Post Baby Body – 4 Month Update

I can’t believe Winter is 4 months old today!  It’s amazing how quickly time flies by.  In the early weeks (and months), time seemed to move a tad slower, but now that I know what I’m doing and have a solid routine down, time is flying!  It’s time for another monthly post baby body update.

At four months post-partum, I am feeling fantastic about my progress in regards to my health and fitness!  I have settled into a good fitness regime and have been training for my upcoming half marathon race for a month.  Less than two months until race day in April!  I continue to see positive changes in my body.  Running is getting easier, my clothes are fitting better, and the number on the scale continues to drop as keep faithful to my fitness and eating goals.

If you missed my previous “Post Baby Body” updates, you can catch up here:

2 Month Post Baby Body Update

3 Month Post Baby Body Update

Here is how I’m looking now:

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Here is a comparison of last month versus this month:

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 And here is a look back at 2 months, 3 months and 4 months:

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For me it is exciting to still be seeing changes in my body.  There were times I felt discouraged that I wouldn’t ever be as fit as I wanted to be again.  My discouraged days are gone because I am continually seeing my body change, shrink, tighten up and overall improve.  I don’t know why I expected to get into tip-top shape within 5 minutes of giving birth! 🙂  Now I know it’s a process that takes a little time, and I’m liking the positive changes more and more as I put in the work and time goes on.  My waist is still getting smaller — my waistbands aren’t as snug as they were (even from just a month ago!).  My abs are getting stronger.  My clothes are fitting better overall.  My legs and arms are feeling more trim.  My endurance is increasing — I can run for longer without having to stop for breaks.  My face looks thinner to me than it used to.  All good things!  I’m feeling very happy with the process and I’m not trying to expect myself to be perfect.

WEIGHT LOSS

During my pregnancy, I gained a total of 23 lbs.  After 2 months I was down those 23 lbs (exactly).  At 3 months I was down 28 lbs.  Now, at 4 months I am down 33 lbs!!  So I’ve lost another 5 lbs since last month.  I started my pregnancy at a higher weight than I’d have liked, so I have a goal in mind of where I’d like to end up weight wise.  I’m getting close to that goal, and would like to settle at that goal weight within the next 2 months (by 6 months postpartum).

EATING

I am faithful to myfitnesspal app on my phone to track my daily calories.  Because of breastfeeding, I am still successfully losing weight by eating approximately 1900 calories per day.  I would say that I usually do well at tracking my calories 6 out of 7 days per week.  At least 1 or 2 days per week I do run over my calorie limit, but I’m not too worried about that.  Some days I just feel more hungry than others — so I listen to my body and eat more.  Occasionally I do have a bowl of ice cream, but for the most part I try to limit any desserts or sweets.  I mainly eat healthy foods.  Lots of fresh produce, lean proteins, greek yogurt, protein granola bars,  etc.

WORKING OUT

I started training for my upcoming half marathon a month ago.  After 4 weeks of training, I can say that my stamina and endurance are improving!  I usually run 4 days per week and cross train at the gym 2 days per week.  My weekday runs are currently 3.5 or 4 mile distances and my weekend runs are were I do my “long distance” run.  This weekend I ran 7 miles.  Every weekend my long distance run increases by a half mile or mile.  Race day I’ll be trained and ready for 13.1 miles!  I love getting outdoors and running with my BOB stroller with the baby in tow, but on especially cold weather days, I’m grateful I can run on my treadmill.  My hubby has been so sweet to join Winter and I on our weekend long runs, and now I’ve finally convinced him to sign up for the race and run it with me!!!  This will be his first race besides doing a 5K.  I feel honored that he is training with me despite his strong dislike of running.

GOALS

I’m still working towards my half marathon goal (maybe even a new PR!).  This month I want to continue to be faithful to my training program and not miss scheduled runs or workouts.  I’m hoping to lose another 4 pounds by next month.

