The shape of you. The shape of me.

The title of this post might give you an idea of how much Dr. Seuss I read on daily basis.

Ok, so I’ve been asked to write about this multiple times and I have looked forward to writing about this, as well. Kind of. Sort of. The only but is that I don’t really have much to say on the topic of postpartum body and getting in shape. I have done absolutely NOTHING. 🙁 So I’ll write a bit about what changes my body went through from pre-pregnancy to now and what I am planning on doing about it.

There are a few “quirks” about my body that need to be known to understand where I am at after giving birth.
Number 1: My strong spot is my abs. It’s virtually impossible for me to gain fat in my tummy. And when I gain weight, my belly is the LAST thing to grow (after boobies) and even then it still has some definition to it.
Number 2: My weak spot is my legs. That is the first place where I gain weight and it shows immediately. So the rest of my body will be fine, but my legs and face will show whether I am heavy or thin.
Number 3: Due to my height, 5 pounds disappear on me, and I still look slim(-ish) (not fit- slim) even with extra 10 pounds.

Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way.

{ I started writing about my body throughout the years with “illustrations”, but then realized that noone probably cares about that part, but mostly wants to hear about the changes in my body from pre-pregnancy to post-partum. So here we go.}

Pre-pregnancy. By February 2011, we were ready to start TTC, but were waiting on our maternity coverage. At that point I was a few points underweight when it came to BMI ( though I swear BMI only works for people of average height and built. If you’re really tall or have a thin frame, the numbers become ridiculous). But to be on the safe side, I decided to gain a few pounds to reach that perfect “normal” BMI. Up until then I was a non-dairy vegetarian. I did go back to eating dairy and 1 type of fish ( sardines) during the pregnancy, because I had a STRONG aversion to beans and nuts, so dairy was the easiest way to get the right amount of protein and enough calories.

{taken February 2011}

Beginning of 2012. I was 40 weeks into my pregnancy and had gained exactly 40 pounds, all while not indulging in bad foods much or overeating. Which made me think that it was exactly how much my body NEEDED to gain. Why is that important to know? Because I now truly believe that all the weight gained during pregnancy will come off with relative ease, as long as it was not gained due to overeating or indulging. I didn’t know that at that point. But looking back it totally made sense.

Postpartum: I went to looking semi-normal (while still being very heavy for me) within 2 weeks of giving birth. However the actual weight on the scale didn’t start going down right away. Being overwhelmed by caring for a newborn who refused to sleep and had some reflux issues, I decided that working out was just not going to happen until Lexi started sleeping better. I got down to 5 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight within 2-3 months naturally. I could not diet, nor did I have the energy to work out. I always heard that breastfeeding helps lose weight fast, but the truth that you hear less often is that you might not lose all your weight until you’re done breastfeeding, because your body wants to make sure it has enough fat stored to make milk.

6 Months Postpartum: My weight is at 141lbs, which is 5 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. It’s been that way since 2-3 months postpartum. Some say it all went to my boobs. Maybe yes, maybe not. But the truth of the matter is that I don’t look the same. And do you know why that is? Because I have NOT done anything in order to look like before. And I think that’s the most important point. One can’t expect to get pregnant, gain 28-42 bs, lose it and think that you magically just get toned and fit. Maybe those who worked out all throughout their pregnancy do, I don’t know… I stopped working out some time in the second part of pregnancy, because I was too lazy, tired, big. I do credit quick weight loss and “relatively” good fitness level to the fact that I was very fit going into pregnancy. But I guess I didn’t know yet how much being done with pregnancy would require in terms of getting back in shape.

So here’s where my body is at right now. My weak spot, my legs, are two blobs. Not much tone and thicker than I would like. My strong spot, my tummy, has just a little bit of a curve to it when I stand the wrong way and a fat fold if i sit scrunched down so it needs a bit of toning, as well. My arms are much bigger than before, but they are also more toned due to Lexi’s weight and me carrying her around a lot. I figure, simply loosing weight will take care of them. My chin turns into a double chin at the most unfortunate moments. Again, I think losing weight will take care of that, too. My breasts are glorious, my butt is nice. So that’s what I’ve got to work on. {The picture on the right is a good illustration of exactly what I just mentioned. Taken at 6 months postpartum}

So that being said, I am very happy that I still look relatively thin and fit, but I feel that now it’s time to actually become an active participant in how I want to look and do something about getting back in shape. To my surprise, I ended the pregnancy in a better physical shape than my husband did (major lol). My muscle strength seems to be all intact and I am able to do my pilates and exercises like I haven’t missed a beat. The challenge has been getting the motivation, the desire and time. Priorities have changed, so did desires, however being fit and looking fit is still up there with the top ones like: spend time with family, take a shower or blog.

