It’s Not Just You — Those Pregnancy Pounds Are Hard to Lose
Sometimes, when I look around at all of those mothers who seemingly never gain weight during their pregnancies — you know, the moms with the stick arm and legs and the cute basketball bellies, or the moms who are back in bikinis weeks after giving birth? — I wonder, maybe I'm exaggerating how hard it is for me to lose weight.
Because the thing is, I've gained a lot of weight with my pregnancies. A lot. Over 200 pounds gained and lost so far with four pregnancies, and I'm here today — the heaviest I've been in my whole life with a 5-month-old baby and an addiction to Jillian Michael's workouts.
But still, the weight stays on.
I've wondered if maybe it's just me. Maybe I just eat too many cookies, and I'm just trying to fool myself into thinking that I actually enjoy vegetables. Maybe if I just tried harder I really could lose all of the weight and have a perfectly flat stomach.
Luckily for me, some new reports show that I'm definitely not alone in the struggle to lose the baby weight.
According to a new study, nearly one-third of 800 low-income women who were studied that were of normal weight before pregnancy were overweight or obese one year after childbirth. Over 75% of the women were heavier at one year after baby, and just about one-quarter of the mothers were carting around a good extra 20 pounds after giving birth.
Despite the fact that, on average, the women in the study gained 32 pounds during their pregnancies — a number within the normal, recommended range for weight gain during pregnancy — the study's lead doctor blamed the fact that the postpartum pounds tend to stick around on pregnant women who gain too much weight during pregnancy. “The biggest problem is that a large number of women gain too much during pregnancy,” Dr. Loraine Endres explained. “The more you gain, the harder it is to ever lose that weight.”
Thanks for that tip, Dr. Endres. But frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing that pregnant women aren't supposed to gain weight. What do you think nature intended? For women to stay slender and their babies to only take what is prudently necessary? Um, no. It makes sense, from a purely biological and survival standpoint, that nature would prefer if a pregnant mom — and soon-to-be-nursing mother — kept some fat on her body as fuel for that little, growing one she is supposed to nourish. Good grief.
Honestly, I'm over feeling the pressure to stay perfectly skinny during pregnancy and for it to be a point of pride to look like a Victoria's Secret model immediately after giving birth. Look, I'm all about working out and eating right and staying healthy, but I am also 100% OK with the fact that my body gains weight during pregnancy — and that the weight tends to stick around until I'm done breastfeeding.
If so many mothers gain “too much” weight during pregnancy and postpartum and have trouble losing it, here's a novel thought: why don't we consider the fact that it's normal to gain a little extra fat and focus on some of the ways that it could benefit moms and babies to just chill out, breastfeed whenever possible, and focus on enjoying that time after birth, instead of hitting the gym?
Anyone with me?