I’ve birthed 3 humans. I’ve been pregnant 3 times. When you go through a pregnancy there are a few different ways that your body can react.
Scenario 1: You could go on “I didn’t know I was pregnant” as a guest. You somehow, against all odds, don’t look pregnant at all. When you tell people how far along you are they are utterly shocked because there is no way you could be 38 weeks because you look like you just ate Thanksgiving dinner, not a bowling ball. You get maternity pictures taken because you are still cute. Your OB talks to you about gaining more weight and you have no idea why people equate pregnancy with swollen ankles. You, my friend, are an anomaly in nature.
Scenario 2: It’s obvious to strangers that you are pregnant…but only when they see you from the front. You gain the suggested amount of weight steadily throughout your pregnancy and you look like your usual self with a basketball underneath your shirt. People say things to you such as “you’re all baby” or “I couldn’t tell you were pregnant from behind.” Also, super lucky.
Scenario 3: You are pregnant everywhere. You are pretty positive there is a baby in each of your thighs at this point and you aren’t sure how those babies are getting out of there. Your face looks like a perpetual allergic reaction for the last 3 months of your pregnancy which makes random strangers offer you Benadryl. You laugh when people ask if you if you are doing a maternity photo shoot because why would you want to look at this down the road? You go to your Doctor’s appointments in the least amount of clothing possible and your lightest pair of shoes, which you still take off for your weigh-in. At this point the comments you receive are along the lines of “Are you sure it’s not twins?” or “I think your Doctor got the wrong due date” or “Wow” or even worse, complete silence. I feel you, I’ve been there.
After your darling, fat-producing, cuddly baby makes their entrance into the world the real fun begins. Losing the baby weight.
For scenario 1 and 2 people this comes pretty easily. Breastfeeding (if you decide to nurse), some walks or runs, and not eating entire cakes by yourself will pretty much do the trick.
With my first pregnancy I was a scenario 2 person. I gained 40 pounds. I was also 27 at the time so my metabolism hadn’t completely flown the coop. I even wore a bikini that summer after having a baby in March (not normal). I ate M&M’s while I would breastfeed. I’m a runner so I did that but I didn’t go nuts about it. It was easy. Looking back, ridiculously easy.
Then I got pregnant with baby number 2. I became a scenario 2 and 1/2 person with this pregnancy. I gained 50 pounds this time around. Losing it was more difficult. Some factors that made this more difficult would be that I had 2 kids to manage at this point, I could no longer do any type of jumping in my workouts, and my metabolism had started packing its bags because I was 29.
I ran on occasion, I ate M&M’s, and I drank beer. This combination is not a winning weight-loss strategy by the way.
I rationalized that I was breastfeeding and that is pretty much like running 5 miles a day so surely I could still eat food I liked and not workout every day of the week.
All it really took was the realization after about 8 months of this that I needed to run more and drink less beer for the weight to eventually come off.
Then I got pregnant with baby number 3. This pregnancy was all sorts of scenario 3. I gained 65 pounds. I ran until I was 32 weeks pregnant and I didn’t eat entire boxes of donuts…but the weight just kept coming. My maternity clothes from previous pregnancies didn’t fit by the time I hit third trimester. I’m pretty sure someone was injecting fat into my salads. I was 30 this time around. My metabolism didn’t even write me postcards anymore from wherever it went. We had a great run together but it just wasn’t enough to keep her around.
After I gave birth to my cute little fat producer I was on a serious mission to get back to pre-pregnancy weight. Here’s how this went:
Five Weeks PP (Postpartum): I went running. It hurt real bad. Not like hurt my uterus, but my knees. Understood why overweight people don’t go running for exercise.
Two Months PP: Signed up for a half-marathon that was 4 and 1/2 months after I gave birth. Figured there was no way I could run 13 miles while overweight. Stopped buying M&M’s.
Four Months PP: Ran half-marathon. Ran really slow. Found out that you CAN run 13.1 miles while 30 pounds overweight, it just hurts real bad.
Five Months PP: Worked out like a crazy person. Not losing weight anymore.
Six Months PP: Still on plateau of weight loss. Not sure what to do since this has never happened before. Start googling adult beverages that contain fewer calories than beer.
Nine Months PP: Come to the stark realization that I can’t consume bread, pizza, dessert, pasta, beer, or anything delicious anymore. Start eating salmon and vegetables most nights. Husband is bored with menu at home. Start losing weight again.
Ten Months PP: Look into options like the 21-day-fix. Decide I probably shouldn’t cut that many calories since I’m still nursing. Still have 15 pounds to go.
12 Months PP: Kept nursing through the Holidays purely because it burns calories. Got rid of clothes that used to fit but don’t because there’s no reason for them to take up closet space anymore.
13 Months PP: Stop nursing. Decide to do a 3-day juice cleanse to kickstart some weight loss. Nothing happens besides being really hungry and using the bathroom more often. No change in weight.
16 Months PP: 10 pounds left. Wonder when the statute of limitations on the phrase “baby weight” occurs. Think about writing to my metabolism to see if there’s any chance it’s coming back.
The moral of this story being losing weight after 30 is the worst. Also, M&M’s won’t help you lose weight, you’re welcome.