I'm not sure what I expected to happen after giving birth. I have heard both sides of the story: women who lose all their baby weight PLUS more after birth; then there are those who struggle with the remaining 20 lbs. I happened to fall somewhere in the middle.
I gained a total of 35 lbs in pregnancy - 5 of those pounds were gained in the two weeks that I went overdue - so I was in the upper end of my recommended range. I blame it on all the stress eating, never knowing when labor might approach. I honestly didn't care at all, I knew I would have plenty of time to get rid of it eventually, so I happily indulged.
Two weeks after giving birth, I braved it and hopped on the scale. Much to my surprise, I had lost 20 lbs. By one month postpartum, I had lost an additional 5 lbs. So I was left with 10 more until I was back to pre-pregnancy weight. I figured no problem, I'm breastfeeding exclusively, this will be easy.
Uhm, nope. Those 10 extra pounds are still alive and well on my body. They're like that unwanted guest that just doesn't get the hint to leave at the end of the night.
Losing weight while breastfeeding can be a tricky thing. Breastfeeding requires one to consume about 500 additional calories a day just to sustain milk supply, so cutting calories to lose weight can be risky. Some women find that if they don't consume enough calories, they retain weight, as the body's way of making sure there is always reserve for the baby's needs. I've also read that some women hold those last few pounds until they wean their baby from nursing. I honestly have not even attempted dieting of any sort and don't plan on it. I make sure I'm eating a healthy diet rich in protein, vegetables, fruits, and good carbs. I figure the weight will come off when it's ready to. In the meantime, I have slowly gotten back into working out as my form of me-time - for not only my physical well-being but my mental well-being. While my full-time job right now is taking care of my baby, it's just as important to take care of myself.
At 7 weeks postpartum, I had my final doctor's appointment and was given the okay to begin exercising again. At this point, I had already been walking pretty regularly, either on the treadmill or outside on days it was above 40 degrees. I felt great so I decided to slowly get back into running. Key word is SLOWLY. That first post-baby run was humbling, to say the least. I did not go above a 10 minute mile on the treadmill at 0% incline, and I was able to make it 1 mile before the pain set in, and I gave up. I took a day off and hopped back on, able to go 2 miles. By the 5th day, I was running 3 1/2 miles in under 35 minutes and feeling really good. Since then, I've been increasing my weekly mileage by a mile each week. I am really in-tune to my body and do not want to risk overdoing it, as I know I'm still recovering from my C-section. Some days, I make it 2 miles before I feel a cramp and have to stop to walk. I only run 3 days a week right now - I honestly don't have time unless Brent is home, and I'm incredibly thankful he takes over baby duties to make it possible for me to return to running. I have a few 5K's I'm aiming to participate in this spring, so it's my goal to continue improving my endurance, as long as I feel well enough to do so.
So on top of running 3x per week, I've been walking on the in between days with Wyatt. On the few days it has been somewhat warm out, I bundle him up, strap him into his stroller, and we hit the outdoors. On the other 99% of days when it's too cold out, I put him in my Moby wrap, and we hit the treadmill together for a 2-3 mile walk. I try to schedule it around his nap time. He typically falls asleep within 5 minutes of being in the wrap, and he'll nap through the whole walk. Let me tell you, carrying a 13 lb baby on your chest while walking 3 miles is just as much of a workout as running!
Last week, I joined a group called Stroller Strides (FIT4MOM) in the neighboring town. I thought it would be a great way to get more active, get us out of the house through the horrible winter season, and get to know other mom's in the area. For the winter, it's held indoors at a huge activity center on the turf, and when the weather gets warmer, the meetups are at a park outdoors. I half expected the workout to consist of pushing our strollers in circles around the arena while gossiping with the other moms...boy was I wrong. I showed up with my minimalist snap and go stroller, thinking it would be easy peasy. Then I see all these hardcore moms with their double jogging strollers housing their toddler and infant, running laps around me and kicking ass. After the hour-long class, I was shaking all over. This was a legit full-body workout. I am TOTALLY hooked and plan on going all 4 days of the week that they meetup. Wyatt was a champ - this kid LOVES to be in his stroller! - and the ladies are awesome. I'll keep you updated my progress as I continue.