Body after Baby — Accepting that I am NOT a Celebrity

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Before my pregnancy, I was a fitness nut. I was a TURBOKICK certified instructor, did Crossfit, ate healthy, and worked out 5-6 days a week. I enjoyed living the healthy lifestyle and being a strong and fit woman. It was easy for me to find time after work to knock out 1 – 1 ½ hours at the gym.

When I became pregnant with Ryan, I vowed I would stay active during the pregnancy and not go over the recommended 20-30lb gain the doctors had stated. See I liked structure, I liked knowing there was a goal to not go over 30lbs… I would read blogs of women who looked fan-freakin-tastic pregnant and who were very active and not bloated. Oh the envy! Then I would read magazines and see how quickly celebrities or even bloggers “bounced back” after pregnancy. I thought that would be me. I read how breastfeeding knocks the weight right off and I was planning on breastfeeding so I thought I had a very easy road to losing the weight.

Boy was I wrong, and man did I have to WORK for it. See I maintained a very active lifestyle during my nine months, working out 3-4 days a week up until the last week or so that Ryan was born. But even with eating healthy and maintaining that lifestyle I ended up collecting a lot of fluid my last month of pregnancy, in fact, I gained 6lb of fluid my last week before I had Ryan. My total gain was around 40 lbs and although that is totally normal and fine, I had my mind set on the “recommended 20-30” and was very jealous of the women that didn’t look like a puffer fish.  

2 days before I delivered, just had a 6lb fluid gain that week.

Now the fun part… getting the weight off.

I had read that once you have the baby, you will still look pregnant when you leave the hospital…so that part did not freak me out. I did, indeed, look about 7-8 months pregnant still. I lost about 10 lbs immediately after having Ryan so I had 30 to lose. I still had it in my mind that breastfeeding would help knock that right off. I WAS WRONG.

2 days after delivery, still look 7-8 months pregnant.

I am here to tell you that whenever anyone says “breastfeeding is the best exercise, you will quickly lose the weight,” they are wrong. Sure maybe for them, but I wasn’t one of the “chosen” ones that really got that benefit. Now I don’t know if it was because I didn’t produce an over abundant supply of milk or not (I am not a scientist) but my body acted like it needed to hold on to that weight to produce my milk. As frustrating as that was, I refused to stop breastfeeding so that I could lose weight…that would have been selfish of me.

I started working out again around the six week mark, per my doctor’s permission. Boy was that rough. I had to teach myself to run again, all the while trying not to pee on myself as I was trying to build my muscles back up in that area again too. I started doing the couch-to-5K programs you see posted everywhere online and started doing Jillian Michaels' 30-day Shred to gain strength. I was working out at night while Ryan chilled in his bouncy seat right beside me and only in 30 minute increments. That was all the time I had. I was a full-time working mother and now that I had a baby, 30 was all I had. It worked, I was exhausted and got a great sweat in but was the weight coming off? Not as fast as I would like. See I was only losing about 1lb every 2 weeks or so. By the time Ryan was 6 months old I still had about 20lbs to lose.

I was frustrated. I wanted to immediately stop reading the blogs I was following and ban all magazines. It really did seem like everyone around me who had just had a baby had lost their weight within 3-4 months and looked fantastic. Oh, then you had the celebrities that were back strutting their stuff a month after having a baby… I wanted to curse them all. I couldn’t fit into my old clothes and really didn’t want to spend the money buying a new wardrobe… I guess you could say that was one part of my motivation. That, and feeling happy about my body.

Around that time, my milk supply was dropping and had to make the tough decision to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula. While I was sad at that, I was very proud that I stuck with it for as long as I did. About 3 weeks after I stopped nursing, my hormones regulated back to non-nursing/non-producing, and I started noticing 1-2lb loss per week. There you have it folks! Proof, my body needed that weight whether I liked it or not.

Heading into September, I was nine months post baby and still had about 10lb to go. I was still working out only 30-min/day 3-4 days a week but I knew based on that time limit, I needed to “up the ante.” I started pushing myself on the treadmill with more HIIT training and added Pure Barre workout DVDs in the mix (still only using a 30 minute window). I limited my starchy carbs, increased my protein, and still found time to have a snack or two in the mix, while still producing weight loss results.

By December, one year after baby, I was back to my pre-pregger weight. Did I have all the strength I had before? No.  Do I have a six pack? I wish. But, I could finally fit in my old clothes comfortably without having to buy a new wardrobe. Goal conquered!

I am now a true believer in “9 months on, 9 months (or more) off.” I totally regret being so number focused during my pregnancy and so worried about the weight. I now know that as long as you eat healthy and maintain as healthy of a lifestyle that is comfortable for you while you are pregnant, then that is all that matters. Also, to understand every woman/every body is different. If you are one of the lucky ones that has weight loss success while nursing, then I bow down to you. But, I wasn’t one of “those” and I am okay with that now. I just had to work a little harder at it and I am very proud of what I have done while balancing a job, home, husband, baby, and dog. I did all of this at home, without a gym membership, personal trainer, or surgery (for you celebrities out there).  I did this all in the comfort of my home with my baby looking at me like I had lost my mind as I jumped around the room.

It’s been almost 15 months now and I am down a few more lbs past my pre-preggo weight and I wasn’t trying to. I am happy where I am at, and just want to maintain my health and strength, all the while indulging in treats if I want to. I have also just discovered the website/fitness program the Daily Burn, and can’t wait to share a review of that with you soon. I just started last week and want to give it a week or so more before I give my opinion. But, it is kicking my butt. My new goal is to stop weighing myself and focus on maintaining my healthy lifestyle and loving my new body, momma curves and all.