REALITY CHECK

I’m really happy with the changes in my body.  Though I’m happy with myself, it’s very important for me to remind myself NOT to compare myself with others.  There are always the “flaws” in our bodies that will never fully be perfect.  We are our own worst critics.  My body type might never be the body type of another woman, so I need to remember to only compare my body with MYSELF and not with OTHERS!!  So important to continually remind myself of this!

Here is a comparison of the days after birth versus 4 months postpartum:

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Post Baby Body Update – 8 weeks postpartum

The female body is an amazing thing.  Not only does it create and carry a human life, it shrinks back down after birth!  At 2 months postpartum, here is my post-baby body progress thus far…

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I was 40 weeks +2 days pregnant when I gave birth to my daughter on October 10, 2013.  I gained a total of 23 pounds during my pregnancy.  I kept my weight gain under control by eating a healthy diet combined with exercise all the way throughout the end of pregnancy.  Currently, at 2 months out, I have lost exactly 23 pounds.  Though I’m back to my pre-pregnancy starting weight, my body still has a ways to go to get it back into the fit/toned shape I’d like to be back in.  I’m still carrying extra in my midsection.  Most of my pants/jeans fit, but they still are snug in the waistband.  I know that continuing to work hard with exercise will get be back into the form I’d like to end up in.

As I mentioned, I exercised all the way until the end of pregnancy.  I went for a run on my due date!  On the day I went in labor, I did a tough workout at the gym – I did the stairclimber, Jacob’s ladder, treadmill and lifted free weights.  I really tried hard to stay in shape during pregnancy.  I knew that once I gave birth, I’d have to take a bit of a break to let my body recover and heal.  I wanted to give myself at least 2 weeks to rest.

After giving birth, I started daily walks immediately.  My doctor said that this was totally acceptable for me to be walking so long as I felt up for it.  I took Baby Winter out in the BOB stroller for these daily walks of 45-60 minutes.  I felt great!

At the 2 week postpartum mark is when I started running.  It felt WONDERFUL to have some of that extra weight off of me.  At that point, I had already shed 15 pounds.  I felt incredibly light, yet I could feel how weak my ab muscles felt as I took each step.  My tendons/ligaments in my pelvic area felt very fragile and weak too.  My pace was slow, but I just felt so great to be back to it.  Because a newborn baby consumes your entire life, I only managed to do maybe 2 or 3 runs per week and that was the extent of my exercise.  I continued walking on all of the other days.

At my 6 week check up, my doctor cleared me to exercise normally, so that’s when I made my return to the gym.  Eric and I sat down and wrote a gym schedule so that we are BOTH able to get regular gym days in.  I get to go on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and he goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On my non-gym days, I run outside with the BOB stroller or run inside on my treadmill (depending on the weather).  My running days are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Originally when I bought my treadmill, we put it in the garage.  I found this to be very hard to stay motivated because the garage is cold and dark.  I had to stare at a blank wall while on the treadmill.  We just recently moved it into our bedroom so that I can watch TV while running on the treadmill.  This has been a smart decision because it makes me so much more motivated to stay on the treadmill for longer!  I love having a distraction while exercising!

As far as eating goes, I use an app on my phone (MyFitnessPal) to track my daily calories as well as my exercise.  I try to eat somewhere in the range of 1900-2100 calories per day.  Because I am breastfeeding, it is crucial that I don’t drop my calorie consumption too much.  If I drop much lower than 1800 per day, it would inhibit my milk supply…not worth it!  Eating around 2000 calories per day is still allowing my milk supply to stay strong as well as allowing me to lose weight.

Now, here is a look at my daily-weekly body progress:

IN LABOR…LAST PREGNANCY PIC!

Here is my last photo while I was pregnant!

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MORNING AFTER BIRTH…

This is the morning after giving birth.  I thought I looked SO SKINNY already–now I look back and realize I still looked pregnant here.

