Today we’ll be talking to Amelia Francais about her recent weight loss and journey to better health. Amy is a wife, mother of 3 kids, band teacher, and amazing friend.
Fun fact! She was the very first friend I made in university, as we clicked during our music auditions. You can imagine our joy the first day of classes when we realized that we both made it!
I wanted to share Amy’s story because a lot of my readers are Moms of littles and likely in the same boat. Even if you’re in another phase of life, there’s something in Amy’s wise words for you too.
I’m also serious about following up on all of the New Years Resolutions I posted about, but I can only share my heart so many times per month before I start to get really anxious. I had three or four of those posts in January, so my drafts about my own journey are just going to have to wait a little longer. 🙂
Let’s get to it! I’m going to hand this blog over to Amy now and let her tell you her story. . .
I was about 135lbs when I got pregnant with Sophie. By the end of the pregnancy I was 212 pounds. Some of that weight was necessary gain for my body because I was close to being underweight before getting pregnant, and some of that was due to HELLP Syndrome and me just eating what I wanted when I wanted. I had expected to gain 20-40 pounds not 80 pounds. (For reference, Amy is around 5’9″)
Sophie had GERD and didn’t sleep well. Being the first child it was a steep learning curve. I didn’t do anything to try to lose the weight and I slowly got down to about 166 pounds after a year of doing nothing. The problem with this was that although I lost almost 50 pounds I was still tired and lethargic.
I started talking to Garrett about working out together and then I got pregnant with Hannah. My weight went up to 215 pounds during this pregnancy. I felt more tired and after Hannah was born it took over a year to get back down to that 166 pounds that I was after my first pregnancy. Again I talked about working out and getting in shape but I was all talk and no action.
With Nicholas’ pregnancy I was the most lethargic and grumpy I had ever been. I really didn’t like who I had become as a wife, parent, teacher and person. With each pregnancy it seemed I gained a wonderful child but lost a part of myself in the process.
Regarding weight loss: I’d lose the weight slowly after each pregnancy but never get back the energy I lost with each pregnancy. I feel like I was at my rock bottom after three children. We had lost one baby between Hannah and Nic, as well as I had HELLP Syndrome with both Sophie and Nic, and the doctors were telling me I probably shouldn’t have any more kids because of the risk to my health.
What was different this time around?
I was fed up with who I was, my lack of energy and short fuse with the kids. I am also hoping that by getting in shape if we decide we want another child in a couple of years and the doctors okay it, that me being in good physical shape will help prevent the previous complications I’ve had.
Did you have any times where you felt discouraged? What did you do to get out of it and gain some momentum?
I definitely had times when I felt discouraged. When Nic was going through a particularly sleepless week and I wasn’t able to workout until 10:30 at night. Or when we were on holidays and we would eat out and everyone was having burgers and ice cream and I had a salad. I would wonder if it was worth it. Or if I didn’t have an accountability group I would keep working out for a bit and slowly fall off the wagon.
To get out of the funk I would mentally slap myself and remind myself of why I’m doing this. I’m getting healthy for me and my family. To be a better me, have the energy to raise my family and hopefully help me age gracefully to be around and see my grandchildren and maybe great grandchildren one day.
I would also sign up for another accountability group. I’m the kind of person that needs to workout with someone I have a lot of trouble motivating myself. My husband works shift work and isn’t always willing to workout with me, so having a Facebook group where I have to be accountable for my actions really motivated me to press play at 10:30 at night. Now I’m at the point where i don’t feel I need to workout at 10:30 at night and if I miss a day it’s not the end of the world.
Why do you think you were more successful this time than others?
I was 100% more successful this time. I’ve lost more weight in 8 months than it took me to lose in 12-14 months previously. The bigger success is the change in my mental health, I’ve never had postpartum depression but I’m definitely happier and more energized. One of Garrett’s comments that sticks with me is he could notice how much happier I was. That I got my positive attitude back.
I think I was more successful because I felt called to do this. My self-esteem was the lowest it had ever been and I knew I had to do something but I always put it off. Life just got in the way. Kids activities, interrupted sleep, house cleaning, laundry, work, etc.
We were at church while visiting my in-laws and Father Mann’s homily was all about how you have to stop putting things off. Stop saying things like I’ll volunteer my time more when the kids are older because when you get older you’ll just find another excuse. We never get less busy. We can’t just do things when they are convenient for us. God calls us to get out of our comfort zone and he will be there for you if you trust him. This homily resonated with me and that day I committed myself to being healthier and exercising.
What are the best parts of being healthier?
For me the best part of being healthier is being a more active participant in my life, especially my family life. I feel like before this change I just sat on the couch and watched life happen. I have more energy so I’m more likely to play with the kids. Run with them in the backyard because I have more energy. I can now easily pick up my five year old and flip her upside down and swing her around. The giggles that I get to experience from being actively engaged in physical play with my children make it worth it.
Other perks I’ve found are my clothes fit better, I look in the mirror and negative thoughts about my appearance are further from my mind, and I’m much more patient and optimistic in general.
Is there anything you’ve had to sacrifice that you really miss, or do you not miss those things anymore?
I find now that I’ve been working at this for 7 months that I miss some things more than others. I’ve sacrificed caffeine. I don’t like black coffee and my preferred methods of caffeine were Coca Cola or Vanilla Lattes. I’ve maybe had Coke twice in the last seven months. The Lattes I use as a reward or treat and I get one once a week, usually Sunday. So if Nic has had a stretch of days of poor sleep I miss caffeine a lot on those days. Other days I don’t miss it at all. Raising 3 kids without daily doses of caffeine can be difficult some days.
I used to survive on carbs. I’d eat donuts, chips, and candy bars almost every single day. I don’t miss this as much because I feel so much better when I’m eating healthier and less processed foods.
I’ve had to sacrifice some family time and take me time to complete my workouts. This might mean my kids watch a bit more tv or they might do my workout with me. But showing them that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle hopefully will help them develop healthy habits as they get older.
Any advice for those of us just starting out? Or who’ve tried and failed a lot and are nervous about trying again?
I think my advice would be to do some deep thinking. Are you really ready to make the commitment? Are you willing to make the sacrifices? Be brutally honest with yourself about what you are willing to do.
Come up with a plan. I need accountability, so the Facebook group method works well for me. Maybe you need to do home workouts, maybe you need to be social and go to a gym.
If you have a spouse or partner you are living with make sure they are supportive, whether they commit to the plan or not doesn’t matter. It’s a lot harder to do something when the people closest to you aren’t supportive.
Figure out why you want to do this and keep that reason at the front of your mind everyday. I workout for me first and my family second. I workout at home, in my living room which has pictures of my husband and kids. When something is tough or I don’t want to workout I see these photos and remind myself of why I’m doing this and just get it done.
Thanks again Amy. It’s been amazing to interview you, and I must say, I love being in the same accountability group with you.
So readers, anything you want to know? See you in the comments.