So I was aaaaaaall set to bang out a couple trite lines today about keeping your nose to the grindstone and sticking to a clean eating plan and letting those mommy pounds roll off your back(fat) but then, but then…I happened to clickity click over to Bonnie’s place before I opened my blogger window and bam. Gut check. Reality check. Reminder of what really matters, aesthetically speaking.
So I’ll still share my personal experiences with the body after baby…but maybe in a less ascorbic tone? Heck, I’m still working on getting dressed in the morning (this post was super inspiring in that regard) and making a teeny bit of time for daily prayer (mostly fail, but I’m trying.) so this is very, very much a work in progress. End disclaimer.
Lipstick, earring, huge sunglasses. No shower necessary.
My bag ‘o tricks for getting back to normal:
1. Walking. Sounds a little disappointing, right? Wrong. I was an avid runner (think 5 half marathons) before I had kids and so far, until this post partum period, I would spend months trying to coax my stretched and taxed body back into something resembling race shape so I could proudly reclaim my identity of ‘runner.’ This time around, thanks to a healthy dose of reality (I have very little, very needy kids and even less energy and no apparent chunk of time in which I might even attempt to run) I’ve decided to embrace my inner grandma and … walk it out.
Plus, while living in Rome during the first 2 trimesters of this most recent pregnancy, I gained almost zero weight until week 21, a feat which has never even come close to being repeated. I chalk it up to the daily grind of 3-4 miles of casual walking which was oh-so-conveniently integrated into daily life there. Plus 80+ pounds of stroller weight to muscle around.
Now obviously I’m not able to exactly replicate that whilst living in far-flung suburbia, but I’ve been trying to log miles either on the walking trail in the evening or at the gym, and on the days I can hit that magic 3 mile mark…I feel pretty good.
2. Arbonne protein shakes. I attempted their 28 day detox program but then was slightly distracted by a combination of a family-wide stomach flu epidemic and then an impromptu trip to Italy involving multiple days of pasta/gelato/pastries/wine/repeat … but I’ve still managed to shed about 12 lbs since I started incorporating their protein shakes and a daily cup or two of their detox tea into my diet. Here’s a fun fact: my best friend (that’s not her on the splash page; she’s hotter than that) is an executive vice president in their company, and she regularly hooks me up with steeply discounted product. Since I’m giving her a little shine here today, she graciously offered to host a giveaway for a bag of my fav: vegan, GF chocolate protein powder ($69 value) `which, when mixed with ice, water, and a banana, tastes about as close to ice cream as I’ll let myself come most days. You can enter a couple different ways at the end of this post.
3. The Perfect Health Diet. Bought the book ala Jen’s recommendation, devoured it in about a day and a half (it’s very, very ‘science’ soooo…be warned.) and immediately began trying to implement the dietary recommendations. I’ve yet to get on the supplement train, but on the days when I do eat in the proportions recommended by the authors, I feel really good and my blood sugar is scary stable. (Basic framework: 1 lb of proteins, 1 lb of safe starches, 2 lbs of leafy green things per day)
4. Showering. I know, I know…the irony. But here’s the thing: when I make the effort to put myself together for the day, even if it’s only in my favorite sweat skirt (I feel dirty just typing that) I make better choices re: food and exercise. And I just feel better when I catch a glimpse of my clean momself in the mirror and don’t see a greasy teenager staring back at me.
5. Positive self talk. I know, I know…the worst. But actually the best. And if you can change the narrative in your head about the way you see yourself, you’ll start to actually see yourself. Like the way God sees you. And the way your husband sees you. And you’ll start to make peace with yourself for looking exactly as you do right now, in this season, instead of longing for some you of yesteryear with a 28 inch waist and a closet full of size 6 jeans. And when you are kind to yourself, you’ll actually make better choices concerning food and exercise. It’s amazing.
6. Avoid the sugar. I know, I know, it’s a bit of a reiteration of #3, but seriously…added sugar is what makes food hit my brain like crack. I’ve always fancied myself a salty gal, but when I started to really look at the labels of my salt-laden favorites, I realized they were actually loaded with sugar, and since I don’t get the same ‘buzz’ from salted almonds, for example, as from salt and vinegar potato chips, it’s probably not just the salt that’s driving my fierce need to empty the whole bag.
7. Nine months on, nine months off (or longer, depending on how close together your kids are/how many pregnancies you’ve had). Horrifying? Perhaps a bit. Realistic? Yep.
Our bodies are doing some pretty heavy lifting (har har) during our childbearing years, and when you couple gestating with lactating, well…some things just aren’t going back to ‘normal’ anytime soon. You have a new normal. No, this does not mean you will forever be 30 lbs overweight and looking perpetually 5 months pregnant, but, there are certain things that make a body hang onto lbs like there’s a famine on the horizon, and for yours truly, that’s breastfeeding. I’m resigned to the reality that as long as I’m lactating, I’m going to have a good 12-15 lbs of ‘backup weight’ my body just refuses to surrender. Okay baby, you win this round.
Hope these were moderately helpful and not boring as hell. Back to sipping my espresso and pulling my wild animals off each other’s throats. Happy Friday!