Losing the Baby Weight

July 21, 2013

Pregnancy has its perks. (You see? The amnesia is already kicking in.)

For one, I absolutely adored feeing unselfconscious about my body. I loved wearing maternity clothes, my typical problem area (belly) was something to be celebrated, and I loved putting the whole diet mentality on pause. No, I didn’t throw caution to the wind and eat peanut butter cups for breakfast (or at least not often), but I did let myself just be. It felt like a gift.

I was also surprised by how I felt about my body after Sam arrived. I went almost a week past my due date, and he and I got big. I don’t think any amount of cocoa butter would have saved me from the stretch marks caused by that little tank! (This picture stirs up some feelings of PTSD. Pregnant Jenna, you were completely justified in breaking down because you had to walk all the way across Target when you broke a pack of lightbulbs at the cash register.)

In the weeks after Sam was born I was surprised by how I felt about my body. I kept looking at myself in the mirror and instead of feeling upset about my stretch marks and random pooches I kept thinking: This is okay. I am okay. Pregnancy taught me that my body is for way more than my own self-absorption. Why critique something that let me bring this little guy into the world?

During my last trimester I made a conscious effort to avoid looking at the scale at my doctor’s office. I’ve struggled with body image issues in the past and I was worried that a high number would mess with my mind. I knew my doctor would tell me if there was a problem, and I just tried to stay reasonable with what I ate. But if I had to guess what I weighed just before Sam was born I’d go with about 190.

A lot of that came off fast. Sam alone was almost 9 pounds (hello, baby!), and I had several weeks of intense night sweats that drained out a lot of water weight.

But did I lose it all? Not quite. I had this glorious fantasy that every last ounce would melt off as a byproduct of maternal bliss, but alas, the image I had of motherhood pre-Sam only vaguely resembles reality.

Trying to lose weight feels scary to me, because dieting and I have a not so great past. You can read a little about it here. So I am approaching this new effort with caution. No, I don’t want to get stuck with extra weight, but going down the road of obsession and self loathing is absolutely not an option for me. (I don’t have time for that nonsense!)

What I really want is for a healthy lifestyle to become my second nature. I already eat pretty well and exercise often but I know I can bump up my efforts. I’d love to clear the plateau I’ve been on for the last few years and settle into my best weight (and perhaps a sexy pair of  jeans).Plus, I only get the one life, why not clear out this issue now and move on to bigger and better things?

I also want to be very clear about something–in no way do I believe that a person’s self worth is based on their appearance or size or anything external. There is already so much junk circulating in our society that sends that message and I do not want to contribute to that by writing about my personal journey. Life is about relationships, and learning, and finding happiness. It’s about growing and being kind and sharing what is uniquely you. It is not about being skinny and it never has been. But I have come to the conclusion that being healthy puts me in a better position to achieve all those things. So bring it on! (I will now step down off my soapbox.)

I’ll fill you in on the details of my plan tomorrow. The little tank is singing to himself in his crib and I have a feeling he needs a raspberry blown on his belly.

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