A fellow blogger in my media bloggers group recently wrote a post offering her tips and tricks for how she lost the baby weight (without exercising), and it inspired me to share my story, and how I have managed weight loss, body shape and (attempted) fitness after delivering 2 baby boys in 2 years.
I’ve never been a fitness fanatic or enthusiast, yes I’ve danced professionally – but the fitness part for me “was part of the job,” so I participated because it was mandatory. I am “lucky” that genetically, my build is thin and the only time I have truly struggled with weight is when I wanted to gain it.
When it comes to food, I am one of those people who could pretty much eat what I wanted and feast on desserts too…but of course that has slowed and changed with age. I had a pretty good run, but once the mid-30’s sneak up on ya, so do the cookies, cakes and carbs!
So all that being said, as I reflect back on my pregnancies and the weight gain…then striving to be at my pre-baby shape, several thoughts cross my mind. I often hear first time mother’s worry about how they will lose the weight after the baby and the the truth is, it just happens. If you don’t give the weight a reason to stick around, it won’t.
I stopped stepping the scale or paying attention to what it said when I hit 180 lbs. at 36 weeks. I’m someone who struggled to even hit 130, the rest of my adult life I have been at a solid 127, give or take a couple pounds. So yeah, picking up at least 50 extra pounds while I was with child just seemed AMAZING! And — it was the same for both of my pregnancies, it’s almost like I delivered the same baby twice…everything was so, so similar.
All in all, as much as weight loss can be about what you do after baby arrives, I believe it’s how you treat, care and maintain your body before the pregnancy that will make the difference and make it easier on you.
Get out and walk. My first word of advice for women who are concerned about the post-prego pounds is to walk. We can all walk, it’s easy. Make it part of your routine while you’re expecting, and if you already have an exercise regimen, stick to it and then modify or scale back as needed, but keep walking. Walking is a simple act of physical activity that will condition your body and satisfy your cardio needs. Go outside, hit a treadmill, whatever it is and get in a mile or 2. And — then post-baby continue to walk while pushing baby in the stroller, fresh air is a good thing, in the months after delivery!
Stay in shape. Another reason I think my body has (for the most part) returned to it’s original weight, is because it knew what to do. My days from dancing and the working out that went with that activity, have “programmed” my muscles and body to know what to do, if you will…I credit MUSCLE MEMORY! If you’re not “in shape” prior to the birth event, you can’t expect your body to know what to do after it.
Breastfeeding. I know so many women swear by that method (breastfeeding), to lose weight… and some have even had to stop because they were losing too much weight. I agree, all the calories burned will certainly help new Moms shed the pounds…but for me, I didn’t, I couldn’t breastfeed. Sure, I tried and I pumped. I even saw a lactation consultant (because I was so determined), and it never happened. In fact with my second son, the consultant boldly commented that my newborn was the worst she had ever seen! So for me, this wasn’t an option… It may help many Moms get rid of the weight, but I can’t attest to it.
Portion Control. There’s this “idea” that you’re eating for 2. Sure, I had my moments where I wanted to eat the house down before, during and after a pregnancy, but ladies, don’t use a pregnancy as a reason to overeat. Sure, it’s okay to give into cravings and treat yourself, but it’s important to still maintain healthy and nutritious food choices and avoid stuffing your face because you’re carrying a new life inside of you. That growing baby will surely let you know when they are lacking..and I’m pretty sure they don’t need to eat an entire cheesecake every week!
Relax. When I had my first baby, I was super determined to get back in the swing of things and hit the gym. A few months into it I just couldn’t shake the last 10 pounds…come to find out I was pregnant again! However, I also felt that my jump to get back in shape, also affected the way my c-section scar healed, like I probably should’ve taken it a little easier for a little while longer. Anyway, after my second son arrived, I didn’t stress. I adhered to the notion above and let my body do what it needed to do, and I was careful not to over exert myself, although looking back, chasing a new-toddler while toting a newborn was exercise enough!
Patience. I guess the last thought I wanted to share is that we need patience. Be patient with your body, it has just performed nothing short of a miracle. I may be back at my pre-pregnancy weight, but my shape is ALL NEW! I’ve done a few stints of juice diets, eating clean and have tried to ramp up my fitness routines…but at the end of the day I’m okay with me. Every woman is different and while I can stand on my soapbox and tell you what worked for me along with all the other Mommy Bloggers who have their own stories, the truth is there is no one right way to lose the weight. So I encourage you to be patient, don’t compare and give yourself some credit, because having a baby is no easy task.
It’s crazy for me to look back and realize it’s been almost 2 years since I was last pregnant, time really does fly. I still have weight and fitness goals and my tummy sure isn’t as toned as I want it to be, but it gives me something to work on. And — if you surround yourself with like-minded people to walk, workout and get fit with, it makes the journey (before and after) even more special.