So starting this week ( mid September), I am taking it all seriously. I am back to my exercise routine. It doesn’t take much for me to tone up. So all I’ll be doing is 30 minutes of cardio ( rollerblading) and 30 minutes of pilates and maybe a floor exercise here and there when I can (crunches, squats, etc). If my old routine doesn’t put a dent into getting my legs toned and my abs back to rock hard and flat, I’ll up it a notch then. I know I’ve sort of said it before, but I feel I now have enough time and Lexi is independent enough to play alongside with me while I do pilates, as well as tolerates the heat better as it is cooling down in Florida so I can go rollerblading while hubby runs with a jogging stroller.

{Edit: to be more specific about the exercise routine I have started, every morning Andrew and I go out with a jogging stroller. I rollerblade for about 30 minutes, because I absolutely abhor running. I do switch it up and try running once in a while but I don’t last long. The reason why rollerblading is my choice for cardio exercise (aside from hating running) is because it burns approximately the same amount of calories as running while exerting less effort and keeping it fun. Rollerblading requires a lot of different muscles to work to keep your balance that some other types of cardio don’t, but you don’t feel those muscles working because it’s just so much fun. After my morning cardio, I try to fit it pilates in. I have been using this DVD ( this particular one, because there are a few in this series but they are not as good) for as long as I’ve been doing pilates (5 years) and I haven’t found anything better. The work outs are broken into 10 minute intervals, so I bring my Tiny Love Mat with me into our movie theater room, sit Lexi down on it with a bunch of toys and do my pilates like that. She likes watching both me and the screen (Luckily there are no fast flicking or scene switching which is one of the reasons why TV is bad for babies). If she gets fussy, I just finish my 10 minute part and do the other two 10 minute parts later.

Another thing that works well is what we call TEN AN HOUR. Every hour from the moment you are up and till it’s time to go to bed, regardless of what you are doing, you drop down and do 10 sit ups, 10 push ups, 10 squats ( or whatever floor exercises you want. I also do side leg kicks while lying down, since legs is what I need to work on). It only takes 2 minutes, but by the end of the day you have done about 120 repetitions of each exercise without taking time away from your baby or working up a sweat. You can really tone up like that in a month or two. }

I contemplated doing a weekly feature so that you guys could hold me responsible for my progress or lack thereof, but I just don’t see it happening, since I am already crazy behind on posts I want to write.

As far as nutrition, not much has changed in that deparment. We still only eat whole home-cooked meals, except for pre-made veggie burgers and fake-chicken burgers. We are both diary free, meat free and eat small amount of certain fatty fishes for their health benefit. Again, you can see my nutrition posts I’ve written previously, because not much has changed.

To sum it all up, unexpectedly, the reality exceeded my expectations in how easy it was to bounce back after pregnancy. Our bodies are amazing that way. I would compare what pregnancy does to one’s body to a year of not working out and eating too much. Not so bad, I’d say. And at the same time, I don’t think you quite realize how your body does change with childbirth. Not irreversibly, but drastically nonetheless.

I remember thinking what a waste it was to have gotten into SUCH a great shape right before pregnancy (which I was doing so that I’d go into pregnancy at my best health possible), only to lose all that hard work. Now I think it is absolutely crucial to be in the best shape of your life before you conceive and to try to work out all throughout pregnancy. Not just for your and your baby’s health, but to ensure that you keep your shape postpartum. It’s so much easier to do some minor toning than it is a whole body makeover.

So how was your experience with weight gain/weight loss after pregnancy?

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47 Comments

  • Reply
    Amanda
    September 21, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    I think you look great but. I completely understand what you’re saying about how your body has changed. I gain weight the exact same way as you do, I have looked normal since a few weeks pp but not like me. The thing that kicked my butt into shape was mommy and me yoga. You wouldn’t think so, and for most people it probably wouldnt do much but all I needed was tone and this was perfect for that! Taught me things to do with baby and still work out. Absolutely lOved it. Also, I found a steep hill in a park near my house so we go there for walks instead of just a normal path. I make myself go up and down the hill 3 times (at least) every walk. Such a good workout when also pushing a stroller lol. These two simple steps have done wonders for my figure. Just a few tips for anyone looking for ideas for easy toning that you can do with baby. Again, good job being dedicated to getting back into a routine it’s a hard thing to get started when so many other things seem more important.

