Remember way back at the beginning of the year when we wrote our New Year Goals? It seems like forever ago now, but I distinctly remember putting something about ‘fixing my body and losing weight’ on there. In January I really tried to shed some of my baby weight, probably along with 90% of the country. Unfortunately, the comparison thief turned up at the end of the month and I felt absolutely heartbroken that, despite my best efforts, I’d only lost 7lb when other people I knew had lost up to 11lb. My mental health took a huge hit and I felt utterly useless.
Retrospectively, how freaking crazy is that?
I lost half a stone in my first month…that is good going! But because someone else shared that their secret was working out 24/7 and eating next to nothing, I felt like a failure. I got really depressed and completely threw in the towel on the whole lose weight, get fit saga. I didn’t think there was any point carrying on as I was obviously failing and I would never be as good as anyone else. I’d never lose the weight and if I did, it would take years and years. It was pretty clear at this point that my mental health was going downhill rapidly and it was mostly due to comparing myself to someone else. Isn’t it strange we’d always tell our friends that they’re doing amazing and not to compare themselves to other people and yet we never treat ourselves with that much kindness?
Unfortunately, this little slump also hit around the same time as Oscar’s major teething phase.
The teething hell lasted months and I found myself in a pretty dark place. Having had PND quite badly with Luke, I knew what was happening and I knew that I needed to change something. I’m not going to lie, the idea of antidepressants really did appeal to me. I knew that they’d give them to me as I have a history of mental health and they’d basically already said they would. My Health Visitor is also amazing and supportive so I knew I’d be able to talk to her and cut out the middle mad should I need to. But one little part of me decided that there were a few things I could try before I walked myself into the Tuesday weigh in clinic and asked for help.
I suppose one thing about mental health is that you get to know your triggers and sometimes you can be proactive and avoid falling down the rabbit hole.
This is what I decided to do. I had a really long chat with my other half. I cried a lot, I told him how I hate every day, dread every morning, can’t stand the constant upset from Oscar and how I wish everything was different. I suppose at one point I was a bit melodramatic when I told him I hated my life…but I was rather caught up in the moment. I didn’t really hate my life, I know it’s wonderful! But I was so overcome with emotion and sadness and feeling like a failure that I didn’t know how else to phrase it. It was a pivotal point of the year though, and after talking things through with my very patient fiance, things started to get better again.
Teamwork is the way forward!
After explaining to him how utterly overwhelmed I was and how I felt that I was constantly drowning, we came up with a few things that we could both do that would help me out. We came up with a good lists and we’ve put a lot of them into action, which in turn, has lead to me regaining some of my identity again. Having time where I am ‘Rachael’ and not just ‘mummy’ again has been utterly game changing. The thing I struggle with most is not being on my own. I’m such a huge introvert; I really need time on my own to recover from life’s obstacles. Being a mum to a sad, teething baby wasn’t giving me that time and everything kept building up until it all started spilling over and I couldn’t cope with it anymore.
Finding my motivation again.
It wasn’t too long after making a few changes to the way things run at home that I started to feel like myself once more. I liked my life again, I felt happier, more motivated and I was enjoying time with the kids a lot more knowing that I could have half an hour of peace and quiet if I needed it.
I started to really look forward to our first ever family holiday which is at the end of the month. Although I’m not happy with the way I look and the shape that my body is, I also don’t give a crap about what strangers on a beach in Cornwall think of me. I’ve noticed that body positivity these days means loving the skin you’re in as it is – which is fine – but I’m sure you should be able to love yourself as well as want to change yourself? Our holiday had given me a benchmark timeframe in which I could attempt to make a difference to my size. When I started, I had about a month and a half to work with. Now I only have a month! I wanted to lose a stone and I can tell you right now, that is not going to happen! I’ve not even lost half a stone (I’m silently cursing my past self for feeling rubbish about that -7lb in January)! But I have lost some fat, I do look slimmer, my clothes fit a bit better and I’m feeling way more energetic and much happier.
I don’t have a bikini body and, after two kids, I never will again. But that’s okay.
I am feeling so motivated these days and I am finding it a lot easier to regulate my emotions. I have found that in times of stress and even anger, going for a nice hour long walk has been the perfect way to destress and let it all go. Basically, it has tremendously helped my mental health and enabled me to overcome all sorts of hurdles that otherwise would have knocked me for six. What started as a way to lose weight in time for a holiday has become something a bit more. I want to be strong, I want to be more grounded, I want to be fit and I want to be healthy. The weight loss that comes with all of that is a very welcome bonus! But right now I’m so happy just to be feeling more mentally stable, more grounded and happier.