Saturday, November 21, 2009

Losing the Baby Weight

When I was pregnant, I waited and waited for the surge of hunger I read and heard so much about to kick in, the desire to eat and eat often, with late night hunger or attraction to sweets to be more than usual. Well, this hunger did not really come. In fact, I probably ate better than I had in a long time knowing that I was carrying my precious bundle. I was able to gain just the required weight during pregnancy and was so proud of this accomplishment.

However, a few months after my daughter was born and nursing began, the surge for hunger came fast and furious. I was so hungry I couldn't stop eating. It was a hunger I had never experienced before. This was especially the case since Sarah was nursing often. I started off eating well in the beginning with hopes that the good habits would continue once I went back to work. I even managed to lose a good amount of my baby weight during my maternity leave. Some of the weight still remained but I expected the remainder would eventually come off once I was able to start exercising and cooking more, and a routine kicked in.

Well, this time never came.

Being a full time working mom made it somewhat challenging to focus on anything more than work and family. It's as if my needs from an eating and exercising standpoint went out the window. The incredible fatigue, especially since Sarah was not sleeping well, and a busy work schedule, left little energy for me at the end of the day, and my husband too, to cook or exercise but instead to order in food.

As the weeks and months progressed the weight started to pile back on slowly. Despite my not eating as well, Sarah was right on target, eating healthy and loving her food. I know that I wanted and needed to help set an example for her moving forward on a healthy lifestyle but the eating and lack of exercise continued.

Over the course of my life I have often struggled to maintain a healthy weight, addicted to sweets and carbs. Some years I did really well exercising often, eating healthy, losing weight and looking and feeling great in my skin. I had very healthy years thrilled with the results and the body I was in. Some years the opposite was true.

Around my tween years and on I was not really someone you would call skinny or thin. I was considered chunky. With the stress of life, and especially parenting, some people tend to curb their appetite when stress is high, I tend to eat whatever the situation is.

Nonetheless, the excuses are now over.

Having seen myself in photos over the last year, especially at a recent wedding for a friend, my epiphany came. Despite the incredible joys and smiles on my face in photos with my daughter and husband, which are real, the person that stares back at me in these photos is not someone I am physically happy with. And, since Sarah is at that stage where she wants to consume whatever it is that Daniel and I are eating, and want to model a good healthy lifestyle for her, somethings gotta give.

So, as we approach Sarah's second birthday, eating and exercising habits need to change. I watched a recent Dr. Oz segment on the DVR recently on sugar detox, and this junk food junkie got her wake up call.

Later that evening following the television segment I asked my husband to join me on a sugar detox. Now, while I am the sweets junkie in our family, my husband loves carbs and Starbucks. When I asked if he could join me in changing our healthy habits, he agreed.

We did not eat candy on Halloween more so because we didn't want Sarah to feel she was missing out, and because we knew we were starting detox the following day.

I read somewhere where it takes 21 days to create a habit. Today happens to be day 21 of our detox and while we have not cut back on everything we like, we have eliminated all soda and sugar beverages, and sweets, and other unhealthy foods. We have become much more conscious of the food and beverages we are consuming, stocking our refrigerator more often with healthy foods and trying very hard not to be tempted, especially during the holidays when treats and unhealthy snacks and drinks are all around us regularly.

I am proud to report that Daniel has lost 10 pounds and me five. Together, we consume more water, don't order in nearly as much, maybe once or twice over the last 21 days, and are starting to feel the difference. The exercise is coming on slowly but indeed are trying hard to carve out time with longer walks with Sarah, more frequent playground visits and bike rides with her too, and the occasional Wii Active or Dance Dance Revolution.

For some people, managing their weight is not an issue. For me, I have to watch carefully what I consume. While it may seem extreme to cut out sweets all together, this is what has worked for me in the past. And, when I don't have sweets or junk food for periods of time I don't really miss it. I really want to be in a body I feel most comfortable with, the weight I was at just before Sarah was born, and a weight where I am not as tired and more able to run after Sarah regularly. She's really quick. I like to eat but food is not what makes me happy. I love to feel healthy, chase after my growing toddler, and live a long happy, healthy life.

This is my journey to a healthier and happier me, and the journey continues now.


  1. Hi Caren,

    I love this post. It's so good to hear another mum acknowledge that our bodies are just not the same anymore as they used to be pre-kids. And the demands and the stress are totally different because you are responsible for another human being so it's not like you can just set things aside to 'lose weight' while not having the energy to take care of your family.
    Still, there is a time for everything and eventually the day comes when you want to get back to a semblance of who you were before and that's the point where you say, "This is it, I'm putting me first from now on!"
    Good on ya, mummy!

  2. Trish -- thank you so much for your response. I have to say it took me a while to write about this, not so much for losing the weight, but having the courage to admit that it took me a while to take action, and am now feeling better for it.


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