9 Months Up, 9 Months Down

10 Months @ Captiva

Nine months after having my beautiful, healthy, miraculous baby girl, and I finally reached my pre-baby weight.  It has been an emotional journey, so I felt the need to share. Everyone’s experience will be different, but this is mine.

Anyone who has read my blog over the past 7 years, knows I had been on along, slow journey towards healthy living, which coincidentally, reached its finale (best shape of my life) just a month before conceiving. While overjoyed with the news, in the back of my mind, I cringed at a family members’ comment from years past, “someday you’ll have kids and get fat like the rest of us”. Determined not to make that a reality and set a healthy example for my new, impressionable daughter, I tried not to go overboard with my diet (admittedly there were way too many Fruit Loops), and exercised almost every day I wasn’t ill. I was fortunate to have a very smooth, healthy pregnancy despite my age (35). I had this delusion, that I would bounce right back to my pre-baby body within a mere two months. After all, if celebrities could do it, I could too, right? Welllllll… I wished I had heeded so many friends and expert’s advice and given my body the same amount of time to bounce back as it did to build the baby – a minimum of 9 months.

 

So reflecting on my journey, here’s a few things I learned about getting back to my former self, both physically and emotionally:

  1. It really helps if you were fit and lived a healthy lifestyle before you got pregnant. I read an article that said the best predictor of your post-baby body, is your pre-baby body.
  2. Pregnancy is not the time to throw your diet to the wind and give up exercise. Eat when you’re hungry, but try to make healthy choices, and exercise often as permitted by your doctor.  Mine told me I could do most anything I did before pregnancy, which didn’t exclude much!  I mostly walked, but went jogging just a few days before giving birth.
  3. Don’t try and lose weight right after the baby is born, especially if you’re BF. Just make healthy food choices, exercise when time and energy allows, and let your amazing body (which just built a human being!) take care of the rest.
  4. For some, the last 10 pounds will not come off until after you finish BF, and that definitely applied to me.  Your body naturally holds on to excess fat stores to make sure it’s got plenty of fuel to make baby food (dang our bodies are genius!).  For me, that was at 7-months, when I transitioned her to formula, increased my workouts, and within a month the scale started moving again and the softness started melting away.
  5. You need to exercise, for you mental health if nothing else.  Being a mom is HARD, and exercise produces lots of great endorphins that you need right now.  During my 6-weeks postpartum check-up, my doctor highly recommended that I exercise as often as possible for my mental sanity.  That’s a prescription I will definitely take.
  6. Yes, 6-pack abs ARE possible after baby.  I read an article on a popular pregnancy website that showed lots of pictures of “real women” a year after baby.  It was well-intended to help women see the realities of a post-baby body, but there was one problem – it did not show anyone like me, fit and fabulous post-baby, and yes there are lots of us (all my beautiful friends for example).  So, take everything you read with a grain of salt, and refer back to #1…

Mommies… what has been your postpartum body experience?

10-months post-baby

10-months post-baby (and post-workout!)

5-Months Old!

I can’t believe it’s been 5-months since my little angel was born!

5 months

So you’re probably wondering how I’m doing with the post-baby weight-loss, since that is the origin of my blog.  Well, I should have listened to everyone and not put so much wasted effort into it while still breastfeeding!  Too much frustrating yo-yo dieting, only to realize the minute I start cutting too much, I lose milk supply.  Of course, her health is most important, so I stopped trying so hard… but then how to tame the cookie monster that will forever live inside me?  No easy task.  As everyone else told me the weight would start falling off after 4-5 months, and it did.

But alas, I’m about 6-pounds from my pre-baby weight, and most of my clothes fit again, although it feels like so much further because I think I’ve lost muscle mass too.  So… I’ve decided to embrace my softer self, enjoy my baby, and when she’s done with needing me for food, I’ll hit it hard again.

Next up, VACATION NEXT WEEK (woohoo!) and I’m going to experiment with a Standing Desk versus sitting all day.  I will post soon with the results!

