Saturday, January 12, 2013

10 Things I Wish I'd Known

Please don't hate me for this post!  These are my thoughts based on my personal experience and nothing I write is meant to be condescending, judgmental, egotistical, or mean-spirited.  All you mommas out there are beautiful, amazing inspirations to me everyday!  And I apologize in advance for WAY too much skin in this post!

Fitness has been on my mind a lot lately.  Specifically postpartum fitness.  I think there are a few reasons why this has been at the forefront for me.  There have been a few Facebook posts from friends I've read recently about struggling to lose their baby weight.  I've also had a few questions from people I've met about how I managed to lose the weight from my pregnancy.  I have noticed quite a few pins floating around the Pinterestsphere about "getting fit after baby" with workouts and diets promised to help you lose the weight in "X" number of days.  I myself have been struggling to find a way to workout with a baby in tow with the colder weather.  And finally, someday (hopefully not too far distant) I would like to have another baby and would again be struggling to lose the baby weight.

So if I could go back in time to 197 lb, 9 months preggo Amanda, what would I tell her about losing the weight?

1.  You can do it!  I'll be honest.  I gained 59 pounds during my pregnancy.  See?

Pre-Pregnancy Body:

138 lbs
9 Months Pregnant Body:

197 lbs

6 weeks Postpartum Body:

177 lbs

I thought my body was gone forever.  I felt like I would never be in good shape again; I was going to be just "average" and slightly overweight for the rest of my life.  And each pregnancy I would get a little bit fatter and feel a little bit worse about my body.  I just thought I'd never feel good about my body again, ever.  I thought ahead to family gatherings, high school reunions, and shopping trips full of self-loathing and dreading.  But day by day, week by week, month by month, I did lose the weight.  It is possible.  Your body is not gone forever. See, I did it!!

17 Months Postpartum:

135 lbs

2.   You lose 20 lbs in one weekend  Your weight loss will begin when you give birth.  The baby, placenta, water, and blood combined, and you will get about a 20 lb jumpstart to your weight loss.  So even though I had gained 60 lbs, I really only had about 40 lbs to lose (haha, only!).  And you will feel those 20 pounds.  I felt lighter, had more energy, and LOVED that my belly wasn't running into everything and my feet weren't bloated.  Don't get my wrong, I still had a long way to go, but I felt SO much better about myself right away because magically, those 20 pounds weren't in my body anymore.

3.  Breastfeed, Breastfeed, Breastfeed  For me, breastfeeding was the key to losing the weight.  Just think about this for a second.... Just to make the milk, you burn between 300 and 500 calories daily.  This means, just sitting on your butt doing nothing, you are burning calories. How great is that?? And because you are burning so many calories, you are able to eat more and can cheat on occasion and eat what you want (in moderation) and still lose weight.  Aside from all the WONDERFUL things breastfeeding does for your baby, is also does WONDERFUL things for postpartum weight loss.  I realize some women can't breastfeed for one reason or another, but if you can, do it!

4. Your fitness level won't be where it was before you got pregnant.  After I got the go ahead from my OBGYN at my 6 week postpartum appointment to return to business as usual, I immediately went home and popped in my Insanity workout.  Much to my chagrin, Insanity was pretty much a death sentence at that point.  I had to face the facts that over the last 9 months I had gone through a body altering ordeal and was not in the shape I used to be in.  Aside from that, trying to do such intense work outs so soon after giving birth was causing me to pee my pants every time I tried to do any of the jumping and also diminished my milk supply.  As I said before, breastfeeding was a huge part of my postpartum weight loss plan and also something I had resolved to do for my son's health, so I had to face the facts that my body could not do what my body could do 9 months before, and trying to force it to try was not helping the cause.

5.  Slow and steady wins the race  Since Insanity was out of the picture for me 6 weeks postpartum, I was left questioning, "Now what?"  Using the Insanity workouts coupled with breastfeeding to lose the weight had been my plan all along and I had always thought I'd be back to pre-baby weight quickly following that plan.  When that didn't work out, I was left discouraged and again thinking I'd never lose the weight.  But I decided that I would do what I could.  I'd walk around the building during my lunch break.  I'd take the stairs.  I'd do crunches and squats before bed.  Heck, just carrying around my butterball of a son was a workout in and of itself.  And slowly but surely I lost pound after pound and my fitness level increased.  And then I'd go for a run on the weekends, and I'd go on the eliptical for a half hour.  And I lost more weight and I got stronger.  And now, 17 months postpartum I'm back to doing Insanity and I'm 3 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant.  But it didn't happen over night.  It happened little by little and one day at a time.

