No One Goes Home in Their Skinny Jeans

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While I was pregnant and still working, my belly growing larger and rounder by the minute, it seemed that my middle-aged colleagues couldn’t resist telling me about how their pregnancies had ruined their bodies. I’d hear comments like I used to be a size 6 before my kids were born (big sigh) and It never quite goes back to the way it was, you know on a fairly regular basis. I didn’t know what these comments were supposed to do for me, so I brushed them off, telling myself Well, that was just so-and-so’s experience. Mine will be different.

During one of my later pregnancy visits with my OB, my 5’2’’ body tipped the scale to 186 lbs- meaning I’d put on almost 70 lbs in the last 37 weeks (11 of them were spent in bed, feet and hips elevated). But I was in no way alarmed by this. Neither of my doctors ever mentioned concerns about the weight I was packing on, so I assumed my weight gain was normal and necessary (and it was) to ensure that I would deliver good-sized, healthy babies. I had read that the body stores away fat during pregnancy to help with milk production once the babies are born, and that breastfeeding (which I had planned to do exclusively) would help my body shed all of those unwanted pounds after delivery.

At the last non-stress test before my scheduled c-section, I asked one of the labor and delivery nurses what I should pack in my hospital bag as far as clothing for myself- maternity clothes or maybe just the clothes that I wore early in my second trimester, the ones about 2 sizes up from my pre-pregnancy size? The nurse said I should expect to still look about six month pregnant after delivery. Six months?! Are you kidding me?! She could see the horrified look on my face and added, “Don’t worry, honey. No one goes home in their skinny jeans.” And she was absolutely right. I walked out of the hospital wearing the same maternity clothes I had worn coming in.

Months after my twins were born, I continued to hear comments like I used to be a size 6 before my kids were born, but I also heard words that felt more encouraging, such as Nine months on, nine months off and Give yourself at least a year. I desperately wanted my body to look and feel the way it had before the pregnancy, but I had no time to take care of myself the way I used to. When I was hungry, I ate whatever was fast and easy, regardless of the nutritional value. And most days, it was hard to find time just to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. So, finding 90 minutes to get myself to the gym and back was just not possible. And then there was the breast feeding (which, unfortunately, did not take off all the weight the way I had dreamed). I ended up breastfeeding my twins until they were 13 ½ months old, though not exclusively as I had planned. While I loved that I was able to do this for my little ones, I always had a really hard time producing enough milk for both of them. The lactation consultant told me not to even think about dieting until I was done with nursing, and so I didn’t. And each time I looked down at my big, fat postpartum belly, I told myself, This is just for now, not forever.

And then the day finally came. It was April 21st of this year. My babies were weaned, and independent enough for me to spend a little more time caring for myself. I checked out the South Beach Diet book from my local library and signed myself up for a gym membership and some 30-minute sessions with a personal trainer. It was time to get my postpartum butt back into shape. I stepped on the scale for the moment of truth. Yes, I had lost a good amount of weight, but I still had 36 lbs. to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I had never, ever needed to lose this much weight and was very naive about what this process would be like. I remember thinking, This is a no brainer. You just eat right and exercise and off comes the weight. I foolishly thought I could drop all that weight in time for our early July vacation. And maybe, for some of you, losing your pregnancy weight was no big thing. But instead, what I found was that losing weight was much, much harder than I’d imagined. Finding time to prepare healthy meals and snacks is easier than it once was, but can still be a challenge. And making time to actually eat the meals and snacks is still hard as well. Going to the gym after putting the kids to bed is not necessarily what I would prefer to do with my free time, but it does feel satisfying to work up a good sweat and know that I’m doing what needs to be done to take care of me.

So how’s it going? We’ll 3 ½ months later, I’m down 20 lbs. with 16 lbs. to go. I’m still not back into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but I can finally fit into the ones I wore in my second trimester (those ones that are about 2 sizes larger). I know that it will still be months before I can dig my old wardrobe out of the attic, and there are some parts of my body that may never look the same again, but if Melissa Joan Hart can diet and exercise her way back to a slimmer body, so can I.

