The Truth About Losing Weight After Pregnancy

The Truth About Losing Weight After Pregnancy

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I am about to share one of my most vulnerable posts ever.

Today I’m ready to share. I’m going to be open with you about why I’ve been so quiet on the blog and why you haven’t heard so much from me this year.

It all comes down to my weight loss post-pregnancy and deep seeded issues I have with my own body image. I’ve been ashamed because I am a health coach and I work with women to help them through these exact concerns.

I would say that getting my body back into shape, improving my fitness and losing weight has been the most difficult thing about being pregnant.

Losing weight after giving birth

You see, I had a dream pregnancy and delivery. I wasn’t sick at any point while I was pregnant and had no complications during my pregnancy. I had a beautiful textbook delivery with a speedy recovery. I gained 18kg during my pregnancy, average and normal, and I wasn’t at all worried about losing this weight.

After giving birth, I pretty much lost 8kg immediately, leaving me with 10kg to lose to be at my pre-pregnancy weight.

I lost around 5kg pretty easily, really only identified by clothes feeling looser on me (I don’t own a scale so the only time I can weigh myself is when I am at the clinic for Arlo’s checkups!)  I even wrote this blog post at 6 months post-partum about how to lose weight after pregnancy, and my plan for doing so. I was confident I’d lose those last 5kg before Arlo turned one year old.

Around this same time as writing that post was when I stated properly working again after having Arlo. I was busy, being a first-time mum, living in a place without family support, and really just finding my feet in my new combined roles of mama/working mum/entrepreneur/wife while also dealing with a baby who rarely slept for long periods without waking.

My weight loss seemed to plateau around this time, but I wasn’t too worried.

16

Losing weight when breastfeeding

Actually, I kept believing that as I was (and still am) breastfeeding, it would be a breeze to lose this weight. Everyone kept telling me how easy it would be to shed the kilos gained while pregnant by breastfeeding.

But I found this to be far from the case. I literally felt ravenous all the time. In the first few months post-partum I couldn’t stop snacking. I never felt satisfied even after eating. It started some bad habits with my eating and my portion sizes got bigger to try and accommodate my insatiable hunger.

It was also impossible for me to do my regular exercise. My entire pregnancy I did yoga every day at home and would go to the gym most days for cardio and gentle weights. But with a newborn baby, and Jakarta traffic, coupled with having nobody to help with babysitting AND needing to be permanently attached to my boobie sucking baby, getting an exercise routine back became impossible.

But, I also realise that these are my excuses. When Arlo turned one in September, and I still had the 5kg to lose (plus probably more!), when I was still wearing my maternity clothes including maternity jeans, I knew I needed to make some changes.

I couldn’t keep making excuses and I wanted to wear normal clothes and feel good in them, and to retrieve a little part of the old me from before I became a mother.

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Using my coaching tools on me

The frustrating thing for me is that I know exactly what I need to do, but haven’t been able to get myself doing these things. It is like I need my own health coach to keep me motivated and accountable.

A few months ago I started getting on my exercise bike in the evenings after Arlo went to sleep. I have been blessed with a super cute baby, but one who has the worst sleeping habits. He is yet to sleep through the night and always relies on my to help him sleep again when he wakes up (which is still several times a night!). It is a burden and a curse, as it makes it hard for me to leave the house and join the gym. But now that the little guy isn’t so attached to the boob, I can actually take time apart from him, but I still need to pump if I’m away too long because it is uncomfortable otherwise. But I digress. I have made a promise to do at least 20 minutes a day on my bike and I use my Fitbit to track my steps and my daily goal is 8000 steps. I stick to both these goals most days.

This whole time since Arlo was born, I’ve been eating well, in that I don’t eat out often, I rarely eat junk food and I prepare most food at home, plant-based and still a lot of raw (green smoothies, salads etc). It is just the quantities of food that need readjustment, cutting back my portion sizes and not snacking as much. Basically keeping my calories at a level suitable for my activity level. And whilst I won’t go so far as to count calories, I’m becoming much more conscious of everything I eat.

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The weight loss mindset

And then there is the matter of mindset. I know my body is probably never going to look the same as it did pre-baby. So now it is about choosing clothes to flatter my new shape but also knowing I’m dong the best I can. I acknowledge that I grew a living thing inside me and have brought that being into the world and cared for him the past 14 months, which is actually no easy feat. I’m trying to be easy on myself and be happy knowing that I’ve tried my best to be healthy and happy every day.

