Baby Weight

I am relatively open about my weight. Leading up to being pregnant I was probably in the best shape I've been in since I was 16 years old. Which isn't really saying a lot because I'm only 28. But I was getting super into running and had a goal for a sub 6 mile and a 21 minute 5k. Chris was my coach and I was running many miles each and every day. Then I got my stress fracture. Then I got pregnant. Then I had Zoe. I have never been someone who is good at "taking it easy" so my doctor was happy that I got pregnant because it really meant I had to take it easy to fully recover from my stress fracture. I still found many ways to work out while pregnant and worked out till 39 weeks. But my running went bye bye.

my family getting ready for the Road to Hana relay in 2010

After I had Zoe it took me a LONG time to get back into running. I realize that may sound strange because she's just barely over 1, but for someone who was running nearly every day for several years, taking a year+ off was a big deal. I've started running somewhat regularly again and earlier this week ran my fastest 5k I have in 2 years. And I felt AWESOME. I totally felt like a bad ass runner again. It's still several minutes slower than I was clocking in at in races, but it was something I felt really good about. I was proud of myself.

Two nights ago while planted in front of the TV and reading shitty news stories on my cell phone I came across an unnamed celebrity's post baby body pics. I felt awful that my immediate reaction was to be mad. This lady was 5 months postpartum and she was looking ROCKING. After I thought about it for a couple of seconds I felt really guilty that I felt so mad. I needed to revise and reorganize my feelings: I felt mad that I compared myself to something that isn't my #1 priority, yet still makes me upset.

I was thin in high school. I have played sports year round since about the age of 7 and being active was always just part of my family's life style. I am lucky that I was also fortunate to have inherited good genes. I didn't really ever think about weight. We always had healthy snacks on hand and I was just as happy to eat a handful of red vines as I was to eat some leftover salad in the fridge that my parents left for me.

yup, I'm awesome

When I got to college I took time off from sports and immediately gained about 15 pounds. It was the freshman + not being as active 15 (after all, I was no longer running a mile warm up before soccer practice every day). I didn't really worry about it though and after a year or two I got back into being active and exercising a lot because being physical makes me happy. I didn't think about working out in terms of losing weight, I worked out because I wanted to be more healthy and happy.

I was extremely adamant about working out while I was pregnant. When I had my first doctors appointment I told him about my recovering stress fracture. At that point I was working out 3 days a week and he told me 4 was okay - so I went for it. I went for walks, rode our recumbent bike, went to the gym, did free weights, went swimming. I was all about it. I loved the way it made me feel.

After I had Zoe I was eager to be active again. I had a tough time those first two weeks. There was certainly a part of me that wanted to lose weight because I felt a little too....jiggly. But I also wanted to get back to being me. And so when I was cleared by the doctor I started to work out again. It felt good, but I didn't go at it full throttle. It honestly took me until just a couple weeks ago till I really started PUSHING myself. Almost every run I used to take or every work out at the gym I used to do was balls out. I LOVED timing myself on runs and pushing myself as hard as I fucking could. I thrive on competition.

league champs!

But after Zoe, I really started just wanting to do it for me. I wanted to ease into working out because I didn't want to hurt myself and I wanted to take care of my body. I'm not saying that people who jump on the elliptical the second they have a baby aren't taking care of themselves, but that just wasn't what was in store for me. I think there is SO MUCH pressure to be able to say, "It took me 'X' amount of time to lose the baby weight," in the fastest amount of time. In those first several months I weighed myself pretty frequently. It was hard to see the number be high, but I knew that being healthy, recovering from a baby and taking care of my body was work that took time. And over time I stopped really weighing myself and just went on how I felt. When I got pregnant I was just under 140lbs, I gained about 45 pounds while pregnant, and I just weighed myself 2 minutes ago and I came in at 145.

I am okay with that. I do not need to have the flattest stomach. I am happy with how my clothes fit, happy with how I feel in my body. I will always have those little white stretch marks on my tummy. My skin will never be nearly as elastic. And by boobs are no longer perky - they're back to their little size. And slightly droopier. It took me 14 months to get within 5+ pounds of where I was pre-pregnancy. But I am happy with my lifestyle. I am happy to love running again. I am happy to take Zoe on those runs and have her face to cheer into when I run a good time. I hope that one day I can share being active with her. I loved playing baseball with my dad, running races with my step dad and going to the pool or boxing gym with my mom when I was little.

she already took my Nike sweatshirt to me and demanded I put it on her, so obviously she's ready to be an athlete

So here is my declaration to you: I will (absolutely TRY to) no longer care about my "baby weight." Who the fuck cares? Let us not be slaves to a scale. Let us eat that fabulous dessert. Let us work out because we want to instill an active and healthy lifestyle in our fabulous children. Let us be honest with ourselves and each other: baby weight is hard, and however quick or slow you lose it, you are still fucking awesome.


Deb said...

I was always a chubby girl - and I never exercised until about 4 years ago. Now, I can't stop. I love it and at 44 (when did that happen?) I am totally doing it to be healthy - not thin . And I think that's why I enjoy it. It's not a chore. It's not something I do because I have to. I'm slow as shit when I run - but I love to run. I'm a slow racer - but I love to race. I challenge myself in my workouts (Burpees are the devil) and as a mom to girls - there's no better example you can set than that of a woman who takes care of her body and is healthy.

meryl rose said...

Congrats to you Deb! And I totally agree - I want to show Zoe that being beautiful is loving who you are and being healthy and happy :)

Erin said...

Hmm, let's see. I got pregnant with Baby #1 over 5 years ago and I'll let you know when I get back to within 5 pounds of that weight. That would be a freakin' miracle of miracles. Of course, I don't work out at all, so I'm not really trying. I wish I had a desire to work out and/or run, but like most, I hate doing both. But, I'm happy, mostly, with myself and my body weight. I try not to beat myself up about it.

Erin said...

Thank you so much for posting about this! I have been following your posts about pregnancy and parenthood since last summer--I got pregnant shortly after your daughter was born. My baby boy is now five months old and I'm just starting to slowly work on getting back into shape and losing that baby weight. I had a surprise c-section, much like you, and while the short term recovery from that seemed easy, I'm discovering it took more of a toll on me than I realized. I have seen so many new mothers lately, both celebrities and people I know personally, who seem to have gotten their bodies "back" overnight, while I think I still look six months pregnant (still in some of my maternity clothes). Ive been trying to keep a positive attitude and perspective but it gets hard sometimes. I love your declaration -- I'm adopting it as my new mantra! You are fucking awesome!!

meryl rose said...

Thanks Erins! :)

And Erin2, I'm glad to supply a new mantra to an awesome new mama! :)