On Losing the Baby Weight

This was me on this day last year. Weighing in at 46 pounds more than I do today! Holy moly! That's a lot of weight!
I gained a total of 36 pounds while I was pregnant. That was on top of the extra 7-10 pounds I had gained after we had moved to Africa. (I wasn't overweight pre-pregnancy- but I definitely wasn't at my happy weight.)

As you can see, all of that extra weight was very obvious in my face and arms, as well as my big ol' belly. Throughout my pregnancy I didn't worry about my weight at all. I ate sensibly and I loved my giant tummy. (It was the first time in my life I didn't feel like I needed to suck in 24-7. Haha!) :) That being said, I looked forward to shedding the baby weight as quickly as possible.

I had heard that many people lose up to 20 pounds before they even leave the hospital and I really hoped that I would be one of those lucky people. Unfortunately, I was only down 11 pounds when we checked out. My face was still pretty puffy and my belly was not nearly as flat as I hoped it would be. I am going to be completely honest here and tell you that I felt really gross.
But for the next several weeks I was so busy taking care of Emerson and nursing around the clock I didn't really have too much time to worry about my weight. Finally, when I was 5 weeks postpartum, I was ready to get serious about getting rid of the baby weight.  By that time I had shed 20 of the 36 pounds that I had gained. I started Weight Watchers and I started walking 4-5 few days a week.

In July, I started the Couch to 5K program. I remember being shocked at how hard it was to run. I felt really stiff and out of shape. I think it's because I didn't exercise very much during my pregnancy. I hope to do better with that next time around because I think it will really help with postpartum recovery.

Over the next few weeks we traveled quite a bit and made our big move overseas. Needless to say, I did not exercise or eat very well during this time. I was still wearing my maternity jeans and loose fitting shirts because there was no way I was squeezing into my pre-pregnancy clothes.

Then right around the end of August I weighed myself and found that I was officially 30 pounds down. I still had quite a bit of extra fluff though and I honestly thought that I would never feel good about my body again. I remember crying because none of my clothes fit and I just felt like I looked really gross in everything.
I hoped that it would motivate me to get a regular workout routine going. It did- for a day or two but for some reason I just couldn't stay motivated! I would work out for a few days and this lose interest and go weeks without working out. I did, however, try to watch what I ate. I didn't count calories or anything but I was somewhat conscious of my food choices. I also continued breastfeeding which I think aided in my slow, but steady, weight loss.

By the time Emerson was 4 months old I was officially back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I could fit back into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes but I would be lying if I said I felt good about the way I looked. Yes- I was happy that my clothes were fitting again but I still had a belly and love handles. I was proud of how far I had come but deep down I knew that I could do better. I guess it wasn't enough to motivate me though because I still didn't get into working out regularly. I just tried to hide my extra fluff by wearing lots of black and nothing that was too form fitting.
On Emerson's 6 month birthday, I realized that I had reached a weight loss plateau and that I wasn't going to lose any more weight unless I really worked hard at it.  I also noticed that my belly wasn't getting any smaller and I was pretty embarrassed about it. I mean who wants to walk around looking like they are 3-4 months pregnant?
Throughout November and December I stayed pretty complacent and still only worked out sporadically. My weight stayed the same and so did my body image. I didn't think I looked bad necessarily but I certainly didn't feel like I looked good. At this point it really wasn't so much about weight, but more about body composition. I didn't have any muscle tone and my whole body was pretty flabby.
When my parents came to visit in January I decided that I would enjoy myself while they were here, but that I was going to make a change after they left. We ate tons of good food and I made sure to relish each bite! :)

Once they left to go back home, I decided to join in on Cait's Fitness Friday challenge. I started counting calories using My Fitness Pal and I made a promise to myself that I would workout at least 3 days a week- no matter what!  I stayed pretty dedicated to counting calories for about 8 weeks and I finally reached my goal of getting to my happy weight. At that time I decided to stop counting calories, but to continue with my workout routine while also just trying to eat an overall healthy diet.

