This is me on the day I went into labor. All 209 pounds of me. Almost 42 weeks pregnant. I LOVE and miss that giant belly.
**Disclaimer: If any of my male family members, male friends, friends of my husband or anyone resembling any of those aforementioned categories are reading this, let me just take a beat to thank you for your support, however...if you don't want to hear about breasts (specifically my breasts) you may want to stop reading right here, or just skip over the next paragraph and pick up reading right below it. I bid you adieu. If you do choose to keep reading, I commend your bravery and promise to keep it PG-13 and in the humor section.
Back to my new diet and exercise plan...how hard could it be, right? I would just start working out again and limit my daily calorie intake, because that always worked for me before, right? W R O N G. First of all, lemme just get really candid for a second and talk about how hard it is to do high-intensity kick boxing (or anything for that matter) with 2 leaky, heavy, achy fun bags bouncing off my chest. What used to be fun-sized, perky "ladies" had turned into huge, inflated garden orbs of monstrous proportions, threatening to heave up and smack me in the double chin at any given moment. I tried layering sports bras, I tried holding them in place when I did plyometrics, I tried everything short of duct taping them down like a GD tranny, but the fact of the matter was...THEY WOULD NOT BE DENIED. I was walking a fine line of being extremely grateful for the miracle of the human body and my ability to feed my very hungry and growing baby, and wanting to rip my tits off and throw them across the gym. It was an incredibly guilty feeling and a feeling no one really talks about. How do you gracefully complain about not being able to exercise because of your miraculous, food-producing mammaries? It seemed so vain and ungrateful, yet, I was feeling it. That guilt coupled with the fact that limiting my calories wasn't doing anything to assist in me losing any of this weight was enough to make me want to give up. I thought to myself "it's okay, Colleen...you can just be like the mom from What's Eating Gilbert Grape and everyone is just going to have to accept it". Luckily I woke up the next day in a completely different mindset (that kind of irrational mood changing can happen from hour to hour after you've had a baby....in case anyone was wondering).
Squishy, doughy me on the left at about 4 weeks post postpartum, and me today on the right, not quite to where I want to be, but well on my way (the only thing I miss from the photos on the left here are my long fingernails, huge boobs and lustrous hair *sigh*)
As far as my "diet", I decided I wasn't going to diet. I was not going to count calories. I was simply going to cut out all white (refined) flour and all white (refined) sugar. I cut out ALL preservatives and if I ate anything packaged, it was to have 3 ingredients or less and I had to recognize and be able to pronounce all of them. And the water...I drank ALL the water in the world, every minute of every day, everyday, I was drinking water. I had adopted a "clean eating" lifestyle and was voracious for any information I could find online. Sounds simple enough, but truth be told, cutting out refined sugars, flours and preservatives drastically limits what you can eat. I knew this was going to be the case, so I had to get very creative with my meals so I'd stick with my new lifestyle. But I DID stick with it, I never (EVER) cheated. If I ate out at restaurants, I'd look up the menu online and determine my best choice ahead of time so I wouldn't be tempted to throw down a plate of spicy buffalo wings. If I was going to a family gathering or party, I'd eat a healthy meal before I got there and stick to fruits and veggies if I felt "snacky". After a while, it just became second nature and my body started repaying me, and repaying me quickly. I was definitely onto something. In this case, the simplest answer really was the best answer. Weight started flying off at warp speeds and I felt better than I ever had in my life. I was able to start working out again at high intensities as well as start running again and enjoying it (which hasn't happened since high school).
Sorry for the blurry pic on the right up here, wonky iPhone camera probably had baby spit on the lense.
I gave myself a goal of 1 year to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 155lbs which would have been around this time now. I met my goal about 4 months faster than I planned. I have let up a bit on the "no exceptions" strict guidelines for eating and have allowed myself my fair share of indulgences since meeting my goal weight, but the great thing is, I now know how to control myself. Treats actually feel like treats. For the past two and a half months, I have been incorporating Zumba and MixxedFit classes about 4 times a week and I have surpassed my pre-pregnancy weight by 8 pounds. I am now aiming for my wedding day weight of 140 and know I can blast these last 7 pounds if I continue with my very active lifestyle. Honestly, the number on the scale isn't as important to me as it used to be (something I've struggled with since I was old enough to care) and now it's mostly about how I feel. Whenever I'm feeling "scale obsessed" I make my husband hide it somewhere until my bat-shit-crazy moment has passed and I can be trusted to focus on things that actually matter in life. I'm not exactly where I want to be yet in terms of muscle definition, but I know I will get there if I keep pushing myself.
The main point of this post is...losing baby weight (or any weight for that matter) is hard work. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There is no quick fix (unless you want all your weight to come flooding back). I commend anyone who is navigating these waters while simultaneously taking care of a new baby which is even harder work. Maybe you're a new mom and this is the first time you've ever had to think about weight loss, maybe you're a mom of 4 who are already grown and out of the house, maybe you're not a mom and you just want to take better care of yourself. The point is, listen to your body. Be HONEST with yourself. There are some times you are going to need very tough love from people who know you are capable of pushing yourself harder, and there are some times you are going to need someone to tell you it is okay to go easy on yourself and cut yourself some slack. Find that support system. Build it up wisely and then USE it. Hopefully my gritty (and at times, unpleasant) weight loss story can help inspire at least one person to get started on a new healthy lifestyle. If anyone has questions, feel free to leave me a comment below (I read them all) or you can reach me via the "contact me" tab in my side bar.