When "Baby Weight" Becomes Plain Ole "Weight." (with poll)

March 21, 2006

Today, I decided to take an overdue look at reality.

I am 14 months postpartum. And I weigh 159 pounds.

That is 12 pounds more than my pre-pregnancy weight of 147. And a full 19 pounds more than my “ideal” weight of 140 pounds.

Well fellow MotherTalkers, it’s time to do something about it.

My pregnancy was an ideal one: I felt great throughout, ate healthy food and exercised up until the week I gave birth. I gained 35 pounds and after I had my daughter in January 2005, the weight melted off with little effort. I like to call it the Nursing Diet: I had an insatiable little eater, and my metabolism went into overdrive. The result: I could eat whatever I wanted and still lose weight. Fancy that.
For someone who had previously lost more than 40 pounds and kept it off for almost 5 years through careful eating and very regular exercise, (I was even featured as a before-and-after story in Fitness Magazine!) it felt like a well-deserved vacation.

So I indulged. And despite my bad behavior, I dropped to 146 pounds by September 2005. Granted, my body wasn’t the same. The weight was now distributed differently: my waist wasn’t as small, my hips a little wider. I was softer than before. Still, I took comfort in watching the numbers on the scale continue to drop.

But as a working mom, it was getting harder and harder to supply my daughter with all the breast milk she needed. When she was 7 months old, we introduced one bottle of formula and let nature take its course. I produced less and less milk until she was nursing twice a day, then once a day, then every other day. Last week when she was sick, I nursed her for the last time. It was bittersweet, but I’m proud to have nursed her as long as I did.

While I was weaning her, my metabolism obviously slowed. But I didn’t really change my eating habits or get back to the gym like I kept promising myself I would. It all boiled down to time.

I work all day. Cooking healthy meals takes time. Going to the gym takes time. So I find myself cutting corners– eating out, skipping the treadmill– in order to spend precious time with my husband and daughter. The end result: I have regained 13 pounds.

The truth is, I’m unhappy with my body. I don’t expect perfection, but I would like to tone my belly, shrink my thighs and firm up my arms. I want the energy that I used to have when I exercised regularly, and the feeling of accomplishment that came with running a 10K race.

Most of all, I want to be healthy. I have a family history of obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. I want to model a healthy lifestyle for my daughter and most of all, I want to be here for my daughter. I want to live to a ripe old age and watch her grow. I want her to respect her body enough to exercise and eat good foods. I don’t want her to end up living on junk food and soda.

So it’s time. Time to work some regular physical activity into my schedule, and time to stop eating pizza and ice cream with too much regularity. After all, 15 pounds isn’t too much to lose; it will be harder still if I put if off and find myself having to lose 20 pounds or even 30 pounds.

It’s not easy to go on this site and say, “I’m chubby and hopelessly out-of-shape and I want to do something about it.” But I know other mothers out there can relate, and I hope you will all help me to be accountable.

If there’s interest, I will update my progress occasionally. I also welcome any mother out there to share her journey as well.

This will undoubtedly be a bumpy ride, so I figure I’ll need all the support I can get.