Almost 11 months ago, I gave birth to my 2nd daughter. There are a lot of changes that take place after giving birth, from emotional to hormonal and of course the obvious physical changes. About 2 years ago, I shared How I Lost (ALL) My Baby Weight without Dieting when I was around 1 year postpartum after giving birth to my eldest daughter.
I still remember struggling to write that post because I didn’t want it to come across as another “weight loss” journey. Here I am again, the second time around, still struggling with how to share my post-partum journey in a way that reflects that it isn’t just about the weight.
See, the internet is filled with messaging that focuses on whipping back into shape after giving birth and losing weight FAST. As if that is the main priority after having a baby. As much as moms would love to go back to their old bodies, it just doesn’t happen very easily because life changes a LOT after a baby.
I thought having one baby was tough. Was I wrong!!! The second time around, I really struggled for about the first 3 months trying to balance a newborn and a 2.5 year old. I would cry just thinking about leaving the house. Alhamdulilah, overtime it got better, and while I still have those crazy days, I am proud to say that I can leave the house with 2 kids without a meltdown.
So that’s just a background of where I’m at now. What I wanted to do in this post is take you through what the past 11 months looked like for me, month by month. The goal of this is to show you that my postpartum journey isn’t solely focused on weight loss but the goal is to achieve holistic health, balance, and happiness. I didn’t count calories, go on an extreme diet, or spend everyday in the gym.
Four Things You Need to Have in Balance First
Before I tell you exactly what my postpartum journey looked like, there are four factors to address and ensure are in some sort of balance. These factors will not always be in perfect balance and harmony but you have to at least try!
I’m not saying that you need to get a full 8 hours of sleep (I can’t even remember the last time that happened for me), but atleast figure out how much sleep you need as a mom to function and how you can make that happen. For instance, I will get about 6-8 hours of sleep at night with interruptions so I get in a nap during the day with the kids. This really helps me function better and allows me to have a more productive day.
As parents, we get obsessed over putting our kids on a schedule or at least trying to figure out what their schedule/routine is. Have you thought about YOUR schedule though? Are you just living from diaper change to feed to nap time? That is going to make you miserable real fast. Regardless if you are 1 month postpartum or have a whole house full of kids, you need to start thinking about YOUR routine. What are you doing when there is down time? Once you have your child(ren)’s routine figured out, it should be a bit easier to figure out your own. This is where you can schedule in your meal and snack times, time to get active, and also YOU time.
This one is a bit tricky because everyone’s situation is SO different when it comes to the kind of support you have. Whether it is your husband, your mom, or someone else, ASK for help. Remember that no one can read your mind and know exactly what you need. Especially in the first few months after giving birth, you need all the help you can get. “Help” looks different for everyone. In those first 3 months after having my 2nd daughter, what I really needed was a bit of time to myself. Since my husband was my main support system and he was at work, that was hard sometimes. It was also winter so it was difficult to just get out and go for a walk (like I did the first time around). So, I would either go up and down stairs for about 10 minutes or sometimes even just go lock myself in the room and have a piece of chocolate while he stayed with the kids. Those 10-15 minutes completely by myself were golden and allowed me to reset and feel refreshed.
If your husband is your main support system, this is slightly related to #3 but it is also a bit different. After having a baby, your marriage changes drastically. If you don’t spend time nurturing your marriage and addressing those changes, you may find yourself feeling alone and overwhelmed. I’m not a relationship expert, but I can tell you that when things are good with your spouse, dealing with the challenges of motherhood feel a bit easier. If you want to find balance, health, and happiness, you need to find this with your spouse after having kids. This is probably my first time ever mentioning marriage and relationships but I think it is a huge disservice to completely ignore it. After each child, I did notice a change in my marriage but after taking time to figure out our new roles as parents and partners, we were able to get to an even better place in our marriage. Each couple is different so you will know what works best for you but the number one thing is COMMUNICATION.
These 4 factors are in no particular order. In fact, you will find that they are interconnected and you will be trying to figure it out all at the same time. Just know that it won’t happen overnight but if you give it enough time and a bit of effort, these things will slowly come in to balance. When I was about 2 months postpartum, I did a Facebook live and talked about the first 3 factors. I didn’t even address the 4th factor - but I am now because it is SO important.
My Postpartum Journey - Month by Month
When it comes to my postpartum journey, I focus on finding balance and restoring health. I take a holistic approach and most importantly I work on prioritizing myself. I am not focusing on just weight loss. I look at weight loss as a side effect - it will happen as a side effect of taking care of myself. Everybody has a normal set weight so if you are optimally taking care of your body, you will eventually reach that weight without having to obsess over it!
