Two Babies Later...

Posted by  | Tuesday, July 8, 2008  at 1:50 PM  
Wow, Hollie did such a great job with her post this week - thanks Hollie!!
A la Hollie, I'll give you the before, during & after shots:
Before babies, Summer 2005:

The day I went into the hospital to have Samuel, August 2006:

Me in same bathing suit as above, 3 months post-partum, December 2006:

Me at the same beach as above, 10 months post-partum, June 2007:

A few weeks before Joel was born, February 2008:

Two months post-partum, May 2008:

I have learned so much about health and nutrition over the past few years, and a lot of it has been from or because of Hollie & Krista. They are both full of great info on the topic. Here are a few ways that I used that info to help shed post-baby weight.

1. Breastfeed. I was not a "breastfeeding nazi" (as I was fondly refered to as one day!) until after I had already been nursing Samuel for a few months. Breastfeeding is a great way to slowly and healthily take off those post-baby pounds. It is NOT an instant results kind of thing, but it does work to take off the weight. Look at my bathing suit pics above. I cringe that I actually posted the 3 months post-partum picture because I can see all the extra pounds still on there, but it is a telling photo of how our bodies work. I am carrying the extra weight in my boobs, belly and thighs. My body had worked to store that extra fat so that Samuel could slowly use it as I breastfed through the first year. After 13 months of nursing, it was gone. The same is true this time around. At 3 months post-partum with Joel, I am carrying those extra pounds in all the same places. I just keep reminding myself of the goal and try not to get discouraged.

2. Eat whole foods. We strive to eat a fresh fruit and a fresh vegetable with each meal. We also eat whole grains and try not to eat too much pre-packaged foods. Now, I am nowhere near where some ladies are with this. We still eat pre-packaged cereal for breakfast some mornings and I give Samuel pre-packaged snack bars. But every little bit helps and we just keep moving closer and closer to the goal. We drink whole milk at our house and full-fat yogurts & cheeses. It seems counter-intuitive to losing weight, but follow up on what Hollie said before about this topic - it really is true!

3. Drink water. Mary's comment was spot on - if you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first. You are probably just thirsty. This is true for kids and adults alike. And you can never drink too much water when you are trying to lose weight and you are breastfeeding.

4. Eat breakfast. You've heard this since you were little, but it is so key to eat a healthy breakfast each morning to get your metabolism going. It helps boost energy and set the nutritional tone for the day.

5. Don't clean your plate - or your toddler's!! Mary mentioned to stop eating when you are full - very true. I am, however, an incredibly thrifty person and I HATE to waste things. But instead of cramming the rest of the sandwich down my throat or nibbling away at all of Samuel's extras, I put them in a dish and save them for snacktime. That way I'm not overeating or wasting things.

The other thing to consider is that we each just have different types of bodies. Hollie's comment that being skinny & being healthy are two TOTALLY different things is so true. I was able to lose the weight from both Samuel and Joel, but my body is not the same and I am not as healthy as I was before my pregnancies. This is due to two facts: I don't exercise and I have a really crummy digestive system. Even though I weigh today what I weighed before I got pregnant with Samuel two and a half years ago, I have a long way to go to being "healthy". Here is the plan I'm working on to get there:

1. Consistent exercise. This is the WORST for me because I am a naturally lazy person and I hate to walk/run. I am much better at going to a gym, but that can't happen financially right now. So I must work with what I have and get out and walk with my boys in the evenings.

2. Eat healthy. I am doing pretty good with this. My digestive system requires me to make sure I am eating whole grains and plenty of fiber. I even take a daily fiber supplement (let me HIGHLY recommend Metamucil Berry Burst to anyone that needs to take fiber daily). I also drank raw milk and made raw milk kefir when I lived in NC. That was a big help. I can't afford it here ($10 for a half gallon), so I make do with the pastuerized items available at the grocery.

3. See a doctor. I know a lot of ladies have digestive problems that they haven't seen a doctor about. See your doctor! I see someone semi-regularly to help me figure out what's wrong with me and take care of it. When I was really sick last summer, I found a doctor who ran standard lab tests for me and found out I had a parasite called Giardia. I took an antibiotic to wipe it out and felt a ton better. I am now in the same boat and awaiting tests results for the Giardia again. (Sidenote: there is a natural way to treat Giardia that I would recommend looking into because the antibiotic kills both the good and bad things in your gut. I ultimately decided to go the antibiotic route because I was REALLY sick, almost couldn't leave the house, and had lost 10 pounds in one month while trying to breastfeed Samuel).

Finally, I wanted to leave a word about our bodies. The truth is, it is few and far between that you find the mom that bounced right back into her pre-pregnancy jeans. The truth is, your boobs and hips and belly will always be different than before. The truth is, stretchmarks happen - and not just on your belly. But all of that is okay. Our bodies have been blessed with children and we carry the signs of that blessing with us. Our job is to live full, healthy lives and enjoy the time God has given us with our children.

Thanks ladies for the comments you've made so far. Please keep them comin'!


Shannon said...

Yay! I'm so glad you said, "Eat Breakfast." So many people skip this and sabotage themselves. A scrambled egg or omelet with veggies is a great way to start the day with lots of long-lasting energy.

Also, just a tid-bit for those with digestive issues, I read a book called Enzymes for Digestive Health and Nutritional Wealth. It was very helpful and informative.

Thanks so much for sharing your stories, tips, and PICS! This is so encouraging as I struggle to slowly shed the baby belly. (My youngest is almost 10 months now.) Reading your posts really inspires me to push past the laziness and put down the sugar! :)

KC said...

WHERE did you get raw milk in NC?? I really want to try it, but can't find a reputable source since it is (at least now) illegal to be sold for human consumption. I know that you can legally purchase it in VA or SC, but then how do I actually get it? It is so perishable that I am afraid to have it shipped.

Leah said...

E-mail me at and I will give you my contact info for raw milk. It comes from a farm in VA but can be picked up in Durham.

I almost spit out my milk when I read your comment b/c I was in the middle of eating a chocolate chip cookie!! My MIL just arrived and brought us a bag of fresh, homemade cookies. I guess I will file this under "let yourself have a little treat now and again". :) I will go nurse Joel now and imagine the fat being sucked off my belly! ha, ha.

Christy said...

I have been making small steps in changing my families diet. I have started by eliminating any foods that contain high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils. While they may not necessarily be as bad as the media makes them out to be (I've been researching the issues) but one thing they do is eliminate all the junk junk food that we used to eat. I think it is having some effect, I notice I am not hungry all the time like I was before and as a happy note while my clothing size hasn't really changed yet today when I was at the hospital visiting my sister who just had her fifth baby the chair I sat in didn't feel uncormfortable to sit in and I remember that style chair hurt when I was there last year visiting her. Yeah that really made me feel like I was headed on the right path.

Shannon said...

Leah, LOL! That is so funny. Don't sweat it. I've been known to have a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast, and I confess - the best is apple pie straight from the fridge. :)

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