So, who has words of encouragement for those who are still working to lose the baby weight. Any good tips or stories what will inspire? What healthy snacks fill you up and curb your cravings? Please, do tell!

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16 thoughts on “No One Goes Home in Their Skinny Jeans”

  1. Alright, so I gained 45 pounds during my pregnancy. I started at 130, lost weight from puking my guts out daily all throughout the 1st trimester, but we’ll just say I started at 130, lol. I’m around 135 right now, and honestly I don’t know if that last 5 pound will EVER come off!!! I like you have a hard time cooking for my girls, while keeping myself from not eating with them. What really helped me get my weight off, was Tae Bo, WW meals, and snacking on cheese and fruit and not chips and candy. Yogurt for breakfast and not snacking on the french toast my girls were eating. I was in the best shape of my life before I got pregnant, and I have this goal in mind. But I have come to the realization that those “skinny jeans” of mine in the closet just might never, ever fit the way they used to. But in the mean time, I work out 3-4 days a week. Working out makes me feel better. It makes me feel awesome actually. I can raise my twins, keep my house/life in order, and still look pretty good…its a GREAT feeling. So for those of you “thinking” about starting back again, just do it!!! Once you even lose a few pounds, the motivation will be there. Good luck. :)
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..OMG, IM SORRY =-.

  2. I’m not going to talk about my weight for fear of retribution, but I will say that the post-pregnancy body struggle is more than just weight. So many twin moms I know have had abdominal separation. So, you can get lose as much weight as you want and your stomach can still be flabby. Its like we aree doublly (ha!) cursed – extra weight to lose and extra crunches to do after.

    And I’m not even going to talk about stretch marks…sigh.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Too many cooks? =-.

  3. I totally agree with the “9 months on – 9 months off” advice from that nurse. My boys are 26 mos. old and I probably weigh about 15 pounds more than my pre-preg weight. Those 15 pounds are because of my bad eating habits, I eat quickly and sometimes mindlessly, that is probably typical of many MoMs who have little downtime. I need to get disciplined and get motivated, but sometimes just getting through the day is all I can handle. I need to find time for working out but the hectic schedule has me beat (lately).

  4. The baby weight is gone, but I think the baby shape is here to stay. (7 months of nursing twins sucked the extra 30 pounds right off! I know, I’m lucky.)

    Pregnancy somehow made the mass of my behind migrate to my belly, making my legs continuous with my back and giving my front a constant look of about 4 months pregnant. Also, the C-section scar marks the bottom of a pooch that is here to stay even at 110 pounds. (I’ve since packed on a few more pounds.)
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Sleepover =-.

  5. I’m with Nicole & Sadia. thanks to nursing, I think I actually weigh a few pounds less than I did pre-pregnancy, but my body is completely different. no more booty and the delightful stretch mark-ridden, abdominal separation, C-section demarking pooch seems to be here to stay 1 year later. did I mention the skin discoloration on my belly? sigh. on the upside, I read in a parenting magazine that what we see as unsightly, our husbands see as soft and cuddly.

  6. I agree with the others–thanks to exclusively nursing meant that I weighed less at 6 months postpartum than I did pre-pregnancy. However, that belly is never going to be quite the same. The whole body is just a little bit different.

    The best thing I did for my body post-partum? Stick those babies in the stroller and walk—everywhere and anywhere. Part of me actually misses those days…

  7. Like Nicole, the weight hasn’t been as much as an issue since breastfeeding for a year took it off [I know it doesn’t for a lot of people]. I did have abdominal separation and will always have a pooch and twin skin. Not sure how to get over that. I’m definitely not in my prepregnancy pants and never will be.

    I think one of the main things is that when I was nursing I could eat anything. But, as I was weaning them, I also weaned myself from things like ice cream twice a day and a hamburger everyday. I’ve sort of weaned myself, so to speak, back to my prepregnancy diet of eating a balanced diet [yes I eat carbs and love them, but I don’t go overboard] and one sweet thing/dessert per day [which is hard!]. Also when my girls started walking, it helped me loose some, too, since I have been chasing them all the time!

