How to get your pre-baby body back (or something close to it)
Local moms have done it without the benefit of trainers, chefs and assistants
Celebrities pop out babies and hit the red carpet just a few weeks later, no doubt Spanx’d to the max, but still rockin’ a body pretty darn close to how they looked prior to their pregnancy.
Without the benefit of attentive fitness trainers and extreme wardrobe assistance, a post-baby body can be a bit daunting for the rest of us mere mortals. Nothing fits well yet and a casual glance in the mirror nets a reflection of a body that doesn’t look anything like the one you used to know, and it certainly isn’t the one you were getting used to while pregnant. The bright spot, however, is that amazing little baby who continuously melts your heart as you work to melt off those extra pounds to get your body back to its new normal.
Angela Desrochers is a busy Raymond mom of two kids, born two years apart. Although she dropped more than half of her pregnancy weight almost immediately when her now 3-year old daughter Alexa was born, she had not lost all of the remaining weight before learning she was expecting again.
“It’s amazing how your body remembers being pregnant,” said Desrochers. “The weight went on easier and has been harder to get off.”
By the time her 15-month old son Graesyn turned one, she still hadn’t taken off most of her baby weight. Although she had breastfed Alexa, that wasn’t the case with her son and she wonders if that may have made a difference in her post-birth weight loss with Graesyn.
“I decided I had to do something. I absolutely hate exercising so I have a hard time ‘finding the time,’” said Desrochers. “I know that I need to exercise to get to where I want to be but it ends up at the bottom of my priority list, under caring for family, home and business (oh yeah, and sleep).”
She started tracking her calorie intake using a phone app and has lost 20 pounds as a result. She finds being a full-time stay at home mom since November 2011 conducive to her weight loss goals.
“I’m more active with my children and can plan meals better.”
Corissa St. Laurent gained about 50 pounds during her pregnancy with her 11-month old son, Sam. She attributes post-baby weight loss to eating really well.
“I’ve dropped the weight pretty naturally,” said St. Laurent. “I’m breastfeeding, so I eat quite a bit and burn a lot of calories from that and carrying (and chasing) around my very active and substantial-sized 11-month old.”
Sam is at the 90 percentile in both height and weight, and she does quite a bit of walking near home along the southern Maine seacoast with her son in a carrier or stroller.
“Both are great workouts,” said St. Laurent, who doesn’t have time for much else workout-wise with a full-time job.
St. Laurent wanted to eat more vegetables during her pregnancy and take her prenatal vitamins consistently but both made her really nauseous.
“I could not eat raw vegetables in particular and I love salads, so I felt like I may not have been getting all of the vitamins and minerals I needed. My son turned out extremely healthy, so I guess it was OK in the end.”
Prior her pregnancy, St. Laurent weighed 100 to 105 pounds and said that the extra 50 pounds gained during pregnancy was bit traumatizing on her frame.
“I’ve lost all the weight, but the skin in my midsection is pretty stretched out and my abs need tightening.”
She plans on beginning abs work, most likely through Pilates, which has always worked well for her. St. Laurent is going to commit to more walking and getting back to yoga now that Sam is almost a year old and more independent.
“I think that will do the trick in tightening up my midsection. Now, I just need to find the time.”
Jessica Therrien of Manchester is within about 3 pounds of her pre-pregnancy weight, but her body does not seem the same.
“A lot of muscle tissue was definitely replaced by fat, so even though I’ve almost back to my old weight, my body is definitely not the same,” said Therrien. “And to be honest, I haven’t been super-proactive about getting back to where I was.”
While she’s tried to exercise, she’ll be the first to admit that she hasn’t been particularly consistent in her efforts. Healthy eating, when she can focus on that, has been beneficial in her weight loss and fitness efforts.
“I looked into a calorie counter app on my phone that gives you how many calories you can have in order to reach a goal weight, but I couldn’t limit my calories as must as it said to because I’m breastfeeding,” said Therrien. “I have to keep my calorie intake between 1,800 and 2,500 for that.”
She’s breastfed her son 9-month old son, Judah, since his birth and concludes that breastfeeding has been the major contributor in her fight to get her pre-baby body back, admitting that it has been difficult.
“I’m going to work at getting back into shape and I’m going to try to have the best body that I can have so I can be healthy and feel good about myself,” said Therrien.
Although she sometimes gets down about how her body has changed; the stretch marks, extra weight and the effects of breastfeeding on her breasts, she said it’s all worth it.
“It’s just a body, and beauty fades whether you have children or not. I wouldn’t trade…my sweet little boy and all the joy he has brought to our family,” said Therrien.
Reflecting on her pre-pregnancy diet and exercise habits, Therrien felt she hadn’t had a strong focus on either, which perhaps set her up for not having as much discipline as she might have benefited from during her pregnancy and after as well.
“I wish I would have exercised so much more. I barely exercised at all and that helps in so many ways – makes pregnancy smoother most of the time (although I had a very easy pregnancy), makes delivery smoother and usually quicker and it makes getting back in shape so much easier,” said Therrien.
Pamme Boutselis is a MarComm professional and a writer. The mom of four now-grown kids, she blogs about their experiences as a family in "Along the Way." Follow her blog at http://alongthewaypammeb.blogspot.com or on Twitter @pammeb.