Post-Partum Body Image and Goals

This is a tough post for me to write as I’ve always struggled with my body image. I’m now six weeks post-partum, and although I’ve lost all of my pregnancy weight, my body looks very different. I was always a bigger girl, but I finally started being happy with my body a little bit before I got pregnant.

I knew pregnancy would change my body, but I don’t think I was prepared for how I’d feel about my body afterward. My hips are much wider, so my jeans don’t fit me anymore. I have an overhanging belly now and I hate how it looks in some clothes. My thighs and belly aren’t as tight and toned as they used to be; they jiggle more than I’m used to. I was finally getting comfortable wearing bikinis, but now, you won’t catch me dead in one.

I know that this body created and carried life for nine months and I’m forever grateful for that. I just need to give myself some time to work on myself. I know the changes won’t happen over night, so I have some small goals to help set me up for success.

  1. Drink one gallon of water per day
  2. Eat 80% healthy and 20% can be for not-so-healthy food
  3. Be active for at least 30 minutes five days per week
  4. Lose 15 pounds by the end of the year

As small as these goals may be, it may be difficult with a newborn, but I’m going to try my best.

How I Lost All My Pregnancy Weight in Four Weeks

How do I already have a five-week-old baby?! It seems like just yesterday that I had her and held her for the first time. Time is flying and Rosy is getting bigger with each passing day. It’s absolutely amazing watching her grow though.

Today’s post is about losing the pregnancy weight. I gained 33 pounds during my pregnancy, but my OB only wanted me to gain a maximum of 20 pounds. I actually did really well, but I retained A LOT of fluid during the third trimester. I gained nine pounds in three weeks toward the end of my pregnancy. When my OB saw my legs, ankles, and feet, she said, “Oh yeah, you’re just retaining a lot of fluid. That’s where that weight is coming from.” She then warned me, “It’s going to be a lot worse in the hospital.” I didn’t expect it to get as bad as it did, but after all the IVs, my body swelled up like a balloon! I couldn’t even walk most days during the first two weeks post-partum. Let alone, I couldn’t even lift my legs up to put pants on.

I had a follow up with my OB last week at four weeks post-partum. When the nurse asked me to step on the scale, I didn’t expect to see what I saw. I thought I would have been down 15 pounds from my pregnancy weight, but ya girl lost EVERY. SINGLE. POUND! Yup, 33 pounds gone in four weeks! Here’s how I did it.

Hydrate
The first step I took to lose the pregnancy weight is a bit ironic. I knew that I had to drink plenty of water to lose the water weight. Kaiser sent me home with this cute, 32 oz. tumbler. Since I couldn’t move much, Alejandro constantly made sure that the tumbler was full. If I went to a different part of the house and didn’t have the tumbler with me, Alejandro would make sure it was by my side and would tell me, “Please drink your water.” I easily drank a gallon of water each day. Drinking a gallon a day was actually something I was already doing even before I got pregnant, so this wasn’t difficult for me at all. As I drank all the water and excreted fluids, the immense swelling in my lower extremities slowly decreased. My legs, ankles, and feet finally looked normal by two and a half weeks post-partum. I hadn’t seen them like that since the second trimester of pregnancy.

32 oz tumbler from Kaiser

Breastfeeding
I’ve ultimately decided to exclusively breastfeed Rosy. In the beginning, we had to supplement her with formula since she lost weight after birth and had jaundice. Once she started to put the weight back on and my milk came in, I switched to breastfeeding. I’ll still pump to build up my freezer stash for when I return to work, and once in a blue moon I’ll ask Alejandro to bottle feed her so that I can rest. Between the breastfeeding and pumping though, I burned extra calories. Did you know that a breastfeeding/pumping mother can burn up to 500 extra calories per day? That’s probably why I always want a snack during or after a breastfeeding session.

Eating
Here’s my thing…I do not believe in dieting. I believe in healthy eating and enjoying treats and fast food in moderation. For the most part, I’ve eaten fairly clean since coming home from the hospital. Since it’s summer, I’ve been enjoying a lot of fresh, seasonal fruit from our local farmer’s market. White nectarines have been a favorite of mine lately. Now, don’t get me wrong, Alejandro and I have ordered a pizza here and there, but I’ll only have two slices. Also, if you know me, I’m a huge sweets person, but again, I enjoy them in moderation. I try to follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of what I eat is clean/healthy and 20% can be for sweets/others.

Fresh fruits from the farmer’s market: white cherries, white nectarine, and cherry plums

Exercise
After five days in the hospital, I was de-conditioned and lost quite a bit of muscle mass (also a source of weight loss since muscle weighs more than fat). After two weeks post-partum, when my body started to feel better, I asked Alejandro if we could go on family walks. We started with short, 15-minute walks two days per week. We slowly started to increase the frequency and duration, and by week four (last week), I was confident enough to suggest that we walk to the farmer’s market. Alejandro was really hesitant since we live on a hill, but I insisted that we do it. It felt really good to walk down and back up, and I didn’t complain of any issues. Scratch that, I complained about my shoes since I realized I need new walking shoes. Pregnancy caused my feet to grow half a size. This past week, I’ve gone on five walks lasting 45 minutes to an hour long, and I also started incorporating lower and upper extremity exercises (isolated since I can’t engage my core yet).

Rosy and me before our walk the other day

There you have it, how I lost all my pregnancy weight! I definitely want to lose more. My goal is to get back to how I was for the wedding, but I know that will take time. It gives me a goal though! In the meantime, I’ll be taking baby steps toward that goal. My next small goal is to lose 15 pounds before the year ends, which I’m sure I can do. If you have any suggestions on post-partum exercises, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Alejandro’s First Father’s Day

Happy belated Father’s Day! I can’t believe this was Alejandro’s first Father’s Day! On top of that, Rosy turned 1 month that day! What?! Where did the time go? Some of the shelter in place orders are lifting now, but we chose to celebrate at home.

So, what did I have in store for Alejandro? Well, if you’re familiar with the “love languages,” I’m a gift giver and perform acts of services. First, I designed a cute card on Shutterfly and used a digital drawing my cousin created. How cute is it?! Then, I decided to customize a Hooray Heroes book for him. I had been seeing advertisements for these books all over Facebook and Instagram, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I wonder if he’ll cry like all the other dads in the video? Haha! I doubt it, but we’ll see.

Alejandro has been amazing during my pregnancy and this first month with Rosy. He’s been cleaning the house, doing laundry, taking care of the dogs, cooking, etc. So, I thought it’d be my turn to cook for him! I decided to make two of his favorite things for his first Father’s Day. For the main dish, I’m made him this three ingredient Crockpot ribs. I thought this was a great option, because 1) he loves ribs, 2) it only uses three ingredients, and 3) I could just throw it in the Crockpot in the late morning and it will be ready for dinner! For our side, I had a Hawaiian macaroni salad planned for him. This is easily one of his favorite side dishes. I also picked up his favorite beer to go along with the meal.

I’m so grateful for the father that Alejandro is. He’s great with Rosy, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner to do this whole parenting thing with!