Weight loss after kids. Common roadblocks that moms face and how to overcome them. My weight loss journey after 4 kids
‘Before having my babies, I always anticipated pregnancy as this glorious time when I would look and feel my very best. I would sing to my growing baby bump while documenting every step of this miraculous journey. As miraculous as it was, my pregnancies were anything but glorious. I was sick as a dog and felt horrible.
I had what was called hyperemesis gravidarum, which is the medical term for severe morning sickness. I threw up all day, everyday. It ended me in the hospital with dehydration. I felt overwhelmingly exhausted and all around just terrible. It really wasn’t this enjoyable time I anticipated it being.
None-the-less I was beyond grateful to be growing this tiny little being inside my body.
Luckily the morning sickness and exhaustion started subsiding after 16 weeks. At that time I swore I would NEVER, EVER do this again. But I ended up doing it 3 more times after that. And I felt the same sickness, exhaustion and misery each and every time.
The Pregnancy Diet ~ healing foods – Carbs, lots and lots of Carbs
Before pregnancy, I didn’t eat much carbs. I wouldn’t deny myself, but I ate carbs very sparingly. During my pregnancies, carbs were the only thing I could eat. Just the thought of so many foods made me sick. Bread and crackers on the other hand were comforting to me. I had to be on my A Game every minute of everyday to take care of my other kids. This was extremely difficult when you spend most of the time with your head in the toilet and you feel like death. Eating carbs was the only thing that would get me through. Snacking on crackers and bagels during my kid’s spring concert was a must if I didn’t want to spend the entire time puking my guts up.
I had no energy or desire to cook healthy meals for me and my family. During the first trimester of each pregnancy, we were in survival mode. Needless to say, I packed on the pounds during each pregnancy. I gained between 50-60 pounds each time. 55 x 4 = a lot of l.b’s.
The Weight Loss Journey Begins (multiple times)
I had three kids in 5 years. The fourth came a few years later. I followed the same weight loss plan for each and was successful with each.
Here’s what I did:
My diet consisted of lots of vegetables, fruits, and poultry. I counted calories, did intermittent fasting and home cooked all of our meals. I ate very healthy as part of my weight loss goals but I also nursed all my babies so i wanted to nourish them with healthy foods.
Check this post out on healthy eating Healthy Eating for the Whole Family. What foods should you be feeding your family? How to plan and cook healthy meals.
I downloaded a couch to 5k app and I started jogging. With the clean eating and jogging, the pounds were just shedding. With baby number 1 it took me 8 months to lose all the baby weight, with baby number 2 it took 10 months and baby number 3 it took about 1 year.
After baby number three, I really took to this jogging gig. I started entering mud runs with some girlfriends and we would train together. I ended up being in the best shape since being a mom. I worked hard and it felt good.
To our surprise, shock and complete disbelief, we got pregnant with baby #4. This pregnancy followed the same pattern as the other’s of all day sickness, exhaustion and feeling absolutely terrible. Except this time I peed myself when I threw up so that made things a little more interesting.
After having the baby, I went right back to the same weight loss routine that worked after my other babies but I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to or should have been seeing this time around.
Whenever I got to a certain point in my weight loss journey, I hit a plateau. No matter how clean I ate or how much I jogged, the scale was not budging.
This was extremely frustrating.
Weight loss Roadblocks
There are a few key factors that I as well as most mom’s face when trying to lose baby weight.
The older we get, the slower our metabolism gets making weight loss more of a challenge. We also lose muscle mass and it turns into fat. I was 38 years old when I had number 4.
When we are stressed, our cortisol levels go up which increase insulin and deposits sugar into tissues to be stored as fat. Stress and motherhood go hand in hand. My cortisol level were sky high. In addition to caring for a newborn and 3 other kids ages 7,6 and 4, we moved. We packed up our home that we knew and loved and moved to a foreign place where we didn’t know anyone and had to start all over.
PS our foreign place is 30 minutes north of where we lived and my sister and uncle lived there but still stressful none the less.
We can’t control outside forces that stress us out, but we can control how we respond to them. I make it a point to practice mindfulness and relaxation strategies every single day. Some things I do are yoga, meditation, hot baths, journaling and mindfulness walking. This helps me to better respond to everyday stressors in a more beneficial way.
Lack of sleep
Not catching enough zzz’s causes changes to your hormones which affect your appetite. It also impairs our judgment and affects our decision making skills. Nursing a newborn every 2-3 hours throughout the night and still being bright eyed for the a.m.morning routine to get the kids up and out to school was exhausting. The days of sleeping when baby sleeps were long gone and it was having an impact on my health.
