Friday, July 12, 2013

Post Baby Weight Loss: The Real Deal From a Working Mom on a Budget

I went into pregnancy weight loss mode with the thought that it took nine months to get there (well, technically ten) and then it would take nine months to get back. I knew that real change is gradual, and there was no quick fix.

11 Days Before Giving Birth, October 16, 37 Weeks

I ate a lot of what I wanted when I was pregnant and looking back, I will not be as liberal with my eating in my next pregnancies. However, after having such bad morning sickness in the first trimester, when I hit 14 weeks and enjoyed nearly all foods again (I still can't do ground beef very well) without puking or nausea all day, I let myself go a little wild. I reeled it back in, but then the last month of pregnancy, I ate anything I wanted because I was just feeling so huge and miserable.  I worked out by walking outside and on the treadmill at the gym, and weekly yoga sessions nearly my whole pregnancy, but felt uncomfortable weight training as my abs would pull during exercises, so I didn't do that.
1 Day Before Giving Birth, October 26, 39 Weeks Pregnant: 195 Pounds

As I said before, I was 195 lbs when I delivered, after being 145 pounds when I got pregnant while doing a strict Weight Watchers and workout routine, 145 pounds is a hard weight for me to maintain. I was 178 lbs when I came home from the hospital (I weighed myself a few days after we got home, it was NOT at the top of my priorities when we first arrived home).

Seven Days Postpartum, November 2, New Born Pictures
I was then 166 pounds when I started Weight Watchers and went back to work at 12 weeks postpartum. I went back to work still wearing maternity pants, with mainly regular tops and bigger dresses, and felt fine with it.

So, needless to say, the first 30ish pounds were not that hard to lose. Once I started being more conscious of what I ate, and moving more around eight weeks postpartum I lost about five pounds and got to the 166 number. But these last 20ish pounds, holy hell people, it's been a fight.

I am a woman who enjoys food. Not the huge burgers and greasy fries, but I enjoy munching and carbs, and if I have one cookie, I want two more. And that's what Weight Watchers does for me, it doesn't have me obsessing over everything I eat, but it helps me portion control, and I need that. I need someone to say, three handfuls of Reece's Pieces is not a treat, it's an over indulgence, and one handful will do.

I need a program that tells me peanut butter and jelly toast for breakfast is not a good choice even if other food bloggers try to tell me it's what they eat, for me, that's 11 freaking points--just for breakfast! It tells me that starving myself with cheese, crackers and fruit at lunch isn't a good choice either, and will only lead to over eating later because my blood sugar will be a mess.

Four Months and One Week Postpartum, with a fellow new mama, March 8: 160.2 Pounds
During this process, the weight came off slowly, at my best weeks, I would lose 1.5-2 pounds, at my worst, I'd gain half a pound, or only lose .2 pounds.

The weight came off in my upper thigh and hip area easily, and my arms firmed up by focusing on strength training super sets where my heart rate was up with squats and lunges, while I did arm curls, raises, etc. My stomach has always been my problem area, and no surprise, it's the place that's the toughest now to lose the last of the weight. Some of this is extra skin from my body stretching for baby, and some pants I used to fit into just fine, no matter how much weight I lose, may never fit me comfortably again because of this.

Right now, my body is not exactly how it looked pre-baby, and I don't know if it ever will be. That's not an excuse, it's a fact. I have excess skin, I have stretch marks, and my chest is not what it used to be by any means, and some days, those things get me down. They make me feel discouraged and bad about myself,  and Ben takes the brunt of hearing this lamenting. Some days I look at old two piece bathing suits, knowing I'll never wear them again, and it makes me sad.

Nearly Five Months Postpartum, March 23: 159 Pounds
And then, honestly, when I go in public and see what others are dealing with for obesity in this nation, I feel pretty damn good about myself. I feel good that I have fought to not only look and feel good, but to be healthy for my family, and for me. I feel grateful for a husband who has supported me 100% through losing weight and reminds me when I get down that he loves me, and the way I look always, and appreciates all my body accomplished for our family.

Mostly, I feel grateful that I get to have these problems. After wanting and trying for a healthy baby for what felt like forever (in reality, it was nine months, but when you're trying, that feels like forever!) I feel so lucky to have a beautiful little boy, who brings more joy to my life than a flat stomach, or two piece bathing suit ever could. I wouldn't trade him for my old body in a heartbeat.

With all that said, I have to say, I'm not as caught up in my weight as I was pre-baby. It's not that I don't care, I mean, obviously, I did Weight Watchers for a reason, so I care to a certain extent. But that's just it, I care to a certain extent, but, I just have bigger things to deal with. I don't beat myself up as much for missteps in eating, or missing a workout, but chalk it up to that day, and move on.

There is no special trick to losing the baby weight (shocker, I know!), just like there isn't with any other weight loss process. If you're an average American woman like me, who returned to work at 12 weeks postpartum, and doesn't have the money for a chef or a full time trainer, it's hard, but it's not impossible.

I did work out with a personal trainer at my work's gym a few times for some 30 minute sessions during my lunch hour to get a base for strength training again when they were running a training price special. I also trained for my ten mile race and half marathon with my friend Lynne. Having those race goals made me go out for runs even on days when I didn't want to. I would surely have a goal like that again post baby, but maybe not the length of a half marathon, a ten mile would do.

I'm not down the complete 50 pounds I gained. My goal was to hit 149 pounds, and I've done that, and a little better some weeks. I'm at the weight category now where my weight fluctuates by a pound or two depending on my eating and exercise routine that week. I'm most comfortable and able to still live life without being insanely strict around 148-149 pounds, thus the reason I don't think my pre-pregnancy weight of 145 pounds is a realistic everyday goal for me.

So there you have it. My post baby weight loss journey. The journey isn't over, being healthy and not eating desserts for breakfast is an every day thing for me. I hope to share this journey with you again as we forge ahead and one day welcome Baby Cush 2.0, 3.0...and beyond to our family.

8.5 Months Postpartum, July 11: 149 Pounds

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safire said...

Great story! A lot of my friends just had babies and I think they are incredibly hard on themselves to jump back into pre-baby weight (inspired by celebrities and the like) when I think it should be a more gradual thing.

It sounds like you know exactly what to do to go about it in a healthy way!
Adorable photo (esp the last one)!

Lynne said...

I loved this post for so many reasons - it has motivated me. I love how you live a healthy life but you don't obsess about it and let it consume you.

Alexa said...

Thanks Lynne! You only live once, so can't waste it consuming myself on this stuff. =)

Missy said...

You look great! Your hard work has paid off and it sounds like you have very reasonable, realistic goals for yourself. Great motivator!

Ruby Leigh said...

Awesome Job Alexa! I think you've done incredibly well, both with a healthy weight and a healthy mentality!

Losing Weight After Baby said...

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Janet Ali said...

Im not a mom, but im always inspired by mom's who go the extra mile! I can just imagine how hard it is to find a good weight loss routine & diet

Great blog!

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