In the spirit of being transparent, I’m going to be completely honest. Instinctively, I don’t want the world to know. As a dietitian, I sometimes worry about what others think about my weight or what I eat, or how I diet or don’t diet, exercise or don’t exercise. And when I gained my baby weight, I became even more self-conscious. So this is hard for me, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to be completely and gut-wrenchingly honest in this post because I think it’s important.
Here it goes… I gained 65 pounds during my pregnancy. As much as I truly believe that we shouldn’t be so focused on our weight, and that we shouldn’t diet or restrict, I just felt horrible with this much weight on me- both physically and emotionally. It sucks that society acts as though we need to “bounce back” or not “gain too much baby weight”, but honestly, I think this need also comes from a more internal place.
After you give birth (no matter the delivery method), you don’t feel good. You don’t feel like yourself, your hormones are doing insane things, you have a human being that literally can’t survive without you tending to every single need, and you’re sleep deprived. The extra weight is the first thing you think or hope you can control, so it’s natural to want to lose it as quickly as possible. You think that if you do, you’ll start to feel normal again. It’s how I felt. And it’s why I joined Weight Watchers. Even though I could have figured out how much I needed to eat on my own as a dietitian, I didn’t want to. I was in severe new-mom-brain mode and just wanted something to help me that I didn’t have to think about.
So there it is. All the cards are on the table- I gained 65 pounds of baby weight, and I went on Weight Watchers.
What I Learned
The first thing I learned during this time was how much freaking food you can eat while breastfeeding! I also learned how freaking hungry you are while breastfeeding. I’m not going to lie, even with the millions of points I was allowed, I almost never stuck to it. I promised myself that even though I would log my food with Weight Watchers, I would not starve or restrict myself. So I ate when I was hungry and I ate what I craved. Which was mostly oatmeal and peanut butter.
The last thing I learned was that I didn’t need to log my food in order to gain control of my life, my health, or my weight. I only truly logged for about 1 month, but continued to lose weight and feel better each month after. On a positive note, logging my food with Weight Watchers did help to give me a feeling of “you can do this” and it gave me my confidence back. I’m glad I did it. And while I hope I never feel that way again, if I do feel this way when I gain the next round of baby weight (we don’t know when yet, so don’t ask, ?), I would make the same choice because it was what I needed at that moment.
What I did Next
Over the next several months, I continued to honor my hunger. I continued to enjoy my wine, time with my baby, and the little physical activity I was capable of doing at the time. I also had moments of despair and moments of self doubt. That’s life. Especially as a new mom.
I’ve very (very) slowly been losing the weight, but without a focus on the number. Number-wise, I’m still 20 pounds off. But that’s not important. Of course, I would like to lose the rest of it. But I’m doing it by eating nourishing foods that I enjoy and exercising in a way that makes me feel good and adds focus to my life instead of stress. I’ll get there when I get there, if I get there. It’d be great if I do, but it’s not the most important thing anymore. What is important is feeling good and being there in every way possible for my son. And that means taking care of myself, which no longer includes food logging.
Still a Journey Ahead
I’m still on my journey. This journey includes both mental and physical goals. Losing the weight may not be the most important thing, and maybe we shouldn’t focus so much on a number. But I do believe that it is ok (and even amazing) for us allto want to work towards becoming the best version of ourselves we can be. If that includes healthy weight loss without a restrictive and damaging diet, that’s totally ok, but it’s also absolutely ok if it doesn’t. Everyone has their own path to take, and our paths may even change as our lives change. I’ll keep you posted on mine 🙂
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