Friday, April 27, 2012

mama confessions: losing my baby weight

Like many, I made some resolutions at New Year's.  Read them {HERE}

Also, like many, one revolved around losing weight/working out.

I'm happy to say that is the one I did keep.  I still don't drink enough water.  I still am not a good napper. But I did work really hard to get my tummy back.

I am not writing this to brag, although I am completely proud of myself.  Women should be proud when they reach a health/fitness goal.  My goal really had nothing to do with weight.  I chose a part of my body that I wanted to work on, my abs, and figured the rest would come along with it.

So here is my journey.

When I got pregnant I was a healthy weight for my height.  Not uber-skinny, but right in the middle of the "healthy spectrum." for my height -- only 5'3.  The number on the scale looks different on anyone.  For anyone else's frame and/or height, my weight could be too much or way too little to look healthy.

I am not someone with a freakishly awesome metabolism or someone who has the luxury of saying, "Oh, but I hate running/working I just won't." I work out for both physical and mental necessities...because I honestly love it.  I am not a picky eater.  I will try anything once and can always find something I like on a menu.  Nor am I a really disciplined portion-controller.  You know, that girl that divides her meal at a restaurant into two perfect halves and saves the rest for another meal?  99% of the time I eat every bit on my plate.  I rarely share my food with my husband.  I'm more likely to shoot him a deadly look and stab his hand with my fork.

Fact is: I really, really love food.  Particularly pizza.

That being said...I also like being fit.  Feeling strong - yes, as in having muscles and being able to push my body to the limits.  I am happiest when I don't feel like my body is holding me back -- from running a race, chasing after my baby, or wearing a cute dress or bikini.

Because I have been a runner for quite a while, and a very active person, when I got pregnant I was in decent shape.  I even started working out a little bit more during the months before so that I could be in good shape when I was pregnant.  I started taking my prenatals nearly a year before we thought we might want to start trying.  I also cut out all meat except fish in order to take off a couple extra pounds.

my "before" pregnancy shot - well, 8 weeks along 
I knew that the better shape I was in when I started my pregnancy, the easier it would be to take off the weight.  In theory.

Pregnancy is different for everyone.  Some women are on bed-rest for months.  Some have a more difficult recovery than others.  Some are just unable to work out at all.  Some deal with post-partum depression, which may make working out and eating healthy even harder.

I am thankful that I had a fairly healthy pregnancy.  I did not eat super healthy, however.  I basically ate whatever I felt like.  Red meat, sugary items, and lots of fast food crept their way back into my diet.  All of my cravings were unhealthy -- fatty, greasy foods.  Oh, and Coke Icees.  Things I normally never eat.  Also, I had to quit running at around 16 weeks because it just didn't feel right.  I tried to work out when I could...but once your bump gets really big it gets harder to do much of anything.

During my pregnancy my ab muscles went bye-bye! 
Here is the tummy at 
36 weeks pregnant.
Whoa mama. 
While I loved my ginormous baby bump, and even felt womanly and beautiful with couldn't last forever.
After I delivered my blessed babe,  the ab aftermath was absolutely no definition and a "mini spare tire."  Here I had thought I had been rather healthy, only gaining 35 pounds -- within the healthy range for my starting weight.  Then I realized that despite all the people who told me I was "all baby" - I wasn't.  There was some fat, too.  Fat that lingered stubbornly on the three inches below my belly button, which had gotten pretty messed up.  Oh and the "pregnancy hormone line" {linea nigra} stuck around a while as well.  As in, I still have it.

Of course, the first six weeks after you have your baby you are not supposed to do any "working out."  So I waited impatiently until my appointment to get the AOK from the doctor to start running again.  In the meantime...

What I did - the first six weeks:  
  • breastfed 
  • went on short walks {like, a few blocks} when the weather wasn't scorching.
  • Ate whatever...but to be honest I was so tired that eating was something I had to force myself to do.  Tried to be as healthy as possible, since I was breastfeeding.  
  • Drank a lot of water.
Here I am,
6 weeks postpartum:
This photo is not the most flattering, I know.  But I kind of have to embrace where I've been to appreciate where I am now.  During those first six weeks I lost 25 pounds...but my goal wasn't a particular was to get back my pre-pregnancy definition.  I had a ways to go.

What I did - Months 3-6: 
  • two or three 3-mile runs per week {most at 5am}
  • the occasional "at-home workout" involving free weights, lunges, squats and lotsa crunches {aka hundreds} during Baby Cormac's naps
  • when I stopped breastfeeding {at 3 1/2 months} I cut back my calories to around 1800-2000 per day. 
Here I was in January...
6 months post-partum:

I felt happy with my progress, but really wanted to amp it up to reach my goal of "getting back my abs" by the time Baby turned 9 months, so...
What I did - Months 6-9:   
  •  Six 3-mile runs per week {most pushing my 20 pound baby in a jogging stroller}
  • Two classes at the gym per week: either a total body strength-training class, spinning, yoga, or yoga/pilates mix. Praise God for gym playrooms!
  • never skipping breakfast
  • eating small 300-400 cal meals throughout the day, every three hours
  • a glass of red wine at dinner {reduces my desire for sweets}
  • rarely having a carbonated beverage (as in one maybe every two weeks)
  • only one serving of carbs at dinner 
  • plank pose, plank pose, plank pose  -- I will never do a million crunches is the easier, better option!
9 months post-partum:

It has also helped to not focus on my "weight" but only on making healthy choices to lose the belly fat.  I can't obsess about a number on a scale.  It still hovers several pounds above my pre-baby I more-so rely on the motivation of the before and after pics!
36 weeks pregnant
six weeks post-partum
six months post-partum
nine months post-partum
Every woman is different.   It took me nine months of hard work, and I am okay with that.  I also love to work out, and have always been someone who needs to work out everyday to feel good/fight off depression.  Some might think it is easier for me to work out/be healthy because I "stay at home" -- but the reality is that it has nothing to do with it whether you work inside or outside the home.  I know working mamas who made the effort to get to the gym, lost their baby weight and look fabulous.  I also know SAHMs that never work out.