  • Reply
    Katie Heddleston
    September 21, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    I think you look great in that yellow bathing suit picture and don’t see any of what you described.

    My weight gain/loss has been very easy as well. I gained exactly 25 months during pregnancy and now at 6 months postpartum I’m about 3 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I actually got to this weight in less than 12 weeks postpartum without doing anything. Around 12 weeks I finally started to workout and now at 6 months I’m back to running 3 times a week and I’m starting to get that tone back where I want.

    Love reading about these types of journeys.

  • Reply
    tarynkay
    September 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    The breastfeeding weight loss thing is different for different people, I think. I have a good friend who lost so much weight breastfeeding that her doctor was begging her to stop. She was eating loads too, but she was just emaciated from feeding her son. I have another good friend who is never able to lose a pound of baby weight (she is on her fourth baby now) until she stops breastfeeding. And many of my friends have said that they lose a lot of weight quickly breastfeeding, but then they can’t shed that last 5-10 lbs until the baby is weaned.

  • Reply
    Betsy's momma
    September 21, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I was a little overweight to start my pregnancy however I was careful not to use pregnancy as a license to eat and gained 25 lbs. I tried to be much more conscious of what I was feeding my unborn baby. Without really trying I was 2 lbs above my prepregnancy weight at 1 month and with light dieting (more so just a focus on better nutrition) I am now (at a year) 10 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight with minimal effort. I attribute it more too wanting to teach my daughter better nutrition at any early age. I agree with you that if you are smart about your pregnancy weight gain then it really isn’t that difficult to lose the weight.
    I totally agree with the previous commenter about Mommy and Me Yoga. It’s a nice, light work out in the beginning and a fun way to interact and incorporate your baby into work outs.
    While my body is different than before, I am happy with myself. My husband still thinks that I am sexy and have a wonderful daughter. My work outs are usually yoga (when I can) and an hour long brisk family walk after dinner. There are lots of steep hills in my neighborhood and with a 20lb baby strapped to me or pushing a heavy stroller, I really great work out for my bum and legs. Plus, it relaxes Betsy and makes bed time easier.

  • Reply
    Rachel M
    September 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I gained 60lbs and lost 40lbs within 2 weeks. I exercised and ate according to my dr’s guidelines, but still gained way too much. I felt helpless since i wasnt pigging out on ice cream and brownies. Last year, I had to stop eating gluten and found that my body performs best with a lower carb diet! I lost another 40lbs being grain/legume free, plus my arthritis and migraines disappeared. I dont store excess fat with this diet, therefore, I’m not sure how my next pregnancy will be. My poor tummy is wrecked forever, but my weightloss has been impossibly easy and I’m not longer hungry all day long. My weight tends to accumulate on my belly, face, and back. My legs are the thinnest on me, but due to years on gymnastics, they are muscular and tone.

  • Reply
    Emily M
    September 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I think you look great too. I only gained 17 pounds with my pregnancy and lost it all in the first 2 weeks pp. And then I lost another 9 pounds in the weeks after that from breastfeeding. My son is 7 months now and I’m still breastfeeding and still down the extra 9 pounds. I haven’t started back on an exercise regimen yet so my tummy is definitely not toned but other than that I feel pretty much back to normal, but with bulkier arms from lifting the baby 🙂 Good for you for getting back into the fitness routine, I need to do it too. I live in FL as well so I know what you mean about the heat holding you back until now.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      OMG, the heat is really annoying. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had Lexi. I can deal with the heat but she can’t. She HATES being hot!

  • Reply
    Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
    September 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Hey, guys! Just wanted to mention that I made a little edit to the post, detailing what I am doing exercise wise.

  • Reply
    Salena
    September 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    I am going to give you two points of view on post partum weight loss, because I’ve done the super lazy I’m gestating the next jesus and I can’t risk lifting my figure pregnancy, and the holy crap I have an active toddler and don’t want to give birth looking like a whale approach.

    After DS#1 was born I was 190 lbs (5’7″) So “Obese” I suffered from PPD pretty bad and didn’t come out of the fog till 9 months PP. I started working out 2 hours a day (the longest I could leave him at the gym daycare. Every single day. I only got down to 140 AFTER I stopped breast feeding at 17 months. After months of working out. I was 135 Prepregnancy.

    DS#2 I started out about 145, gained 30 lbs all while working out daily, plus wrangling a crazy toddler. I ate super healthy. Breastfeeding does NOTHING for me as far as weight loss goes. I’m still about 165. I know once I stop breastfeeding 🙁 the weight will fall off. It happened before. I also exercise every day right now and my weight still holds on.

