Friday, January 14, 2011

State of My Body: One Year Postpartum

Before becoming pregnant, and even while I was pregnant, I worried about my body post-pregnancy, as I'm sure most women do. Nearly everyone assured me that since I was breastfeeding, the weight would melt off with little to no effort, and I'd be back in my normal jeans in no time.

But I was worried--see, I knew from speaking to both my mom and my mother-in-law that neither had amazing breastfeeding weight loss experiences. In fact, my mom told me that she didn't lose a pound until she stopped breastfeeding. And I knew that nearly everyone in my family has struggled with their weight. And I knew that my husband loves pizza, and ice cream, and constantly brings home goodies that I have a hugely difficult time saying no to. So, I was worried.

And as you may remember, the whole postpartum experience was not a pleasant one for me. I was hugely swollen for weeks from being pumped with fluids. I tore badly, and was in a lot of pain, for weeks. Breastfeeding was a battle, and hurt like hell. And as the months progressed, I never lost a pound past that initial drop before leaving the hospital, despite working out and eating fairly healthily.

Several months ago, I took the scale outside to the garage. It was causing more harm than good. I decided to track a few days worth of calories on The Daily Plate just to see where I was at. I started doing the 30 Day Shred...and I finally did complete each level 10 times, though it took more than 30 days. I was excited about things...I had dropped two jeans sizes (but still wasn't back to my original size), and was feeling good. I stepped on the scale, and discovered that I weighed exactly one pound less than I had about three months prior. I was super discouraged. I felt like everyone around me who had a baby around the same time was back to their "normal" self, and I wasn't. And Justin was super tired of hearing me talk about it. He didn't understand how I could hate my body so much, and how it could destroy a day for me so easily (clothes shopping, anyone?). My self-esteem was nonexistent.

People would suggest Weight Watchers, or Nutrisystem, or any other diet when I'd complain, but (a) we simply didn't have room in the budget for it, and (b) I was terrified that I'd sign up for one of those things and fail. 

So, I think it was in October that I decided that instead of weighing myself, I would take my measurements, and track those on The Daily Plate instead. I continued doing the 30 Day Shred, and just before Christmas, I re-started the Couch to 5k Program (which I have started a number of times, but never finished). From the time I started measuring in October to the last time I took measurements (late December), I have lost 2.5 inches from my hips, 3.5 inches from my waist, and 2.5 inches from my chest. I really have no idea what's normal in terms of losing inches, so I'm not sure if that's a lot or hardly any, but it sure is nice to see progress!

I've decided to refrain from taking measurements again until after I conquer the 20 minute run next week...though I think they've probably decreased since the last time I took them. Seeing pictures from Lizzy's party was literally the first time that I had seen a picture of myself and thought that I looked relatively normal and not absolutely huge. Also? As I write this (Thursday night), I'm wearing pajama pants that I received for Christmas and couldn't even pull up over my hips at the time. But now I'm wearing them and they aren't skin tight, so that's good. And for the first time yesterday, I was able to successfully zip and button a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans...I've still got some serious muffin top going on, so they're not quite ready to leave the house in, but again, it's progress.

My point in this isn't to have y'all cheer for me and say way to go. It also isn't to say "poor come everyone else has it so easy?!" I guess my point in writing this is to give a voice to those of us who really struggle with reclaiming our bodies after having a baby--one year later, I'm still probably not back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But in a lot of ways, I might be more healthy. It's kind of incredible to see what my body can do with this running thing...I'm strong. And I'm down three (maybe four) pants even if I stepped on the scale tomorrow and hadn't lost a pound, I can confidently say that I AM making progress.

And that feels good.


  1. This is great! You are doing so good. I have yet to return to any type of REAL working out and my body can totally tell. Its NOT that strong, at all. And I am also one of those girls who doesnt lose weight by breastfeeding like everyone else (it seems). I FEEL YOU. It is hard.

    And I may have just lost the "baby weight" but it was by no means easy. And I apologize for mentioning WW the other day---only was stating from my experience. I commend you for what you're doing. PS: For the record, I think inches means WAY MORE than pounds.


    I know you weren't writing this for THIS reason--but GOOD JOB--you do deserve that ;)

  2. Oh I hear you! I don't think I've really lost any more weight since my 6 week appointment, and I'm at almost 7 months out. But, the jeans I bought shortly after that appointment are too big now, pre-pregnancy tops are fitting, and I seem to be about a size away from my pre-pregnancy size. Of course, things are still flabby, and the scale isn't really showing any significant loss, but things are shifting around.

    Honestly? I think this is more normal than people will admit. Yes, plenty of women probably get back to their pre-pregnancy size, but especially for stay-at-home moms with tight budgets, its soo hard to find the time and energy to exercise. And I know for me, even though I try to watch what I eat, it's harder to cut back on portion sizes now or not reach for something when I'm hungry because I NEED that food and the energy to make it through my day.

    Someone told me they missed their pre-pregnancy body, but that they would never dream of trading their kids for that body. If I stay this size forever, I would never even consider trading Colton for my old body, and I think that's the best possible way to look at it.