For those who were instantly bikini-ready post-baby...I salute you and wish I had your amazing genetics. I seriously have friends that look incredible post-pregnancy and didn't have to work out at all.   Completely happy for you -- and totally envious!  :) :)

For those that have to {and will continue to} work really hard to get to the place where you feel your best physically...keep it up, ladies!!!

For future mamas:  Don't expect it to happen quickly.  If it does, great...but be prepared to make sacrifices of your time and your taste buds.  Give yourself at least as much time as it took to grow that baby to get back where you feel happy.  And be prepared to work really hard for it.

Just in case you aren't Gisele or Jessica Alba.  :)

*  *  *  *  *

Where are you in your journey, baby or not?  What are your fitness goals?  What ways did you change your lifestyle to get healthy post-pregnancy?   How are you preparing your body for a possible pregnancy?  What is your motivation to lose weight/be healthier -- clothes, baby, energy-level, better sex life, etc?

I'd love to hear!


  1. Nice work!!!! :) Breastfeeding definitely helps with those initial pounds!

    Mack and I are excited to start running again {once we are both healthy again}.

    Now it's time to do it all over! ;) hahahaha.

    1. Waaah! Not yet for me - yikes! Gimme another year to recover. :) :)

  2. You look great! thank you for posting this! I am same height and my biggest issue is the ab region. Just never really put the focus on it and now I want it gone!!!! I have been pushing the water as well!

  3. Woooooah, missus!! I'm SO impressed! Look at you! Well done - give yourself a massive clap from me!!


  4. Wow - very brave of you to post those pictures! You look amazing now! It took me till my kids were a little older that I wanted to get in shape, but I'm in the best shape of my life now and I'm in my 30's and loving it!
    Great post!

  5. Honestly I think you look amazing at each stage! Even the 6 weeks after picture! Thank you for posting, I love motivational stories like this! I actually almost posted about weight today too, seems to be a hot topic with bikini season coming up! For me as soon as I took my focus away from my weight and refocused it on just being happy and healthy, the weight thing just took care of itself.

  6. I want to rephrase what I said above after rereading it I feel like it came off all wrong. I agree with Tanya about you looking great the entire time. I think prego women are beautiful and I think you were as well. It is amazing to me that you were able to be so dedicated with your exercise routine with a new baby at home! Normally after being pregnant we all want to hide our bodies, which is why I think you were brave in sharing your pics with us. I know how I felt 6 weeks post baby! I wish I was able to be like that and look like you do! :) I also think it is great that you share your story and help to motivate us all with what you have experienced. Sorry, just wanted to clear that up so you knew what I was really thinking while I typed. :)

    1. No need at ALL to apologize, girl!!!! I wasn't insulted in any way by your previous comment...but appreciate your sweet words in this one as well! :D If I didn't have the 'six weeks' photo I would never have gotten to the 'nine months' photo -- so I gotta love them all!

  7. Greta, the way you share about your life is a sweet combination of humbleness and strength. I love it! I'm off to run a 10K this morning. I don't have baby weight to shed, but man do I love ice cream. =)

    1. Goooo Jenelle! That is really awesome. 10K is the most I've run and afterward you deserve to eat all the ice cream you want! :) :) :)

  8. Wow you look amazing!! and I agree you looked amazing the whole time, six weeks after isn't totally far from where I am at the moment and for me (a non runner/anything-er.. relying on whatever metabolism I had) pre-pregnancy, its not that bad after 3 babies. I was also unlucky in the stretch mark department, something I can't do anything about.. but, I did get something out of the deal :) I really admire your motivation!! I'm starting to do runs 3 times a week, as best I can, and my motivation has been knowing that a happy healthy mama = happy kids. Your little man (and any more babies you might have) are very lucky you work hard at staying healthy (and happy/stress free) .. it's a gift for them even if they never realize it!

  9. look at you go!! what a babe!! this is so inspiring, greta!! :) and your dedication + ambition are going to prove to be SO invaluable for cormac too! <3 while i do like to look good naked (LOL), watching my parents work-out and eat well as a kid {and then make it a *must* that my sis & i had to exercise everyday too} helped make it a habit for me ~ one that i'm so grateful for now. i'm not pre- or post- baby like you & some of your friends, so aside from that i guess my motivation is just overall health. :o) my body's gonna change, age, and look the way it wants so all i can do is be good to it & appreciate what it can do for me. you're a rockstar, xoxo

  10. As I have said before, I love your honesty. And I am so envious of your determination. Really Impressive! You look FABULOUS!

  11. I have never looked that good in my life. I hate you a little ;)


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