New Mom Real Talk: body image, dieting, working out and all that jazz.
Per usual, I have a lot of thoughts on a subject and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. However, I think I need to start this post by being honest and saying that prior to being pregnant, I don’t remember a single day where I wasn’t on some sort of diet (even when I tried “intuitive eating” for a while, I never really got out of my dieting mentality). So as someone who truly has considered herself a chronic dieter, it has been quite liberating to generally eat whatever I have wanted for the last twelve months.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to eat a pretty balanced diet since what I ate affected the baby while I was pregnant and still can have an effect now that I’m breastfeeding. I also kept an eye on calories while I was pregnant to make sure I was eating enough (and not eating too, too much). Of course I was concerned with pregnancy weight gain, but only in the sense that I wanted it to be a healthy amount for the baby, not because I was worried about how I looked at the time. On top of this, I worked out most days of the week every.single.week. throughout my pregnancy. I figured if I stayed in shape and minimized the amount of time where I wasn’t exercising (presumably the six weeks postpartum before doctor clearance), getting back in shape after baby would be that much easier.
Ha! That last thought really makes me laugh a bit right now. If you read this post, you know that by two months postpartum, I hadn’t started to workout yet. It wasn’t for medical reasons, I just could not find the time, energy and motivation to do it. Since then, I’ve done a couple of workouts here and there… mostly yoga with some walking and an abbreviated T25 (yes, you can do a short amount of an already short workout) in the mix. Last week I actually decided that I’d aim to workout at least twice a week going forward. Too bad the flu put a halt on that idea!
Anyway, I’m still a few pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight (which was up a few pounds from my “happy” weight thanks to hormone-related pills while trying to get pregnant). Some days I don’t care at all. Some days I care a lot. That’s usually just when I want to wear something other than leggings or sweatpants (and occasionally when I think about the women who are in such better shape than I am post-pregnancy). Generally, though, I’m fine with my limited spandex-led wardrobe and extra-soft belly.
The thing is, I don’t have much motivation to really do anything about it at this point. In terms of dieting, my primary focus is eating enough so that my supply stays up for L. My second focus is just eating well enough. I mean, who has time to diet and food obsess when they have a three-month old? Plus, at the end of a long day, you better believe I’m having that cookie (or two), bowl of ice cream and/or big glass of wine. It’s just not worth it to me at this point to put limitations on that. Plus, I know myself, setting foods as “off-limit” never ends well.
So where does that leave me? Mostly what I feel now is a desire to just keep doing what I’m doing. In reality, I’ve lost the bulk of my pregnancy weight by intuitively eating (really for the first time in my life!), and that I feel very good about. I would like to start exercising more because I know that will just make me feel good mentally and physically. But more doesn’t mean every day, it means when I can which is hopefully a couple of times each week. I just have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need to be skinny and that if I’m still wearing leggings by the time I go to Florida next month, well, that’s okay too!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I will admit that one of my big breastfeeding motivators was/is weight-loss. Just keeping it real.