Friday, May 15, 2015

Let's Talk Body After Baby: 1 Month Postpartum


You all knew this post was coming, right? I mean, with as many posts as I've done on running and clean eating and health in general, it should come as no surprise that I'd have to do some kind of conglomeration of thoughts on body after baby.

And boy, do I ever have thoughts on this!

You'd think after my labor experience and my emergency ER visit that I would have stopped having certain expectations of my body when it comes to this whole pregnancy and postpartum business. I mean, I thought I wouldn't gain much weight during pregnancy, and I gained 50 pounds. I thought that my labor would be pretty darn quick (for weeks, I was convinced it would last 7 hours), and it lasted 12 (which I know is still pretty quick, but not when you're stuck in the transition phase for half of that time). I thought that my chest pains were just normal after-effects from having pushed a baby out of my body, but then I had to have my gallbladder removed just over a week after giving birth.

You'd really think I'd learn to stop having expectations about these sorts of things because my body seems destined to ever be at odds with my mind.

You see, I knew to expect to still look pregnant after delivering my daughter. I knew that my stomach would have a lot of excess skin and softness that it didn't before. I'd done my research, and I thought I knew what was coming (and all that has, indeed, come to pass). BUT, I also thought that because I was breastfeeding, the weight would just "melt off" postpartum, as so many people had encouraged me. To me, that meant that after the initial 20-pound (or so) weight loss, I'd lose about a pound to a pound and a half a week just by breastfeeding, and that when I added in cardio and weight lifting at six weeks postpartum, I'd be losing more like 2-3 pounds a week.

Now, I'm not six weeks out yet (I'll hit five on Sunday), but I can tell you this--breastfeeding has only dropped the scale two pounds in a month.

TWO POUNDS!

But let me back up a bit.

When I got home from the hospital, I expected to step on the scale and see that I'd lost at least 12-15 pounds. (I mean, that seemed reasonable, right? I mean, I'd pushed out the baby + the placenta + a whole bunch of blood and fluid.)

Nope.

I came home, and I'd just dropped the weight of the baby.

Literally.

Luckily for me, an odd phenomenon happened over the course of the next 5-6 days, and my body proceeded to shed fluid and weight at a thrilling rate so that by the end of that first week, I was 25 pounds down. I definitely couldn't complain about that! The problem with that scenario was that it convinced me that for once, my expectations would be met---this baby weight really WAS just going to melt off!

But alas! Such has not been the case, and my goal of fitting back into at least some of my pre-pregnancy work clothes before I return for the last day of school seems a laughable dream now.

However, now that I know I need to step it up more (and not just count on breastfeeding as my sole weight loss tool, ha ha), I remind myself that I've dropped 25 pounds before, and if I can do it once, I can do it again.

Here's my plan going forward:

In addition to the remaining 25 pounds of the pregnancy weight, I'd like to drop the 7-8 pounds I gained in the three or so months leading up to the pregnancy, for a total weight loss of 33 pounds. I haven't been cleared to start running or weight lifting until at least 6 weeks postpartum, so while I'm totally itching to just go full throttle already, I've got to hold myself back for a bit longer. I also want to wait until my 8-week follow-up appointment with my doctor to start counting calories; I want to make sure I go about it in a way that won't affect my milk supply or mess with my recovery. I do plan, though, to continue trying to incorporate fruits and vegetables as much as possible into each meal, and I've already limited the sweets quite a bit since giving birth, so I've at least made some strides there.

While I'm limited a bit in what I can do, my plan from now until 6 weeks postpartum is to take a 30-minute walk on most days with the baby. Since I can't wait to start running again, I figure that I'd better get used to walking quite a bit first so as to avoid injury (and as I've already discovered, walking seems to be exercise enough at this point, seeing as how I come home sweaty and sore after even the most leisurely walk, it seems).

When I hit 6 weeks, I plan to start some (very) light weight lifting (since my surgeon from the gallbladder removal warned me to take it pretty easy for quite awhile) and to attempt a run/walk schedule--I'll continue to take the baby out on walks a few times a week, and at least twice a week, I'll have Matt watch Raven while I attempt a run (of sorts). I highly doubt I'll be able to do much running at all, but without the worry of a stroller and a newborn, I'll at least be able to test it out.

By my next post in a month's time, I would love to have lost 5 pounds and at least two inches off my waist and hips (for a total of four inches).

Quick Stats:

Weight Right Before Delivery: 190 lbs.
Pre-Pregnancy Weight: 140 lbs.
Current Weight: 163 lbs.
Goal Weight: 130 lbs.

Measurements at One Month Postpartum:
Bust: 40"
Waist: 33"
Hips: 41"
Thighs: 24"
Arms: 12"

My hope (as always) is that by posting my stats for the world to see will motivate me to be a little more accountable than I would be otherwise.

If any of you have any encouragement or tips for postpartum weight loss, I'd really love to hear it!

5 comments:

  1. I always felt like the whole breastfeeding weight loss thing for me was a myth. Although that could be because I always tell my self I am breastfeeding and can therefore eat the second helping. 😊 I also have a sister in law who has run multiple marathons and is a skinny minny. She has had 5 kids and says she always struggles to lose the last ten pounds until she stops breastfeeding. The people I know who do say the breastfeeding helped them lose weight say it didn't start making a big difference until months down the road, when the baby got to be 4 or 5 months old. Hopefully it works out better for you than it did for me.

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    1. So good to know! Basically I decided I should just act like I'm not going to be burning those breastfeeding calories in order to lose the weight--otherwise I'll use it as a crutch, like you said. And I've heard that now from a couple people, the thing about the last 10 pounds not coming off until after breastfeeding is over. So interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. For me, I can never lose the last 10 pounds while breastfeeding. It doesn't help that I have this insatiable appetite and am hungry ALL THE TIME. I was either pregnant or nursing for about 3 1/2 years straight and when I finally stopped nursing Ruby, I just thought it was amazing to not feel like I'm hungry and controlled by my appetite all the time. Maybe you will do better at diet control than me though. Now that I've just had my 3rd baby, I am finally letting go of a lot of my old clothes and just accepting that my body just isn't the same as it used to be, and clothes fit differently. Good luck to you though, in reaching your goals and being healthy.

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    1. I actually haven't been nearly as hungry as I was during my pregnancy, which has really surprised me (and which I hope will help me to keep my diet mostly in check). This is great for me to hear everyone's real-life experiences so I don't go into this whole postpartum weight loss thing with these crazy expectations. Thanks for weighing in!

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  3. I had mixed emotions pre delivery about losing a bunch if weight strictly from breastfeeding. And for me - it also wasn't what came to pass. I lost a bunch at first, like you did, and then I was hungry and craved CHOCOLATE like never before while breastfeeding. Needlesstosay, I couldn't drop the rest of that weight while nursing either. Good luck! Stay healthy and let your body heal! I hope you eventually get where you want to be.

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment! I love reading your thoughts :)

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