We all need to prioritize our sleep. Find your optimal sleep window and optimize it. My goal is to get 7 hours of sleep each night. I turn off my notifications on my cell phone so not to get any interruptions and I make sure i’m sleeping by a certain time. Our overall health and wellness is so much better when we’ve had sufficient sleep.
Remember I mentioned earlier about peeing myself when i threw up? Well that is because I have a Diastasis recti. A Diastasis recti is abdominal separation. The left and right halves of the abdominis separate to make room for our growing babies and usually go back together after baby is born. But in many cases, the left and right abdominal muscles never fully go back to the way they are supposed to. There remains a gap in between the abdominal muscles. The gap in between the muscle separation varies with each person. Anyone can get a Diastasis recti, including men and children but it is most common in women who have carried large babies or had multiple pregnancies.
Diastasis Recti is underreported and under treated which is a shame because it can cause a variety of side effects such as:
- peeing yourself with high impact movements
- umbilical hernia
- back pain
- poor posture
- pelvic floor problems
- gastro intestinal issues
Watch this video to see if you have a Diastasis recti.
I diagnosed myself with a diastasis recti after baby number four and my doctor confirmed it. There are multiple programs available that help to strengthen and restore the abdominal muscles but certain movements like planks and crunches should be avoided. Proper posture and breathing is key and so is contracting the abdominal muscles in between movements like getting up and down. We want to try and avoid putting extra pressure on the tissues.
Like many who have a diastasis recti, I also have an umbilical hernia. The only way an umbilical hernia can be repaired is through surgery. Many people live with umbilical hernia’s for years. My hernia doesn’t bother me and I don’t have any symptoms so I am going to put off the surgery until I can’t put it off anymore.
Because of these injuries, I was holding back a lot with my workouts. I wasn’t pushing myself because I didn’t want to cause any more damage and I most definitely didn’t want to have surgery.
Not holding back – My NEW Work out plan
I woke up one morning and I thought to myself “Eff this ish”. What I’m doing now isn’t working and I knew I needed to make a change and I needed to make it TODAY. I knew that I needed to step up my workout routine and I needed to step it up big time if I wanted to see the results I wanted.
Now I am in the gym working out 6 – 7 days a week. I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and beyond my capabilities. I take group fitness classes and it’s pushing me beyond anything I ever thought I was capable of. I love seeing and working out with the same people each class. It motivates and drives me in a way that working out on my own doesn’t.
Some classes I take are spin, kickboxing, bodypump, Total body and TRX. I also walk as much as possible. I use and love my fitbit to track my steps. I love the group challenges. It’s great motivation and accountability.
I do modifications when doing core workouts to not further damage my injury so I’m gonna work hard and push myself until I can’t anymore.
Finding the time and balancing it all is tough, but once you’re committed to the process you make it work. I am all in and 100% committed to working out. It has become a priority. I plan my workouts and it’s one of the first things written down in my bullet journal as I’m planning my days.
Slow and steady wins the race
I am currently down 18 pounds and some inches (yaaayy). I am getting stronger and more fit every single day. I am not where I want or need to be yet and I’ve been really hard on myslef, as most of us are. It wasn’t until writing this blog post that I feel a sense of pride. I am proud of my journey. I recognize where I was, where I am now and where I’m going. It’s not easy but I know that I am taking the right steps each and every day to get me the results I want to see. Slow and steady wins the race. I am committed to this journey and I won’t ever stop.
If you’re a mama struggling with your weight my advice to you is to get moving. Start small. The small steps you take everyday will make a big difference. One of the best things I could do for myself was join a gym. We joined a gym that has amazing child care centers so there’s really no excuse to not go. I don’t feel guilty about working out because I know my kids are safe, they are socializing with their friends and having a great time. If money is tight, reduce or even shut off your cable. You future self would much rather you be in the gym than sitting on the couch channel surfing.
What are your thoughts?
What’s your weight loss journey like? Do you have a DR or umbilical hernia? What are you doing about it? Leave me a comment below.
Hi there! I'm Danielle, mom blogger, visionary and dreamer.
I'm on a mission to help moms create a Simply Pure life of Joy + Balance + Optimal Health & Wellness for ourselves and our families.
My goal is to un-complicate life and provide moms with the tools and strategies to make informed decisions so you can live your best mom life. .
Read more about the girl behind the blog here
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