Thursday, December 31, 2009


The time has come. There are other resolutions, of course, involving things like finances, flossing, playing more with Lily, and making a dent in my exponentially-growing reading list, but the cliche simply must be a priority this year. Annie over at PhD in Parenting inspired me to share this on the blog itself, so mixed in amongst the birthing & nursing & doula content, you'll occasionally get an update on this.

I figure this is common enough as a mothering-related experience (and indeed, a common female experience, period, parity aside, but that's another topic, what with all the social context such a topic requires) that it might be useful or interesting to readers on some level, especially those who are in a similar place themselves, or who have been there, or soon will be. There's even a breastfeeding-specific point I want to make, so read on!

In PhD in Parenting's original post, she said, "I want to lose weight. I want to do it for all of the right reasons and some of the wrong ones. But mostly I’m doing it because I want to feel like myself again." I think this was simply and honestly and beautifully put. Much of what follows is an elaboration upon the comment I wrote.

Count me in. You phrased it exactly as I have: I want to feel like MYSELF again.

Lily is 20 months now and I STILL haven’t lost all the baby weight! Now, I gained a whopping 65-70 pounds during my pregnancy – I was forbidden exercise due to my placenta previa. This is a story I'll have to tell here one day; I have a lot to say about my experience of parallel care with a mainstream medical practice as compared to the care I got from my home birth CPMs. Anyway, from week 18 all the way up to my last ultrasound at week 34, I was on strict pelvic rest (nothing in the vagina at all, and no sexual activity of any kind) and was warned against anything but the gentlest prenatal yoga. As most of you know, I went on to have a wonderful home birth, but as a formerly extremely active person, this had a huge impact on my weight.

Then, after Lily's birth, we had unforeseen challenges with nursing, which took up a tremendous amount of time and energy (totally worth it in every way, I'm certainly not saying otherwise), and I was living alone about 75% of the time, as Aaron was only able to commute to stay with us for a week or so every month. So, yeah, solo baby care, compete with pumping every 3 hours around the clock no matter what, including the wee hours? Exercise just did not make it to the priority list at all, much less the top of it, aside from an occasional walk. What can I say? What's done is done.

Enough explanation/excusing myself. The situation today: I’ve lost about 50, net total (including a brief period of gaining some back during a complicated period of what might, in retrospect, have been some minor postpartum depression - yet another thing to post about in the future), but still have 25 left to go, since I was already 5-10 pounds above my healthiest weight when I got pregnant. But even with all those factors, you'd think by now I'd be back to normal or at least close to it, already.

I’m still nursing, but with less overall output – you know how it goes with a toddler. It’s funny, I’ve been kind of reluctant to talk about it publicly because one of the many great benefits of breastfeeding absolutely is weight loss – so if I’m still at it, why are these particular pounds so stubborn? Well, I recently developed a theory, based solely on myself and what I’ve observed in friends and many online anecdotes: I think perhaps breastfeeding helps you lose the weight you were SUPPOSED to gain in pregnancy, i.e. 25-35 pounds-ish, or whatever it was for your particular frame and body type – I actually did drop 25 pounds extremely quickly. But then, any additional, excess weight you packed on? You’re on your own. And if you gain weight back?! God help you.

Totally just my theory. It makes me feel better, anyway.

SO. I’m restarting the 30 Day Shred, and hitting Zumba at the Y at least 3 days a week, and hopefully power yoga 2-3 times as well. I would attend yoga classes daily if I could afford it and work out the child care - I know many people cultivate amazing home practices, and I admire that deeply, but I thrive on the classroom and the relationship with the teacher. I'm sure my former life as a dancer has much to do with that. Routine is also always key for me - I need to keep a regular schedule of classes or otherwise scheduled workouts. As far as the food end of it goes, after a lifetime of experimentation (see above re: former life as dancer), I know myself well enough to know that carbs are my nemesis, and thus a modified South Beach-ish approach (absolutely NOT Atkins), with lots and lots of vegetables, is the most effective way for me to go. An aside: Kalyn's Kitchen is a great resource for low-carb dieters and for foodies in general - amazing low glycemic & South Beach -friendly recipes for food lovers of all kinds.

Okay, I feel renewed and fortified in my ambitions. By Lily's second birthday on April 14th, I WILL feel like myself again. Realistically, I'll still have 5-10 pounds to go, but I'll be almost there. And then by June? Dare I commit to posting a bathing suit shot here? Yes I do.

I've thrown up a ticker on my side bar - I used my original starting weight, to remind myself of how far I've come already. The little scale marks where I'm at today, beginning anew. Annie is much braver than I, sharing bathing suit shots, but I'll still pony up a humbling picture or two. Here's a real "before" shot, visiting LA when I was, unbeknownst to me, exactly one week pregnant. And hey, it's at the beach, if not suited up:

And good grief, here I am about 36 weeks later:

I KNOW. Gah. (Cute kiddo, though, eh? Daughter of one of my best friends.)

Here I am today, basically, as of a few weeks ago:

I know you can't see much of the body - I purposely don't pose for many shots were you can. I cal always tell where I'm at by my face, though. Here's one where, even if it's not a great pic in general, you can see more bod, sling-draping and weird position aside:

Stay tuned for the "After" shot.

(Uh, it might be awhile.)


