A Different Body

I knew that things would be different after.

12439097_10153957095892527_3578192094658446658_n
1 Week Postpartum

Having lost 110 pounds — nearly 10 years ago — I had some loose skin on my stomach. It wasn’t too bad. I think a combination of being 25 years old when I started to lose the weight and the fact that it took me a year and a half to lose the weight made the skin “bounce back” a little easier. But I still had a little bit. It was something I was self-conscious about. Even at my skinniest (143 pounds) I never felt truly comfortable about my stomach. I wore a bikini in Hawaii and it was both scary and liberating but I was never 100% confident when I wore it. It was just the way it was.

Something happened when I got pregnant. I was no longer self-conscious about my stomach. As it grew I also grew to love it. It was something special and wonderful. Even during that in-between stage where I just looked kinda chubby and not quite pregnant yet, I still loved it.

12107818_10153589122172527_7637152651802962505_n

Now that Logan is here, my body is mine again. Sort of! Things sure have changed and in a lot of ways it feels like my body is that of a stranger’s instead. My stomach is kind of oddly deflated right now. It’s not really about loose skin as much as just being “deflated”. It’s a bit weird¬†and it feels like it’s not my body.

a98ba62f-c309-4612-ae93-1d7af2d57db3

I’m definitely in-between in clothes. Nothing fits quite right. Part of that is the extra pounds and part of that is the deflated stomach issue. So maternity clothes are too big and baggy, my old clothes are too small, the clothes I wore in the early months of my pregnancy sort of fit but don’t look quite right either. Pre-pregnancy I was in a size medium for most shirts, now mediums don’t really fit but sometimes the large sized shirt is too big. I need a half size!

I recently decided to buy some new clothes. I just had to. Breastfeeding = I definitely needed new bras. I bought some new workout clothes that fit a little better. Had to buy a pair of jeans for work (pre-pregnancy I was a size 8, now I’m somewhere in between a 10 and 12 and of course neither size really fits well!). I bought a few pairs of capris, shorts and shirts. Some of them are in a size bigger than what I used to wear, some aren’t. I’m trying not to give the label too much mind, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit disappointing.

It’s just weird not feeling quite yourself. ūüôĀ

FullSizeRender-1
15 weeks post partum

Another issue I’ve discovered is that postpartum healing takes time. I knew it would. But to be honest I “bounced back” pretty quickly at first and perhaps went back to some activities to soon? Who knows, hindsight and all that…but I’ve stopped running temporarily. Partially due to the flare-up of my back issues. I am disappointed for sure. I thought I was “Back to Normal” (normal???) and so it is frustrating to see my limitations.

Talking to my doctor about some of the general issues I’ve had she explained that breastfeeding does a number on your body that you just don’t realize. The big one? The¬†ligaments are still loose like when you were pregnant. I did not know this. It’s funny–there are a zillion books, websites, blogs, etc about pregnancy and all the shit your body goes through giving birth but rarely do they ever REALLY discuss the aftermath. I know in our childbirth class she whizzed through the postpartum part in 30 minutes and didn’t cover any of the issues I had after giving birth (perfect example: hot flashes? Who knew that was a thing?!?! Thank goodness for Google.).

My doctor¬†said some of these issues I’ve been having won’t resolve until I stop breastfeeding (come on ligaments! Get back to normal!!). Again, I’m disappointed. I was really looking forward to getting back into running, running outside this summer, and running the two 5k’s I signed up for this fall. It was kind of crushing to realize that that might not happen and I just need to make peace with that and do what my body CAN do. I’m trying not to think about it, or put too much pressure on myself but it’s hard. I was so expecting this all to just happen naturally and I was healing really well and felt okay to get back into fitness.

In addition to my back flare-up I’ve noticed my IT band is inflamed. I haven’t had issues with my IT Band in years (thankfully my runner’s knee hasn’t returned–knock on wood). I am guessing this is related to breastfeeding and ligaments being looser.

So in a lot of ways I am feeling frustrated with my body.

I saw the physical therapist I was seeing last year for my back this week and she said that my back issue is entirely related to being pregnant. My core is gone. The repetitive issue of bending over to pick up the baby, not having core strength due to pregnancy just lead to a back strain. She thinks the IT band flare-up is also related to my core issues (and the breastfeeding thing) so basically it’s all just a “you had no core strength for almost a year injury”. She said that running probably didn’t help–because you DO use your core a lot for running. So I went back to running too soon and should have focused more on core strength in those early days of being back at the gym.

She also suggested I don’t do the ab machines at the gym (she said they are not good for the body), which I stopped doing once my back hurt. She gave me some PT exercises to strengthen my core and I’m hoping that I can try running again soon.

13613114_10154180785377527_1595369742610760425_o

My new goal is to focus on strengthening my core and doing some low-impact activities. We used to go hiking every 4th of July–we didn’t this year–but I’m hoping we can start that soon. It’s a good, low impact activity we can do together.

I knew things would change, but it’s hard when you feel like you are “normal” and yet…you aren’t back to your normal yet. I keep forgetting that for nearly a year I had limitations!¬†So that’s what’s going on in my life right now…healing, strengthening and waiting!

 

Accountable to Myself

 

Back on the horse again!

