Editor’s note: I’ve never been pregnant, so I am unable to write about post-baby weight with any authority. A friend from high school was generous enough to write a blog post on this topic for me. She has three babies and lives in the Syracuse, NY area. Enjoy her wonderful post about battling the baby weight! – ATH
Before I got pregnant I was one of those girls you would love to hate. I ate with abandon and looked like a twig. The only diet I undertook was to lose 8lbs for my wedding. I figured I would be one of those women who carried gracefully and amazed everyone when I effortlessly popped back into figure. After all, breastfeeding is supposed to burn 500 calories a day, right? If only my reality were half as positive as I had envisioned. After three years of marriage I now have had two pregnancies and three kids and I am struggling to accept my “new” body. I am on my second try on this post-baby weight loss journey in as many years.
After my first hellish delivery, which ended in an emergency c-section, I was in bad shape. I wasn’t allowed to even drive for the first 8 weeks let alone exercise. Not that I could have anyway. As any new mom knows, those first months were sleepless and stressful. I had enough on my plate with adjusting to my new life and role. The doctor’s orders were a blessing for my Type A perfectionist ass. It kept me from putting the pressure on myself too soon and I am very grateful. In retrospect I think the first three months postpartum should be like the first trimester; let your body deal with all the hormone changes and try to stay static on the scale.
Once my doctor cleared me for activity I was eager to start but it took me a while to figure out how to make it happen. My kid rarely slept longer than a half hour, it was still winter in Syracuse, and I had no childcare help whatsoever. My solution was using Wii Fit and Wii Zumba. My son thought it was hysterical to watch me. He loved the music and seemed to think it was entirely for his entertainment. When it finally got warm enough here I joined up with a Mommy and Me group and did Stroller Fit in the park. Before I went I thought it would be a nice little walk along the lake with other moms. It turned out to be running a combined mile and a half with uphill sprints and core training at the benches. I was so desperate to get out of my house and to get in shape. I was really happy with the results I got. I was able to run longer distances than I had been able to pre-pregnancy…until I got pregnant for the second time.
My twins were a double surprise and put an obvious kink in my plans. I wish I had been one of those moms that continued to work out during pregnancy but it wasn’t in the cards. After one run during morning sickness I swore off Stroller Fit. At 20 weeks I was put on bed rest. By the time this pregnancy was over I had be entirely deconditioned. A repeat section meant another couple months of no lifting or exercising. The reality of having three kids under two meant absolutely no free time to get to Stroller Fit as one was always sleeping or needing to eat or to be changed. Once life settled down enough for me to go back, it was unrealistic, as I would be pushing a collective 110 lbs between the kids and the stroller. A new strategy was needed.
Being a mom of three babies I had picked up terrible eating habits. I was breastfeeding twins and allowed an extra 1,000 calories a day to produce enough milk for both. Not that I had time to eat or do anything for myself. I even had to put an app on my phone to remind me to drink so I wouldn’t get dehydrated. The majority of the weight did come right off from the sheer insanity. I rarely had time to eat before the sun went down so I gorged myself after the kids were in bed. I didn’t care what I ate and took total advantage (an entire sleeve of Oreos, anyone?). I knew when the time came to wean, I would need to have some sort of plan. You don’t go from taking in an extra 1,000 calories a day down to the RDA without cravings and bumps. I recognized this as a good time to do more than just lose weight but to improve my habits.
I needed whatever I wanted to do to be convenient. If it was going to add more stress to my life and take more time in my day, it wasn’t going to happen. This meant meal planning and prepping. I found recipes for healthy slow-cooker meals I could start up at anytime during the day, which avoided a lot of intensive time during the “bewitching hour.” I figured that I didn’t want to eat anything I couldn’t share with my two year old, aside from my morning cup of coffee. If I wouldn’t let him have yogurt and snacks with a ton of added sugar or formulated diet foods, then why would I let myself eat it? This also means I can make one meal for the babies and us.
I wanted to add more veggies and fiber to my diet and I found a recipe for a Green Smoothie that I played around with. By pureeing all the veggies and fruits in big batches and by freezing the mix in muffin tins, I could do all the prep only twice a month. Each morning it takes me the same amount of time to pop out two of the frozen cakes and blend them with coconut water as it does to fix a cup of coffee. In an effort to bring my husband on board I started to cook some flavorful Mexican and Indian dishes in which I could eliminate meat and use low-fat components. I even replaced cauliflower for mashed potatoes without him noticing.
By far, my hardest switch has been to replace all the sugary beverages I had been drinking with healthy alternatives. I hate the tap water where I live and I’ve been failing pretty hard. I started drinking herbal tea, and so far I’ve been able to increase my intake moderately. It is probably the aspect that I struggle with the most. Plus, I NEED caffeine. Judge me all you want, but I cannot do what I do without it. At this point, I limit myself to two cups of coffee and a diet soda in one day.
I feel like I’m the least qualified person to write this. I’m never going to be the junior size four pants like I was pre-pregnancy. Accepting that my hips will never go back to the boyish size they used to be means I’m going to weigh more than I did in high school. I am not proud of these truths and they still aren’t easy to accept. Lately, I’ve fallen off the wagon more than once. I am so very flawed and I constantly need to try harder. I find inspiration in Angie and in other women fighting the same battle honestly and openly and for this reason alone I am sharing this…oh, and for the three recipes Angie promised me J.