Transformation Tuesday: 13 Weeks Postpartum

April 11, 2017

When I’m training for a marathon, 13 weeks feels like an eternity. Saturday morning long runs, speed intervals and grueling tempos never seem to fly by. Each week and each run is a hurdle, and a victory, to conquer. The marathon of motherhood, however, is a totally different story. As a new mom, time feels like it is zipping by me at the speed of light. I’m grasping on to every moment for dear life as Baby rUnladylike grows out of tiny outfits I had carefully washed, folded and put in her drawer long before she was ever born. It’s so exciting to experience and look forward to every new milestone, and yet, it is bittersweet to watch her grow so fast. We celebrated her three-month birthday last weekend. Wasn’t I just pregnant about five minutes ago?!?

It’s amazing what a difference six weeks can make since I shared my last Tuesday Transformation update with you. At seven weeks postpartum, I felt completely out of control. I was battling the newness of breastfeeding hunger and was making terrible, unhealthy food choices. While most moms go through that and it is to be expected, this seemed to be otherworldly. I was unhappy about what I was putting into my body and passing along to Baby rUnladylike. I was also battling the effects of pregnancy/breastfeeding hormones in my body, which were wrecking havoc on my joints and creating major challenges to stay active.

Today, I feel like a whole new person from the woman I was six weeks ago. As a new working mom of 13 weeks, I wanted to share an update with you on the “3 Es” of me: eating, exercise and emotions.

Eating: Adios Garbage Disposal Appetite

I’ve been eating clean for five weeks and making healthy choices I feel good about. Those good choices have me feeling better, sleeping better and just feeling strong and empowered. Although talking about a post-baby comeback related to body and fitness can appear to be about weight, that is not the real focus for me. Reclaiming control over my choices and making good ones for my baby and me have been my priority. Feeling confident and strong is such a powerful thing. I’m pleased to say I’m 100 percent back on track with consistency on the eating front (and yes I have beer and desserts in moderation!!!)

While I’m still eating a lot of calories to accommodate breastfeeding and exercise, I’m making much better choices. Here’s what a typical day might look like:

Breakfast

I typically eat one of the following meals for breakfast each day:

  • One scrambled egg and two egg whites with 1/4 of an avocado and two tablespoons of salsa on a piece of whole wheat toast + a side of fruit (typically berries or an orange)
  • A protein smoothie consisting of one cup of almond milk, a scoop of chocolate vegan Shakeology, a banana, a cup of fresh spinach, a tablespoon of flaxseed and ice (sometimes I throw in peanut powder too)
  • A container of Siggi’s vanilla yogurt with fruit
  • Oatmeal made with quick cooking oats, almond milk, raisins, vanilla and cinnamon

Lunch

My husband and I have a meal service called CateredFit that delivers freshly made lunches and dinners to our house four days per week. We started the service when I was pregnant and have continued it. Although it’s a little pricey, it has saved us so much time in the evenings (I don’t waste an hour cooking that can be spent with Baby rUnladylike and my husband) and on weekends with meal planning and prep. We really like the food, which is healthy and portioned properly. Each meal is typically between 375 and 450 calories with at least 20 grams of protein and carbs and about 10-15 grams of fat. There is always a healthy protein, a veggie and then either a starch like potatoes, rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, etc. They are already cooked (made fresh and delivered daily) and heat up in the microwave for two minutes. I generally have one of my CateredFit meals for lunch most days. When I don’t eat one of the meals, I will have one of the following:

  • Soup + fruit (Homemade lemon chicken orzo soup or this chicken sausage, sweet potato and white bean soup; if eating pre-made soup, I typically choose Amy’s organic low sodium lentil, minestrone or Italian vegetable soup)
  • Big salad with chicken and veggies + an olive oil and vinegar-based dressing
  • PB&J + fruit and yogurt and/or veggies and hummus

Snacks

I have at least one to two snacks every day. Here are some of my recent go-tos.

  • 2-3 WASA crackers with one ounce of white cheddar cheese (Cabot is my favorite) and fruit (grapes or an apple)
  • Greek yogurt bowl with a half to full cup of plain Greek yogurt, one mashed banana, cinnamon, vanilla peanut powder and raisins
  • Chocolate Sea Salt Rxbar
  • Hummus with veggies (carrots/cucumbers) and WASA crackers

Dinner

  • CateredFit meal (see above)

Dessert

These three recipes have been in my rotation lately. I make one of these recipes each week and have a serving (or two) every day. Baby rUnladylike enjoys being in the kitchen with me while we make them.

