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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Body in flux: numbers not the whole story

"I'm 5 lbs lighter than I was before I got pregnant, but I'd take the extra pounds for my former shape." A co-worker told me this shortly after she stopped breastfeeding. Like so much with parenting, I had to experience it to understand it. But, like with everything in life, we each have a unique experience.

My body flux relates to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding & weaning. Yours may relate to life stress, injury, moving, who knows. The universal point here is that the scale only tells part of the story. Before you start your behavior changes, you may want to measure your waist/hips, perhaps even biceps & thighs. If you build up muscle, you might slim down without scale numbers going down. You would not want to view that as a failure! You can also judge by how your clothing fits. I wouldn't recommend simply "eyeballing" it though; I think we're all too prone to warp our body images!

I stayed active & didn't go too crazy with eating during my pregnancy. I gained around 30 pounds. Close to 20 of that came off within a few weeks of delivery. The last 10, plus a little extra kind of dwindled over the following several months. In that time, the shape of my body seemed to change, often seemingly unrelated to the numbers on the scale or how much I ate.

Obviously, during pregnancy, I had that lovely firm round ball. I know not every pregnant woman loves her belly, but I loved my belly! My face got puffy without me really noticing, and my arms & legs stayed pretty much the same. Afterward, again obviously, there was some major sag in the abdominal area, but I was so tired & focused on baby that I barely noticed! That tightened up within the first 4 mos or so.

As I said, I loved my baby belly. I must admit I loved my breastfeeding body even more! I had never been particularly well-endowed, so it was a real treat for me to move up in the "girls" department. Also, I got to eat whatEVER I wanted, lose weight & have boobs! I ate so much, it was ridiculous. I also got a little too used to it.

I stopped breastfeeding about 2 months ago, a couple weeks after my daughter's first birthday. I wasn't particularly "ready" but figured - if not now, when? I knew with certainly that I would lose my endowment, and that I would have to cut back on calories or find time to exercise more --- to the tune of 500-700 fewer calories daily!

That, dear readers (all 11 of you), is why I started this blog when I did. It is why I'm tweeting the small stuff, etc etc. So far it's working! I have not gained weight. As I've said, I have actually lost. That is, as predicted, at the expense of the endowment. Given that I have actually gained arm & leg muscle thanks to lugging around a breast-fed baby (who walks just fine, mind you), the loss has been rather devastating! I'm keeping my chin up though. In the short-term, keeping my waist in check keeps the proportions looking good. In the long-term ... I'm saving up ... just in case. ;)

1 comment:

  1. measuring is key. I'd rather gain 5 pounds and lose inches than lose weight and stay the same shape. I have measured for years. Ahh, this reminds me fondly of the breastfeeding days! I think I got too skinny while feeding but luckily returned to normal.