Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weighty Issues

Here's what I hate: post-baby belly fat.

It's not a pretty sight. The other night, as I lay awake working way too hard to succumb to sleep (it seems those weeks upon weeks of being up with a newborn have rewired my brain to require less of it, and lately I'm an insomniac before 1 a.m.), I reached down to feel my abdomen, which I admittedly do from time to time to assess the state, size and scope of things (and maybe discover the baby fat has magically disappeared?). It felt like a topographic map of childbearing. I imagined a hushed, official-sounding voice (would Ben Stein do it? James Earl Jones?) narrating: Here is the deep canyon formerly known as her bellybutton. To the north, an overhang of loose terrain; to the south, the permanent fault line of the c-section scar. To the east and west, the shallow crevasses of stretch marks she thought she'd never have. This is treacherous territory.

I admit that going into the whole pregnancy thing I didn't think much about the effects it would have on my body; when you work so hard for a baby it's just not the priority. I figured I would be one of those women who was "all baby," and for the most part, my arms, legs and derriere didn't suffer much. My face exploded in that pregnant-lady swollen way, and my nose looked like about twice its size, but that went back to normal almost immediately after giving birth. But the thing is, "all baby" isn't code for Heidi Klum. All that baby fat has to go somewhere once the baby is no longer in there holding it up, so you better be ready to starve yourself and train for hours daily a la Ms. Klum if you want to rock it in a Victoria's Secret fashion show mere weeks after delivery (note to Ms. Klum: please don't give us that nonsense about the pounds falling off due to nursing and kid-chasing. We're pretty smart.).

What I've done so far to try to put my body back together is, admittedly, sort of lame. After the requisite six-week rest period, when I finally felt my bearings return and the weather began improving I started walking again. I felt my muscles start to stir from their more than a year-long IVF/placenta previa/bedrest/c-section-induced slumber and I knew it would be a long road. I'm just now starting to feel normal in that I can go for a long, athletically rigorous walk and not be totally wiped out after it.

I also picked up the Tracy Anderson Method Post-Pregnancy Workout. I put it in the DVD player, turned it on, tried a few of the isolation exercises, threw my back out and collapsed. So that went well.

As for eating, what I expected was that the party would be over when I got home from the hospital after H arrived. I did my fair share of indulging during the pregnancy, although I suspect that what I consider indulging would be standard fare for lots and lots of people. But when I got home, what I found was that the nursing made me even hungrier than I was during pregnancy, which I never would have thought was humanly possible. So while I tried to make healthy choices, I still consumed shockingly large volumes of food.

The sum total of all of the above is that it's taken me longer than I would have guessed to lose the weight. I haven't really spent a lot of energy trying -- frankly, I've found sleep and other vital activities to be more important ways of spending my free time -- so I can't really complain about it. I have noticed that the pounds have started to come off more quickly over the past few weeks (coincidentally, as the nursing has dwindled down to about one feeding per day. Which supports what I've heard about your body storing extra fat to make milk, and pretty much flies in the face of the whole nursing-as-weight-loss-panacea theory.), and that is encouraging. But my closet is still a mish-mash of a few older clothes that now fit me, the handful of things I've bought to fit my new voluptuous (read: chubby) figure and the few maternity things that still are the only items in their category (jeans) that currently fit.

So I'm hoping for more, hoping to get closer to the thin/healthy body I had, even if it's not precisely the same body -- even if it's a new landscape. And it looks like I'm going to have to step it up and use some elbow grease if I want to get there.

Where are you on the whole postpartum weight loss thing?


Roccie said...

" to the north "

Cracking me up.

My baby is 13 mos on Friday and I am still a fat ass. I did start walking this week, but mostly because I wrestle with more IF to get a little bro/sis.

Give it time. You have a newborn! I do not advise waiting until 1 year+ like me, however.

I am late to the game, but had some chat on your milk games a few days ago.

mummydr said...

Long time lurker feeling the need to comment for once. In Heidi's defense though I suspect undeserved I was 135lb pre pregnancy and nursing and running after baby left me 103lb and at 5'6" that was pretty skinny.

I love your blog and love reading about your new life, congratulations.

Jamie said...

Everyone told me "Nine months on, nine months off." And at nine months old, I have made it back to pre-pregnancy.

But even though the number on the scale is where I want it to be, my waist isn't what it used to be. There is just so much skin! And my post-BFing boobs look like deflated balloons.

I have never had a rock hard body, but I can barely stand to catch a glimpse of myself without clothes on. I know I should just be happy I was able to shed the pounds, but I definitely didn't have any idea of what a disaster my body would be post-baby.

Of course, I could be trying harder to obtain that rock hard body. But I've barely got the energy to keep up with the kiddo!

mummydr said...

I should probably add that my weight loss involved no effort at all and was totally due to nursing. I'm now up to 112lb, but know that when my baby (now 2 1/2) finally gives up feeding the weight will come back, it has been creeping up as he has dropped feeds.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I have been thinking about this a lot. I was actually just googling "not losing weight while breastfeeding". It seems that nothing I do changes the scale at all. I had been hoping that the weight would just fall off while breastfeeding.It is interesting that you are finding the pounds coming off as the nursing is winding down. I wonder if that will happen for me too. Oh and I'm still in maternity jeans. My prepregnancy jeans are not going to fit for a bit still!

PJ said...

I LOVE your description of the postpartum belly! Definitely James Earl Jones! LOL!!!

Hmmm... well of course I am only 16 days into it. But because I was gestational diabetes, I'm wanting SUGAR and anything that was forbidden during pregnancy, like caffiene.

So far I am 5 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight. But before you come and beat me up, I was/am overweight to begin with. I hope that I can get it together and loose some more weight by October (return to work). I would love to drop a few sizes. I think when I am on the mend, like... REALLY on the mend, that might happen. I'm envisioning lots of walks with the double stroller. :)

Trinity said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :) Hope it's an enjoyable day!

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