It has happened. Finally. I am back down to my pre-pregnancy weight after Zachary. There must be something to that whole “9 months on, 9 months off” thing that everyone always tells new moms who are frustrated with the slow progress of getting back to their old selves. Though for me, I didn’t gain much weight during my pregnancies until the last 3 months of eating pie every night. So it didn’t REALLY take 9 months to gain the nearly 50 pounds I put on with Zachary.
But it has taken 9 months to get rid of it. It was an AGONIZINGLY slow process. My broken foot this summer was part of it- but really, that was only PART of it. So much of getting back to “normal” after having a baby- first baby, third baby, it doesn’t matter- is just TIME. The first year of having a baby in the house is hard. We know this! I knew this! But somehow I thought This time will be different. I’ve done the baby thing twice! I got this! I will be running 3 miles a day by the time he’s 6 months old! NO PROBLEM.
(You’re laughing at Me From A Year Ago right now, aren’t you? It’s okay. So am I.)
I was home all summer with 3 kids, in a walking boot. My days were ridiculous. There were days when I had to postpone USING THE BATHROOM FOR MANY HOURS because I had to attend to all the small people in the house. Not only was I very limited in the exercise I was allowed to do because of my foot, but I had ZERO time in which to do it. And even less motivation, because uh, did you know that 3 month old babies don’t sleep or nap very predictably? And when you don’t sleep much, you have low energy and motivation during the day? And perhaps, maybe, sometimes, you might lose your patience with the kids because you’re so freaking tired? And after they’re all finally in bed for the night, you’ll be so relieved and proud of yourself for just SURVIVING and not selling the children on Craigslist that you will reward yourself with a bowl of ice cream/pile of chocolate/piece of cake?
You can see how losing weight might be slow.
And I haven’t even mentioned the HORMONES. I breastfed Zach for the first few months and even though it never worked this way in the past, I was CONVINCED that this time, breastfeeding would help me lose weight. IT WILL WORK! But nope. I think it makes things harder for my body, honestly. Nursing mothers are basically walking hormone cocktails and wacky hormones seem to really hinder weightloss, no matter how many calories I’m burning by feeding my hungry baby. I was having hot flashes well through the early fall, a good two months after I stopped nursing and producing milk. My body was kind of a hot mess from the minute he was born. Plus those hormones made me want to eat everything in sight. So.
I went back to work, the kids went to school and daycare, and I tried to get into a routine. But the transition wasn’t an easy one. I had lost 30ish pounds since Zach was born, but I felt awful and embarrassed and frustrated about my body. SO BIG. So lumpy! So resistant to my pathetic attempts at exercise and eating right! I still had such a long road ahead and because I’d done it a few times before, it was almost worse knowing how hard it would be. I wrote a little about my Feelings a few months ago. My time was still not my own most of the week and making room for exercise was really just not a priority. Then we spent most of November and December in Heavy Duty Survival mode because EVERYONE WAS SICK. Super fun.
But in the midst of all of that, I made a few changes to my diet in the hopes that I might at least FEEL better. I couldn’t fit workouts in like I wanted to, but I could at least control better what I shoved into my facehole. I decided to cut back on refined carbohydrates to see what would happen. And hey! Turns out if I’m eating noodles and crackers and chocolate all day long and then take that away, even just a little bit? My body responds. I dropped 12 pounds in a month.
I. was. stunned.
Since then, things have slowed down- partly because CHRISTMAS COOKIES and partly because my body adjusted, I think. But that small change helped get me past that stuck spot I was in for a while. And! Since Christmas break, life started to settle down a little (I hesitate to even TYPE that, in case I tempt fate…!) and Dan’s office moved closer to home. He’s home later in the mornings so he can help with the daycare shuffle, which has given me an entire HOUR extra in my days and THAT HAS BEEN LIFE-CHANGING. A whole hour! Such a gift. So I’ve been able to exercise a few mornings each week. Yoga, exercise bike, I even did Tae Bo once (OMG). I’ve only lost a couple of pounds since I started exercising more but I FEEL great. My clothes are fitting better (or worse, if you count saggy pants as worse! BUT I DON’T! woohoo!) and my energy is usually pretty even during the days, even if I cheat on my low-carb mission and have some noodles. It’s okay. I refuse to live in fear of the Noodle if I don’t need to. My jowls are disappearing (I DEVELOPED JOWLS WHILE PREGNANT WITH ZACH WHAT THE HECK) and my wedding rings don’t get stuck on my fingers anymore.
Of course, the underlying cause of ALL OF THIS is that Zachary is getting easier. He’s almost 10 months old (!!!) and his first birthday is looming and I remember a HUGE shift in my own mental state with both Maggie and Audrey around the end of their first years. My last baby growing up makes me a little weepy, for sure. But I’m also breathing a sigh of relief that things are starting to become a lot more predictable with sleep and naps and attitude and this is SO HELPFUL. I feel like I’m coming out of a year-long fog of chaos and mayhem, finally. I mean, yes, he’ll be walking soon and we’d better be prepared for THAT mayhem and chaos, but it’s different. You know? At least *I* feel like me again.
Anyway. So here I am. Back to where I was when I announced I was pregnant with him. The thing is, though, I still have work to do. I am WOEFULLY out of shape. My body needs to get stronger. My muscles are sad. I do still have a bit of a saggy belly (go go gadget, ab muscles!) And I had put on about 10-15 pounds extra the spring/summer before I became pregnant, thanks to stress-eating through Audrey’s hospital stays and then my miscarriage. So I’m still not THERE yet. But I will be.
For now, I celebrated this first goal this morning by tossing a too-big-for-me-now shirt into my donate pile as I was getting dressed and eating a free donut in the waiting area at the car dealership. That felt pretty good. (the shirt thing, but mostly the donut.) And I hope it goes without saying that I would gain and lose a hundred more pounds if it means having this little guy around.