“Welcome back to the world!”, my OB said to me at my 6-week checkup on Monday. It’s good to be back—running errands, reconnecting with friends, leaving the house more often, putting on makeup … And, it’s good to be back physically. It feels good to reclaim my mornings at the gym and reestablish healthy eating habits. Diet and exercise fell by the wayside during my six-week “vacation,” but I like pushing myself again, and I’m looking forward to getting back in shape, when a hard workout will leave me feeling powerful!
This is my first week of healthy eating since giving birth. For me, “healthy” means very little wheat, very little dairy and no sugary sweets. I am getting in fresh fruits and veggies, protein and plenty of water. This approach, along with daily exercise, worked well for me before I got pregnant last fall. The combination of gaining muscle and losing inflammation leaves me with the body I want. This is what I need to remember in these early days as I get frustrated every time I look in the mirror.
For good and for bad, this is my diet cycle:
- I think about how awesome I’m going to look and feel. I get excited about making healthy changes.
- I start eating well and exercising. I might lose a couple pounds of water weight, which feels good.
- I’ve been super strict for three days, so I should have a kick-A body by now, right? Where’s my kick-A body?
- I get a little grumpy as I realize I have to keep this up long-term to see the changes I’ve envisioned.
- I get in the groove. I’ve kicked my sugar habit, and I feel strong at the gym. Why would I ever go back to my old, unhealthy habits?
- It’s my birthday/a holiday/a social event. I’ve been working so hard, I deserve a slice of cheesecake.
- That cheesecake was pretty good. Today I’m having French bread with dinner. Etc.
- Feeling fat and sad. Time to restart the cycle.
I’m on number three right now, looking forward to the peak at number five! While I was on number one, Athleta was having a huge sale, so I picked up some new workout clothes. I’m excited about wearing them to the gym and getting strong. This week, I’ve been working out with my pregnant friend Darci. Where she’s 31 weeks pregnant and I’m 6 weeks postpartum, our ability level is pretty even. Neither of us can do much with our abs, and running and jumping present a challenge.
At six weeks postpartum, my uterus should be back to its normal size, so any belly I have left over is mine to live with, at least until I can shed it. Breastfeeding leaves me with a thicker top half (arms, too), but I’m hoping I can reshape there now that I’ve stopped nursing and pumping. Hips and legs just need lots of ongoing attention. Bring on the weights, the burpees, the jump squats and the cardio! Mama’s got work to do.
My goals are to run a 5K in October (during the Homecoming festivities at my alma mater!) and a 10K on Thanksgiving Day. I’m not pinning any hopes to the scale, which can be fickle—I want to fit into my clothes and feel confident, no matter the poundage.
*Just for interest’s sake, the picture of me in blue is from the day after I delivered. I’ve lost over 20 pounds since giving birth, but I have a good 15 more to lose. At two weeks postpartum, I was 11 pounds from my start weight, but I gained a few back when I quit breastfeeding. Late nights and rollercoaster hormones have my metabolism in a tizzy.