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2 DAYS POSTPARTUM…

On this day we got discharged from the hospital.  I felt really swollen.  My fingers, feet, etc were all retaining water.  But I still was amazed at how fast it felt like my tummy was going down.

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3 DAYS POSTPARTUM…

This was our first full day at home and I started going for my 45-60 minute daily walks at this point to get my body moving.

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4 DAYS POSTPARTUM…

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6 DAYS POSTPARTUM…

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 8 DAYS POSTPARTUM….

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 10 DAYS POSTPARTUM….

I remember that I felt like a million bucks by this point.  It felt incredible to be losing weight and watching the number on the scale rapidly dropping.  My swollen days were far behind me.  I wanted to start exercising, but I promised myself I’d take at least 2 weeks off.

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12 DAYS POSTPARTUM…

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2 WEEKS POSTPARTUM…

This is when I went on my first run!  I was hoping to start working out and running 5 days per week, but that didn’t happen.  I was lucky to get in 2-3 runs per week and that’s about it.  Though I did keep up with my daily walks on the days I didn’t run.  I had lost 15 pounds by this point.

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3 WEEKS POSTPARTUM…

I still was only scraping by with daily walks and 2-3 runs per week, but the pounds were still coming off.

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5 WEEKS POSTPARTUM…

Walking daily and 2-3 runs per week was the name of the game.  My weight loss really staggered, but I was down about 19 pounds at this point.

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6 WEEKS POSTPARTUM…

We traveled to Florida to see my husband’s work project launch into space.  I wore a maternity swimsuit because I was too self conscious to put on any of my regular bikinis.  Not only did I still feel that my tummy had a ways to go, but My boobs didn’t fit into a single one of my swimsuit tops!  They looked like porn star boobs.  I guess breastfeeding will do that 🙂

As soon as I returned from Florida, I made my return to the gym.  It felt great to get in other types of exercise besides just running.  I like using the Arc Trainer machine and other cardio machines that the gym has.  I also started lifting weights and doing ab exercises.

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7 WEEKS POSTPARTUM…

With my return to the gym, combined with running (4-6 days per week of exercise, depending on the week), I noticed the scale got moving again.  I was hovering right around my pre-pregnancy weight, though my body was still NOT even close to what it used to be.  My waistbands in my jeans are still tight.

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8 WEEKS POSTPARTUM…

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2 MONTHS POSTPARTUM…

At 2 months postpartum, I have been working out at the gym 3 times per week and running 3 times per week.  It feels great to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I’d like to continue working hard to get my body back.  I know that with more time and hard work, I’ll reach my goals.  I started my pregnancy at a higher weight than I’d have liked, so I want to lose a number of pounds in addition to toning up.  I hope to be back in rockin’ shape by the 6 month mark.  In fact, at the 6 month mark I am signed up to run a half marathon (in April).  I will start formally training for the race in January.

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10 Pregnancy Health Goals

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For the majority of this pregnancy to date I have felt that I try to “stay healthy” as a whole.  Faithfully I exercise 6 days per week and I generally “eat healthy” for the most part.  I am happy with my exercise performance, but I feel that my eating habits have slowly gone downhill and I would like to revisit what my health and eating goals look like.

My goal is to keep my pregnancy weight gain at a slower pace.  It’s mentally tough to watch those numbers on the scale go up to a weight I have never seen before.  My goal for pregnancy weight gain is to cap off at around 30 lbs gained (plus or minus).  At the beginning of my pregnancy, my doctor informed me that healthy weight gain for pregnancy should fall in the range of 25-35 pounds.  30 pounds puts me right in the middle.  By eating healthier, it will help me achieve that weight goal, as well as eat more nutritious foods to help my baby’s growth, instead of eating junk that has no nutritional value for my growing baby.

My 10 Pregnancy Health Goals:

1. Drink lots of water. When I say lots, my goal is to be drinking at least 10 glasses (or approximately 5 nalgene water bottles) each day.  The more hydrated I can stay, the healthier baby and I will be.  When you become dehydrated, sometimes you can mistake dehydration for hunger. Rather than grabbing for a snack, I want to try to always go for a drink of water first to see whether it’s really hunger or if it’s thirst.

