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.
I think a lot of new moms put a TON of pressure on themselves (and consequently on each other!) to get back into pre-baby shape ASAP. And it’s no bueno! I would only worry about doing what’s best for you and Liam…because that’s what’s right for you! :)
I think it sounds like you’re doing great!! I definitely can only be hope to be doing as well as you are when I have some kiddos. Just keep on being healthy for yourself and Liam and give yourself some time :) (and I mean–you’re already almost at your pre-pregnancy weight so sounds like you’re on a great track to me!)
I love this post so much! It sounds very familiar to my own experience. Between taking care of P and working full time, I just don’t have the time or motivation to really work out. I walk about 2 miles per day between daycare drop off and my long walk to the office, so for me, that is enough. I am totally with you on the breastfeeding to lose weight! I went into it with the same exact mentality! I also did it for longer that I probably would have otherwise due to the great benefits of weight loss. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the experience and doing it for Penelope, but selfishly, I did it for me too! And that’s ok!
You’re doing great! I hear you on fitting into old clothes, etc. It will happen in time. For now, just try to enjoy getting to do what you are doing :)
Thanks, Rachel! And it’s such a relief to hear someone else say the same thing. Ah can’t wait until it is warm out and walks will at least be an option:-)
It sounds like you are doing great. I am trying to walk every day. I had the same thoughts as you did about exercising till giving birth. It gets harder each day. I have 6 weeks left.
Ah you are getting so close! I remember at the end my walks were SO slow lol. Hope you are still feeling good!
Oh um haiiii, I’m almost 9 months into this mom thing and I’ve worked out enough times to count on one hand. I hear you. But I agree with what everyone else has said here — you’re doing great, and your primary focus right now is to be the best mom you can be to your little. And hey, if that means enjoying a cookie and a glass of wine (which I do, too) at the end of a long day, do it. You deserve it.
PS Breastfeeding is weight loss magic. ;)
You just made me feel SO much better!
Oh my, look at that smile!! such a little cutie pie :) I totally feel you on this subject. For my whole life I pretty much was on some sort of diet. It got way better when I met my now-husband…I guess because I just got happier? But then since getting pregnant I’ve thought so much more about what I put into my body and I just wanted to nourish myself and my baby. I never looked at calories, and if I ever did it was to pick the food with more calories! (especially while I was rapidly losing weight during breastfeeding). I won’t deny how fun that was :) I definitely don’t eat *quite as healthy now that he’s outside of my womb, but I just eat the right way and don’t think so hard about it. We’ll see how hard it is to keep off all the weight I lost now that I’m not breastfeeding anymore tho.
Don’t be too hard on yourself to get to a certain weight/shape/body right now. You have a wonderful little boy and focusing on him is more important than anything. As he grows you have plenty of time to introduce him to a healthy lifestyle that will hopefully stick around for all of you. Don’t forget how much exercise it is to carry a heavy baby around all day! And going for walks with baby is great for you too :)