I have been overweight for pretty much my entire life.
Looking through photos, it seems to have started around age 4 when my family force-fed me highly processed foods around the clock. I didn’t realize the sugar addiction probably took place long before I ever ate a bite of solid food. I somehow came to the conclusion that baby formula was poison, and would set a child up for health failure and weight gain early on, and that I probably turned out this way because I was formula fed. This is significant because years later at the age of 26, almost 27, I would encounter a problem I never imagined, but it would be the very thing to show me the root causes of my perpetual health and weight struggles.
But before I get to that, I’ll make this next part of the story short. Once I moved out of my grandma’s house at the age of 19 and began eating OTHER peoples’ homecooked meals and bike riding everywhere, I dropped weight like crazy. But the second I had to move back in with her a few years later, along with dealing with some other emotional issues, I started gaining it right back. My engagement to my now husband back at the beginning of 2012 prompted me to get my butt in high gear to lose weight quick. I switched over to almond milk, stevia, brown rice, lean meats, whole wheat and whole grain items, and veggies… all with almost no fat. I did Beachbody Insanity workouts and went to the gym nearly 5 days a week until my wedding in June of 2012. I continued on this way of eating and working out after. I did lose a substantial amount of weight. I varied my eating habits in the next few years and attempted to be vegetarian and then vegan, where I got very sick and anemic. I avoided meat because it was hard for me to stomach. I still avoided fats, even healthy ones. I continued to do very intense workouts where I was injuring myself slowly and had no idea. I was in good shape, but not feeling very well on the inside.
I had a miscarriage in January of 2015 and then finally gave birth to our first full term, healthy baby girl – Zoe Evangeline Sinclair – on April 9th, 2016.
All the while, I was dead set on exclusively breastfeeding. I truly believed I was prepared even though I could have stood to do a little more research. Not giving my children formula, EVER, was a hill I was willing to die on. I scoffed at the sample cans I got in the mail. But on the day I gave birth, no one at the hospital was able to get her to latch. They gave me a bad-fitting nipple shield and a Medela Symphony pump with the wrong size flanges (which I didn’t know anything about back then) and left me to my own devices. She wasn’t even 24 hours old when they forced me to give her formula. Upon my discharge, the head midwife refused to give me a pump, which I desperately was going to need if I was going to make this work.
Then the hell began. Even when I got Zoe to crappily latch with a nipple shield, she refused to sleep, she would not settle, she would only cry and scream once I tried unlatching her. This was not working well. So the many visits back to the midwife, pediatrician, and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) began. At 3 weeks old, she was still at 14% weight loss. I was horrified that I had starved my baby. I knew she was tongue and lip tied but no one would listen to me and my pleas for help and trying to find someone to cut it or laser it from the right provider. (She eventually had it snipped by an ENT at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago with general anesthesia at 6 months old, long after I gave up breastfeeding. They did a terrible, incomplete job, by the way.)
At 3 weeks old, I was on a rigorous triple feeding schedule. Nurse with nipple shield, supplement with formula, pump for 20 minutes. Every. 2. Hours. I tried fenugreek, sunflower lecithin, and BeachBody Shakeology shakes as they contained moringa, flax, and some other “supply boosters.” I was eating oatmeal by the truck-full. After a few weeks of doing this, my supply did not increase but I did get mastitis. I caught it before it got ugly. At the end of the day, after 6 weeks, I could only pump 2 ounces a DAY total, combined. And Zoe never transferred more than a few teaspoons of milk from me while nursing. I threw in the towel because it just got stupid trying to do that. After looking at my physical markers and symptoms and seeking help from everyone I knew, I joined the IGT and Low Milk Supply SUpport Group on facebook and came to the conclusion that I had insufficient glandular tissue. The factory simply doesn’t have the equipment to do the job.
Why is this significant to my health and weight loss journey? There are a whole lot of reasons, but stick with me here. This blog just might help you if you’re looking for answers too.
6 months postpartum I became very frustrated that I gained back all the weight I initially lost after childbirth. My many attempts at clean eating and working out had absolutely no effect on me. I tried Beachbody’s 3 day refresh and couldn’t even finish. I was at the end of my rope and came to a point where I would cry because I felt chronically exhausted and sleepy, my hair wasn’t growing back, and I kept getting fatter. Why were my usual methods of weight loss not working? I literally went into a closet to pray, and I cried to God, asking for him to show me what was wrong. Little did I know that the answers would later be found in probably why I couldn’t breastfeed. I kept hearing about insulin resistance and hormonal issues… and one day shortly after I prayed that prayer, I came across some information on the ketogenic diet. I was instantly blown away by peoples’ results and I started immediately. My fatigue lifted, and I dropped weight like crazy, super quick, in 2 months. I felt awesome in more ways than one. I was convinced that this was truly the answer to many of my issues after some extensive research.
Then, on Christmas day 2016, I took a pregnancy test. Positive. Zoe’s sibling would arrive in September of 2017. My eating habits all went downhill from there. The pregnancy nausea was crippling and all my “keto” foods that I had just bought spoiled or went in the trash. I couldn’t even look at them. Strangely, I wasn’t gaining weight at an alarming weight and still stayed a reasonable size until I gave birth. I did a LOT more research about this whole breastfeeding thing and prayed that maybe I didn’t have IGT. I prayed that my child wouldn’t be tongue and lip tied again. All the while, I ate burger king and chinese food more than half of every week. I was even taking alfalfa capsules to grow glandular tissue during pregnancy and had even taken saw palmetto and hops pre-pregnancy for the same reason.
And then, months later, 5 days overdue, I went into labor and delivered my son, Gabriel Michael Sinclair, at 11:56 pm on September 8th, 2017.
I was hardly ready for the next few months and what they would bring and the things I would learn about the human body, and particularly, my own body. I made many huge discoveries and became my own science experiment. Part 2 is coming soon.