Exercise: Finding My Way Back to Me

Six weeks ago, I was frustrated. I’d done all the right things. I waited a full four weeks before doing activity of any kind and six weeks before trying to run. All my physical activity was slow and conservative. Then my body rebelled against me anyway. Everything hurt for two weeks as the hormones in my body went haywire. I panicked a little, but as fast as my joint pain started, it also went away quickly. I took more time off running and have since been doing run-walk intervals. You can read about my postpartum running comeback plan here, which consists of the first four weeks of very conservative run-walk intervals that build each week along with PT exercises regularly. I feel really good and can virtually do everything I could do before having my baby. I’m strength training and cross training weekly without modifications (spinning, barre, boot camp) and run-walking about three days per week (9-10 miles per week). I have one more week of run-walk intervals before I try to run continuously. The building run-walk approach has been great for me mentally and physically. I am doing all my workouts at 6 a.m. before the baby wakes up for her first feeding at 7:30 a.m. and before the work day begins.

Here’s a peek at how my body has changed during the past 13 weeks. As of today, I have just shy of 10 pounds to lose to return to my normal weight. I’m happy with where I am right now, how I feel and the progress I’ve made. I have always been the same weight for the majority of my adult life (around 117-118 pounds as a person that is five feet and three inches tall). Today, I’m at 127 and a few ounces, but the way my clothes are fitting and how I am feeling is starting to resemble my old self. I’ve lost a lot of muscle and definition, but I’m working hard to build that back over time.

Today at 13 weeks postpartum (please ignore the unmade bed) …

Emotions: My Personal Roller Coaster

While my eating and exercise have been steady and consistent, my emotions have been up, down and sideways (thank you hormones and baby love). I returned to work last week after a really wonderful maternity leave. Coming back was way harder than I’d anticipated. I’m very protective of my time in the mornings and evenings with Baby rUnladylike, and I am consistently overwhelmed by how much I love her. It is such an awesome thing. I love every single second of being a mom and figuring out my new normal to keep even more balls in the air. I’m grateful to have such an awesome family and so much support. Being a strong and healthy mom to set a good example for her is such a great motivator.

If you’re still with me after this long update, thanks for reading and for all your support and encouragement along the way. This journey is different for all of us, but I hope sharing my journey is helpful to contribute to our shared conversation. We all get there in our own time and learn to adapt in new and different ways. Hugs to all the strong women out there who are doing it all.

Tell me how your training is going lately.

Comments

Shirin
Reply

Absolutely enjoyed reading this transformation and so thank you for sharing how just because we “can” be cleared to run after 6-8 weeks we may still need more time. Your blog post about when you had to stop running while pregnant with Baby Unladylike made me feel like it was ok to listen to my body and not run all the way through mine. This post made me feel like I was hearing from a friend that it’s ok to not be able to jump back into running so soon post-baby either.

You look so happy in your photos in this post, and I’m so happy that your reset in running has been much smoother! Looking forward to continue following your journey!

rUnladylike
Reply

Hi Shirin! Thank you so much for your kind words and I’m glad you are finding these posts helpful. It is always important to listen to your body. Running and working out will always be there when we’re ready. I know the Internet and social media can make it easy to compare what other women are doing during pregnancy and after. There isn’t one way and the most important thing is to have a strong healthy baby and a strong healthy body in the long term. Finding other ways to stay active that are lower impact can be rewarding and fun as you build back. Wishing you all the best along your journey! Please keep me posted. xo

Gilly
Reply

Love reading these posts; my due day is today! No sign yet though. I also had to give up running earlier than hoped so I am keen to get back out there. But don’t want to be a hero either! It’ll be there whenever I go back to it.
Are you finding it hard to be back at work? Mat leave is 12 months where I live and some do more.
Well done on the great work and thanks for the updates – very inspiring 🙂

rUnladylike
Reply

Hi Gilly! Hooray for the big day and congrats!!!! I went into labor on my due date and then had my baby the next day at 1 pm. I’ll be thinking about you and hoping for a smooth delivery!!!!

