This is part one of a two part series!
Spending 9 months or so becoming nice, round and plump is all fun and games when you’re pregnant. Who doesn’t enjoy the extra poundage when you are incubating a tiny, little human? It really doesn’t matter if you are growing by the minute when your pants have an elastic waste band. It’s so blissful. And astonishing. And miraculous…and then you have your baby. That’s when things get a little weird. Things become all pooch-y and bouncy. Your tummy, that was once so cute and full of a baby, is now like a waterbed. And body parts that were once in the right places are now in unforgivable and unimaginable places. It’s discombobulating to say the very least. A postnatal body is different than before it was pregnant. It forever will be. And that’s okay. For the majority of us, it just takes time, effort, energy, and a few decent nights’ sleep to get our bodies back to (or close to) what they were before baby.
After having three of my own, I understand the effort that it truly takes. For me, it took a lot of hard, hard work. And it took a lot of time. It increasingly became more frustrating to me as I was putting in the effort while others claimed that it took none. Of course I realize that there are exceptions to every rule. There are women who walk out of the delivery room with six pack abs while wearing their pre-pregnancy skinny jeans. I get it. My frustrations do not lie with them. That’s just good genetics, and you can’t blame a girl for good genetics. My frustration lies with those who don’t come clean about what their efforts really are, especially when we are constantly inundated with skinny, post-baby celebrities in the media. It becomes bothersome when those who do actually work hard act as though it took nothing at all. When asked how in the world they lost all of the baby weight, they often give untruthful, little quips about how it was so easy for them, which inevitably makes the rest of us feel a little low.
Myth Number One: “Oh you know, I just run after my kids all day.” I have a four-year old and a three-year old. They run. A lot. They are constantly on the move. And yes, because of them, I’m on the move most of the day. But running after them? No. Not all day. Not even part of the day. More like a a couple of quick dashes here and there. For most women, chasing after your kids alone is not going to cut it. Yes, it’s wonderful to be up and around and on your feet for the day, but some sort of organized exercise is best. Squeezing in an extra 30-45 minutes a day of exercise will burn the extra calories needed to drop the post-pregnancy pounds. Plus, it will give you energy, which as moms, we often run short of.
Myth Number Two: “I just eat the leftovers off of my kids’ plates because I’m always forgetting to eat.” After I had my third baby, I constantly forgot to eat. If I found cracker crumbs on the floor, I would suck them up like a Hoover vacuum cleaner because I realized how hungry I actually was. But as life normalized and I became somewhat lucid, I was actually able to eat normal meals again. Women can get themselves into trouble by subscribing to the whole eating-my-kids’-leftovers plan. Either you’re not getting enough calories, which inevitably leads to unhealthy weight loss or weight gain, or you’re eating your meal and then the rest of your kids’ meals. And that’s just too much food. And I’ve been guilty of this. Let your kids eat their food and you stick to your meal plan.
Myth Number Three: “Breastfeeding has taken all of the weight off of me.” Breastfeeding burns anywhere between 300-600 calories a day. And that is awesome. But it is not a treadmill strapped to your chest. And it can’t take the place of a healthy diet and exercise. Plus, one extra small snack or meal can negate the calories burned by breastfeeding. Is it helpful? Of course. But for most women, it is just a fraction of their post-baby weight loss.
Myth Number Four: “When I had the baby, I lost all of the baby’s weight, plus all of the excess water weight. Voila! Baby weight, gone.” Average weight gain during pregnancy is between 25-35 lbs. Baby weighs between 7-8 lbs. Placenta weighs about 1 lb. Fluids lost usually averages around 3 lbs. That adds up to about 12 lbs lost during childbirth. For most women, it just takes a while to lose the rest.
Here is the truth. For most of us, it will take a while for our bodies to began to take shape again. And by a while, I would plan for a year. Some say it takes 9 months to put on the weight, so expect 9 months to take it off, but I think that can be a little demanding. Sleep is such a huge factor to getting back in shape. Babies have a tendency to keep you up at night. Give yourself some leeway. Plan for a year. But if it takes more time, that’s okay too!
What are myths that you’ve heard?
Morgandi will share her tips on busting these myths in the second part of The Mom. The Myth. The Bod. Part 2! Stay tuned!