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.
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.
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.”
I too waited, but I got pregnant with Lily, when Emma was 7 1/2 months old. So my wait was a bit different, but I am with you and you just know when you are ready personally on your own terms. And I too like my fair share of sweets, so my scale fluctuates 5 pounds either way from week to week. And I am ok with that, but still happy to do something at times for me and to feel healthy, too.
Yes, I think mine fluctuates weekly too! At least I am assuming, as I have pretty much stopped weighing myself. :/
This is a totally awesome post. My “baby” is now 5, and I pretty much feel like you did…except I realized the other day that I actually do need to step it up (literally) and get back on the exercise train since you know, my kids like going to the pool and stuff! ;)-Ashley
I don’t know why it is so hard for me to sustain my motivation! The things that sabotage me are the late-night snacks and the fact that I would rather be writing and blogging than exercising. If only I didn’t love sleep so much, I would get up at dawn to do yoga!
I know a lot of moms out there will relate to this post. I know I do. When I was going through all of the sleep issues with my daughter, and then my postpartum funk, my late-night snacks were sometimes the best part of my day. 🙂 But like you, I’ve finally reached a point where I actually care how I look again, and I find 30 minutes at the gym in the morning does wonders for my soul. The only trouble is, the increased activity makes me more hungry, so I kind of feel like I’m working out JUST so I can keep eating. 😛
I wrote this post a week ago, and then promptly didn’t work out all week and started eating junk again. Sigh. I’ll get back on the horse, out of sheer vanity, and yes, because working out does great things for my mood. And I think your last sentence is a valid point, but- so be it.
So very glad you posted this, because we see stupid celebrities back in shape after 3 months but people forget – they have lots of money and lots of help. Just sayin’. I, too, love cookies, and it wasn’t until the doctor told my husband he was pre-diabetic that I had to give them up. At least when he’s looking. 😉
Yes, the celebrities aren’t doing us any favors are they? And wow, you are a good wife giving up cookies to show some solidarity towards your husband. And of course you should still sneak some from time to time…
Lady, I read this whole post but the ONLY thing I saw was the adorableness wrapped up in your arms in that last picture. You know I’m talking about the baby, right? 🙂
Off to beg my husband to have unprotected sex with me now…
That cracked me up! Yeah, she was a pretty frickin’ cute baby. Maybe I’ll go beg for unprotected sex too…hmmm….
Yessssssss! I’m three months into my life with two and can’t imagine ever finding time or energy to do anything to the benefit of my waistline. So I tell myself that working out would push me too far and cause me to get sick, so it’s OK to be OK with this extra squish for a while. I like your style.
More power to you! At three months in with two, I say NO WAY! Give yourself a break for as long as you need to, mama! You deserve it!
I loved this post. My child is 12 now and I was early twenties when I had him, so baby weight just sort of melted off. Since then, I’ve gained and lost “age weight” and “seasonal weight” and “stress weight…” I appreciate the idea that there are seasons for these things and I agree about not pushing it. I’m not one of those people either, and making unrealistic rules only makes me feel like I’m failing and that promotes the cycle even more!
Yeah, my baby weight melted off when I was in my twenties, too. I was 28 with my first, and 33 with my second, and it makes a big difference! Not fair. I think many of us can relate to weight fluctuations based on stress and seasons…
You know, it’s funny. For me, I was adamant about losing my baby weight and I did it pretty quickly. My problem is that I’ve gained some back and don’t care. I look at myself in the mirror and sigh, but only a part of that is the weight. And, like you, I’m not talking 80 pounds. I can see a HUGE difference in how my clothes fit with the same 7 pounds that I lose and find again. Weird. Also, love the line “It’s not my cup of antioxidant tea” as it’s not mine, either. I wish it were though.
I was lamenting the fact that I needed to get back to the gym to lose the baby weight. My husband looked at me and said “Honey, she’s three. It’s not baby weight.” After I killed him and buried his body… Just kidding. I’m just now getting kind of serious about it all. I had postpartum depression and some bad physical issues after having my daughter-it took a long time to get into the right frame of mind. But I also like my chocolate and I like my wine and am not giving them up. I suppose I can live with it but I’d really like to see the muffin top shrink a bit. I’m hitting the gym two-three times a week and walking when I can!
Love this post. I just posted about this issue myself yesterday. I am still only 10 months out, but I really do not want to buy a whole new wardrobe and then use this as my baseline, so I am on the hook (and so is my husband) for 15 more lbs before the baby factory is open again for business. He keeps telling me that I am perfect the way that I am, but he does it while he is holding onto my much more scrumptious muffin top and it makes me crazy! There is definitely a difference in how difficult it is to lose the weight the older you get…but I just keep telling myself that thinking about doing something or choosing not to eat that extra cookie is starting somewhere!
Of course my opinion, as an objective mother (haha), is that you are gorgeous and trim and always have been! Happy Mother’s Day.