Since that time I have continued working out and I'm proud to say that I have worked out at least 3 days a week for the last 4 months! I have tried lots of different workouts including Turbo Fire, Chalean Extreme, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, Brazil Butt Lift and even a few Pinterest workouts.

I have also lost another 3 pounds putting my total weight loss at 10 pounds since starting a solid exercise routine in January and 46 pounds since the top picture was taken last year.

And I finally feel good about myself again. No- I am not anywhere near perfect and I know I never will be. But for once in my life I am completely okay with that! I don't have a six pack or buns of steel. In fact, I still have cellulite and a little tummy and you can definitely pinch an inch of love handles on both sides. But I feel strong and somewhat fit and I am finally getting some of my muscles back. At the same time, I get to enjoy the occasional splurge like pizza, wine and ice cream. I think I have finally found a nice balance when it comes to eating and working out and that is something I struggled to find long before becoming pregnant. I think that is an amazing feat in itself!
Like everything else that comes along with motherhood, this yearlong weightless journey has been an incredible growing and learning process. Along the way I have learned a few things:

1. Don't compare yourself to others. Some people are just lucky and the weight falls right off. You might see them leaving the hospital with perfect make-up and a flat tummy. Don't be upset if it doesn't work that way for you!

2. Breastfeeding is your friend. No- I don't think it's a cure all for losing the baby weight but I do know that it burns quite a few extra calories which is always helpful when you're trying to lose a few pounds.

3. Your body may not ever be the same. Even when I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body wasn't anything like it used to be.  Some things were much smaller while others were way bigger. Embrace the change!

4. Exercise is key. At least it was for me. I had flab that wasn't going away with just calorie cutting. It wasn't until I started exercising regularly that I noticed the biggest change in my body. My only wish is that I would have really dedicated myself to it earlier on in my weight loss journey. Not only has it helped me shed the weight but it has been a great stress reliever as well.

5. Find a buddy/accountability plan. Knowing that I was going to have to post my workouts for the week got me really motivated. After I made the commitment to do the workouts I knew that I would be embarrassed to have to post that I didn't complete my workouts.

5. Give it time. I think this is the hardest part of all. I know we've all heard that saying about how it takes 9 months to put it on and 9 months to take it off. I think it's pretty accurate for most of us. It's can be a painfully slow and steady process but eventually the weight will come off.

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading! I'm sure this was quite boring for most of you (especially you lucky Mommas who shed all of the baby weight with ease!) If you have any questions or are looking for a buddy, please let me know! I'm always looking for someone to help keep me accountable in this ongoing journey.

Traci said...

Now that you're at a happy weight it's time to get pregnant again, ha ha! That's what I did! I got down to my preprego weight, lost another 10 pounds, and then got pregnant and gained it ALL back with a vengeance.

I'm counting on the powers of breastfeeding to help me lose it again.

Nikole E! said...

Awesome! Motivated me to get off my butt, it really works!

Michelle said...

I can join you in feeling huge when leaving the hospital club. I mean, C was 9 lbs. 13 oz. and I was only down 10 lbs. when we got home, and I was more swollen then than before he was born!

And I totally get what you mean about everything being different and needing to work at it. Although I'm a bit below my pre-preggo weight, everything is so different and I still feel like I look about 3-4 months preggo at times.

Stephanie said...

I think you look incredible!! I really struggle with working out, I just don't enjoy it...yet. I think if I got into a routine I would enjoy how I felt afterwards, and eating healthy would help too. Maybe this is just the kick int he butt I needed to start!!

Megan said...

Your arms look amazing!! I saw the bikini picture you posted the other day as well and you look great!!!!

Mateya said...

As I've told you before I think you look amazing! Your hard work has definitely paid off!

This is something I have been concerned about from the day I found out I was pregnant. I had finally gotten to a place where I was feeling so good about myself and now I have an extra 30 lbs. looming over me. I cannot wait to try to lose this baby weight but am so scared that it won't come off!