1water2. Eliminate sweets (for a while). So far this week I have eliminated sweets completely since I was eating ice cream, cookies or other dessert/sweets on a daily basis for a period of time.   Now, I want to completely eliminate sweets to get those cravings under control.  Once I feel ready, I would like to change this goal to eating a dessert/sweet one to two times per week (max).  An example of this would be: eating an ice cream cone on a Monday night and having a brownie for dessert on Saturday night with dinner.  For now (the next week or two weeks), I am making a goal to eat zero sweets.2sweets

3. Don’t count calories – rather focus on healthy foods & portion control.  If I count calories I already know I’m going to drive myself crazy.  This is not the time to count calories since I am pregnant.  I know that I only need to consume an extra 300 calories per day due to pregnancy, but I haven’t counted calories in years.  I’m not about to start. But, with that being said, I want to choose HEALTHY foods to eat my calories with, instead of non-healthy foods.  I want to consume reasonable sized portions.

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4. Avoid processed foods – eat mainly whole or natural foods.  I’m trying to avoid things like crackers, chips, etc, but find that okay snacks are things like: fruit, string cheese, greek yogurt, granola bar, hard boiled egg, natural dried fruit, almonds or veggies.

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5. Consume a lot of fibrous foods. IE fruits and vegetables.  I already eat a lot of fruit, but I want to try to make it a point to eat vegetables with dinner every night.

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6. Eat healthy snacks and don’t allow my sugar to drop.  A mistake I’ve been known to make to save calories is to try to limit my food intake and get in a bad mood because my blood sugar drops.  This makes me an angry person who yells at people for no reason.  I want to make sure I am regularly consuming healthy snacks to avoid this pitfall.  Snacks could be: string cheese, fruit, granola bar, almonds, yogurt, etc.

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7. Eat fruit or greek yogurt in place of dessert. I do like the idea of “having dessert” at night.  The past few days after dinner, instead of going for actual dessert, I have been eating a fruit flavored greek yogurt to satisfy my sweet craving.  Another option could be to chop up some strawberries and eat those from a bowl or something like that.

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8. Continue with 5-6 days per week of exercise.  Currently my typical exercise routine includes 3 gym days and 3 outdoor running days.  The running on some days is starting to be at the gym in the air conditioning rather than outdoors.   Maintaining 6 (or 5) days per week is my goal.  I want to continue doing 30-60 minutes per day of exercise throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.  Ideally I like to complete at least 40 minutes of cardio (40 minutes for 40 weeks!)  On non-running days, I usually find myself doing the elliptical trainer, the rowing machine or the bike.  Plus some weight training.

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9. Don’t stress if I’m not perfect. If and when I slip up, don’t beat myself up about it. Just move on.  I cannot expect myself to make perfect choices 100% of the time.  I am a human, after all.  But if I do make a mistake, I don’t want to let the mistake spiral out of control—I want to move on and continue with healthier choices.

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10. Allow myself one “free meal” per week. Right now I’m not going to do this quite yet since I’m trying to stabilize myself after eating less than perfectly.  But I want to note that I think it’s realistic for me to have one meal per week where I’m not overly worried if the meal is healthy or not. This will be saved for more special occasions such as: going out to eat for dinner with my husband or going to a barbeque at a friend’s house.

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With these guidelines, I hope that I will be able to keep my pregnancy weight gain in check and have an overall healthier pregnancy.  I also realize that it will allow the transition of post-natal weight loss much easier if I am eating in a healthful way NOW, rather than eating terribly and then having to fix my diet after the baby is born.

Note/Disclaimer: These are simply MY THOUGHTS and opinions for my personal pregnancy health.  I am not a registered dietitian or an MD.  These are simply how I plan to stay healthy for the remainder of my pregnancy.  Thanks for reading.