    You look amazing! Seriously beautiful. I’m jealous of your lack of stretch marks! No matter how skinny I will ever get, I will always look like I got attacked by a tiger

    • Reply
      Krystal
      August 11, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      Salina I feel exactly as you do, With my first baby I did the exact same thing you did with your first. And I didn’t get back into shape until she stopped breast-feeding. Now four years later I’m on baby number two, And she’s already nine months old and I haven’t lost the weight.
      As a group fitness instructor I get judged a lot about my body, I just explain to people that even though I work out like crazy I’m probably not gonna lose all the weight until I stop nursing. Everyone is different, And even though people say you’re supposed to lose weight when you’re nursing, It only makes sense that your body will retain a little fat nourish your baby. I am however still looking into things that might help me lose a little more weight, Or at least reshape my body.

  • Reply
    Rockie
    September 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Elena you look great!

    I definitely give points to breastfeeding for losing weight! I gained 34 lbs by the end of my pregnancy and was so worried. I tried like you not to over eat or indulge in too much bad food. I’m 3 months pp and I have 6 lbs to go. What upsets me is how “flabby” my tummy looks because i’ve always had a pretty flat tummy and how big my upper thighs are at least compared to before. I’m dying to get into a routine like most but it ain’t happening!

    Great post btw!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    I am very similar to you. I’m 5’10” 140lbs and I lost my weight very easily. I only gained 24lbs. I breastfed for 13 months and actually got 5 lbs less then my pre pregnancy weight within 6 weeks. I also gain weight in my legs (thighs & butt!!!). I can tell I have less muscle tone, but I do simple exercises at home that have greatly improved that. Plus having a 35lb 2year old is exercise enough for anyone!! I do worry that my body won’t bounce back quite as well with a 2nd child. Do you ever worry about that? I’m 30 now and I’m not planning on another baby for a couple more years. I feel like I look about 98% the same as I did before I had my son. I get nervous thinking about risking it again 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 21, 2012 at 11:49 AM

      I almost want to get the second one “out of the way” now so that then I can work on my body and be done! 🙂 I am definitely concerned about how my body is going to handle a second pregnancy if we decide to have another kid.

      • Reply
        Tamara
        September 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        You bring up an interesting point. I think it might be easier if you’re able to get back in shape between pregnancies, but I’m curious if that’s true or not.

        My two babies are 2.5 years apart (I got pregnant the 2nd time 20 months after my first was born) and I like that I was able to get my body back and get into shape in between pregnancies.

        I feel like it would be harder to get back into shape with pregnancies that are closer together and/or you’re unable to get back to your regular fitness level. You’d have more time of not using your muscles, including your lungs and heart.

        On the other hand, the longer you wait, the older you are and potentially the harder it is to get back into shape….

      • Reply
        Zoey
        September 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        I agree with this. I had a baby five months ago, and am about ten pounds away from my pre pregnancy weight. I am in no way ready to have another chlld. We want a second but not for at least another year. However, why am i trying to hard to get back in shape if i have to do all over again? Ahh decisions decisions. You look great though.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    September 21, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I gained a lot of weight both times (45+, a lot due to preeclampsia) and lost it pretty quickly with both. My biggest issue came after baby #2 because my kids are only 13 months apart and I have definitely lost muscle tone in my core. After the first baby, like you, I went back to my old fitness stuff without missing a beat. I was shocked the second time at how much weaker I had gotten. I’m also in south Florida, so the heat was a huge factor for me. My boys are a little older now (2.5 and 1.5) and I just joined the Y. They love the childcare area, and I love that I can get in a good workout without being in the miserable heat. I like the idea of rollerblading. I love running, but I’m always looking for some variety.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    September 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    My body bounced back fast during my first pregnancy too. Then 7 years later it took a lot more work to lose it after my second pregnancy. Now we’re pregnant with #4 and it’s going to be even more challenging to lose it 10 yrs and 4 kids later. First pregnancy is kind of a piece of cake is my point 😉

  • Reply
    Tawny
    September 21, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    I didn’t really watch what I ate too much when I was pregnant but I like healthy food anyway. With my twins I gained 39 lbs and lost all of it plus an extra 25 lbs by the time they were about 6 months old so I was down to 117. With my singleton I gained 46 lbs and it came off gradually. He weaned himself off of the breast at 13 months (this past June) and I am now about 5 lbs under my pre preg weight. That last 5 lbs dropped immediately after he was done breastfeeding. I am not toned by any means but I’m starting to feel the urge to get active and fit again. My husband is a runner so his yummy body is a nice motivator haha.

