Baby weight and exercise

I naively thought that after having a baby my body would quickly get back to its pre pregnancy look.  How wrong was I?  I was thinking give it a few months and I will have lost all of the weight I gained in pregnancy and be back to my pre pregnancy weight. I would be eating less, so surely the weight would just fall off?  Well, 19 months later and I am still 5 kg (11 lbs) heavier than I was before I had James, which is more than he weighed when he was born.  Granted, I haven’t really tried to lose the extra weight, but I didn’t think I would have to.  I really thought it would just somehow drop off.  I’d been growing a baby and I’d had the baby so what was all this extra weight.  I know, I am slim, I am lucky and shouldn’t be complaining, but my body isn’t what it used to be.

Before I had James I was probably the fittest I had been in my life.  Living in Lithuania I was lucky enough to have time to exercise, and it was a great way of making new friends.  Not long after I had arrived, I was being taken to TRX classes run by a brilliant American TRX teacher in the basement of her house.  I had never even heard of TRX until then but I liked it so much I bought my own TRX, so I could do it at home as well. When she left, a wonderful Russian yoga and Pilates teacher ran classes twice a week, in English, and on days I didn’t have a class I would do a fitness DVD at home.  I didn’t think going to Lithuania would mean all this exercise, and classes in English.  I started to enjoy exercise for the first time in my life, despite still moaning about it, and I really felt the benefits. We all motivated each other to keep up with the classes, and it became our way of life.

When I became pregnant with James I wanted to keep up my fitness.  In the first three months I walked along the river, as I found this helped with pregnancy nausea.  After the first three months I went back to yoga and Pilates, and the teacher would adapt the positions for me to be suitable for pregnancy.  After 6 months she started pregnancy yoga for a friend and I, which I continued until a few days before having James.  In the last few months I also joined a gym so I could swim.  I used to do 20 lengths nearly every day.  This is more exercise than I have ever done.

On my due date

In general, Lithuanian women are very attractive and take good care of themselves.  This can be quite intimidating.  I found out how important their weight is to them at a pregnancy doctors appointment.  At nearly every appointment I would be weighed.  During the second trimester I was told I was gaining too much weight and if I carried on that way I wouldn’t get my figure back.  At that point in my pregnancy I was really enjoying eating.  I can remember going home and deciding I needed to stop gaining so much weight.  I stopped eating so many sweet treats, so I didn’t get told I was getting too big again. This didn’t last very long. I wanted to eat all the time and in the end I gained 20 kg (3 stone) during my pregnancy.

After my c section it was hard to walk very far for a while.  I gradually increased the distance I was walking and made friends with a Lithuanian girl who had a daughter of similar age to James.  We used to walk around Vilnius and that became my new form of exercise and a good way of getting our babies to go to sleep.  I had different priorities now.  James was my main focus.

Walking in all weathers in Vilnius

Since returning to the UK over a year ago, I have done very little exercise.  In the early days I still used to take James for walks to get him to sleep, but walking around residential areas just wasn’t the same as walking around Vilnius, which has some beautiful parks and architecture.  James started napping well in his cot so I didn’t need to walk to get him to sleep.  I have got back to feeling like there is less pressure to be fit and always looking your best, so I probably shouldn’t be surprised that I am still not at my pre pregnancy weight.   I do miss doing exercise, but at the end of the day I have a toddler to chase after all day (which you could say is exercise in itself), and by the evening I am usually exhausted.

Last weekend I wore a bikini on the beach for the first time since having James.  I may not look like the twenty something girls that haven’t had children, but I think I still looked ok.  My body has changed.  It has grown a baby.  I am lucky I am still slim (so I shouldn’t complain), but I am not as toned or as fit as I was.  I have been lacking motivation to exercise.  This morning I decided to get up half an hour earlier and do Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD.  I have used this DVD before and had forgotten how intense it is.  I realised how unfit I am, as I struggled through it.  Hopefully, I will be able to motivate myself each morning to carry on with it and get back to some sort of fitness.

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