Transformation Tuesday: 7 Weeks Postpartum

February 28, 2017

Do you know that old phrase “two steps forward, one step back” (or “one step forward, two steps back” as is more commonly used)? This saying comes from a story about a frog that was trying to climb out of a well. Apparently, every time he climbed two steps (hops?) in his attempt to get out, he fell back one step, making his forward progress extremely challenging.

I have been that frog since my last update.

The past seven weeks have been life-changing. Certainly the best seven weeks of my life. Being a mom to sweet Baby rUnladylike is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. She gives me so much joy, hope, purpose and love. My heart is so full.

Transformation Tuesday: 7 weeks postpartum update on runladylike.com
Photo by Brittany Elise Photography when Baby rUnladylike was 10 days old

Unfortunately, something else that’s been overly full is my appetite and my well of bad choices.

The Food Coma

My body bounced back relatively quickly after Baby rUnladylike was born. At three weeks postpartum, I had dropped 17 of the 29 pounds I gained during pregnancy and was feeling really good (you can see before and after pictures here). However, I’ve been that frog sabotaging my own forward progress during the past month. In truth, I’ve made NO progress when it comes to eating healthy, doing what I said I was going to do and continuing to shed my remaining baby weight. In fact, I’ve continued to eat enough to feed a small village on a daily basis and am exactly the same weight I was 3 weeks postpartum. At least that saves all of us from needing to see another photo without my shirt on for week seven. Ha!

I know what you’re going to say: Give yourself a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You just birthed a human. Don’t obsess about your weight during this special time. You are already at a healthy weight.

I agree with you 100 percent on all of those things. And thank you for your encouragement and gentle guidance.

But, this isn’t just finding myself face-down in a pan of brownies on occasion. This is something different.

This isn’t about a number on the scale or being obsessively focused on weight. It’s about making healthy choices for Baby rUnladylike and me that I can feel confident about and in control of. I haven’t been doing that.

Every week, I decide I’m going to get back on track. Then, after two good days of eating, I lose my marbles again and have to restart the vicious cycle. I don’t think I would even mind the stagnation in my progress physically if I was making healthier, portioned choices I could feel good about.  I’m not proud of consistently eating nearly 3,000 calories a day. I don’t need that much to compensate for breastfeeding. Let’s be honest.

So here I am today, pledging to get back on track. Again. I’m hoping I can make it to the next update and tell you that my train stayed on the rails. I’m half-way through day one and have made good choices, so things are looking up.

Looking on the Bright Side

On the bright side, I’ve officially started working out again … luckily, something I’ve never needed motivation or a push to keep up. I decided to take a very conservative approach to returning to exercise, starting to walk only after the first four weeks had passed and then to introduce barre classes during the fifth week. I also decided to wait six weeks before running. (You can read my first official weekly training recap here.)

It feels great to be exercising again and to have clearance from my doctor to pretty much do everything, building back slowly and smartly. I’m hoping that starting my day with a workout will yield continued good choices throughout the day. I’m currently running three days per week (2-3 miles at a time), walking nearly every day with the stroller, cross training one to two days per week (elliptical and spinning which will start tomorrow) and attempting to strength train three times per week (I am SO sore from a session I did yesterday focused on glutes!). That will all be in an attempt to build back my running fitness and strength to run a strong fall half marathon (and then a strong marathon in 2018).

 

So there you have it. The ugly truth about my bad choices and the bright outlook of hope moving ahead because of the good ones. Whoever said running and health is a journey was never more accurate. We go through ups and downs and sideways turns. In the end, I know I’ll come out alright. So will any of you struggling with your fitness or food journey. xo

Comments

Kristin
Reply

i don’t see a struggle here. i just see a normal human being! i know it’s frustrating when you’re not doing what you’re wanting to be doing but you’ll get there. i promise you’ll get there. just keep taking one thing at a time. i’m proud of you for pressing on despite your slip ups…and bonus, baby is too little to remember any of these hiccups, so you’re golden! 🙂 you got this!!

Veronica
Reply

I’m four months now post partum though I like to think I’m a four month old mom. The same thing happened to me. I lost 17 pounds through birth and night sweats… and then put a few on!!! It took me using MyFitnessPal and not eating third dinners after night feedings to lose some weight. I actually didn’t lose everything until I was three months post partum. I felt kind of ripped off bc I was pretty careful to eat healthfully while pregnant. However, I think it’s hard to lose weight as a new mom because food is comforting when you aren’t sleeping and facing new challenges every hour it seems. Breastfeeding on top of Ll that makes it worse. Have hope though! I feel like I’ve found a good rhythm now with exercise and eating and breastfeeding. I feel like I’m actually eating a lot but when I think back on my day it’s mostly quality stuff every few hours and no middle of the night oreos or m and ms… people actually brought me this stuff as gifts after my baby was born!!

rUnladylike
Reply

I love hearing about your experience Veronica! I’m looking forward to making sure I’m more where you are in still eating a lot but eating better quality foods. I hope your sweet baby is doing well! xo