    • Reply
      Amanda
      September 21, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      Haha I have the same motivator! Love it!

  • Reply
    Katherine H.
    September 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    great tips. I really love the ten an hour thing. i posted on FB that I had a feeling getting in shape would be super easy for you. glad to hear it! 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Thanks, Katherine! 🙂

      I don’t know that it’s super easy since I am not back in shape, I am just back to my pre-pregnancy size. I am curious how long it would take me to tone!

  • Reply
    Tamara
    September 21, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Having done it twice now, here are my thoughts:

    I agree with you that being in good shape before pregnancy helps you postpartum. Working out during the pregnancy also helps. I changed what types of exercises I did, but with both pregnancies I worked out consistently until the end (although I was much better the 2nd time around) and I know that it helped me get back into shape postpartum.

    I think our bodies have a certain amount of weight to gain during pregnancy. I was much more careful the 2nd time around with my diet and exercise, and I gained only 4 lbs less. Granted, I was very happy about those 4 lbs, but for the amount of work I put in, I was expecting more.

    Breastfeeding burns lots of calories and therefore helps you lose weight, but like you said, it also seems to encourage some extra lbs to stay on. I wasn’t able to lose those last 5 lbs with my first until he was about a year old and breastfeeding had decreased some. Once I tried to lose the weight and he was over a year old, I was able to lose it all and then some while continuing to breastfeed. I got to my goal 18 months postpartum, without being hardcore.

    This time, I tried losing weight much earlier, around a few months, and I’ve been only slightly more successful than the first time around when I didn’t try. I think there’s a lot of truth in “9 months on, 9 months off (or 12 or more months off!)” at least for me.

    As far as fitness level goes, I’ve been pleasantly surprised both times at how easily I’ve been able to get back in shape performance-wise. Not how my body looks necessarily, but my cardio and strength levels. I chalk this up to being in good shape going into the pregnancy and working out the whole time (with a break in the beginning when I’m super sick), and then exercising again as soon as possible post partum.

    I think it’s different for different people though. Some women have permanent ,major changes after pregnancy, like stomach bulges and expanded hips, but some women don’t. I can’t imagine that we have any control over those things.

  • Reply
    Irina
    September 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    OMG, you look great! Being young helps too 🙂 Best of luck with working out, I am sure you will be back to your fitness level fast.
    I lost all my “gained” pregnancy weight 34 – 35 lbs within 4 months, but this is just a number and the stuff is just not where it used to be, so I need a LOT of toning in my areas. Some changes are OK: My arms a lot smaller now – lost muscule tone probably – and I do carry the baby around a lot. My legs have gotten smaller too – I used to run marathon distances and train for long runs, so I probably lost much of the muscule there as well. My butt was not really affected by pregnancy, but the area between my belly button and the top of my thighs is not so good… having C-section probably did not help either. it was all 200% worth it, even if it never goes back, becasue there is nothing like the joy of having a child.

    good luck –

  • Reply
    Heather
    September 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    I think you look amazing! I wish I was your size! My situation was very different than the typical weight gain in pregnancy. I had hyperemesis gravidarum and lost 34 pounds WHILE I was pregnant. I was hospitalized and it became manageable with meds. I really didn’t want to take meds while I was pregnant at all, but it got to the point that it could be devastating for myself and my baby if I didn’t get treatment. Because I was so sick my entire pregnancy (well 8 months of it), I could hardly eat anything and keep it down. So right after I gave birth, and felt better, I went crazy. I was SO hungry and since my body was in starvation mode, I would eat and eat and my body stored it like crazy. Apparently, your body in this type of situation tries to “store” food for fear of starving again. So I gained weight AFTER giving birth. I was so happy that I could eat. I’m 7 months postpartum now and about a month ago I realized that I needed to stop. I’m not going to starve anymore and if I get pregnant again and go thru that, it won’t be forever. I want to be in my best shape for the next one. We joined a gym and I’ve been doing cardio 5-6 days a week and strength training 2 days a week. I also want to be the best example for my little girl and don’t want her seeing me eating bad food. I’m losing the weight now and toning up, and I feel so great! This blog post was encouraging to me. Thanks for posting it! I LOVE reading your posts, and I’ve learned a lot from your advice. 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 21, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      WOW, Heather! That must have been hard! I had pregnancy sickness and it SUCKED. I can’t imagine having it all throughout the pregnancy and this bad.
      Good job for getting over that and working on your shape and food habits now!

