I have a confession. I’m wearing maternity jeans today. My baby is seven months old and I’m not pregnant again (thank God). I dug them out of the bin that I swore I was done with. I decided I didn’t want to squeeze into my size 6 jeans for casual Friday today. I have adamantly refused to buy new clothes in a bigger size. (Motivation, right?) But honestly, it was obvious by my appearance that I was squeezing myself into too tight jeans. I looked terrible. And fat. I can breathe in maternity jeans. And darn it, my butt looks good in them too! I don’t look like I’m about to pop a button at any second. Screw you, pants-with-a-zipper.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women who have a normal BMI prior to getting pregnant should gain 25-35 pounds for a single pregnancy. They even have a fun calculator that will make you feel terrible about yourself. If I’m totally honest, according to most BMI calculators, I was overweight before I got pregnant. I don’t think I was overweight and my doctor didn’t think so either. I am short, but if I were to have a “normal” BMI, I would look scrawny and unhealthy. If you saw me, you wouldn’t think I was overweight. (Remember ^^up there^^ where I mention size 6? I was legit a size 6. Can that be overweight?)
I gained 45 pounds while I was pregnant. There, I’ve admitted it. I was a little limited in my exercise at the beginning (per the doctor) and by the end it was icy and nasty outside and walking is my preferred exercise. Those are decent excuses. And they’re true. But honestly, I was hungry. That’s the main reason I gained that much weight. I was probably about 10 pounds over my ideal weight when I got pregnant, but I wouldn’t call myself overweight by any stretch. So I left the hospital with my 7 lb baby girl and 55 pounds to lose.
The good news is I was able to lose about 35 pounds just by breastfeeding, eating a little less and moving a little. Like many moms, dropping a big chunk of weight at the beginning wasn’t the problem. It was the last 10-20 that are just hanging on for dear life.
Have you seen the blog post going around Pinterest? There’s a girl who gained about 20 pounds while pregnant and 2 months later she’s back to a size 0. I’m happy for her. But I still hate her.
Why is it so hard?
Let’s talk about how you just expelled a person from your body. Whether by natural birth or cesarean, your body has just been through a traumatic event. Even when you heal, it takes time to get back in the swing of things. If you’ve had a cesarean (like me), you have to wait for your body to recover from major surgery. If you’ve had complications (like me), you have to wait even longer. (My incision got infected and had to be reopened. It took almost 10 weeks to completely close up.)
Honestly, even if you were physically healed up right away, you are far too busy and exhausted to exercise. Infants are often eating every two hours! How are you supposed to work out with a schedule like that? If you’re not feeding the baby, you’re changing the baby or bathing the baby or doing the baby’s laundry or heaven forbid, sleeping!
I feel like I just started to get the hang of things and started walking again right around the time my little one was 3 months old. And then I went back to work. Suddenly, weekdays were about survival (that’s another post). Weekends were about catching up on all the stuff I didn’t get done during the week. Any “extra” time I might have (hahahahahahahahahahaha) is dedicated to sleeping so I have enough energy to get up and do it all again tomorrow.
What can you do?
I hear people say if you really want to do it, you’ll make time for it. When you have an infant , every single moment is occupied. This is especially true if you are a working mom. There are lots of things you have to make time for. There is only so much time in a day.
I used to wake up at 4:30 every morning and run. One day I just decided I was going to be healthier and I was going to start running. I just went to bed a bit earlier. I still had plenty of time to make it to work by 7:30. I made a decision to make time for running.
Now, I get up between 3:30 and 4:00 every morning. I pump, which takes almost 45 minutes, shower, get ready for work, get little one ready for daycare, take her to daycare and still get to work by 7:00. (I start earlier now so I can take longer breaks to pump throughout the day.) If I get up any earlier, I will fall asleep while driving. What about going to bed earlier? Well, little one eats at 7:30, I pump at 8:00 and try to get to bed by 9:00 or 9:30. I don’t know that I can go to bed any earlier and actually get anything done.
The Cold, Hard Truth
According to a BabyCenter survey, moms who gain more than the recommended 35 pounds are more likely to be carrying at least 10 pounds of extra weight a year after their baby was born. 87% of moms surveyed say even if they’ve lost the weight, their stomach still hasn’t returned to normal.
Yes, I did this miraculous thing by carrying and delivering a baby. Yay, me. That doesn’t mean I have to carry around extra weight as some kind of badge of honor. In fact, if you tell me that, I may swear at you.
All of this makes me want to cry. I swore I wouldn’t be that woman who let herself go after she had a baby. I resent all those women who only gained 20 pounds, had an easy delivery and lost it all in 6 weeks. I miss being able to breathe in my clothes.
I really wanted to end this post with some miraculous insight into losing baby weight. I don’t have any. I’m still stuck with about 20 pounds to go. Do you have any tips for losing those stubborn pounds?