Happy Thursday, and welcome back. Today we’re talking about baby weight. No, not the weight of our babies. We’re talking about the fat on our own cute chubby thighs.
Some of the moms I know drop all their baby weight with seemingly little or no effort, while others agonize to no avail. I won’t claim to have all the answers, but there are a few factors that I think can make a difference in how readily we lose that weight.
Heredity is a big one. I don’t take credit for losing my baby weight with relative ease. If my mom can raise 14 children and still look like this, I have a fair chance at maintaining some semblance of my figure over the upcoming years too.
This is the part where I confess that I’m still carrying about 5 lbs. from each of my last 2 pregnancies – or is just 1 lb./year since I turned 30? I can’t complain, though, because I have managed to maintain something very close to my 19 year old wedding weight through 11 pregnancies.
Exercise early in life is another big factor, in my opinion. I worked hard, hard as a child and teen, and I loved it. We believe that establishing a baseline of physical fitness early in life makes it easier to maintain that level of physical fitness later on. That doesn’t mean that fit teens can spend the rest of their lives on the couch eating ice cream with impunity, but it does mean that they may have an advantage later in life over those who spent their teen years on the couch eating ice cream.
While I’m sure heredity and childhood activity levels play a part in how easily we lose weight now, I think there are many things we can still do as moms to help the process along.
- Exercise later in life. I don’t exercise faithfully, but overall I have lived an active life. As a mom, I have done far more than tote a toddler. I mowed more than my share of lawns, took karate lessons, lifted weights, walked and jogged, helped clear our land, hauled rocks for landscaping, etc. I don’t enjoy exercise, but I do not shy away from physical labor when the opportunity presents itself.
- Breastfeed. Some women say that breastfeeding causes their body to cling fiercely to those last 5 lbs and they may be right, but it also helps to shed the first 20 or 30 much more quickly. Isn’t it nice to know that moms benefit along with babies when we are able and willing to use our bodies as God intended?
- Sleep. This is a well documented diet aid, and may be a key shortcoming for new moms. It’s so hard to get enough sleep, and so easy to overeat when we’re tired! All of my babies but one have slept through the night at a very early age, and in the past I never had trouble losing baby weight. Now, at nearly 12 months, Parker still wakes to eat almost every night and I strongly suspect this is why I’m having more than the usual amount of trouble losing that last bit of weight.
- Share. My treats may not get divided into 12 equal portions, but I think my children would agree that I often share them. The presence of children certainly makes me think twice before I pull out the ice cream carton and a spoon: Do I want everyone to have ice cream right now? Is there enough for everyone? If not, am I prepared to be the mean mom and face down 10 pairs of puppy dog eyes? Or can I easily hide? All these questions slow down the ice cream consumption considerably.
- Be realistic. I have come to grips with the fact that I am no longer 17, and my 17 year old body is gone as well. I think a husband’s attitude has a tremendous influence on a woman’s self-image, and it reflects well on my husband that I only recently realized how much my body must have changed over the years. He makes me feel like I’m still 17. 🙂
- Be courteous. Of your husband, that is. If you feel unmotivated to diet and exercise, do it for him. Of course a loving husband loves you the way you are, but he will enjoy and appreciate you all the more if you do your best to stay fit.
- Put down the fork. Did anyone count how many times I used the words ice cream so far? Know your weaknesses, and be aware. I don’t count calories or adhere to a rigid diet, but I try to watch my carb intake. This doesn’t mean I never eat ice cream, but it does mean I go easy on the bread, rice and potatoes so I can focus on what is really important: ice cream.
What would you add to the list? Where do you think I’m wrong?
The other moms are talking about it too:
- May 26: Q & A – leave your questions in the comments on my last Q&A.