Let’s assume, for the sake of clarity, that the term “baby weight” still applies when one’s baby is 12 months or older, m’kay?

Since the birth of my second child, (over a year ago) I have not been in a giant hurry to regain my pre-baby figure. Sure, I’d love to fit into my old size 6 jeans. But here’s the thing: I love eating cookies more. And having pancakes on Saturdays. And stashing chocolate candy in my car for those rare moments when I am driving alone.

Let’s be clear- I am not talking about shedding 80 pounds. The upside of my pregnancy, through which I spent nine months vomiting, was that I didn’t put on as much weight as I did with my first child. Combined with breastfeeding, that fact alone dropped me back down within ten digits of my pre-pregnancy weight. But you know what? Sometime’s it’s that last 5-10 pounds that makes the difference between unbuttoning your jeans during dinner or not. Or buying a whole new jeans wardrobe. Bikini vs tankini. Sporty tankini vs tent-like skirt bottom. You get the picture.

Gotta love the bump.

Gotta love the bump.

That last 5-10 pounds was not going to come off without some effort. But here was my conundrum- I didn’t give enough of a shit about those pounds to put forth the effort. I was the lucky recipient of the baby who didn’t sleep through the night for 15 months. She had the sweetest disposition and was downright gorgeous, but she was also nicknamed Barnacle Baby. Her poor mommy didn’t get a whole lot of personal space or rest during her first year on the Earth.

I was tired, frazzled, and in need of some TLC. As the working mother of two children, this frequently came in the form of comfort food. I’m not advocating that one should get their lunch from a drive-thru on a daily basis, or that green foods should never be consumed…but I am saying, if there was ever a time of life in which to indulge one’s food cravings, it is the post-baby era. Sometimes, after a long day of nursing, working, dropping off and picking up the big kid, and attempting some half-ass home maintenance, the only thing that geared me up for a night of not sleeping much was the thought of sitting on the couch with a bowl of ice cream. So be it.

As for the other helpful factor in dropping those last 5 pounds, i.e. working out, I found that if I had the opportunity to indulge in some alone time, I preferred to spend it napping, blogging, or watching TV. Hitting the gym was simply not an enticing enough option.

Eating chocolate while holding my sleeping baby.

Eating chocolate while holding my sleeping baby.

So I waited. Inevitably, there would come a time when I would be willing to give up eating muffin tops in order to lose my muffin top. There would be a moment where the idea of getting back into my weekly yoga class, or squeezing in a 30 minute cardio workout, sounded like something I actually wanted to do. Summer would be looming, and my body would naturally begin to crave lighter foods and fewer pizza marathons. I would wait for it.

And it came. Eventually, I realized that I actually did give a shit about wearing a semi-attractive bathing suit, and pulling out my favorite jeans again. It didn’t seem like torture to choose between the car chocolates or the after-dinner ice cream. (Come on, get serious. You didn’t think I was going to deprive myself of every indulgence, did you?) I looked forward to the opportunity to sweat at the gym.

I was glad I waited; I am not the type of person who thrives on boot-camp-like pressure, who finds success amidst extreme deprivation, who finds a workout that induces tears to be motivating. (If you are that person, more power to you. It’s not my cup of antioxidant tea.) I am more of a moderate when it comes to weight loss and fitness, and to me, it made more sense to listen to my body and honor its instincts. It felt more natural to me to find a place in myself where being fit felt like more than just losing weight; it felt like a good, healthy balance for all of me- body, mind, and spirit. The benefits of having more energy, fewer mood swings, (Hello? PMS Monster, anyone?) and just feeling healthier were there for me when I was ready to make room for them.

There is a time and place to be serious about losing weight. But there is also a time when it is perfectly acceptable to say to yourself, “You know what? You don’t get a lot of personal indulgences these days. You are tired. You are working hard. This stage of life will pass, but until it does, make it a double scoop, mama.”

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