So…today I’m talking about my postpartum weight loss journey. My littlest one just turned 15 months old (sob!!) and I’m starting to feel SO so good in my body.
I was thinking of this because over the weekend we took our family Christmas card pictures. It was the first time since 2019 that my body just felt…easy to dress. I’ve talked about this soooo much, haha, but it really has been about 3.5 years of nonstop pregnancy or breastfeeding, so for our last few Christmas photo card shoots I remember either dressing my pregnant body (and I know lots of people love dressing a bump, but it was never my thing!) or wearing breastfeeding-friendly clothes (ha, also not my favorite!) and having a newly postpartum body to figure out.
Anyway, as I was getting myself dressed for the photo shoot I was appreciating that I didn’t have to breastfeed a baby before/after the shoot, and I wasn’t pregnant, and I just slipped into some beautiful clothes and went on my merry little way. Haha. So easy.
(As we were driving to the photo shoot location we drove past the hospital where we did a birthing class way back in summer 2019 before Milo’s due date. Feels like a lifetime ago.)
^ 40 weeks pregnant with Milo in 2019.
Btw: I want to share this story in a very gentle, affirming, welcoming way to anyone who is on the postpartum journey. This is NOT a guide to losing postpartum weight.
This is just my story, because I’ve experienced a lot of things in the last couple of years that I think, “I wish I could have read about this before it happened to me!” And as I say every time I share any aspect of pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery, it’s all completely unique to you. So if something here doesn’t resonate with you or rubs you the wrong way, ignore it and move on. YOUR story is the only one that needs to matter to you.
^ A few hours before my body went into labor for Milo’s birth. I look at this picture and remember how swollen and uncomfortable I felt.
I think that there are all these fears heading into pregnancy regarding your weight. You just don’t know how you’ll respond! I mean, I had never been pregnant before, so I had NO clue if my body would gain 30 pounds or 100 pounds. And would that weight just stick around for the next 10 years? Would my body look and feel totally different after having babies? (Spoiler: no, the weight didn’t stick around, and yes, my body looks and feels totally different now.)
Oh, and as a little backstory, here’s where the fear came from: I got pregnant for the first time (with Milo) at age 28, and I had only recently figured out a way to keep a really healthy, easy weight in my twenties. I had actually unintentionally lost about 30 pounds in my early 20s (it was definitely an accidental weight loss, but it all happened in a wonderful unintentional way by using yoga and LOA…I can share that story another time, if you’re interested) and really never had to think about my weight. I was at this really beautiful place in my body weight and body appreciation and didn’t want to eff any of that up.
^ Baby Milo…just a few days old!
This is just my story, because I’ve experienced a lot of things in the last couple of years that I think, “I wish I could have read about this before it happened to me!”
And, of course, I felt worried that pregnancy would mess all of that up and I would go back to my unhealthy college tendencies of working out to burn calories, or living in a state of fear that I’ll stop feeling comfortable in my clothes, or my weight will start hopping around.
The weight gain and loss for both pregnancies was the exact same, but I remember just feeling so nervous about it with Milo’s. I mean…I hadn’t really experienced gaining that much weight in just a few quick months, so it felt scary. I’m not someone who weighs herself, and I remember how much my brain hated that I was being forced to step on a scale and have my weight recorded at the doctor’s office every week.
I just think I have so many stories in my head that I’ve overcome from my teenage years and early 2000s diet culture, and after finding a truly healthy, wonderful place for my body I just felt so nervous about this big thing happening to it and changing it so drastically!
For starters, here’s the full, honest-to-goodness way that my postpartum weight settled back into the place it was at before pregnancy:
My genetics gave me a fast metabolism (which is a fun gift, but I also got some not-so-helpful things, like this very pale and freckled cancer-prone skin).
My metabolism burns things up quickly, and breastfeeding helped with that a lot, so the weight came off my body in about the same speed it came on. I didn’t choose to make any changes to my diet, but I focused on listening to my intuition and eating the food that sounded most delicious and focusing on giving my body energy.
Then something really funny happened, and it happened after both pregnancies: my body lost a bit too much weight.
Not in a really noticeable way, but I felt it.
^ 8 months postpartum with Milo and NOT feeling my strongest.
I’m curious who else can relate to this? I know some of you can, because I‘ve talked to some of my close friends about this who had something similar happen. Where you start motherhood and you find yourself looking and feeling stretched thin and worn down.
But did you know that finding time to eat as a new mom is a big struggle? My body felt skinny and loose, with too much skin and bones sticking out and not a “strong” type of lean, but a stretched out, worn out type of skinny. Not a good or comfortable feeling.
Anyway, I mention this because it was just such a funny and unexpected thing to occur in my postpartum experience! I had so many people ask me why I was getting so thin, from family members to my chiropractor to just a random contractor we had in our house (no, really! He literally to my face called me “too skinny” and I was just like, “sir, this is none of your business.” So weird.)
I mean, I definitely wasn’t dangerously thin or anything like that. My body was still in a healthy BMI and I looked fine. But I’m (thankfully) at this place in my life when it’s more important to me how I feel rather than what a scale tells me, and I didn’t feel good in my body at the 6 month postpartum mark.
So anyway, that’s just what my body did. And in one sense I appreciate that my pre-pregnancy clothes fit me at that point, because I hate shopping for clothes. Truly.
And in another sense I just felt soooo frail in my body. I lost a lot of muscle mass because I wasn’t working out as much (I used to go to a bunch of barre classes before my pregnancies, and oooooh that builds muscle fast!), and breastfeeding was also making my metabolism go lightning fast and I wasn’t finding enough time to sit and eat full meals. I mean, probably any mom can relate to that. It’s like “a handful of caramel corn and ¼ of my son’s cheese quesadilla and I GUESS THAT’S DINNER!”
So, that’s the story.
^ Pregnant with Dayton in 2021.
I mean, I’m not going to end it there, though. That’s what happened with my pregnancy weight loss. It went on, it came off, and then I felt frail and thin and didn’t like how I felt in my own body.
So I’ve been focusing on working out more again. And it feels SO good. And I feel better in my body now that I’m done breastfeeding. I don’t weigh myself, but I’d imagine I’ve put on a few healthy pounds based on how my clothes are fitting me. I feel good in my body right now.
Yesterday I shared a few ways that I’ve been focusing on my energy in 2022. And one of the big reasons why I made ENERGY my word for 2022 was because I know how I feel in the postpartum stage, and it’s definitely not energetic! Ha.
^ These too precious babes. They TOOK THE ENERGY OUT OF ME, y’all!
So I’ve been intentionally trying to make myself SIT DOWN and eat full meals. Haha, does this sound ridiculous to y’all?
I feel like it’s so extra and not something I would have ever thought about prioritizing, but now that I’ve been through that postpartum journey two times I’m realizing how important it is for me to SIT when I eat and actually taste the food and make sure my body is getting the nutrients it needs. I sometimes tell Nate to take both of the boys upstairs and play while I eat in silence for 15 minutes and make sure I’m giving myself the time and the calories and the appreciation of the food. Haha.
That’s a very open view into my postpartum weight loss journey. Again, this is my own story and you have your own, and so if anything here resonated with you, great! And if something didn’t resonate, leave it behind!
Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday, friends. Xx .