      I am glad my posts were somehow helpful! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jess
    September 21, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I actually walked out of the birthing center weighing less than I did pre-pregnancy. I was not over weight or even fit, but I was pretty trim. I hated food the 1st tri and lost a few pounds, and then ate well and didn’t gain much the rest of the pregnancy. I did not exercise during pregnancy, either–I just felt way too tired all the time.

    But, my body did change. My hips are noticeably wider now (I’m actually curvy now! Yay!), and my belly also has a gentle curve to it. Also, I’m still pretty squishy and flabby all over. But, all in all, I’m happy with how I look now at 3 weeks pp. And though I’d love to tone up, I know I’m going to keep some of that fat, since I’m also breastfeeding.

    You look fantastic, btw…

  • Reply
    Amber
    September 21, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    I gained about 25lbs during pregnancy and now 6 months post partum am back to pre-pregnancy weight. The only change I find is my hips are larger, not fatty tissue wise, but boney structure-wise. Anybody notice that, and if so will that eventually go back?

    • Reply
      Anne
      September 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM

      Three years after I gave birth and my hips are still wider. I lost my weight after 5 months, plus 7 pounds when I started to work out. As you said, the bone structure changed

    • Reply
      Regina Vanata
      September 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      I have heard your hips can shift back to where they were before up to a year post-partum. I have nothing backing that statement up though, so take it with a grain of salt. (:

  • Reply
    Adge
    September 21, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    I don’t think I’d equate what a pregnancy does to your body to eating poorly and not exercising for a year. I’m not the healthiest eater and I rarely work out but I’ve never gained 35 pounds in a year like I did with my pregnancy. Plus I think different areas of your body are affected during pregnancy than if you just “get fat.”

    I have about 10 pounds to lose before I reach my prepregnancy weight at 8 months postpartum. I haven’t done much in the way of eating healthier or exercising so I think that’s pretty good! That said, my boobs are still big even though I FF and I still have a belly pooch. I’m not very motivated to lose weight and get in shape though because we’ll likely start to TTC #2 within the next year. Seems like a waste. Although reading your post makes me wonder if it’d be easier to lose it if I did get I better shape now.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 21, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      No, I am equating gaining 35-40 pounds to not exercising and eating poorely. I am equating what pregnancy does to you in terms of fitness level and being in shape vs out of shape (basically muscle tone, skin tone flabbiness). Which if you think about it, pregnancy is essentially 9 months of not exercising, so it’s to be expected that you’d lose muscle tone.

      As far as getting in shape for #2, I really STRONGLY believe that the fitter you are going into pregnancy, the easier it is to lose weight and get fit again. Right after giving birth, I actually still had very tight strong ab muscles under the layer of fat. I didn’t lose all my tone.
      I seem to remember even reading that in some pregnancy exercise books. Plus aside from that, exercising and eating healthy helps you conceive and the healthier you are in general the better it is for your unborn baby.

      • Reply
        Caroline
        September 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        How is it 9 months of not exercising? I walked/ran almost every day right up to the end.

  • Reply
    Rachel M
    September 22, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    It seems that most women lose weight relatively easily after babies. This was never true for me. I was never much of an exerciser before my first one, but I was normal/thin. I was a vegetarian and sick for much of my pregnancy, didn’t exercise much and gained 40lbs. I lost 20 giving birth, so 20 to go (but my body changed so much it felt more like 50). I could not lose that weight for the life of me. I gave up trying while breastfeeding and after I weaned, earlier then I wanted in order to lose the weight, I practically starved myself, exercising sometimes 2 hours vigorously per day and finally about 6 months after breastfeeding I lost 10lbs on a VERY strict diet. Never lost the last 10. When I got pregnant with my 2nd a few years later I was already following a regular, vigorous exercise at least one hour per day. I did not want to repeat the difficulty with my first so I ate super healthy and exercised for 8 months of my pregnancy without slowing down. I did Tae Bo with weights, biking, etc. I felt great but, I STILL gained 40lbs. I kid you not, I weighed myself one week after the birth and I weighed exactly the same as I did 9 months pregnant walking into the hospital to give birth. How I did not lose the weight of the baby (9lb baby) I don’t understand. I thought it was just water, but I never lost it. Not 10 years later, with super healthy eating, at times starvation diets, detox fasts, and continual exercise. I feel that pregnancy messed up my body hormonally, as I was always able to lose weight easily prior to pregnancy. I don’t think the medical profession really understands why people like me cannot lose weight, but there you have it. People would never look at me and think that I am an avid exerciser and eat healthy as I am still 50lbs overweight from my 2 pregnancies. So for me, exercising before and during pregnancy didn’t help me to bounce back one bit. I sometimes wonder if it only contributed to bodily stress and subsequent hormonal issues. I have since found out I have gluten intolerance so the pregnancies may have been tipping point for my adrenal glands. But I do like to share my story not to scare people into not having kids because obviously most people aren’t like me, but to help people understand that being overweight is not always due to laziness and overeating and not everyone can lose weight even with great effort.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 22, 2012 at 7:57 AM

