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.
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.
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.
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!