I’m going to take you through what my postpartum journey looked like month by month. I don’t have a scale at home so I don’t know exactly how much weight I lost every month. I do have an idea at certain points though (I weigh myself occasionally at the gym to see where I’m at), so I will share that under the months I documented it.
For your reference, I gained a total of 47 pounds by the end of my pregnancy.
Here is what my past 11 months have looked like:
Gave birth! Nuff said.
Weight loss: 7 pounds. I gave birth to an 8+ pound baby but came home only 7 pounds lighter. How crazy is that?
November (month 1)
This month I focused on resting as much as possible and eating nourishing foods for healing. You can check out the article I wrote about postpartum foods here.
6 weeks postpartum (scroll down to see me in the same dress 5.5 months postpartum!)
December (month 2)
After being given the green light at 6 weeks to get physically active, I started doing core exercises at home and taking the stairs for about 10 minutes a few times a week.
When it comes to food, I would have my husband watch the kids for a few hours so that I can meal prep for the week. Having food in the fridge throughout the week helped me ensure I was eating regularly and not skipping meals. I would only bring home nutritious energizing foods and would ask my husband occasionally to bring home a treat if I wanted one. The way I eat stayed pretty much the same until Ramadan (month 7).
Weight loss: 15 pounds. I lost a total of 22 pounds at 6 weeks PP. This was without any exercise, just simply focusing on eating nourishing foods.
January (month 3)
I signed up for a gym membership. I never got a gym membership after having my first baby but this time around I needed some alone time. I just couldn’t get in any home workouts with 2 kids. I started to go to the gym twice a week. More than working out, I liked having my alone time. Once a week I would still do the stairs.
February-April (months 4-6)
In May 2017, I was about 6 months pregnant and saw signs of the Mississauga Marathon. I told my husband that the following year I want to run my first 5K.
It was challenging training for a 5K run with the colder weather and because I never ran in my life before (except by force in elementary school). I ran for the first time in February and tried to run at least once a week outdoors in addition to going to the gym 1-2 times a week.
Weight loss: ~5 pounds (I think). For the past few months, I didn’t necessarily see a big drop in weight, but definitely saw a huge change in size. Total weight loss: 27 pounds
5.5 months postpartum
May-June (months 7-8)
I ran my first 5K! My goal was to complete the 5K without having to stop or walk and I was able to accomplish that. It was so nice to achieve a personal goal and feeling like I could do anything, even after 2 kids.
Right after my 5K run, Ramadan started. My goal at this point was to fast while breastfeeding. Alhamdulilah, I fasted 29 out of 30 days and only missed one fast (because I slept in and missed suhoor). Since fasting and maintaining my milk supply was my main goal, I didn’t want to burn any extra calories so I wasn’t working out at all. I actually went on an hour long walk one day before iftar one day with my husband and came home feeling very light headed. I knew that my body wouldn’t be able to handle any form of physical activity at this point so I avoided it.
Weight loss: ~10 pounds. This was with no exercise, only through healthy eating and fasting. Total weight lost: 37 pounds.
July-August (months 9-10)
These months were a whirlwind. Between summer getaways and dedicating 3+ weeks to potty training, I barely got to the gym. I still was active in other ways, such as going hiking or for a run. I still focused on eating healthy meals 80% of the time but summer definitely brings along a lot of ice cream.
September (month 11)
Right now, I’m working on a few fitness goals. I would like to focus on strength training a bit so my husband (who is a personal trainer) is helping me out with a fitness program that will help me achieve those goals.
Since I am focusing on strength training, I have upped my protein intake at snack time as well as post workout.
Weight Loss: ~5 pounds.
Total weight lost: 42 pounds. I’m about 5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m not too worried about if I’ll get there or not, because I’m focusing more on taking care of my body.
How My Postpartum Journey is Different the Second Time Around
After my first baby, it was a lot easier for me to take time out for myself because I was only dealing with one baby’s schedule. With a toddler + baby in the mix, time feels like a luxury. Weight wise, last time around I had lost all my pregnancy weight by 9 months postpartum. I noticed a lot more changes in my body, in that it takes me longer to see physical changes.
Throughout the 11 months, the one thing I always did was nourish my body with healthy foods that made me feel energized. There was always room for treats, especially since I have a sweet tooth. There was definitely no calorie counting or restrictive eating. I never felt deprived.
I want you to know that you’re not alone. That you don’t have to wait until your kids are older or off to school before you find yourself or before you feel confident in your body again. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, I’m here for you! I work with women just like you to help transform your lifestyle, the way you eat, and lose weight without focusing on the weight. There isn't one way for everyone to eat and it's important to use a personalized approach to figuring out what works best for your body. If you’re ready to put yourself first, apply for a FREE 15 minute coaching call with me. I work with a limited number of women at a time so that I can really help with the transformation journey, and once the spots are filled, I will no longer take on anymore clients.