My Big, Fat Post-Baby Confession...
Written by Dana Yarn, RDLDI told myself that when I was ready I would write about my own personal struggles taking the baby weight off and 13 months later I finally feel like I am ready! I hope this helps other moms relate to the struggles of losing weight, getting back into shape and learning how to fit it all in without going insane!
We got pregnant with my precious daughter Lily right after I finished the Augusta Half Iron Man (triathlon race). My body was in peak cardiovascular shape and I was training a minimum of 12 hours per week, looking back I was probably in better shape at this time then when I competed in track and cross country in college. After the months of training and the race was over I was burnt out and ready for a break, during the first few weeks of my “break” we decided to start trying for our first baby. We were blessed to get pregnant very quickly and my entire focus had switched from triathlon to being pregnant. My long runs turned into short walks, my weight training sessions were toned down, and I did not get on my bike because I felt it was too dangerous with traffic and my dizzy spells with the nausea, swimming was great but towards the end I just floated from one end of the pool to the other. In a nut shell my weekly calorie burn went down and my caloric intake went up fast. I ended up gaining 50 pounds over the course of my 41 week pregnancy, (yes, she was late and everyone said she would come early because, “I was so healthy.”)
During the entire pregnancy I kept thinking to myself, “I will have no problem getting this weight off, I have dieted down for figure bikini competitions, and lost 25 pounds in a month and I planned on breast feeding so I knew that would help with the initial weight loss”.
Our big day had arrived; I was induced and ended up being in labor for over 32 hours! The delivery was tough; I threw my back out and had a hard recovery including a UTI which caused me to have a fever for a couple of days right when we got home from the hospital. On my follow up appointment at my OB I weighted in 20 pounds lighter, this was encouraging! I figured I had already lost 20 pounds so quickly the rest would be off in a month, but then the scale stopped moving and then the struggle began.
I have to admit that I wanted to lose weight but I was not very motivated to execute the weight loss by eating less and getting back into exercising at a higher intensity. I could relate to those who start working out after not exercising or never exercising, I felt horrible! Not to mention the sleep deprivation and hormonal changes really threw a curve ball at my plan to drop the weight in a few weeks. I started losing my hair, which is directly related to thyroid function, this is common but frustrating. I was hungry and craving sugar all of the time (possibly due to nursing) which caused me to break even in terms of calories, I was eating back all of the calories I burned off. To top it all off, just when I started to feel like I was making improvements a member at the gym would say, “so when is the big day?” and I would politely respond by saying, “it was eight weeks ago.” Note- never ask a woman about her pregnancy unless you know for sure what stage she is in! The comments made me angry but still not motivated enough to make bigger changes.
Then there was eventually a turning point- 11 months later. My two oldest step sons moved in full time to go to school and get ready for college, etc. I was driving them around and one of the boys flicked my arm fat, and said,” you used to be so toned and after Lily everything is jiggle.” This was it; I knew I needed to be a better example for my clients, family, friends, etc. (To be honest I was tired of making excuses about why I was still fat almost a year after I had Lily.)
I started out by:
• Cooking almost exclusively at home, 1 cheat meal/week out with the family.
• Aimed to eat 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables/day
• I always had protein and fiber at each meal and snack
• Planned workouts and dinner menu on Sunday nights in my schedule – no excuses
• Religiously took my supplements, multi-vitamin, omega 3 fish oil, relora-plex, melatonin at night, vitamin D, calcium/magnesium, super greens powder, whey protein in the morning, etc.
My mind needed to get right too, I had to become realistic about how much I could do. Sure, I used to train 10-12 hours per week, and I knew that was out of the question, now it’s more like 4-6 hours if I am lucky. I treasure my workouts and use that time as “my time” focusing on me and tuning out all of my other obligations. I try to run, bike or swim 3-4x week for aerobic/cardio, I strength train 1-2 times per week and yoga or Pilates 1-2x week. The times vary week to week based off of my work and family obligations, but I try to squeeze in the workouts when and where ever.
Food was the hard part, cleaning up the diet was all about breaking the bad habits I had developed during my pregnancy and this just took time. I remember getting so jealous of my friends who had kids and would come home weighing less than their pre-pregnancy weight; those cards were never dealt to me! I have learned so much from this experience and think that is has made me more empathetic towards my clients who struggle with weight loss and now I know that I will not make the same mistakes twice.
My new motivation is about being a healthy role model for my kids and making sure that my family is eating clean, exercising and in an overall healthy state. This type of motivation is long term and more meaningful then trying to look good in a bikini. The bikini is nice, but having my health in check is my number one priority. I still have about 8 more pounds to go, I pride myself on doing it the right way and NOT crash dieting. Before and after pictures will be posted as soon as I hit that goal weight!
In Great Health-Dana
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