On Losing That Baby Weight

I have a healthy love for my body; always have no matter what size I have been and I have fluctuated a bit over the years. In more recent years, and before I became pregnant, I have a been a steady and healthy weight. I worked out regularly. So, when I got pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted to keep on dancing and doing my exercise routine as long as possible. I made it to month nine in my Zumba class before I was a little too uncomfortable to continue (I delivered just two and a half weeks later!)

My goal was to only gain about 20-25 pounds during my pregnancy, and this was what the doctors also recommended. By the day I delivered, I had gained about 30 pounds, with the final 10 packing on in the last month and a majority of that feeling like it was water weight in my legs (very uncomfortable!!!) After giving birth, I was surprised that I had lost nearly 20 pounds within the first ten days.

Now, everyone's experience with pregnancy weight will be different. I am now about a month from delivery and I am just a few pounds shy of my original weight (though I admit, it seems to be distributed a bit differently these days!) I credit a lot of this to two things: my pregnancy work-outs and breastfeeding.

Me, just days before I gave birth! 

Four weeks postpartum: nearly back to my original size! 

Working out: 
Does it take some extra effort to work out while you are pregnant? Absolutely! Some days it just feels terribly hard to get up and go work out because of hormonal changes, fatigue, and morning sickness. But I really feel it was the single best decision I made on any given day. Whether it was taking a walk or going to Zumba or doing my Ballet Beautiful DVDs, if I worked out at all, it was worth it. My midwives always encouraged me to keep working out, saying that my recovery would be easier and let me tell you: it was!

I also did pregnancy-specific exercises, and I only missed three days of doing them the entire nine and a half months. This included doing squats, getting on the pregnancy ball and doing the cat/cow back stretches and hip opening exercises. I feel these are important to keep your body limber during pregnancy as well as making for an easier delivery.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to start a great workout routine that you love WELL BEFORE you ever consider getting pregnant. That way, you can continue on in your normal routine once you become pregnant. There is just no substitute for a healthy lifestyle!

The day my milk came in I wanted to die. It was the most uncomfortable thing in the world, not to mention it was scary! My boobs were these enormous orbs, hard and freaky looking, and painful as hell. I cried the whole day. The. Whole. Day. Do I understand now why some women throw in the towel on breastfeeding? YES! But, if there is any argument for continuing with breastfeeding other than the health benefits to your child, it's the weight loss.

Breastfeeding burns calories, tons of them! Yes, it can be a challenge. Yes, sometimes you will eat the wrong thing and end up with a baby who is gassy, crying and uncomfortable. But you will get the hang of it--I promise--and you will see the pounds just literally fall off. In the beginning, you will actually feel your uterus getting smaller as your baby eats, which is both strange and awesome.

Be patient with yourself, and remember to eat well: 
Even with feeling really good about my postpartum weight loss so far, I still look a wee bit different. My weight is distributed differently now, and I still have a bit of belly which I will have to work off the old fashioned way: with more exercise! I won't start that for a couple more weeks because I am still healing and my body reminds me of that with some aches and pains in the hips and other joints.

Also, never overlook eating a healthy diet postpartum. This is perhaps the biggest challenge of all because with a new baby, there is a lot to do! Learning to tackle caring for my new baby, doing chores, and eating healthy has been a challenge for me, but I know that it's worth it. It takes some planning and there are times when I need to be patient and gentle with myself if I can't get everything accomplished.

Most of all, remember you have just had a baby and that is the most beautiful thing of all. Your body, no matter what it looks like, is beautiful and has just given life! Focus on the good, and know that you are beautiful! 

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