27 Dec #momlife: The Myth Heard ‘Round the World
“Oh, you’re breastfeeding? No worries, your baby weight will just fall right off!”
I can’t tell you how much I hate that comment! Ever since the middle of my pregnancy, my postpartum weight loss has been predetermined from family and friends alike. Although it may sound uplifting and positive, in all actuality, it sets most women up for failure. Once you have your sweet bundle of joy, you expect your body to change immediately. You’re breastfeeding what seems like constantly, your nutrition is FINALLY under control, your workout routine is in full effect, but when you step on the scale… NOTHING!! What gives?
As a first time mom, one of the most important lessons that has been reinforced is that some things work and some things don’t. Some women lose weight right away while others patiently wait for hell to freeze over. My Fiona is 5 months now and I haven’t lost a single pound since she was born! In fact, I gained 3lbs!! Whether its 5lbs or 35lbs, I have to continue reminding myself that patience is the key to success. And trust me, it is frustrating at times, but some things are out of your control. If breastfeeding is your goal, weight loss may not happen until you’ve reached the finish line.
As if hormones haven’t been the blame for most of our problems throughout pregnancy, it takes FOREVER for them to get back to normal postpartum as well. As someone who has been trying to grow my hair long for years, it’s now falling out in clumps due to hormonal changes. When you’re breastfeeding, the hormones that cause you to burn fat are significantly lower than those that cause you to store fat. Here lies problem number 1. In fact, every time you feed your child, the hormone prolactin is released that makes you STORE fat! It’s a frickin anomaly how anyone drops weight at all while breastfeeding.
SLEEP? WHAT’S THAT?
If your little one is anything like mine, sleeping through the night seems like a distant dream. The “norm” for a breastfed baby is only 2 ½ -4 hrs between feedings. I remember the night I got 4 hrs of sleep. It felt like I slept for 3 days! If your baby is one of those special ones who actually sleeps 6-12 hrs… consider yourself lucky and stop telling me about it!
So where does this leave the woman who is trying to drop pounds in a sleep deprived state? Well, since cortisol levels are elevated when sleep is minimal, weight loss is hard if it’s possible at all. Your metabolism may slow which also interferes with hunger signals… yet another problem. Sleeping for 6-9 hours allows you to reset the hormones that regulate every physiological system in your body. So, postpartum or not, sleep is imperative to weight loss. That’s something to think about if you’re “stuck in a rut.”
CRAP, I FORGOT TO EAT!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the car, baby in tow, and realized that I forgot to eat! I never thought I’d be that person. My pre-baby self would be so ashamed. Post baby, until recently, it was the norm! I went from the most prepared person who ALWAYS packed meals and thought ahead to “God I hope there’s a Quest Bar at the bottom of the diaper bag.” How the heck did that happen?! Luckily, I’m back to my old habits of preparation. Thank goodness!
With a newborn, the cycle of ravenously eating everything to forgetting to eat because there’s too much to do is overwhelmingly. It gets better, trust me. I finally feel like I’m in a groove with #momlife. Yes, it took 6 months to find it, but I got my groove back.
Motivation is one of those things that is different for everyone. Some people are internal motivators. All it takes is a thought and a challenge and they’re off and running. Others (ME!) have to be externally motivated. A deadline, a 90 day challenge, or accountability to another person. I know myself. I work much better under the correct circumstances. Yes, I’m basically human. As I discussed in my previous blog, my workout routine was far from an actual routine for the past year. My nutrition was anywhere from 60% healthy to 90% healthy on any given day. Now? Well, times they are a- changing! I have a workout partner who pushes me and refuses to let me settle.
Current workout routine
It truly is amazing what the human body can do. Pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding changes you. It changes everything. For starters, I remember having perfect posture. Navel drawn in, head held high, back as flat as a board. To refer to myself as the hunch back of Notre Dame would be an understatement! Ok, it’s a slight exaggeration, but it can’t feel much worse.
The majority of my training is for correction of what has been altered during the last year. I operate on a 4 day split hitting posterior chain (the muscles I ruined by sitting ALL THE TIME) twice per week. For cardio, I breast feed. HA! But seriously, I currently don’t do cardio. I train my buns all 4 days in some way, shape, or form. My back is another area of high focus. Holding a baby that seems to get heavier every time I pick her up is so hard on your spine and the muscles that protect it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed every moment of staring at my daughter as she’s in my arms, but this is what caused my resemblance to Quasimodo. Working on both flexibility and strength of your back are super important after baby.
I’ll dive into my back and glutes routine at a later date. Core control (strength and flexibility) is something that I practice every single day. The growing size of a belly bump and the exaggeration of the curvature in your low back wreaks havoc on your ab muscles as well as your low back muscles. To regain control, you have to retrain your muscles specifically, your transverse abdominal wall. This is the most internal abdominal muscle that acts as a girdle. A few of the exercises I use to train this muscle include: abdominal vacuum, posterior pelvic tilts, planks, dead bug, Russian twists, mountain climbers, and reverse crunches. Again, all for stabilization training.
If I told you my nutrition was perfect I’d be lying to you. In the past few months I’ve been trying to find 2 things: balance and proper caloric intake. I’ve set my caloric intake to maintain my weight at 2800 calories per day which is based on maintenance of my current weight plus 500 additional calories due to breastfeeding. No, I am not trying to maintain this weight for forever, but before you establish a weight loss protocol, you have to find a solid baseline for your caloric intake. I try to eat as clean as humanly possible, with some leniency. I’m still continuing to work on consistency….. because I’m not perfect!
As I continue to gain momentum in my routine, I have begun tracking my progress via measurements, not just the scale. I haven’t brought myself to take pictures yet. I know, I know, if I make my clients take pictures, I should probably take some of myself too. I will. I promise!
My #1 goal is to gain consistency. I will prepare my meals. I will get to the gym or perform some sort of at home workout 4x per week. I will not put myself down when these things don’t happen. And finally, I will remember to love the fact that I am not perfect but I created a perfect little human with the body that I was given. I love the heck out of that little girl…. Even if I have to replace ALL OF MY SHOES!