Exercise

I went back to yoga last week. It was the first time in a few months. If I remember correctly I stopped going around 29 weeks pregnant I think. I just couldn’t do it anymore, which disappointed me because I thought swimming and yoga would be the majority of my fitness throughout the third trimester. Unfortunately, I was to the point where I had to modify almost every pose, my balance wasn’t great, I felt like I couldn’t do most of the things in class and it was getting silly going and just laying in child’s pose. So, I stopped.

Going back to yoga after a few months off was HARD. I struggled with all of it. My balance wasn’t great. I felt out of breathe and weak. Downward dog was a pose I could barely hold for very long and I couldn’t do any of the poses where you lay on your chest (because of breastfeeding). Despite that, I was glad I went back and I intend on going at least once a week (twice a week would be ideal) to try and get my strength and balance back!

On days that I can’t go to the gym I walk (weather permitting). Recently a friend came over with her daughter (and a bottle of wine) and we walked to a nearby park since it was such a nice day. Her daughter played, Bella supervised everything, then we walked back to the house and lounged on the deck with our glasses of wine. It was a nice break to the monotony of my day (pumping, feeding, changing diapers, rinse repeat<–not complaining, just saying most days are the same right now!).

IMG_1052

When it’s just me at home, I often take Bella and Logan for a long walk in the neighborhood (sometimes twice a day) just to get out of the house and move around. I remember now how much I like walking! It’s peaceful and a nice way to get in some exercise.

I’m able to go a little longer and harder on the elliptical in just one week already. I feel great when I get to go and I feel accomplished and happy when I’m done. The one downside? Upper back pain. I don’t know if it’s a combination of taking time off and needing a new sports bra or if feeding Logan is putting a strain on my upper back but it aches!

FullSizeRender

That session was 4 miles on the elliptical in about 50 minutes.

The next day I was going to try and do the stairmaster but decided to do the elliptical again instead. I was feeling a bit sore after a massage and wanted to take it easy. I did 4.20 miles on the elliptical this time and it felt really good (and a bit easy).

IMG_1104

Sunday I went back to yoga. I felt a little “meh” and didn’t want to go but I’m glad I did. I was a little early to class so I did the stairmaster for a few minutes before then went to class.

FullSizeRender

This time yoga was much better than the first time back. I was able to do downward dog with more ease and while my balance was still not great, it felt good to stretch and move. Little by little things are getting easier.

How we are making it work right now: my gym days are now Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Michael works from home on Fridays now so that makes it easier for me to go to the gym (and hopefully soon I will be back to swimming). One day during the work week I try and go to yoga after Michael gets home from work. I expect this to change some once I go back to work. I’m hoping I can bike to work once a week so that I get my workout in and out of the way.

Food

Like I said in my last post I am back to counting calories. Most days I do “ok”. I put that in quotes because I wouldn’t say I am quite to where I’d like to be with counting my calories but I am trying to do my best and BE ACCOUNTABLE. Tracking everything is the first step. Do I go over my calories? Yes, sometimes. I’d say about 2 days a week I go over my calories for the day but the other days I do alright staying within my range. It just depends on my hunger level each day (which apparently changes often!).

According to what I’ve read, breastfeeding burns somewhere between 300-500 calories a day. It depends on how much you are making, but it sounds like the average is you burn 20 calories an ounce. I’m currently pumping while Logan and I learn how to breastfeed after getting his tongue tie fixed so I know exactly how many ounces I make a day. My¬†average is 20-30 ounces a day. That means I would be right up there with burning around 500 calories a day.

Challenge #2: Raging Appetite

If you are pumping 25 ounces a milk a day, you are burning the same amount of extra calories as if you were running 5 miles every single day. You are going to be hungry! (source) 

Yes, yes and yes! So much hungrier than I ever was when I was pregnant. There are days where I feel like I could eat everything in my fridge and still be hungry. It’s cra–aaazy.

Breakfast is pretty easy to make healthy. Either it’s a scramble (eggs, sausage and sweet potatoes) or oatmeal:

IMG_1103

Lunch is usually pretty healthy, too. Where I fall short is afternoon snacking, eating a little too much for dinner (things like pizza) or indulging on sweets late in the evening.

This weekend I met up with a friend for lunch and made a healthy choice. We went to Laughing Planet because I like that they have healthy options for not a ton of calories. I got the Vindaloo Bowl, which was chard, lentils, rice, pulled pork and an Indian sauce with sauteed veggies and pickled onions. It was really tasty!

IMG_1106

Dinner the other night was healthy, so go me! Salad with avocado, black olives, jalapenos, cojita cheese and chicken fajita on top. It was delicious and even indulging in tortilla chips it was under 700 calories.

IMG_1127

Accountable to Myself

I’m down to drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper a few times a week instead of every day, so that’s progress.

I’m counting my calories every day, even on days when I go over.

I’m choosing fruits for snacks again, but still occasionally eating “quickie” snacks like protein bars, which isn’t great.

 

My Goals Going Forward

  1. Continue counting my calories every single day. (It was a little too easy to stop doing it!)
  2. Move my body every day, even if it’s a gentle movement and just walking.
  3. Give it time. I am okay with keeping my gym days to 3 days a week for a bit. There’s no rush to get back to my 5 day schedule like I had before. My body needs the time it needs to heal and rest and I’ll get back to where I was at some point.
  4. I plan on going back to the Warrior Room soon. I’m thinking somewhere around June-ish. I’d like to get back into a weight lifting routine at the gym and build that back up before going back to the Warrior Room and destroying my body!

So that’s the update from my world lately. How is losing weight going for you?