nutritional vampire!

So, to counteract said leaching, you’re supposed to eat really well. Also supplements. LOTS of supplements.

Here are mine:

Folic Acid

Last Spring, I got my annual checkup. Despite having to go in for further more…internal tests, the doc did suggest I start taking Folic Acid. Even though I didn’t want to get preggo for a year. Her words: “This is good. Just in case. That way if mistake, is still okay.”

The focus always seems to be on the girls and the eggs. How many times have you heard that Folic Acid is super important for guys and their swimmers too? Never? Yeah, neither had I, until I started researching preconception.

In a move that seems to be sort of obvious to me, guys who take a good multivitamin and Folic Acid supplement 3+ months before conception also have less instances of children with terrible things like Spina Bifida.

So, since MFH is…well, fantastic, he’s been taking the 1mg a day with me for almost a year.

GNC Prenatal with DHA

Prenatal vitamins are super tricky. I mean, google it. (I’ll just wait here.)

I KNOW! 3 Million results! Crazy, right?

It’s even crazier when you’re trying to make sure that you find one with everything you need. So why did I pick GNC‘s formula with DHA? Couple of reasons.

I adore that I have to take three a day, because it makes me feel like good stuff is in my system longer. Also, it makes it less traumatic on my stomach. If I do have morning sickness, three options to absorb the goods seems like a better option than a one-shot.

On top of all the general goodness you’d expect from a prenatal, it has Choline and Biotin. Bonus points for the extra DHA.

I couldn’t find anything comparable up here. As I often do in such cases, I outsourced to the USA.

Vitamin D

MS runs in MFH’s family, so vitamin D will forever be a part of our lives. The data is inconclusive, but vitamin D seems to help in prevention and symptoms. We take extra beyond our multis because:

  1. Not doing so would brake my MIL‘s heart.
  2. We live in Canada. It’s dark a lot in the winter. Some years winter is really freakin’ long.
  3. I’m notsofond of the Sun in general. I realize how crazy that sounds but the only thing lots of sun ever got me was some serious burns, heat stroke, and super crowded beaches and amusement parks. I like having porcelain skin and looking 5 to 10 years younger than I actually am. I also enjoy a brisk 68*F to 71*F (20 to 22 in Celsius). Ergo, I avoid the Sun in general more than I should.

The Diet:
Let’s get one thing clear right now. I’m not talking about something one goes on to change total body mass. I’m using the word in the strictest definition only. (Per Webster: “food and drink regularly provided or consumed”)

It’s pretty basic. Lots of real food (not in packages), as local as possible, mostly green or other bright, intense colours. Meat from farms, not factories, fed vegetarian food. Low mercury fish.

No alcohol. Cutting back on the caffeine. (The diet coke withdrawal is probably my weakest point in this entire enterprise.)

Also? Water. SO MUCH WATER.

Nalgene Water Bottle

See this 32oz BPA free bottle? I have this exact one. (So cute, right?)

I put back at least 3 of these suckers a day.If I’m in reliably close proximity to a bathroom, I’ll pound as many as 5.

That’s right, be awed by the power of my bladder!

Or…you know what, don’t be. That’s a super weird thing to be awed by. Also, MFH insists that I have the world’s smallest bladder, so there’s another point against.

The Tea:
I like “natural” and “organic” stuff. I’m not a blind follower of either, but I do like both a lot. I especially like when the use of herbs and such are proven alternatives to drug store fare. The thing about herbs/plants (and I’m going to try and stay off a soapbox here) is you can’t patent it. So lets say sunflowers cure ear cancer (I’m making shit up). It would take a lot of nonprofits a lot of time to pull that study together, because no pharmaceutical could say sunflowers were theirs to sell to ear cancer patients.

Enter in the healers. Thanks to literally thousands of years of anecdotal evidence, some herbs/plants have been looked at in traditional medical studies. Some of the time, science proves what healers have been saying for years.

This is how I got onto Red Raspberry Leaf and Red Clover Blossom. There are actual medical studies that have shown that women who take Red Raspberry Leaf are less likely to need a C-Section, extra help (vacuum/forceps), or days to give birth. It’s also supposed to be really good for fertility. Red Clover Blossom helps regulate cycles and cleans the body.

I take a high concentrated tea of both (along with some peppermint for flavor), at least two cups, every single day.

So that’s it…It’s hard to say if all of the above, combined with my exercise and BBT charting will make any difference until I actually start trying to conceive. What I can say is what I have said before: my cycles have normalized; I’ve been told I look great (I also feel like I’m looking better, but it sounds less narcissistic if other people say it.); and my overall energy is way up.

But more importantly than all of this? I actually feel ready to have a kid.

Or at least as ready as anyone can ever be…

Hoppy Easter!

I’m not a fan of Facebook. I know, it’s weird. Everyone’s on Facebook. Except for me and the elderly…and even some of them have nifty pages that their grandkids hooked them up with. I refuse to even get on for all those great “Like” deals.

So it’s not exactly a secret, but I don’t walk around with an “I’m not on Facebook” t-shirt either.

Here’s the thing. It’s not an arbitrary choice. I’m not on, because I’ve noticed that people tend to forget real-life contact (at least with me), when I’ve been on Facebook in the past.

This happened again recently when I found out via Facebook (of a friend) that my Mother went in for emergency surgery. Yeah. It felt about as good as you’d figure it might. She’s fine. But still, my point is the same.

So that’s how I started my Easter week. I spent a vast majority of the time I should have been planing my Easter yumminess losing my skull over the health of my mother. (OCD + Stress = Ugly)

The thing about Easter yummies, is that there is sort of a non-recognized baking competition between the attendees of my in-laws’ Easter. The first year I ever went, I made a gingerbread and Key Lime Pie. MFH’s aunt M made a Key Lime Pie as well. Totally weird and random, especially since there is not so much of the Key Liming in Canada. But it gets better. The next year? Tres Leches. Both of us. Again. IN CANADA. I was convinced she had a video camera in our house. How else could that have happened?

This year I wanted to try something totally out there and different. Something that even though AM and I seem to channel each other’s plans, I would be the only one with this idea.

So what did I come up with? Whoopie Pies. (Both Chocolate and Vanilla.) Did a basic marshmallow filling for both. Added some Easter colour. Bam! And though AM mentioned that she had thought about doing creme-filled donuts, (seriously, she’s in my brain!) they ended up being the only Whoopie Pies up for this year’s consideration. :p

Look at the pretty colours!

Mmm...Easter

Mmm…Easter

Easter was also the one month (and 4 day) checkpoint for me having a baby friendly body. (No alcohol, LOTS of vitamins, crazy amounts of lean meats and veggies, and enough water to float in.) One down, two to go…

Of course, now’s the time to get super buff…er, at least more buff than I am now. My go-to for the past year has been Barreworks. I love the classes, they kick my ass, and I see results literally the next day. I’ve also not gone for like three months. Today was my first class back, and it felt like it. I’ve booked classes every Monday through Friday in April. Tomorrow I’m going to hurt so bad. Hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday, my body will be like, “Oooooooh, right…we’ve done this before, we can do it again.” But until then? Lots of pain.

The really sick part?

I’m totally looking forward to it.