I have found it hard to return to work. I only had 12 weeks and would have loved to have more time. 12 months is amazing! I never understood before I had a baby why it was so hard to go back but you will understand when your baby arrives. I want to work, but I wish I could also spend all my days with her too. I think it is a constant pull and tug for all moms. You just have to figure out a balance that works for you. Wishing you all the best this week! xo

Gabrielle from Austria
Reply

Dear Jesica!

I’m so glad to hear about you feeling so much better now.
we all go through that and one can’t imagine what it really means having a baby and being a mother, before she’s there!
Be prepared, this journey goes forever for the rest of your life! (My heart still aches when my adult “babies” are having tough times) But our bodies and minds are strong! Women – yeah, we’re different! 🙂

Jess @ Jess Runs ATL
Reply

This update made my heart so happy. I’m so glad you are feeling so good with your food and exercise! And Bella just gets cuter each day!

Allison
Reply

The struggle for balance of family, work, and exercise is a constantly shifting target. My children are 6 and 5 and some weeks everything in lining up great. Other weeks nothing seems to get proper attention! But running always help the days and weeks go better!

Ash
Reply

I love this recap so much as it is honest and heartfelt. I just pinned all those recipes as I’ve had a sweet tooth this week so these will be great to have on hand! I also LOVE that monogrammed bib on Bella in the last pic – adorable! Great job and please keep up the posts.

rUnladylike
Reply

Thanks so much Ash! I’m thinking about you and am SO excited for your baby girl to get here and for you to experience all the amazingness. You are doing awesome!

Christina
Reply

I love your honestly about the balancing act and how you’re managing things. It’s not all sunshine and roses and baby kisses and there’s a lot of hard work in there. 🙂

Natalie
Reply

Jes. You are gorgeous my friend.

That is all!

Xoxoxoxo

rUnladylike
Reply

You are too kind. So much love for you, my friend! Thinking about you this week getting ready for Boston! xoxo

Ariana
Reply

Thank you so much for this post. You are seriously inspiring. My daughter is 4 months old and I’m really struggling with just finding time to work out, and then falling into a cycle of bad eating, no working out, and being exhausted. The hormones don’t help either.

rUnladylike
Reply

Hi Ariana! Thank you for your kind words. And congrats on being an awesome mama to a four-month old. That is a lot of work in and of itself so don’t sell yourself short. I think the kicker for me to finally get back on track and take control was all mental. I learned how much I needed to eat quantity wise so I was getting enough but not overeating and making better choices. Getting my arms around that was HUGE! Once I started making better food choices, it was easier to make good choices all around. I’ve never lacked motivation to exercise, so the only challenge there was time. I’ve found that I HAVE to do it before everyone else gets up or it won’t happen, so that’s what I committed to do. I can’t always get up super early every morning but I do the best I can. I should also note that my baby has slept through the night since she was 8 weeks old, so I get plenty of sleep each night which a lot of moms are often struggling with. We are very fortunate that my scheduling strategy (ahem, scheduling nazi ways) has done so well with our baby. I realize there are a lot of moms who may not be able to get up at 5:30 if they are also getting up at 2 or 3 am still for feedings. Another thing that works for me with getting the workouts done earlier are scheduling classes that I have to pay a fee if I cancel or meeting friends for a workout. That extra accountability has gotten me out of the door on days I would have otherwise thrown in the towel. Just keep doing your best and everything will fall back into place. Hugs!!!

Laura @ This Runner's Recipes
Reply

You look fantastic and strong – and Bella gets cuter by the day! I love how much your value your time with baby rUnladylike. You are setting such a great example for her and are truly inspiring. Every time I read your posts, the idea of being pregnant someday (if I am able to) is less and less intimidating. I am so glad to read that you are feeling good! xoxo

rUnladylike
Reply

Thank you so much Laura! That means so much coming from you. Huge hugs from FL. xoxo

Gilly
Reply

Thank you! Yes, great advice; we’re all different so just go with it. Thanks for your well wishes – will update you here when they decide to move out!

We are very luck with maternity leave here – never realised it until I started reading American running bloggers which I love. Keep up the great work.
Gilly xx

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