Monday, June 16, 2014

Mama Monday: Losing that baby weight

I've had a couple people ask me lately what the secret is to my weight loss. From the day before I had Emma to now, I've lost about 50 pounds.
The week before Emma was due. Dude... I was huge. 
When I hit 50 pounds lost (Feb. 2014)
So here's my big secret.... ready?.... I have no idea how I lost it. Sorry. I think that's mainly because it's not just one thing. It's a happy combination of circumstances. Here's some of my theories on contributing factors:

6. Having the kid.
Duh. She was 7 lbs 8 ounces (and then there's placenta and water weight), so that's a good chunk of it.
Ummmm, yeah. Leaving the hospital I still totally looked pregnant.
5. No more birth control pills.
I'm pretty sure that I don't respond well to hormonal birth control. When I look back at my yo-yo relationship with weight, I'm pretty sure that the times I was gaining and couldn't control it, I was on the pill. I opted to use other methods while breastfeeding and I realize I feel so much better without it. Not going back.

4. More active daily.
Pre-baby, I sat at a desk all day. I got up to go to the bathroom every few hours, but that's it. With baby, I was immediately just... moving more. Up and down the stairs, around the house, little walks with her. And now the older she gets, the more I move. I am chasing her constantly. And we go out and do things - the zoo, the museum, the park, the swimming pool. We are constantly moving. And babies are great arm workouts! I lug a 25 pound weight around all day. I'm getting some great arm muscles.

3. Exercise.
Girls, listen to Nike. Just do it. (haha, I'm so cheesy). It doesn't have to be much. And if you're breastfeeding, it shouldn't be. If it's vigorous, keep it to 30 minutes or less. But wait, back up. It doesn't have to be vigorous. Just start with walking. My first walk post-baby was to the end of the street and back. And I swear it took me 20 minutes. Over time, I walked farther. When Em was six months old, I started running. After a lot of research, we decided on a Bob stroller and it is ah-mazing. Plus, we got it gently-used off Craigslist for less than half the store cost, making it worth every penny. (Note: My ped told us the "official" recommendation for running with baby is one year. But I did a good amount of research and felt comfortable with running once baby has full neck control and could sit up on her own. But pretty much everything I read and everyone I talked to said definitely don't start running with baby when they are teeny, so I recommend waiting). Now I run about every other day. My usual route is about 2.5 miles long and then I mix in longer runs (3-5 miles) about once a week.
I also try and do Pilates a few times a week as well (as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I recommend Blogilates! She really kicks your behind into shape). As you can see, my workout routine is in no way extreme. I kinda think it trends toward "bare minimum," but it gets me moving. I couldn't run for a couple weeks because I messed up my achilles' tendon and I noticed right away I felt more tired and moody. Whether you run, walk, swim, do light weights, whatever! Just do something. Oh, and if you're interested in ramping your workouts to look like a supermodel, check out my disgustingly gorgeous sister-in-law's blog, Mr. and Mrs. Powell. Her workouts will get you runway ready if you're willing to put in the time and effort.

2. Eating better.
There were two reasons I started eating better, and neither had anything to do with weight loss. First, I was very conscious that everything I was eating, Punkito was eating. So I tried to pick more nutrient rich foods, especially more fruits and veggies. And then just being home helped me eat better. Having a fridge stocked with fruits and veggies made it much easier to reach for those when I was hungry instead of stopping at Chickfila on the way to work or grabbing a pastry from the Starbucks next door when I wanted a snack. Now that Punkito is a bit older, I prefer to make meals that both she and I can eat so I don't have to make separate things for each of us. And since I'm quite particular about what I feed her, making sure she gets a good mix of protein, fruits, and veggies, we are now eating that, too. I don't have any real advice here because I'm still figuring it out. But I guess the take away is make small changes. Green smoothies instead of orange cranberry scones. Whole wheat bread and pasta and brown rice instead of white breads, pasta and rice. And amp up your fruit and veggie intake. Pretty sure I'm not telling you anything you haven't heard a million times. Pre-baby, knowing this wasn't enough to make me do it. Post-baby, it's important to me to establish good healthy-eating habits for her so I'm actually (finally!) doing it myself. And, oh, water!! This is connected to the next point (breastfeeding), but I drink ten times more water now. Definitely think that's helping.

1. Breastfeeding. 
I truly feel that this has been the number one factor in my weight loss. I've tried to find an actual source to cite for numbers, but they seem to vary quite a bit. I was always told you burn 100 calories per feeding, but I see a lot of websites cite a standard 500-600 calories per day. Immediately postpartum, breastfeeding causes uterine contractions, helping your uterus to shrink back down. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to write another blog post about breastfeeding because if you know me at all, you know that I'm a bit of a breastfeeding fanatic. In any event, one of the big perks of breastfeeding is burning all those calories. As Punkito starts to ween (we still do three feedings a day), I'm noticing a couple pounds creeping back on. Maybe I'll just nurse her 'til she goes to college ;)
Left - May 2012, just a few weeks before I got pregnant. Right - Today!
There you have it. There's no secret. There's probably no new information here. So my best advice is make small changes. Walk. Drink more water. Eat more fruits and veggies. Breastfeed. And keep realistic expectations! It's not going to come off overnight. It took me 10 months to lose that 50 pounds. Be gentle with yourself. For me, my focus was on Emma, helping her get the best nutrition possible from breastfeeding and solids and spending time walking/running and playing with her. Weight loss was just a nice side effect of those things :) Good luck, mamas, you can do it!

In case you needed those side by side ;)


  1. You look fantastic! And couldn't agree more with everything here, especially the pill. Bleh. Glad to be done with it!

  2. Wow, good for you! It's harder to exercise the first year while breastfeeding because you're more tired and waking up at night to feed. So I'm impressed with the amount that you do!

  3. You look great-I'm so excited for you that you did it the right way and are healthy. That's inspirational. I went to the gym about a month, and did a couple runs, including a 5k... and I've lost about 20 pounds. It's breastfeeding. I'm seriously so happy. Actually, I don't know what I weigh right now... I just can fit into my old jeans. My tummy still looks awful, but I know it's related to my diet so I am working on that. Anyway, I wanna high five ya. You look beautiful.