Monday, 18 June 2012

Getting my body back: Day 1

It's been almost two months since I delivered, and now that things are starting to settle down it seems like an appropriate time to start thinking about losing my "baby weight". It's amazing how quickly your belly shrinks in size after giving birth, but you're not likely to be left with exactly what you had before. I was 121 pounds when I became pregnant and was comfortable enough with my body to wear a bathing suit in public and feel good about myself. I felt strong, young (most of the time) and couldn't imagine being any other way. Today I weigh 132 pounds and have a completely different perspective of my body and how I look.

By the time I delivered, I had put on 34 pounds--barely making it within the recommend weight gain for pregnancy of 25 to 35 pounds for women starting at a healthy weight. I stayed active (walking to work, pilates, yoga) but I definitely indulged now and then, so I knew I was carrying some excess weight. In the first trimester, when you don't need to put any weight on, I think I gained 7 or 8 pounds. This likely occured while I was falling asleep sitting up on the couch after supper, only to awaken to scarf down some crackers or other carbohydrates to keep the nausea at bay. 

Because of my small frame (I'm barely 5' 2'') and the fact that I carried the baby all in front, my stomach jutted out in front of me, threatening to knock me off my feet with a nudge or a strong wind. The skin around my belly button stretched to the point that it (my belly button) turned completely inside out and I developed a thin brown vertical line on my belly, known as linea nigra, which is common in pregnancy but totally weird. 

When I left the hospital, My stomach had contracted to about the size that I was when I was four or five months pregnant. I got brave enough to weigh myself about a week after giving birth, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I had lost 19 pounds. A few days later I checked again and I had lost a total of 25 pounds, which is around where I've stayed since, leaving me with about 10 pounds to lose. It's those last 10 pounds that I'm going to have to work on.

Today is the first day that I will be tracking my food using Weight Watchers Online, the program that helped me lose 10 pounds before I became pregnant. It's a program that worked well for me, and helps me to make more sensible choices when it comes to the foods that I eat, how much I eat and how I incorporate activity into my daily life. 

Near the end of my pregnancy, I loved my pregnant body, despite all the bizarre changes. Like most women, I've always been quick to notice the flaws of my body, and if I really looked at myself closely, I would have to admit that pregnancy and motherhood hasn't done anything to improve my looks.

Strangely enough, though, I've never been happier with my body. When I look at my baby, I feel so fortunate and proud to have carried him and brought him into the world. He's worth every scar and every stretch mark. He is my priority now, but in order to best take care of him, I need to take care of myself. That's why I'm going to take the time to lose the excess weight that pregnancy has left me with, so that when I look at myself, I'm not only proud of having a baby but also proud to have taken care of myself.

My goal is to look good in a bathing suit by the time I visit my family on the east coast in August. Weight Watchers recommends that nursing mothers only lose 1 pound per week, so if I follow the program I should be 125 pounds by August 1st. I know that I likely won't look exactly like I did before I got pregnant, but I'm going to have a better body than I have today, and that's worth the effort. I am worth the effort. 

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