I had a friend and local business owner recently post this on her Facebook page and the answers were honest, but perhaps a couple too honest. I take weight loss and being overweight seriously. Growing up an overweight child, I had my fair share of being on “diets” and adult body issues that stem from childhood. With recent public scrutiny Jessica Simpson is getting about her current pregnancy weight, I have no doubt she’ll get back within the year. Being a fitness professional, I trained pre and postpartum women. I teach fitness professionals how to train expecting and postpartum moms. I have dived into maternal and infant health journals the last semester of my graduate work realizing this is where I wanted to be involved with because I learned 9 years ago, B.K. (Before Kids) is postpartum moms are often forgotten about and postpartum moms are sensitive, tired and desperate to get back to where they were.
I was like anyone else who went into their first pregnancy. I am going to eat healthy, exercise every day, I am going to stay in shape. HA! Nausea, vomiting kicked in, fatigued and eating gluten free for only 10m due to my health issues, I was desperate to eat carbs, like burgers, pizzas…I resisted, I opted to sleep and not workout instead. But being on lower carb diet, as gluten free foods were not that good 6 years ago, I found a few that I liked and survived on baked potatoes, popcorn and some brand of gf bread that was tolerable…in one month, I gained 10lbs due to extra stresses at work and finding some gfree goodies that I had missed and ate moderately…I was secretly depressed inside. I gained 45lbs my first time around, it wasn’t my plan, but reality kicked in at my 6wk postpartum check up realizing, I had to lose those last 20lbs. I cried when I looked in the mirror, having fond memories of my size 6 clothes. Well, I got into the gym and worked my butt off…I thought breastfeeding was going to help, it does, believe me, it came off fast those first few weeks, but I held on to the last 10lbs until I was done nursing my daughter, after that, the hard work paid off and was back within 3 months.
The second time around, I gained only 35lbs, much better, but it was harder to lose, I’ll be honest. Not only did I have another c-section, my uterus ruptured during my VBAC (I’ll save it for another post). I had super surgery and had to take more time off. My son was exhausting, he never took a bottle from anyone, I was it. He didn’t sleep through the night until around a year old. Chasing my super active toddler, lacking sleep and motivation to get to the gym, I just couldn’t get there. I nursed him until he was 16m old. Knowing from my first experience, I knew once I stopped, it would just come right off..right? Yep, wrong and humbled again..I didn’t “work my butt” off like I did the first time. My son will be 2yrs old in 2 wks and I am now back to pre-pregnancy weight minus a few.. (yes super excited), but it took me 2 years!
You see, every single mom is struggling a battle with postpartum weight loss, it doesn’t matter if you have 25, 15 or 5lbs to lose.. if your child is 6 months or 6 years old it still lingers for us. I find proud moms bragging if they lost it in no time. I have heard moms starving themselves, spending 2hrs a day in the gym, yeah well good for you, I know that is unhealthy and secretly know that will catch up with them later in life.
My plea to you is, there is no need to brag, no need tell a mom you should be back within 12 months, that is not the norm for most as I have personally experienced. Breastfeeding works for some, but not for all. Some women need to hold onto the extra body fat to provide proper nourishment for their babies, that is what our bodies was meant to do. I wrote this article for a publication and republished it on my Pregnancy Health Column: Follow these 5 strategies for a successful and healthy postpartum weight loss and you will be back when your body and time is ready. Honor your body, what Mother Nature designed it to do and be for your children. Yes, be an example for your kids if you have some weight to lose, eat healthy in front of them, exercise, get them cooking healthy with you in the kitchen, it does matter. Don’t say you are fat in front of your kids or that you have lose weight, what you say and do matters. Understand this: while we all have baggage that can weigh a ton, learn to love the person you have become because of the kids you have today.