But the biggest thing with starting to lose weight, has actually been nourishing my soul foods. Self-care, trying to squeeze in little things when I can such as getting a mani-pedi or a lunchtime reflexology or doing a mini facial at home and trying to go to bed early. Super important has been  having time with friends and my husband and my darling boy, and connecting with my family. The times when I’ve felt lonely are when I’ve found myself eating more food (typical filling the void!).

Keeping my passion for health and wellness alive has been super important especially when I feel like just giving up and hiding in a hole, degrading myself with thoughts that I’m not good enough to coach if I’m not perfect myself. Banishing that thinking has been hard but when I focus on the things I love doing it becomes much easier to stay in track.

Sticking to my weight loss goals

My goal is to be at my pre-pregnancy weight by the end of the year, but I am also not going to go crazy trying to reach that goal. If I can stay on track and do meet my target of fitting into my old jeans then that will mean it will have taken me 15 months to shed the kilos and get back to the old me…who will never really exist again, because the new me, even if I’m the same weight, just won’t be the same.

To say it has been difficult for me is an understatement. But I do hope that by being vulnerable and sharing with you, you can see I’m just like you, even with my knowledge. I’m going through the same struggles and I hope that by being authentic and sharing my experiences will show you that I do really understand what you too might be going through. I’m not perfect and am going through my own struggles even though I’m a coach.

What’s your biggest takeaway from all this? Please share in the comments!
 

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3 Responses to The Truth About Losing Weight After Pregnancy

  1. Oh wow! This post totally hit home with me! I feel exactly the same way and the feelings are even stronger after my second Bub as my body shape has changed again. I am struggling with the last 5-6kg which my body is just holding onto and some weeks I jump up 2-3 kg which I think is fat stores for milk supply without any changes to my diet or lifestyle. I can also lose that much In a week. This time around I’ve seen huge gains and losses with growth spurts. I really believe your body holds onto and stores those hard to shift 5-10kg until you finish the post breastfeeding journey…it needs to invade something happens to you so your child still gets the nourishment they need. Like you, I eat healthy food and stick 90% of the time to a vegan diet. I do yoga and Pilates and am kind to my body. The acceptance of the change in body shape is so difficult and I still hadn’t fully come to terms with my new body shape after my daughter was born five years later and pregnant with my second.

    Thanks for your honesty…..I think people believe that vegan should or clean raw foodies should be slim and stick thin andat the moment I feel embarrassed to tell people that my lifestyle is that because my body shape certainly doesn’t conform to societies stereotypes of this lifestyle! I hide my body under lose tops and I don’t like to go swimming or to the beach so much now out of shame. How much us women suffer with body image. I think post oregnancy bodies and struggles are so unspoken! I believe I am doing the right thing by nourishing my child by breastfeeding and I I hate that our famous role models can’t also give an honest realistic image of this also!

    Self care is so precious in motherhood. Loving yourself again takes time and feeling confident again also…not only with your body but changes in you as a person and how your perceptions have changed. Motherhood can be a lonely journey and a bit like Groundhog Day and it’s so unrecognised in society…there is no longer that sense of community and support for families as their used to be as we all live our very busy technologically connected lives….the support has changed.

    Here’s to being strong, loving, motivated, inspiring mums who know there is weight to shift and that it will happen with time but not within that first year. Xx

    • Thanks so much for sharing Meg! I do think that a large part of it is down to breastfeeding! It is frustrating though, because the experts tell you that breastfeeding helps you to lose weight, but I certainly have not found this to be the case. if I do lose any weight, my milk supplies drop, which affects my boy! I may have to resign myself to knowing I am treating my body well by feeding it good quality and healthy food, by moving my body, by practicing self care and that when breastfeeding is over, that I will return to my original body weight (but probably not body shape!). We also need to be easy on ourselves- we grew and delievred a new being into the world and support and guide them every day, definitely no easy feat!

  2. Beautifully brave and honest post, Sim. Not only is losing weight after childbirth hard, but your body shape (or at least my body shape) is different to what it was before. It can be difficult to learn to love and live with your new body. Exercise is the hardest for me. I just never seem to have the time. Every second of the day is filled up. Next year I hope to make the time. Keep on using those tools on yourself and you’ll get to where you want to be before too long x

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