7/26/18

How My Body Has Changed Since Having A Baby + My Current Diet and Fitness Routine







Sports bra - Zella | Leggings - Zella | Sneakers - APL | Sunglasses - Le Specs

I debated doing a post about this topic because the experience of having a baby and the changes your body goes through can be such a personal one. But I have received many emails and messages from readers asking me what my experience was like so I am sharing that today. Before I begin, I want to say that this is not a "how-to" post but more about my own journey and what has worked for me.

MY BODY

I am now 9 months postpartum and have lost all of the weight I gained during my pregnancy. I should mention though that I don't own a scale, never did and never will. I only go by how my clothes fit me. So for all I know I could weigh more or less than I did before pregnancy but hate being tied to a number which can often fluctuate for the weirdest things. All my clothes fit so in my mind, I'm back to my pre-pregnancy size.

Regarding how I got back into shape so fast after having Miles, I am going to say what tons of people may not want to say or even want to hear. I think part of my ability to lose the baby weight so quickly was due to genetics. My mom had the ultimate snapback, gaining only 20 lbs with me and going back to her pre-baby weight shortly after. So I know that was a factor. How much weight did I actually gain during pregnancy? I think it was between 25-30 lbs. And you may be wondering why I don't actually know and that is because in the last month of my pregnancy I didn't have them tell me my weight when I went to the doctor (I turned around backwards when on the scale). It didn't serve any purpose for me to hear that number and I knew it would only frustrate me simply because everything did in those last few weeks. #hormones As long as the doctors weren't concerned about my weight, I was not either. Even when I went in to give birth, I was in so much pain that I didn't even hear what they said my weight was (and they told me the number in kilograms - huh?). I do think a big part of how I maintained a manageable weight while pregnant was because I eat a predominantly healthy diet and worked out 3-5 days a week. I'll touch on my actual activities and diet later in the post.

Besides the weight aspect of pregnancy, my body has changed in many more ways after having Miles. I had strange things pop up here and there while pregnant (i.e. face rash, broken capillaries, weird congestion issues, etc), but they were manageable compared to how things have changed after giving birth. Fluctuating hormones and mood swings were one of the hardest aspects to handle, and things began to get very tough around 2 months postpartum and continue to be difficult until about 6 months postpartum. I didn't struggle with mood swings daily (anxiety, frustration, irritability, etc) but they were all encompassing when they would hit. I was able to determine that they came around the days I ovulated and had my period so that helped me manage them more as the months went on. In addition to the mood swings (they are still there but have tapered off significantly in the past 2 months), I also have bouts of fatigue that hit me out of nowhere, hot flashes and night sweats that make me feel like I'm on fire, breakouts that are basically immune to whatever products I use on them, loss of skin elasticity (things feel less firm all around), cramps at odd times of the month (not during my period), just to name a few. I'm sure there are other crazy things that I'm forgetting right now as well, but those are the most significant for me. Individually these things are not so bad, but when they all converge at the same time and during this huge time of adjustment with having a new baby, it can be SO overwhelming. The more time passes, the more my body seems to balance out but that doesn't diminish how challenging it can be.

EXERCISE

My exercise preferences after having Miles are still the same as when I was pregnant. I rotate between yoga (I like a flow yoga class), pilates (I go to Club Pilates), barre classes and walking around the neighborhood. Typically I will workout 2-3 times a week doing one of each class (that is ideal) and throwing in a walk when I feel like it. Pilates has been most instrumental in helping me get my stomach muscles back in shape and building overall strength. It's designed to help sculpt the body but in a lean way. I should mention that though none of the workouts I do are high impact, they are still incredibly difficult, can get the heart rate up and deliver amazing results especially with toning and tightening (and especially with the core which was what I needed the most). Though I did not have diastasis recti, I sought out exercises online that were targeted for that because they were extremely gentle and focused on my lower stomach muscles. (this was one video I watched and the exercises were so helpful!) 

I was cleared to workout at 7 weeks but because I had a particularly difficult c-section recovery, my progress was slow. I eased into my classes, often sitting out numerous exercises when I felt too tired or when my body was simply not strong enough to do it. Though I stayed very active during my pregnancy, the c-section really took a toll on my stomach muscle strength and just sitting up in bed was difficult some days. It wasn't until about 7 months postpartum that I began to feel strong again and have my stamina back.

DIET

I've talked before in prior posts (see those here and here) that I don't follow any particular diet or eating style (paleo, vegan, counting macros, etc), but I do tend to lean towards a more low carb diet. And when I do reach for carbs, I try to opt for ones that are more nutritious or full of fiber (like these crackers I eat every day). I don't count calories, but I prefer to feel better rather than enjoy that overindulgent meal which will often make me feel bloated, uncomfortable and tired. Now that being said, I do believe in moderation so because my diet is healthy 80-90% of the time, I can enjoy a pizza dinner or decadent ice cream dessert from time to time. I was the same way while pregnant. In fact, I did not increase my calorie count or eat any more than I do now. If I was exceptionally hungry on a certain day, I would add in an extra snack like a yogurt but I never thought I was "eating for two". I probably splurged less while pregnant because I knew I would bloat more quickly (I bloat easily on carb heavy foods), and it would be harder to get the weight off if I indulged too much during those 9 months. I think that consistency before, during and after pregnancy both with my diet and exercise has helped me maintain a healthy weight and contribute to helping me get back to my original size after having Miles. 

Before I wrap this post up, I cannot stress enough just how different everyone's experience can and will be when it comes to having a baby. You only have one body and it's important to be proud of it, and never apologize for the way it looks. I will admit that there were days I actually felt guilty that my body seemed to be getting back into shape so quickly because I never wanted anyone to feel insecure that their body may be taking longer. I know what it feels like to have crippling insecurities about things (not just body related), but over the years I have worked hard (and am still working) at getting through those and not allowing outside sources to affect me in a harmful way. I understand that my insecurity over someone else is coming from a place within me. That realization was humbling but also empowering because when I made that connection, I was able to work on it. Thus allowing me to celebrate others and truly want them to succeed and be their best. 

Thanks for reading my post! I'm always so grateful for your encouragement and support of my blog - it means the world to me.

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6 comments :

  1. This hasn’t been my experience at all. I actually lost weight while pregnant (never ending morning sickness) and then gained a bunch afterwards while breastfeeding. Trying to find a workout routine that works for me and a busy one year is interesting. Thanks for sharing what worked for you. I’ll check out that video.

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    1. It's crazy how every single woman can have SUCH a different experience throughout and after pregnancy. It's great that we can share our differences/stories and accept each other! I love that! Thanks for reading!

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  2. Appreciate your honest post! I can understand how it’s difficult to put this out there as women can have so much hostility to other women when it comes to bodies/appearances. I am another fortunate one who gained little weight (20lbs but I’m very petite with a 105 lbs prepreg weight) and then lost it soon afterwards, which I attribute to being able to breastfeed. I totally agree with you that not overindulging during pregnancy is so important. I also never felt like I was eating for two and kept to my usual diet. I find I’m getting a bit off track now and being a bit too self indulgent and need to refocus and be healthier. I’m giving in to my sweet tooth big time! Baby is now 4.5mo so I need to be more careful :)

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    1. Thanks for understanding. :) And congrats on your little one as well!!

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  3. such a great post.. thank you for describing your journey and the feelings along it

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