6.  Don't try on your old "skinny clothes" for at least 9 months  After Logan was born, I remember thinking I just wanted to wear something with a zipper.  Anything with a zipper!  So I tried on all of my jeans and skirts looking for something, ANYTHING that would fit and I could zip.  BIG MISTAKE!  Of course nothing fit and I again was left feeling defeated.  But then I remembered something that our Lamaze instructor had told us.  "It took 9 months to gain the weight, it will take at least 9 months to lose the weight.  Your clothes will not fit immediately, so use it as an excuse to go shopping!"  So I took her advice.  I bought new jeans, new skirts, and new work pants.  I began wearing these clothes and not even bothering to try on the old clothes until I was at least 75% sure they would fit.  And when Logan was 9 months I hadn't lost all the weight, but I did fit into all my old clothes.  This advice saved me from getting down on myself every time something didn't fit.

7.  Getting an epidural does not ruin your chances for losing the weight  Am I the only person who heard that having an epidural makes it harder to lose the baby weight?  Well I had it stuck in my head that it did, and so I was bound and determined to go natural basically for that reason and that reason alone.  But 18 hours of unmedicated labor later and Icouldnotcarelessjustgetmethedrugs!  But after Logan was born I felt like a failure that I hadn't stuck with my birth plan and as a result I was going to be fat forever.  However, this turned out not to be true!  I don't think the epidural had any effect on my postpartum weight loss.  So if you want the epidural, get the dang epidural!  It won't affect your weight loss goals!

8.  Don't sacrifice sleep for working out.  Every momma knows that those first few months are rough, as far as sleep is concerned.  And in my opinion getting as much sleep as possible should be more important than working out.  When I first went back to work after Logan was born I tried getting up early before work to exercise.  But instead of feeling energized and empowered like I used to feel after an early morning workout, I felt awful.  And it made everything during the day more difficult, because I was so tired.  When your body is this worn out and exhausted, working out is counterproductive.  Your body needs rest to recover before it can rebuild.  So sleep when your baby sleeps.  Sleep at night.  Sleep during the day if you can.  sleep, Sleep, SLEEP!  Sleep all you can.  Once your baby starts sleeping better at night and you have the rest you need you will have the energy to make those workouts count.  Then you will see the results you so desperately want.

9.  Don't compare yourself to anyone else but yourself  My sister in law is amazing.  The teeny tiny 5'3" thing popped out a 8 lb 7 oz baby and less than 3 months later she looked like it had never happened.  I was shocked when I saw her just how GREAT she looked.  She looked better than I did and her baby is over a year younger than mine!  This is where genetics come in.  Her mother has 9 kids and is still extremely thin and tiny.  And when I saw my SIL, I'll admit I was jealous.  But what is important to remember is how great I looked compared to how I looked a year before.  Set goals for yourself and only compare yourself to yourself.  Everyone is different and will progress at different speeds.  It's not fair to you to compare yourself to anyone else and it's not fair to them either.  She had lost the weight.  I had lost the weight.  And we should be happy for one another (which we are!).  And remember time is relative and how long it takes will be different for everyone.  It took her 3 months, it took me 17 ish months.... Keep track of how you progress and celebrate your personal victories, however slowly or quickly they come.  You're becoming a better you and that's what really matters!

10.  It's easier than you think  This, of course, is only in my experience.  And I think the reason it was easier than I thought it would be is because I thought it would be impossible.  But not only is it possible but it is PROBABLE if you work at it and believe you can do it.  And remember, you just CREATED LIFE, what's better than that?  So give yourself a break and give yourself time.  Snuggle up to that little one of yours and remember that it's worth it.  Your body is capable of extraordinary things and losing the weight is one of them!

Proof that it's possible.....

6 Weeks/17 Months Postpartum:

177 lbs / 135 lbs


  1. Hi Amanda, thanks for sharing, that was great. I'm a year postpartum from my second and feeling pretty good about myself but not quite where I want to be. I am re-motivated now!

    1. That's so great!! I'm glad you found my post and it motivated you! I'm sure you'll lose the weight in no time!

  2. I love how open you are in this post! I have been struggling with the last 10 lbs and I'm 4 months post baby. This gives me hope :) thanks for being so honest.

    1. Tara! Thank you so much! I was really worried about posting this because I was putting it all out there, but I'm glad someone appreciates it! :) Your little girl is so cute and you look amazing! Those 10 lbs are going to come off in no time... you're way ahead of me! When my son was 4 months old, I still had at least 20 lbs to go!