  1. I'll be here cheering you on! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Best of luck. I'm pretty much in the same place you are, just with a 34 month old and about 30 pounds. Coming up with a plan to post in the next few days, also inspired by PhD in Parenting

  3. Anne I am right there with you. I started about 30 lbs overweight before Zac (now 4.5 years) and gained 20 while pregnant and then lost 40 by 6 months PP. With Neva (now 29 months and still nursing too) I was about 15 overweight and gained 25 and initially lost all 25. I have since gained 30 back and now lost 15 of that. I hope to lose another 30-40 myself to get where I would like to be, but I am taking baby steps. My first goal is 10 by the end of January.

  4. I lost most of the weight I gained when my daughter was born fairly quickly. But I gained it all back and then some. She'll be three in a month, and I am not where I want to be to conceive another child. I wish you success, and I wish me success, and I wish us all success in this new year!

  5. My problem with weight & nursing has been this: I lose PHENOMENALLY when I nurse, it's the first time in my life I feel like I CAN lose weight. When my first baby was 8 months old, I was down to 10 lbs. less than when I'd got married . . . without any real effort on my part! I'd lost all my baby weight, plus 15 lbs! I LOVED it! I wasn't even trying . . . I was even still eating more than normal because I was nursing so much. Then, around the time my babies hit a year old, they nurse less, yet I eat the same, and the lbs. slowly creep back on . . . I end up gaining 10-15 lbs while they're still nursing, but over a year old. My problem seems to be I still eat like I'm nursing a baby full time, and my body still acts like it needs to be eating more, when in reality I'm only really nursing a few times a day (and that's to an easily distracted toddler who only REALLY nurses a full meal in the morning.) And then I'm up 10 lbs when I get pregnant again. I may never learn :-)

  6. Count me in as well! I gained a whopping 60 pounds with my son and have lost...oh, ZERO. Well, that's not true, I dropped about 20 pounds nursing and have gained it all back in the last 2 years. So yeah, carbs are my enemy as well. I'll be using the #mamafit hashtag on twitter to update and I hope you do, too. I'll need all the motivation I can get. I also have a problem with carbs and will be doing a modified South Beach as well. Lean protein (99% fish cause I am a vegeterian most of the time, with the exception of occasional strong cravings), lots of broccoli and berries. For exercise, I'm Wii'ing it up with EA Sports Active and Dance Dance Revolution. Thanks for sharing, Anne. Let's all keep each other on the right track!!!

  7. Love the post. I am with you on yoga CLASS. I need the solidarity with other peeps to keep me going.

    They always ask about "home practice" at my studio & I'm thinking to myself..."if I had the discipline to have this 'home practice' I wouldn't need to be paying you $$ to take these classes!!!" ;)

  8. First of all, I would LOVE to read the posts you said you'll post on later. Seriously.

    Second, best of luck! I would love to lose the rest of the weight I gained while pregnant/right before getting pregnant (I quit smoking a couple months before getting pregnant and gained ~20 lbs.) I'm just not quite ready to put forth the effort. I suppose once I go back to work this summer after Kairi's 1st birthday I will be more likely to be less lazy about it. We'll see, I guess.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading about your journey.

  9. Elita, right on with your plan! You can't really go too far astray with lots of broccoli & berries. Well, assuming we're not talking about hollandaise sauce and berry ice cream sundaes. Enjoy the Wii - sounds like a blast.

    Erin, with that as incentive, I'll make doubly sure that I get working on those posts! I actually have a lot in the chute for 2010 already, it seems; most excellent.

    Thanks for the kind words, EVERYONE! Tomorrow is actually my Official Start Date.

    *deep breath*

  10. Will broccoli give my nursling gas though?
    I find it hard to leave my baby to go exercise, is my main problem, plus he cries when I'm not with him, so my hour of gym time makes my husband's hour with baby kind of rough.
    But yes, Dou-la-la, I'm with you too. I've got ten pounds to go but those ten pounds are making ALL of my work clothes not fit, and I go back to work this month. And can't afford new clothes. I'm sure many moms can relate.
    I'm starting today with a food diary and a commitment to do at least SOME form of exercise daily, even if it's just light weights in the living room while the baby plays!

  11. Don't mean to make it sound like "just ten pounds-" that ten pounds is a lot of work and takes up quite a bit of space on my frame. :)

  12. No worries about the broccoli causing gas! The things that cause gas in adults are different than the things that cause gas in breastfed babies. Here's an excellent explanation. Things like extremely fibrous foods cause gas due to the actual process of breaking the food down in our OWN intestines. The fiber itself does not make it way into our bloodstream, and thus into our milk.

    Does this mean our diets never impact our nurslings? Not exactly, but it tends to be major, potentially allergenic proteins (proteins DO pass into the breastmilk); think dairy, soy, and gluten as prime suspects. I'm not writing this to make you paranoid at all! If baby shows no symptoms of food intolerance, you're fine. So generally speaking - go for it with broccoli, beans, spicy foods, it's all good.

    Hmm, this would actually make for yet another good future post, the myths and realities of nursing moms and foods! *puts it on the pile*

    And I completely understand about the ten pounds! Completely.

  13. Good luck, Anne! I know you can do it. For you and all the other moms out there who find it hard to exercise with a baby or toddler, consider a class that allows you to bring your little one with you. I teach a stroller exercise class- but there are different types of classes depending on where you live, from boot camp style to mommy n' me yoga. (And if anyone is in northern VA, you can look me up at

  14. I think you're foxy just as you are, but I totally get the desire to move beyond that doughy-feeling. I *think* (I'll need to sit down and really think back) that when my babies or toddlers hit certain new stages of independence, I suddenly become very aware of myself and one of the first things I wonder is how I got blobby.

    Or I guess what I wonder about is how I stayed blobby. Hmmm.