  8. For me, it was a big issue of time. I wasn’t getting a ton of exercise but the weight slowly came off. I gained 50-55 lbs with my triplets. When my girls turned 18 months old, I was about 7-8 lbs more than pre-baby weight.

    I have huge ab muscle separation issues to deal with. Yuck!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..All about the girls =-.

  9. Like everyone else, my stomach will never be the same. I gained 66 pounds and by the time the twins were 5 months old had lost 58. But those last 7-8 pounds are hard! I am still at that weight and the twins are now 8 months old.

    I walk the dog every morning – some walks are longer than others – and for a while was doing weights and crunches. But when my OB told me at my last appt that it doesn’t matter how many crunches I do, only a tummy tuck will fix my stomach, I quit the crunches. It’s so sad – I used to have such a small waist and flat stomach, and now it’s like I’m perpetually 3 months pregnant!

  10. One more thing…

    If you have abdominal separation, do not do crunches. Regular exercising can make it worse/never improve. If possible, go to a physical therapist, specifically one that deals with postpartum issues. I started at 6 months postpartum and worked very diligently for 5 months and saw major improvement [along with working on other rehabilitation issues after being on bed rest for 10 weeks]. It does take time and consistency, but it worked. Not quite like a tummy tuck, but at least the separation is no longer there.

  11. My body is 6 years down the road from losing baby weight and getting worse! ugh! I’m finding it hard to juggle the busy-iness of motherhood and working out for a better me. But I am convinvced that this will be my year! I am following a book called “lift like a man, look like a goddess” Sounds great, doesn’t it? I start training hard next week after the final get-a-way before school starts.

    Great snacks… walnuts, almonds, raisins, blueberries with low fat vanilla yogurt… they do the trick for me. Maybe even indulge in some dark chocolate every now and then!
    .-= Shane´s last blog ..What I’m thinking about… =-.

  12. Good lord, I’m at a full two years and still (mumble mumble too many) pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Which was a bad number to begin with.

    Must must must get an exercise plan. I’m hoping to find a babysitter two mornings a week so I can go to the gym, or maybe I have to get brave enough to try the Y’s drop-off childcare…

    One other thing, I find the eating part much HARDER while at home full-time. When I was dieting/counting points while working, I was so good about packing my little bag of snacks and lunch and all of that. At home, it’s constant grazing and finishing the kids’ food. Ugh.
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..Canis non grata =-.

  13. It’s always good to hear about other MoMs’ experiences. It seems I should not have brushed off my colleagues comments. But hey, at that point, there was no turning back. And even if I’d known ahead of time the toll pregnancy would take on my body, I’d have proceeded just the same. (I’m sure we all would.) I guess the only thing I might have done differently was to appreciate my pre-pregnancy body more instead of always nitpicking about all my imperfections.

    BTW- so jealous of those who dropped a ton of weight nursing! I wish I could have been so lucky.

  14. My girls are 11 months old and nothing magical has helped me to loose the weight. I still have 15 pounds to go and those are the same 15 pounds that haven’t budged since the girls were 3 months old. I did finally go to a nutritionist though to get my metabolic rate tested and put together a real meal plan when my weight had actually crept up 5 more pounds – which I have lost in the last three weeks. For me that information is critical to put together an eating strategy that helps me loose weight and doesn’t make me feel like I’m starving. It was how I got into the best shape of my life before I was pregnant and I’m still convinced I can get back there. It took me about three years of disciplined working out to get in such good shape and I think it will take even longer post-babies since I have less time and energy to commit to it, but I think it is feasible. It just may not be practical for awhile. And my boobs really will never be the same after 11+ months of nursing…

    Good snacks: Trail mix, string cheese, low-fat yogurt, hummus and pita chips, Lara Bars, Z-bars
    .-= Lisa´s last blog .. =-.

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