    Our babies are worth soo much more than flat stomachs or that last 5 (or 10) pounds.

  3. Congrats on all of your accomplishments! A year and a half later and I still have not made my goals. I am in pre-pregnancy clothes but I had weight to loose before pregnancy. Thanks for this post. It is sometimes nice to share in the struggle. Happy Friday!

  4. Go you! That's seriously something to be proud of. It's much easier to pack on the pounds than it is to lose anything!

    I must say, I *think* I'm right around the weight I was pre-pregnancy (I actually didn't gain much at all throughout my pregnancy because I lost a lot in the very beginning), but my clothes fit so much differently now. My body has changed. Inches are so much more important than pounds!

  5. Way to go! Good for you, for realizing that even though the scale wasn't budging, you were making progress. That is tough to do.

    I hate my body right now, but the only person I really have to blame is myself. I didn't work out much (or really at all) before Ryann was born, but working in a room full of 10 toddlers keeps you active, and I didn't have the chance to snack all day.

    Ryann is getting more active, but I still don't have to chase after her like I did those kids. And my husband loves to eat crap and doesn't gain a pound, so I feel you there. I'm hoping that some motivation will hit my soon, because I don't want to hate pictures of myself from Ryann's first birthday, or the thousand other events that are happening this spring/summer.

  6. Mere, I think you are beautiful and doing a great job. One thing I realized when trying to lose all the baby weight, was that you can't weigh yourself looking for weight lose when your doing things that make you gain muscle. It weighs so much more than fat. This help me realize that I don't want to be skinny, I want my body to be strong and healthy, no matter what it looked like at that point. When I changed mindset I began to realize how much better off I was. It took me almost two years to be pre-pregnancy weight and when I got there it was the most rewarding feeling, because I was strong, mentally and physically. I pray you will find the peace you are looking for. I am willing to exercise with whenever you need someone too. Even just for support. I love you and I really want to see you succeed and be happy with your body. Remember God created you a certain way giving you one of the greatest gifts ever, the ability to have a baby. It really is a wonderful gift. I'm always here for you. Love you.

  7. It is so REFRESHING and even HEART WARMING to read this!
    I am one of those girls who's biological-clock 'tick-tock' has been ringing for quite some time
    -I'm 27 years old (already)- and absolutely terrified of the "weight gain" part of Pregnancy, considering that at this point of my life I'm already considered...let's just say of a 'not ordinary' size (not to say over-weight). And I'm pretty sure I won't be one of those 'lost it with no effort ones' (in fact I HATE them, lol!)
    Anyway, I hear you in every word and support you on this challenge, I know any effort is worth and will never take the sweet and unique taste of motherhood.
    From here you will always have a lot of support -and why not- cheers!

  8. Congratulations on making progress and having a healthy attitude.

  9. I just wanted to say that I think its so amazing to see the metamorphosis in your perspective on this topic. When feeling frustrated about this in the future, rest assured that even if you don't see visual changes in your body, under the surface, your mind, soul and perspective are on a journey and its a good one!

  10. You are doing great. No matter what the scale says, you are doing great. You are not doing it the cheater-way and taking pills. You are working hard, you are eating healthy. You are doing GREAT.

  11. That is great! I just wrote a post that is very simillar, i didn't start to loose more weight till i got close to the 12 month mark, though i've stopped working out due the crazies of my life right now but working on getting back!

    Good JOB though momma!!!

  12. That sounds great. Its harder after having a baby.
    thanks for the advice it was helpful and needed!

  13. I think it's so important to track both. Sometimes that number on the scale is just a mean ugly number. It may never change, but other things such as measurements and clothing sizes do and that's where you'll see your progress. Keep up the good work!

  14. I was the opposite- the baby weight PLUS some melted off when I started nursing Brayden. I lost 40 pounds really quickly and felt great. But as Brayden dropped feedings, I kept eating to keep my supply up, and ended up gaining some of it back. And now it is just hard to get that to go away! KEEP IT UP! You are doing a great job! :)

  15. SO proud of you friend! Keep it up! You seriously rock! I wish I had your motivation! (A treadmill in my basement would help too!)

    I always said that when Jaxon was a year old I wanted to be back to my PP weight, but I do not see that happening. I have a lot to lose to get back to that weight. I don't have anyone to blame but myself though, I just hate working out, especially when I'm exhausted all the time. Maybe once we quit breastfeeding, I'll lose the rest of mine? (Ha, wishful thinking!)

  16. Any progress is great progress, and now that I'm in that boat (except still early on), I know that's not exactly what you want to hear, but it's the truth. You're doing all you can, and it sounds like you're doing great! Keep it up, mama, and don't be so hard on yourself. :)

  17. Dear God,
    My prayer for 2011 is for a fat bank account & a thin body.
    Please don't mix these up, like you did last year.

  18. That's awesome...keep up the great work.

  19. I am proud of you. You didn't give up, and you found something that's working for you. Slow and steady isn't a problem.

    Everyone's chemistry is different. And I appreciate your honesty. Not all women lose weight breast-feeding. That's a common misconception.


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