Welcome to Part 2 of my post-pregnancy weight loss journey! If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, I encourage you to do so before continuing on with this post. (You can find that post here: My Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss Journey – Part 1).
All caught up? Great! Let’s keep going.
I’ve always heard that the biggest one-day weight loss you’ll have in your entire life is the day you give birth to your child. Not only do you literally lose the “baby weight”, but you lose the placenta and some of the extra fluid and blood volume which accumulated over the course of your pregnancy. I don’t recall the exact weight I measured in at when I checked into the labor and delivery unit for Emma’s birth, but I know it hovered right around 180 lbs. Granted I was 9+ months pregnant and ready to give birth, but I really wasn’t feeling my best. I know I was heavier with Emma’s pregnancy than I was with Matthew’s, and I was beyond ready to stop feeling so large and unhealthy!
We were discharged from the hospital the day after Emma’s birth, and I first weighed myself at home 2 days post-partum. The result? 163.2 lbs. Definitely a nice loss from pre-delivery, but still much too heavy for where I want to be and where I feel my best. I decided that I was going to be kind to myself and give myself one week to rest up and continue to lose some of the retained pregnancy fluids before I assessed a true starting point for my weight loss journey.
So at one week post-partum, I did a full assessment of where my body was. Here’s my photos and measurements from March 30, 2019.
- Starting weight: 152.4 lbs. (I had lost another 10.8 lbs. since my 2-day post-partum weight check. It’s likely that this was mostly fluid loss – I was pretty swollen!)
- Body fat percentage: 33.9%
- Chest measurement (biggest part): 40 inches
- Waist measurement (smallest part): 35 inches
- Hip measurement (biggest part): 42 inches
- Right thigh measurement (biggest part): 25 inches
Not bad for one-week post-partum, but still not a body that I was going to be happy with, or feel good living in. And again, if you read my first post in this series, you know that my goal this time isn’t to hit a certain number on the scale, or a certain clothing size. Instead, my goal is to find a weight that makes me feel healthy, sexy, confident and energetic. I want my clothes to fit well and I don’t want to have spots that are tight or pinched when I move around in my daily life. And I want to be able to participate in any activity I want to do (or that my kids want me to do!), with full energy and physical capability (running and hopping games included).
In some ways it is difficult to have a weight loss goal without a clearly defined, numerical endpoint. Every time I read or learn about goal setting, having a clearly defined endpoint is always one of the main things advised to do in order to be successful. Here’s the reason – how will you know if you are successful if you don’t know where you are trying to go?
But I’m actually much happier without a number to reach on the scale. In all my prior weight loss efforts, I would set a magical number of pounds that I wanted to weigh. There was no science to this number – I arbitrarily picked it out of the sky – and normally picked 125 lbs. I told myself that when I reached that number, I would be happy with my body. However, there were quite a few things wrong with this approach:
#1: I was focused only on the number on the scale.
I didn’t care how fit I was, if I was actually healthy, or if I was “skinny fat”. I just wanted to weigh 125 lbs. And even if that’s a small number, it might not have been achieved in a healthy way.
#2: It’s too easy to fail.
Even if I got to 126 lbs., but couldn’t budge the scale any more, I would have “failed” in my goal. Did I do a bad job? No, I almost made it, and did a great job compared to where I started. But because I didn’t get 125 lbs., I technically failed, which would kill my motivation and make me feel bad, even though I had accomplished a lot. Often times, feeling like you failed will cause you to slip back into all the old habits which caused you to put the weight on in the first place.
#3: 125 lbs. may or may not be realistic for my body.
Everyone is different. Everyone has a different body composition, different underlying medical issues to deal with, and different genetics. There are huge variations in what my healthy weight might be compared to another 5’2” woman my age!
#4: Who said I would be happy by weighing a certain amount?
Until I can let go of all my mental issues surrounding my weight and my body image, I now know that I’ll never be happy with what I see in the mirror, no matter what number I see on the scale. I have to learn to accept and love myself first, and then I’ll be happy, regardless of what the scale says.
So this time I’m going to try it differently. There is no magic number I’m hoping to reach. But I will know when I can run after my kids easily. I’ll know when I feel good in my clothes and how they fit on my body. And I’ll know when I have achieved a level of body confidence that lets me look in the mirror and tell myself that I look amazing – and believe it!
Only time will tell what that magic number on the scale will end up being when that happens. And it’ll be interesting to see if it matches the arbitrary number I set for myself so many times, so many years ago. If it does, cool. If not, that’s great too.
Numbers don’t matter. A full, happy and healthy life does.
Here we go!
All the best,
P.S. If you want to follow along on this series of posts, the best way to make sure you don’t miss any updates is to enter your email address in the blue box below. Each new post in the series will automatically be sent to your inbox when I release it!