I Want to Lose 25 Pounds by My 35th Birthday (In About 4 Months)

Just before Christmas, a girl I knew in high school posted a full-body mirror selfie on Instagram with the following caption:

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2 weeks 5 days postpartum! In my skinny jeans 👖🙌 and all baby weight is gone! Can't wait to get the ok to workout!

“Is it okay to hate you a little right now? Because I do,” I wrote in response.

It was all in good fun, of course, but there I was, nearly a year after my son was born and I still had eight pounds of baby weight to lose. Plus another 20 pounds I meant to lose before I got pregnant. And that’s all after the 22 pounds I’d lost by avoiding carbs for the entire fall. (Late last year, I wrote in depth about my food issues and my lifelong struggles to lose weight, and how I finally succeeded with the help of hypnosis — and a low-carb diet: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/11/a-case-for-using-hypnosis-for-weight-loss.html.)

Like one would expect of any decent food writer, I gained back a few pounds over the holidays, and as this new year begins, I know I still have a long way to go to fit back into my not-so-skinny jeans.

As I wrote for The Cut, I don’t even want to be skinny-skinny; I just want to fit comfortably back in my size 10s without a muffin top. To get there, I need to lose about 25 pounds. That may seem like a lot, but it still keeps me firmly in the overweight category on the BMI scale. It’s a happy, healthy weight for me, especially if I can be fit when I get there.

Unfortunately, fit I am not. I stopped working out (beyond long walks and prenatal yoga) a few months into my pregnancy, which means I haven’t done any high-intensity body work in almost two years. And in addition to losing pounds, I really do want to be in good shape. Or at least in good enough shape to not hate my arms. I’ve always hated my arms, yet I’ve always wanted a quarter-sleeve tattoo on my right one.

So, I’ve decided to make that a reward of sorts. I’m going to do what I can to lose 25 pounds by my 35th birthday on May 9, and if I reach my goal, I’ll get the tattoo.

Of course, there will be challenges along the way.

While dieting is hard for most people, for me, fitting in exercise is even harder now that I’m a mom. I know myself and my schedule well enough to know that I’m not likely to make it back to the gym any time soon — I just don’t have the luxury of that much childcare. I do, however, have a jogging stroller I’ve only used to navigate my neighborhood’s crappy sidewalks. And I have a kettlebell, and some hand weights and even a super-cheap rowing machine collecting dust in my basement. Oh, and there’s also that chunky toddler who laughs uncontrollably when I “bench press” him.

If I’m being completely honest, yes, I want a tattoo and I want to fit back into my pre-baby jeans, but I also want to be a healthy role model for my son. Unlike me, I want him to grow up thinking that a healthy lifestyle is a normal one. I want him to see me reach for eggs instead of a box of cereal in the morning, and I want him to get to know his neighborhood by foot and bicycle, not the car.

It’s time for me to set the right example.

As much as I hate to put this in writing, today I weigh 189.5 pounds and I bet I couldn’t even do a pushup. In just over four months, I’d like to weigh 165 and at least look like I could maybe do a pushup or three.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey, and cheer me on — or give me a virtual kick in the ass — when I need it most.