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Have you been reading the Body after Baby guest posts? You can read the posts and product reviewsÂ HERE.
Since this is my blog, I guess it’s fitting that I close out the “Body after Baby” series with my own postpartum weight-loss story! Throughout high school and college, I fluctuated between 135-145 lbs. At 5’10” tall, that was well within a normal range. As an adult, my weight went up due to stress-related binge eating and a lack of time to exercise. Well, I should have made time, but as we all know, when you’re tired after a full day of work, the last thing you want to do is workout! At one point, I weighed around 175 lbs., but dropped that a few months later down to a very fit 150 lbs., thanks to Army basic training. Shortly after that, I started dating J. We were soon engaged, then married. By the time I was pregnant with Baby J, I’d gained weight again until I was fluctuating between 160-165 lbs. I was actually comfortable with my weight there. Not thrilled, but okay with it.
I gained too much weight while pregnant. There were a few reasons why. My husband was deployed until the last two weeks of my pregnancy, so I struggled with feeling motivated to do anything. Whenever he’s away, I have to force myself to do anything beyond getting out of bed. Add to that the exhaustion of pregnancy, and so if I wasn’t working, I was sleeping.
The apartment complex I lived in was really tiny and surrounded by trees, so I also didn’t feel comfortable walking anywhere in the early mornings or evenings. It didn’t seem safe. By the time I was finished at work, it was already dark. So those were my excuses for not exercising while pregnant.
Then the food…I actually ate healthy overall (I think, anyway) during my pregnancy. In fact, the first time I had ice cream my entire pregnancy was in my last trimester. But I did have a burger and french fries at least once a week, sometimes twice. Burgers and fries are my downfall! And I ate too many portions of the food I cooked. Chicken, veggies, and brown rice may be healthy, but you will still gain weight if you eat too much of it.
When I hit 230 lbs., I stopped looking at the scale during my doctor’s appointments, and that was still at least a month before I delivered. My OB would chide me for my weight gain, but I was fortunate to have low blood pressure my entire pregnancy. So despite her concerns about pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes, I never had any issues. I did retain a lot of water. The last few weeks, my limbs were very swollen.
Within 5 days after having my son, I dropped down to 195 lbs. That tells me that a lot of my weight gain was baby and water, but I still had at least 30 lbs. that was just fat, nothing else. Thanks to breastfeeding, I lost the first 10 lbs. pretty quickly, but it took me months to get through the 170s and down into the 160s. I seemed to plateau for about 5 or 6 months. It was really frustrating. I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of how many calories I’m consuming and to estimate how many I’m burning through exercise. I started walking more, trying to get out and walk at least an hour every day, 4 times a week. If the weather was nice, I’d go to the park. If it was raining, hot, or cold, I’d walk around the mall. Finally, it paid off, and I was down into the 160s.
At that point, my son was almost a year old. Again, my weight didn’t seem to go anywhere, but after Baby J weaned at 13 months, I dropped a few more pounds quickly. I started this past summer at 155lbs. I was thrilled, since that was actually 10 lbs. less than my pre-pregnancy weight (although my body was not as firm). Over the summer, I ate too much and exercised too little. Back to 160 lbs!
So, yes, I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight (slightly under it). My body isn’t the same yet (I still have a lot of toning up to do), but I’m getting there. You can read my final Fitness Friday post HERE, along with before and after photos of my postpartum weight loss journey.
What worked for me was keeping track of what I was eating, not just calories but the types of food. How much protein was I consuming compared to saturated fat, etc? Was I getting enough fiber? Was I eating too much sugar?
I also concentrated on eating clean and avoiding processed foods. I do have a cheat day every week! I don’t think I could survive without one. Knowing that I have one day that I can eat whatever I want, that helps me make it through the rest of the week.
Besides a healthy diet, I took off most of the “baby weight” from walking and just getting out and being active. When I took Baby J to the playground, I followed him around instead of sitting down. We walked to the grocery store instead of driving. Just making small changes like that really helped.
By this coming Spring, I want to be a toned and muscular 145-150 lbs. I try to not focus on numbers, but I know from the past that when I’m in really good shape, that’s about what the scale will say. I’ve started training for a half marathon with a friend, and it’s been really exciting to see how my endurance has improved. I used to get out of breath climbing stairs or walking quickly, but no more! I couldn’t believe it when I ran 8 miles a couple weeks ago, pushing a toddler in a jogging stroller! (Okay, my friend pushed Baby J half the time for me, but I did push him SOME of the time!) =D
I really want to be in better shape my next pregnancy. I know that I need to get into a fitness habit now, before I’m pregnant again. I was really inspired by Sarah’s story about setting a fitness goal during pregnancy. Working out during pregnancy and gaining just the right amount of weight will help me have an easier delivery and recover more quickly afterwards.
I want to not only keep up with my kids, but be a good example to them by staying active.
By the way, I don’t think I could train for a race without a friend to motivate me. If you can find moms to work out with, I think that makes the process so much easier!
What are your favorite ways of staying active? Do you incorporate your children into your workouts?
Disclaimer: All information presented during this event is purely personal opinion and shared for educational purposes only. The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise, weight-loss, or nutrition program. Please note, My Life: A Work in Progress does not necessarily endorse any opinions presented by guest writers during this event. Not all exercise or nutrition programs are suitable for everyone.