      Honestly, I think the most important thing, though, isn’t the weight per se, but how fit and healthy you are. I bet gluten intolerance had a lot to do with it, too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    H
    September 22, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I gained about 20lb. Try as I might, I just cannot gain weight. My baby was 7.5 of that, placenta and fluid was probably at least another 7 and whatever was left melted off within the first week or so of breastfeeding. I ate a LOT during my pregnancy and while breastfeeding but I must have a weird metabolism. I gave birth on a Sunday and could wear my skinny jeans by Wednesday. My abs took a little while to come back but I didn’t really gain any fat, just lost definition.

  • Reply
    Anna
    September 23, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    Your body hasnt changed much! Great! Wow!!!

  • Reply
    Jane
    September 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I followed the recommendations that twin pregnancies seem to do better if you are able to gain weight earlier (24 lbs by 24 weeks is an often quoted). I gained about 50 lbs by the end and had two babies that were 5and a half pounds.
    The weight came off with only breastfeeding (and I still eat a ton), and then continued to come off, such that at a year post partum I ha to buy new pants (was a 4 before, now more like 0, I’m 5’8″).
    The only thing that I do have is separated AB muscles from just how big my stomach got (not due to the weight but just the whole two baby thing). It’s unlikely to get better without surgery. But I’m coming to see it as just part of how things change as we get older, and my badge of honor for giving birth to full term twins, something I know many twin moms would have been very happy to do.

  • Reply
    claire
    September 23, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    I weigh less now than I did pre-pregnancy. But my body is very different. Where I was toned before, I am less so now. My belly is soft and squishy (much to my son’s delight – last week he was squishy it with his little fingers then all of a sudden got a cartoon lightbulb over his head and went running into the kitchen to grab his Play Doh! Glad my belly reminds him of play doh hehe). I feel like I am overall a more healthy person than I was before I had him. I exercised a couple of times a week and ate a reasonably healthy diet (lots of fruit and veg, but also a lot of carbs and different meats). Then when I was pregnant, I cut out the red meat and ate chicken only once or twice a month. And now, I eat pretty much the same diet – oily fish, beans, chicken once in a while, low carbs, grains, and mostly raw vegetables and a lot of fruit. And I exercise every single day without fail. Add that to breastfeeding for the last 20 months, and it really is no wonder that I am back to my post-high school weight. I have read and been told that your body naturally holds on to that softness while you’re breastfeeding but to be honest, where I am now in my life, I would rather focus on my health and vitality than what my body looks like in blue jeans, if that makes sense. I get my strength training from lifting up my little lump (my arms have never looked so toned!) and I get my cardio from chasing him around and swimming with him and talking mega walks with him in the stroller 🙂

    Looking good, mama!

  • Reply
    Anna
    September 23, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    In my case, I gained 26 lbs and on my 6 weeks postpartum I was at my pre-pregnancy weight + 5lbs. I think what helped me loose weight was breastfeeding + daily intense 30 min walks with the stroller.
    I think I still have +5 lbs, but that’s not an issue, my BMI is still normal. My problem is that my body is not toned AND I after I child birth I had a period of eating really crappy food (no time to prepare anything healthy). And hunger leads to carbo cravings, and that’s accumulated fat.
    So now I look pretty weird: skinny face and torso, but fat on belly, hips and upper legs. Definitely not happy with my looks.
    I’d love to do something about it: yoga and pilates are my favorite, but the day is just too short 🙁

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 23, 2012 at 9:37 PM

      I agree! The day IS too short! I’m trying to get more focused and organized but its difficult with a baby who needs your attention.
      I’m thinking about instituting a strict after 2nd nap 30 minute work out.

  • Reply
    Ani
    September 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I gained weight when I went off the pill getting ready to TTC, which was awfully frustrating for me. Like, I gained ~10 lbs in a couple of months. I’m short, so even 5-10 pounds makes a big difference in how I look and how my clothes fit. I managed to lose 5lbs before I got pregnant, and gained 28 during my pregnancy.

    The first 15 pounds came off immediately (baby, placenta, fluids, etc.), and I was about five pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight (and in my pre-preg jeans) by 7 weeks pp. At that point, I was basically back where I started when I was trying to lose weight before TTC, and wanted to lose another 15 or so. I’d dropped below my prepreg weight by 4 months pp, and was down a jeans size.

