Or, 7 ways to avoid losing your “baby weight”.
Two women in their late 20s, sitting on the train to work. One says to the other, “You know how it is: you start your first diet when you’re about 12 and you’re permanently on one diet or another forever after”. The other woman rolls her eyes and nods enthusiastically.
It shocked me at the time and I felt so indignant. On later reflection I realised they’re, well, kind of right.
My own weight has see-sawed over the years.
I was a reasonably slim teenager. I put on weight in year 12 with the stress of final exams. Lost it again at uni.
Put on a bit when I started working full time, left home and could eat whatever I liked. Lost it again when I started smoking full time.
Gained a little when I quit smoking. Lost it again when my Nan died and I quit eating.
Met my future husband. We both love good food. Stacked it on. Lost weight for our wedding.
Put it back on during the honeymoon. Lost weight when the doctors told us it might help solve our apparent infertility.
And then there’s the baby weight.
There’s a general and pervasive pressure for women to be thin throughout our lives. But the pressure to lose weight and get back to our ‘pre-baby body’ ASAP after popping a baby out is positively breathtaking.
My youngest son has just turned two. Despite a number of valiant attempts to shift the weight, I’m still 10kgs heavier than I was when I fell pregnant with my first son (who is now 4).
I thought it was about time I share my secrets of how to avoid losing your baby weight.
And explain exactly why I refuse to worry about it.
1. Have big babies.
My first son was 4.75kgs (10lb, 7oz). He was born on his due date and no, I didn’t have gestational diabetes. We just make big, strong boys in this family.
The average recommended pregnancy weight gain varies widely, but seem to range between about 11 – 14kg or so. The average baby in Australia is around 3.37kg (7.4lb). Given my baby was nearly 1.5kg heavier than this and I gained 14kgs I figure that’s pretty reasonable.
It took until my firstborn was 10 months old for me to lose the baby weight, helped out by a fabulous meal-delivery service.
2. Work close to public transport.
During my first pregnancy I had to walk 40 minutes every day just to get to and from work. It was tough towards the end but great for my fitness.
For my second pregnancy there was no opportunity to walk more than a few minutes each way, so the incidental exercise wasn’t happening.
I didn’t make the opportunity because I was more interested in making time to pick up my son from daycare as soon as humanly possible.
3. Have absolutely no natural interest in exercise whatsoever.
People talk about getting back to their pre-baby exercise routine. Which is kind of hard to do if you never had one to start with.
I quite liked badminton at school.
I went to the gym for an entire semester at uni and even managed to develop a modest six-pack. Then I lost interest and never went back.
It’s just not something I’m into.
4. Develop Pelvic Girdle Pain during pregnancy.
Any extra exercise I may have felt motivated to do was stymied by the onset of reasonably severe pelvic girdle pain during my second pregnancy.