I will definitely need your encouragement in the coming months I am sure!

Natalie said...

Ok I totally needed to read this this morning! I was about in tears earlier because I am just SOOO over it! I am 8 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight but would still like to lose another 10 or so to get to my goal and I have just been STUCK for the past several weeks. Then I finally lost and last weekend I decided to stop pumping (still breastfeeding, just decided it was silly to keep pumping out extra when Callyn doesn't take a bottle...) and so of course that's weighing me down. I was about ready to throw in the towel when I saw I was up another pound from that. nursing and losing weight is HARD. You have to make sure you're getting enough food to maintain supply, but not eating too much so you're still losing. A few weeks ago I decided also that I really need to get better about working out. I seriously could have written this post-I was exactly the same, ha! I guess that means it'll take me a year to be happy w/ my progress ;) But I have been noticing that I'm just flabbier and I def. still look 2-3 months pregnant. That is the worst part-belly and love handles. What specifically, did you do to combat those? Any tips? I know it'll just take some dedicated time to working those areas. It's hard because my legs and butt were always more curvy adn my upper body was tiny. Now I'm happy with my lower half, which is toned from so much walking, and my mid section is flabby and gross. Anyway, this comment got way too long :) But you are looking amazing and you totally encourage me that I WILL lose the weight I want to and be looking great! :) Congratulations on your successful weight loss and healthy life style! So glad to hear you have found your balance without becoming a slave to calorie counting!

Beth Ann said...

You have done so well! You look great! Your motivation is something that I just cannot seem to grasp for myself! I want to lose the weight but I still have a horrible motivational program because I hate exercising. I started C25K and am on the 4th week (never been a runner, have always said I hate it with passion) but it's hard to find an opportunity with husband at work all the time and a baby to take care of. I need a jogging stroller. I've toyed around with the idea of joining a gym because I cannot motivate myself to do workout videos at home...but then I would have to leave H in the childcare and I have reservations about that. Ugh!!! I wish I had your motivation! Congrats to you!

mommy26baybas said...

Thanks for that post,it was great.I just had my 6th baby 10 months ago and she couldn't breastfeed ( she was born with a cleft palate ) so I pumped but,omgosh that did not help me lose weight AT ALL.When I went in for my 6 week checkup,I was already back at my pre preggo weight but,my body for sure was not the same.And,let me also say this,I have noticed with each pregnancy that your trouble spots change.This time it was my hips and arms.1st pregnancy was hips,2nd pregnancy was Everything,3rd pregnancy everything seemed to go right back,4th pregnancy was hips and 5th pregnancy was belly,face,and arms.see ??? Big difference.Anyways at 10 months postpartum I actually weigh 7 lbs.less than pre-preg but,I am still battling hip fat.I am sorry that was so long...I tend to talk alot when it's something I am inteterested in.

Kate @ Daffodils said...

Very inspiring! I have an extra few lbs that I just never got rid of from either baby. I can calorie count and easily drop it, but I always put it right back on. I really need to find an exercise routine and stick with it! YOu look fanastic, congrats on the progress!

Anonymous said...

You look fantastic in all the pictures. You are very dedicated to your exercising, love your MFP posts. Keep it up Girl, You ROCK!

Anna & Kirby said...

Thank you for this post! I'm feeling just like you did... enjoying my time of not sucking in but ready to get my body back. I'm not a very self-motivated person though, so I'm a little nervous about what's to come in a few months.

PS You looked great then and look great now! :)

Allison said...

I loved this post! I have friends who lost all their weight within 2-3 months after their baby was born. It really makes me feel so pressured or like I'm going to be some kind of crazy person if I don't. Your hard work has really paid off and you look amazing! :)

-Lauren said...

So proud of you. I am way below my pre pregnancy weight, but still working on firming up my belly...I feel like its not that cute. Ew!

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