    I hit my original goal weight when my son was right around 7 months, and have since dropped about another five pounds. As I approach one year post-partum, I’m three jeans sizes down from what I was wearing pre-pregnancy and generally feeling pretty good about myself. I have stretchmarks, which are fading, and I’ve still got some tummy squish, but I had that even when I was very thin in high school. I do a lot of walking while babywearing, so my legs are pretty nice. And I have one really good arm, haha.

  • Reply
    7x7xMommy
    September 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Hi hi!
    It’s been a while since I’ve commented, but I’ve been following along avidly. 🙂 I figured this would be a good post for me to comment on since it’s how you originally found my blog back in the day!
    My experience with my first pregnancy was great. I worked out nearly every day, felt energetic (for the most part, of course), and gained a total of 28 pounds (I’m 5’10”). My daughter was a healthy 7 lbs at birth and I dropped all but 4 lbs within 2 weeks (not the norm, I know, but it was just what my body naturally did). That being said, it took me two months to tone back up and feel 100% back to normal (and I’m an athlete – basketball player – so I was in very good shape before my pregnancy).
    Going into my second pregnancy (I got pregnant when my daughter was a little over 12 months old), I was in great shape again and told myself that I would do exactly the same thing this time around…stay very active and eat relatively healthy (and I say relatively because I love indulging in burgers, fries and chocolate…but it’s all in moderation). I experienced more morning sickness the second time around, so battling that and fatigue was tough at the beginning (not to mention chasing after a toddler!). I think I worked out less in the traditional sense, but lived a more active lifestyle since I used to sit behind a computer all day during my first pregnancy.
    Long story short, as I’ve progressed further and further into my pregnancy (now at 34 weeks and I’ve gained 28 pounds so far), I’ve started working out more regularly in the gym and I feel really great! I’m curious to see how much more weight I’ll gain this time around and I’m super curious to see how it comes off this time around. I’m feeling optimistic that it’ll be fairly easy like last time, but you just never know! haha, and with having two to take care of full time, I’m sure gym visits will quickly fall on the list of priorities!!!
    You look great, as always, and we all love reading about your journey! Thanks for sharing so much!
    Ali

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 24, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      I’m glad you’re still around and reading! You’re my pregnancy fitness idol!

      • Reply
        7x7xMommy
        September 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        🙂 haha, thanks! We’ll see how I really did this time around in a few short weeks/months!

  • Reply
    Erica @ Expatria, Baby
    September 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I agree, absolutely, that eating well while pregnant will guide your body to gain the weight it should. When I got pregnant I had just moved to Japan, and I wan’t in great shape, but I ate pretty well. My Japanese doctors wouldn’t allow me to gain any more than 8 kg, and I thought they were insane. I ate when I was hungry, made my own food, nothing processed, if I craved cake, I made it. I gained a good 30 kg, and i’m only 5’7. So that’s a lot. But it all came off though breastfeeding. And then some. In fact, there was a time when I was about 8 months post partum that I couldn’t keep weight on, I just had to keep eating and eating and eating, because my girl was getting about 99 percent of her nutrition from me. The whole experience sort of spoke to me of the wisdom that existis in our bodies. As long as we are sensible and make (mostly) good nutritional choices, our bodies know what they’re doing. They keep us well. I’m convinced that I gained all that weight because I needed to, that my body knew my girl would take that much energy to feed, so it wanted me to stock up!
    Anyway, you look great for 6 months post part!

  • Reply
    Stacy
    October 1, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    I started out about 40 pounds overweight from the outset. I gained… 12 pounds. I had an almost 10-pound baby. I didn’t really eat much differently than normal outside of try to keep my caffeine down to a dull roar. I also spent a good bit of time on modified bedrest thanks to bleeding.

    At my 10-day postpartum appointment, I was already 10 pounds below my prepregnancy weight; at 6 weeks I was 30 pounds down, and kept it off the whole time I breastfed. I was STARVING the first few weeks of breastfeeding, constantly that full hunger ache. And of course, as soon as I day weaned (coupled with going back to work) I gained it all back. Sigh.

    The main difference is I now gain weight in my stomach. I still gain all over, but it goes much faster to my stomach, which really frustrates me, I didn’t have this problem before! I’m working on taking all that excess weight off now and getting into shape.

  • Reply
    Anna
    September 27, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    You have not changed AT ALL, only chicks a little – LUCKY woman you are 😀 Awesome! Definitely not my situation lol I cannot have children.

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