While I was pregnant, I worked, ate healthily, and gained reasonable weight. Until I hit the last month or so. I started to notice a layer of extra fat growing on my lower belly. I had crazy pregnancy cellulite on my legs that was unlike any cellulite I’d ever had before. I started to notice stretchmarks that seemed to come out of nowhere, on my belly, thighs, and calves. I wasn’t feelin’ too cute. I mean I know you’re not supposed in those last few weeks but I didn’t think I would feel or look like I did!
I gained 30 pounds. Seeing a number 30 above what I was used to seeing was really hard. I was above my desired weight when I got pregnant and knew I didn’t need to gain much weight to be healthy, so when I did towards the end it was really hard to come to terms with. Mind you I was pregnant in the summer in Florida so it was hot as the devil out. Even getting out for a walk was rough! I tried to work out, but just working out for 15 minutes a day when I wasn’t working or moving around much wasn’t enough to keep the weight gain at bay. I never did the whole “eating for two” thing because really you only need 200-300 calories in addition to your usual intake to fuel baby growin’, but my diet wasn’t the cleanest toward the end. We ate meat replacement type foods almost every night which is processed and full of sodium.
When I had Odin, I immediately lost 17 pounds (baby, placenta, and fluids). I felt okay about it and figured the rest would just come off (LOL). In the weeks that followed my weight went down only 2 more pounds. TWO. That means I was still 11 pounds heavier than before pregnancy! I kept waiting for it to just fall off and it didn’t. I tried to “have grace” with myself like everyone suggests, but I don’t believe our bodies want to be overweight and I just couldn’t accept it. I decided to change my diet and start exercising again since I healed pretty easily and quickly.
Diet: At 2 months post- partum, when I wrote my first post- partum fitness post, I decided to purchase the Lean and Clean e-book by Hannah Howlett. In essence the diet is a plant based whole foods way of eating, specifically high carb/ low fat and salt/ oil/ sugar free. The book comes with some seriously great recipes, but more importantly it tells you how to change your mindset to help you lose weight, and how to exercise in a way that isn’t dreadful. I love this program! I’ve struggled with my weight for years and this is the first sustainable weight loss program I’ve ever done. What do I mean by that? I tried Whole 30 (when I ate meat) and by the time the 30 days were up I began slowly reintroducing my old favorite foods and eventually just fell back into my old eating habits. I tried 21 Day Fix which, come on, do I have to explain why THIS isn’t sustainable? The workout program is awesome, but could you imagine measuring out every portion of your food forever? You wouldn’t. Unless you adjust how much you like to eat it’s not a helpful program in my opinion. And the meals they suggest are so boring. I’ve tried low carb and I would NEVER sustain a low carb diet. It’d be impossible and its not healthy. I enjoy oats, quinoa, rice, potatoes, fruit! I don’t see why you should restrict yourself from foods that grow from the ground. Processed foods, sure. But intuitively it makes sense that things that come from the Earth should be healthy.
On this diet I easily and happily lost 11 pounds at a rate of about a pound a week. I hit my pre- baby weight by 4.5 months post partum! I honestly never felt deprived and enjoyed everything I ate. Currently at 5.5 months post partum I am now 2 lbs below my pre- baby weight, I fit into all my pre-baby clothes (except my bras) and I’ve lost 21.5 inches overall. I want to cry sometimes when I think about how happy I am to finally have a way of eating that works for me! I grew up thinking like most people do, that you should eat a lot of protein and little to no carbs to lose weight. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is very popular but there is little to no scientific evidence that supports this claim. There is, however evidence that supports eating a whole food plant based diet. I eat until I’m full and don’t eat when I’m not hungry. I eat when I have to and not just because I want to. Most importantly I’m happy and optimistic because I am continually losing weight and at a reasonable pace. Its always been so hard for me to lose weight so to do it with ease and consistently is so exciting! There are a lot of different fad diets out there. Whatever you decide to do its important to research first! That’s how I ended up on my current diet and I couldn’t be happier.
Routine: I previously talked about routine. I still follow a routine and believe it helps with my mood, productivity and positivity. When I don’t follow my routine I feel lazy and sluggish so I try to follow it most every day:
- 8ish am: get out of bed, get Odin dressed, put workout gear on
- 8:30: Odin bounces while I do yoga, do my morning chores, write down/ think about what I’m grateful for, and make my to do list for the day
- 11ish am: make breakfast (I do intermittent fasting) while Odin plays in his play gym or bumbo. Odin nurses while I eat and read.
- 11:30/12: we go for our 5k walk on the trails or I do a workout at home
- 1:30/2: make and eat lunch while Odin plays
- 3-6 Odin naps while I clean, do laundry etc.
- 7: Carlos comes home!
- 8: we eat dinner
- 9: Odin goes to bed
- 10/10:30: We go to bed
I don’t really believe in strict routines for babies. The reason why is because I don’t eat or sleep at a certain time(s) just to do it. I eat when I’m hungry and sleep when I’m tired. It makes sense to me that my baby should do the same so I never tried to enforce a schedule with him. Instead, he gradually adapted his own schedule which I follow around 5 months and has been following it since. I breastfeed on demand so I don’t incorporate feeding into my schedule like a lot of sample schedules do.
Exercise: I chose to walk as my main exercise. The main reason is because otherwise, as a stay at home mom, I wouldn’t walk very much at all. Also, they don’t tell you this in the parenting books but babies have special instincts that let them know when their mom wants to shower, eat, or exercise so they can start crying 😉 Walking allows me to carry Odin with me so we’re both happy! If you walk with intent you can actually get your heart rate up. I burn about 600-700 calories on a walk which is great for any exercise! I just play an audiobook, put Odin in the Tula, and walk the 5k path near my house. I chose not to run right away because if you have a high BMI running can put a lot of stress on the body and my BMI wasn’t at a level I was comfortable with. I’m starting to run now and I hope to run a 5K soon.
I’ve also started doing yoga everyday which I’ve seen a lot of benefits from. The biggest benefit is that I’ve increased my flexibility! It’s also helped me with positivity and meditation. If you don’t know where to start I recommend SarahBeth Yoga on YouTube. She has a whole beginners series that is really great! Some people have the genetics to eat healthily and the weight just drops off of them. I do not. I have to exercise and eat well in order to lose any weight. Exercise makes me feel great anyway so I don’t mind 🙂
What I would do in pregnancy next time: Pretty much everything I’m doing now! I would continue eating clean and walking a ton. Walking during pregnancy has a lot of benefits including aligning the pelvis in preparation for labor. I wish I’d walked more than 30 minutes a day because I also think it would’ve helped speed up my labor and keep me in shape. I did some yoga but not enough to see benefits so I would do that next time for sure.
While I think its great to be patient with yourself while you try to lose weight after baby, I know my body and I know I have to put in real work to make progress. I’m really glad I did because I lost the weight I gained in pregnancy faster than I even anticipated. I’m so excited to be back in all my old clothes and feeling like myself again 🙂 I have a bit of weight to go until I get to my goal, but I’m taking my goals 5 lbs at a time. Once I get there, and I WILL, I’ll post all of my pictures and corresponding weights.
Thanks for reading!