My Love/Hate Relationship… with JUNK FOOD!

keep-calm-and-ignore-junk-food

 

When you think about eating healthy, it really doesn’t seem all that difficult.  We just have to put the right things in our mouths.  Somehow though, in our modern society of endless junk food surrounding us at all times, either literally or in advertising, it’s just plain HARD.  I don’t beat myself over splurging on a thoroughly enjoyed cheeseburger or ice cream cone every now and then, but I cannot stand when I mindlessly eat junk.  And worst of all, often that moment of weakness spirals into several days of junk.  This is all thanks to the chemicals in processed food that trigger us to crave more.  Lovely.

junk food

 

That being said, I had one of these such moment Saturday night.  After an awesome week and a great 6-mile run that morning, I was enjoying a rare, late-night movie and suddenly felt famished.  Was I really hungry or did my mind just tell me I was because I was watching a movie?  Cruel but true, our brains can trigger hunger cues when it recognizes a scenario where we often eat.  That’s why if you often eat in the car or when you first get home from work, you’ll find that you will usually be “hungry” when you’re in that scenario, even if you shouldn’t be.  So back to the movie (a scenario where I often snack)… It started innocently enough with a bag of Smart Pop popcorn, then I remembered the sinful and very stale chocolate-covered popcorn I had recently discovered in the back of my pantry, long forgotten and missed in the last pantry purge.  So knowing my husband and I both have issues with portion control, I put some in a small bowl and returned to the movie.  We quickly devoured that and suddenly I was even more hungry.  Next thing I know we’ve got the entire huge (and I mean HUGE) bucket of chocolate covered popcorn between us and I’ve made a major dent.  Feeling a little sick by the end of the movie, I put it away and vowed to work it off the next morning.

 

After a good bike ride climbing crazy Tennessee hills the next morning, I was worn out and felt redeemed, but within an hour I was once again craving that chocolate covered popcorn.  Oh well, I earned a few pieces right?  After a hearty serving, we went out for huge, delicious cheeseburgers, tater tots, and milkshakes, and then did a little shopping where I got to feel very guilty looking at my bloated self in the dressing room mirror.  Oh my goodness, stop the madness!  Moral of the story, even a little bit of junk food is too much, not because that little bit will make you fat (it won’t) but because it will probably make you crave much more.  And when I talk about junk, I’m mostly talking about sugar and processed foods.  It’s interesting to me that if you do an Internet search for “junk food”, most of the pictures will be of a cheeseburger and fries, but I would argue that the sugar is far, far worse for our health than the burger.  At least it has some redeeming qualities like protein, iron and calcium.  That’s a heck of a lot more than my popcorn!  Now that I think about it, the rest of that popcorn is going in the trash as soon as I get home!

popcorn

 

Back to Work!

I went back to work this week with mixed emotions – sad to leave my baby girl (in wonderful hands), but excited to get back to work and transition into my new adventure as a working mom.  I have a whole new respect for stay-at-home moms!  Good gracious, that is hard work, and I’ve only got one kid!  I personally think I’ll be a better mother by maintaining my career, and there have been lots of studies about the benefits to children if their moms work outside the home, but I won’t get into that highly controversial, and highly personal debate.  Even better, I cherish our mornings and evenings together so much more.  Bottom line – it’s good to be back!  And judging from the pictures our nanny sends daily, she seems to be adjusting just fine!

Hi Mommy!  Don't worry about me, I'm doing fine!

Hi Mommy, don’t worry about me, I’m doing fine!

 

One of the other big advantages of being back at work – I apparently eat better at work!  At home, I often found myself drawn to the pantry or refrigerator, staring at all the options and convincing myself I was hungry.  Case in point, I worked from home yesterday and went way over my calorie budget, on mostly healthy stuff, but still.  At work, I tend to be very busy with very little time to think about food.  I almost always pack my lunch, often in the form of beverages like a big Vitamix smoothie loaded with vegetables, fruit, and nut milks.  This week I’m doing a lot of these juices and smoothies, hoping the vast quantity of produce will help jumpstart my postpartum weight loss!

 

So I was super excited to do my month-end weigh in and finally see the scale budge after 5 long weeks!  I’m sure the lunch workouts helped, along with an abundance of vegetables via lots of juices and smoothies.  Most people tell me I’m so lucky that I lost the baby weight so fast.  Ha!  To me, it feels excruciatingly slow!!  I guess it all depends on your perspective.  But more important than my weight, I finally feel like myself again, like my body is all mine and I can do most of what I could do prior to my pregnancy.  It feels sooooo good to get out and jog, alone, without a stroller, just losing myself in my thoughts and enjoying this gorgeous Fall weather.

 

weekly-weigh-in

Pre-pregnancy weight125 pounds (October, 2013)

Full-term pregnancy weight164 pounds (August, 2013)

Goal: 128 pounds … giving myself an extra 3 pounds for the baby-food machines  😉

Current weight138 pounds (6-weeks post-partum)

 

10 more pounds… I can do it!!! 

 

Family pic