SR
Reply

This post is discouraging and unexpected. I truly was hoping to read about the trials and tribulations of motherhood and how working out were going. Instead you are worried about consuming too many calories in one day and not shedding baby weight. 🙁 Yes, you mention food choices not being as good as you would like them but the main idea a reader gets from this post is you are not happy with where your body is at currently. I get that, you used to be more fit, skinnier, whatever. But focus on the good stuff. This was a very negative post and I don’t know if I will continue to read your updates. None of them have been very motivating for other women that have just had babies. Not at all.
I am a mother of 3. It takes awhile for our hormones to find a balance, for our body to return to what we consider its normal and yes while breastfeeding our bodies holds onto food. That is what it is supposed to do! But to continually make your size an issue saddened me. It took me a good 6 months to shed all the weight with each of my children and I didn’t focus on it at all. I knew it would come in time. I just focused on being the best mother I could be. That is what is truly important.

rUnladylike
Reply

Hi SR,
Thank you for taking the time to share your honest feedback with me. I agree with so much of what you share. I really tried to convey in my message that it is my poor choices that I am disappointed in, not a number on the scale or physical appearance. Putting bad stuff in mass quantities in my body doesn’t make me feel good about giving my baby the best nutrition I possibly can, which is the priority. While I certainly would love to be back to my pre-baby weight sooner rather than later, I’m much more concerned with making choices that are good for my baby and me and being healthy and strong. It isn’t an overnight thing and will be a process for quite some time. I try to be as positive as possible most of the time, so I’m sorry if you felt negativity in this. This is all new to me so I’m learning as I go and also being honest along the way good or bad. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I hope I won’t lose you as a reader as I appreciate learning and hearing about different perspectives and experiences like yours. xo

Gabrielle from Austria
Reply

Dear Jesica!

I agree, this is normal! You are a young mom, you are doing a demanding (yet fulfilling) task taking care of a new born. Lactating and lack of sleep incease your energy expensure tremendously!
Your body needs energy and yes, calories. 3000 can be a realistic number. Yes.
I think you can’t fool biology. If you are hungry, you better eat, fore sure this could be more than you think.
Don’t skimp on calories, the longer you fight your hunger, the bigger it gets and then your cravings have no limit.
I was there, too. when breastfeeding my son, e.g. I wanted to save a snack of maybe 250 cal, I ended up binging on 1000!
You can’t fool biology. A wonderful trainer once told me: “if you want to lose weight, you gotta eat.You can’t control your (real) hunger with willpower.”
Good luck. You WILL get your body back. Believe me!
Give yourself time, dear.

Mary
Reply

I love your posts and your honesty! I’ve had moments like that too; even last night I ate snacks after my daughter’s 1:00 am feeding and her 4:00 feeding. They weren’t the best choices of food, but I was starving and sleep deprived! I’ve started running again too and I feel like getting into an exercise routine helps me make healthier choices. A few days after I delivered my daughter, I had lost a majority of the baby weight. But now at 8 weeks post partum, I haven’t lost much more. I’m actually 8-10 pounds more than pre-pregnancy and I’m totally okay with that 🙂 Thanks again for sharing!

rUnladylike
Reply

Hi Mary! Thanks for your kind words and honest sharing too! It sounds like we are almost in the same place on our journeys right now. I totally agree with you that it is nice to be able to be active again. I’m going to try to keep eating a lot but making healthier choices when I do! Fingers crossed! I hope everything is going well with breastfeeding and your sweet baby. The time is going too fast but I’m just trying to soak up every minute. Hugs to you. xo

beth
Reply

Thank you for the honest reports! I am currently pregnant and due in July. I will keep following your blog because I know I will be on a similar journey in just a few short months.

rUnladylike
Reply

Thank you Beth! I’m so excited for you! Enjoy this exciting time. Although your body will get more and more tired and uncomfortable, it is such a fun and special time awaiting your sweet baby! Wishing you a healthy and smooth third trimester and delivery! xo

Lynsey @ Runlove
Reply

Like Beth, I am also pregnant and due in April. I have been devouring all the postpartum running stories I can find. I’m currently in the same boat as you (kinda). I have been trying to eat healthier because I am pregnant, but I find myself reaching for all the bad things rather than the good for me things. I do want to say, I think you are doing incredible! It’s also great that you made the declaration of doing better online, it really helps with accountability. Perhaps I should try the same…

rUnladylike
Reply

Hi Lynsey! Thanks so much for your kind words. There are so many great examples out there of women who have returned to running after pregnancy and gotten even stronger than before. I have so many wonderful role models I’ve learned from. For me personally, I’ve found it important to take it slow and not jump back in too quickly. It has been humbling in terms of how challenging it has been to start up again, but I know it will start to get easier and I’m just grateful for the ability to do it. Wishing you a great rest of your pregnancy. Motherhood is the absolute best! xo

Shelley
Reply

Thank you for sharing your postpartum journey in an honest way! I’m a pregnant runner and while I’m so grateful and excited to meet my baby in the summer, I’ve also been struggling a little with slowing down, my expanding body etc. I’ll gladly sacrifice running fitness for my baby, but I do occasionally think of how great of shape I was in before getting pregnant and how long it will take to get back there. It’s a journey, and we all have ups and downs along the way. Thank you for reflecting on yours. I look forward to continuing to read about postpartum running and being a mother runner.

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