I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight three months postpartum. That’s right… I was down 40 pounds in about 90 days.
Want to know my secret?
I’m of the opinion that we should stop praising moms (or at least be careful in how we praise them) for getting back to their postpartum bods so quickly. I think those “perfect” bod 6-week postpartum pictures should be shared extremely cautiously.
- Your body did an incredible thing. You grew a tiny human. It took you nine months to do that. And it’s normal and healthy for it to take you nine months to get back to where you were. Especially if you’re looking for a stable, lasting change. It’s not a race and you shouldn’t feel pressured by anyone (including yourself) to make it one.
- Your body is doing an incredible thing. For those of you who are breastfeeding… good news? Your body is burning an extra 500 calories a day. Bad news? Your body is burning an extra 500 calories a day. If you’re not eating properly, calcium will be depleted from your bones. Protein will be pulled from your muscle. Losing weight does not necessarily mean you’re healthy! And you could put your supply at risk.
- Your body is doing another incredible thing. You’re exerting tons of energy raising and caring for that little one. I recently read that moms work 98 hours per week. You’re probably living on less sleep than ever before. You need to eat healthy and sufficiently to get energy and operate at your best.
- Your body is doing YET another incredible thing. It’s recovering from having a baby. Some mamas are ecstatic to hit six weeks and start working out again. Me? Until recently, I hardly got enough sleep to make it through the day. While I know working out produces endorphins, I fully acknowledge that I am not getting enough sleep or sustenance to try to start working out without impacting my supply, energy or schedule negatively. I’m still taking it easy and letting my body adapt. Walking and water aerobics are my limit right now!
So, why am I not celebrating losing 40 pounds in 90 days without breaking a sweat? Because for me personally, I know the speed of my weight loss is related to the milk protein diet adjustments I’ve made. I’m getting better about meal planning but I’m certain I’ve lost pounds of muscle, not just fat reserves.
So… here’s my soap box.
All that matters is that you’re being as healthy as YOU can be. What a healthy recovery looks like for me is not the same as it may look for you. It’s not a competition to see who can lose their baby weight the fastest. Just be good to yourself and be good to your baby.
If for you that means running a 5k at the 6-week mark because you’re up for it and you want to teach your baby about healthy lifestyles early — AWESOME!
If it means eating cheesecake so you can get your extra 500 calories and reach your calcium goal — YUM! And AWESOME!
If it means getting out of bed and taking a shower because you’re struggling with postpartum depression and that’s a ton of energy for you right now — REALLY. FLIPPING. AWESOME!
The next time you see a new mama, celebrate whatever she considers to be her accomplishments. Let’s get past the notions of what success or health look like. Let’s stop putting pressure on one another to be a specific place on our journey by a specific time. Mamas, do what’s best for you and your baby and celebrate in a way that feels validating to you and lifts others up.