I still can’t help but keep those numbers in my head. The number on the scale when I got married. The number I weighed when I got pregnant with my first, my second, the number I gained with the stress of an international move to Texas right before the midwife recorded the number I weighed when I was pregnant with number three.
I had never felt pressured to ‘lose baby weight’ quickly, per se- even though I’m in the performing industry. I breastfed my first two boys well beyond their first 12 months, and I just kept a positive attitude and stuck to: My body is feeding another human. I have to feed it.
Sure, I’d like to be fit again. Sure, I’d like to FIT in my ‘real’ jeans again (not jeggings or leggings or any other stretchy pants). But right now, let’s wait. I’ll give myself 9 months. As they say “9 months on 9 months off”. Then it turned into 12. Then I had a mad race to make sure that by the time I was pregnant with my second, that I was back down to pre-pregnancy weight from the first (actually, I was just 4 pounds away).
I felt like I should know how to lose weight. I knew how to eat healthier. I knew how to ‘get active’ again — but, I wasn’t sleeping. I was working and back in the theater 9-10 hours a day at 8 weeks post partum. I was eating on the run- lucky if I prepared one meal a day in my hotel or extended stay apartment.
Between baby number one and getting pregnant with number two, I did get active again. It’s not hard to do- walking in European cities. Stroller walks, bikram yoga, and even attemtping one round of Couchto5K with a jogging stroller. I managed my diet accordingly, and even though I passed a deliciously smelling German bakery each morning, I stuck to egg whites and almonds, cut out dairy and most empty-sugary carbs, and upped my veggies and lean meats.
For baby #1- that worked.
After baby#2- I had to re-strategize. I borrowed my mom’s Weight Watcher points book. I counted. Calories in, calories out. I had a fitbit, I had myfitnesspal apps. I still did it on my own- but I could feel the years and the extra pounds sticking to me. It took me just under 2 years to make it back NOT to pre-baby1 weight, but to a weight and shape where I could feel ‘normal’ again. The dresses stayed tight, but at least I didn’t go up a size and have to purchase new items for my wardrobe.
Cut to last year when we moved to Texas and I got pregnant one month later. My weight was skyrocketing because we were never sure when my husband’s work visa would come through, but what we WERE sure about was when the movers would arrive to take all of our furniture on a ship across the ocean! (It was literally days before that he was approved). I think I stress-ate a fair daily share of German pastries, followed by the “Welcome to Texas Ten-Pounds”– American sized plates of food.
I’m now 6 months post partum and I have tried. Really, I have. But I just got stuck. The first 10 came off, but what about the other…30? (And by 30 I really mean 40 if I want the number in my head to match my pre-FIRST-baby-weight). I did the 20 minute videos. I took walks. I cut out almost all the gluten, most dairy (except for the occasional bite of string cheese my kid wouldn’t finish), upped my salad game, and took out sauces, sweets- everything I could think of. In this era of online everything, it was easy to meal prep and plan, know the calories in and out, figure out routines, etc. But of course, and as always, that falls by the wayside when you’re not sleeping a wink and your day is full of shuttling kids, working around a baby’s non-nap schedule, and trying to get some part-time work done in between.
This time around I knew I needed extra motivation. I interviewed 3 personal trainers. I chose one that fit my style, positive but firm in her butt-kicking. And one that fit my schedule, she comes to my home or meets at parks and trails around Dallas with me and the baby in a stroller. I’ve worked with her for only 4 weeks (twice a week for 45 minutes) and have lost 9 pounds. MORE importantly, I’m stronger. She has instructed me on ‘off-day’ activities- walking/jogging/squatting! She has helped me look at my nutrition in a totally new light.
Never in the world would I have imagined that I’d be ‘one of those’ with a personal trainer. It’s an extra expenditure, absolutely. But I realize that doing this for myself is doing this for my entire family. I feel healthier. I feel positive about my body and about the goals I’m setting for myself. Whether I reach pre-baby3 weight or pre-baby1 weight or wedding-weight, I’m moving. I feel good. I also ‘deserve’ this. To anyone who might be stuck, either in a rut of dieting with no results or exercise that’s not cutting it, to the mom who doesn’t think she should spend money because she’s not working full time currently, consider this an investment in your life, your health, and your relationship with both your partner and your children.