This is a guest post from Trina, the blogger behind Pick Up Your Craft. She will be sharing her postpartum weight loss journey. Learn more about Trina and her blog by visiting her website or following her on social media.
Postpartum weight loss is incredibly difficult. I have read stories online or seen Instragram accounts that suggest that postpartum weight loss is a piece of cake. Things like “Breastfeeding really did most of the work” or “It was so easy because I was doing it for my kids” are often the totem of any postpartum weight loss story. Maybe it is easy for those other moms, but I am here to tell you that, in my opinion, this is WORK. This may be because I have been fat my whole life and have more than just the baby weight to lose.
Where it all began… and where it went
Like most people who struggle with weight their whole life, my troubles began very young. All through my school age years I was bullied, teased, and picked on. I never felt good enough for a lot of things and always assumed I would never get a boyfriend. In hindsight I understand how silly that sounds, but I was young and naive.
So, when in 8th grade, I started getting interested in boys, I joined Weight Watchers. I was so successful on the program that between 8th & 9th grade I lost over 20 pounds and felt good about myself. I loved the program and how simple it was.
My mom did it with me, so I had a workout buddy and a cheer leader right at home. She held me accountable and helped me to make better choices. When I didn’t understand the program or how to succeed, she coached me. It was much easier for me to keep track of one single variable, points, rather than all aspects of food such as calories, fat, sugars, carbs…. You get the idea.
I really don’t recall why I quit Weight Watchers. I know my mom was paying for the program and I was just following along… so maybe she quit and I followed suit. I don’t remember. All I know is that now that I am 35 I wish I had stayed with it.
Although all through school I never thought that I would be liked by boys and end up with a boyfriend, but I did. I had a boyfriend through most of high school. We broke up after I graduated because I was older than him and moved away to start my life. After high school I dated a bit, worked, and met new people. Life was great!
I was happy, but also often bored. I wasn’t attending college like more of my friends. I worked nights so while friends went out, I was at work. When they were at school during the day, I was home. That was boring and when I get bored, I eat. I am not sure how much weight I put on, but it wasn’t just 5-10 pounds. I would estimate about 25 at least. My confidence waived and I met a guy that took advantage of that.
Long story short, I spent about 2.5 years with a guy that constantly made me feel less than because of my weight. I tried so many diets I lost track. I did a high protein diet and failed at that. I tried Atkins and failed at that because I found the food disgusting. Ultimately, I pretty much stopped eating.
I wanted to make my man happy, and he was only going to be happy if I could get thin. There were days where all I had was water and maybe a salad. I exercised at least an hour a day. Did I lose weight? Yes. Did I lose myself in the process? Absolutely.
He and I broke up several times and each time I stopped dieting and I would quickly put on weight. Which ultimately would make him mad and lead to us fighting. It was a horrible cycle.
At this time, I tried Weight Watchers for the second time. And again, I was successful. I dropped down to about a size 8 after about 6 months on the program. This is the smallest I had ever been. Sadly, I still didn’t feel good about myself. This is because of the relationship I was in. I was unable to see that I would never make him happy and I was killing myself trying. Then, in 2009, my dad passed away.
It was his passing that lead to me finally leaving my boyfriend. I knew he would want more for me. He would want me to be with someone that loved me regardless of how fat or thin I was. And eventually I found that person.
Love & Family
As with many people who enter a healthy relationship, I put on weight. I no longer felt judged for who I was, and I could be who I wanted. This coupled with working a job where I primarily sat, the weight came on quickly. I would estimate than in 5 years I packed on nearly 100 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly. One hundred pounds. I was the largest I had ever been.
My boyfriend still loved me and supported me even at this size and we decided to grow our family. During my pregnancy I only gained about 25 pounds. I was incredibly conscious of my weight gain because I knew it was a risk to gain more weight. I was bordering on diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues. My doctor also monitored it closely, making sure that I remained as healthy and as safe as I could for my baby.
We welcomed our daughter Amara in July of 2016 and she was absolutely perfect. She was also 10 pounds! I very quickly got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight after having her, but I struggled to lose any additional weight. I was working an overnight shift and then sleeping very little during the day.
I followed the golden rule of sleeping when the baby slept, but in order to keep my energy up I ate. A lot. I also ate things horrible for me. Lots of sugary coffee, candy, and soda. I was back to killing myself. Only this time instead of starving myself I was overeating. I added another 20 pounds back on.
Postpartum Weight Loss – Round 1
I had to do something. I needed to be able to take care of my family and be there for my daughter. She was getting to the age where she wanted to run and play, and I just couldn’t keep up! I mean, once a baby hits 1 year old and I able to walk they quickly go from walking to running! I knew Weight Watchers worked for me and I started right back up in order to keep up with my kiddo. At this time, they had unveiled their Free Style plan and I was in love. I thought it might be just the thing I needed for some postpartum weight loss.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, I’ll break it down for you in broad strokes. Each food has a point value and based on your age, weight, and height you get a daily point allowance that you can eat. Foods that are less healthy for you or are easy to overindulge in (like chips) are higher in points. This causes a person to make better food choices like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins as most of these foods are not only filling, but are ZERO points!
Really, this new plan is amazing and did wonders for my postpartum weight loss. By simply following the plan I lost weight quickly. Within 3 months I was down nearly 30 pounds. I wasn’t even exercising, just eating right, and the pounds melted off me.
It was around this time that my now fiancé and I decided to try or a second child. I am so in love with my daughter and we wanted to give her a sibling. Very quickly we found out I was pregnant, and we were overjoyed. Unfortunately, if you are pregnant you cannot safely participate in Weight Watchers. This is because, like most diets, in order to lose weight, you are in a calorie deficit. When you are pregnant you need more calories, not less. I was ordered to quit by my doctor, and so that is what I did.
Dealing With Loss
Being pregnant a second time was so exciting for me! I had lost some weight, so I knew I was in a healthier place and I felt good about everything. I went to my first doctor appointment for the very first ultrasound and the doctors were able to locate my yoke sack, but not a baby. I was confused, what did they mean they couldn’t find the baby?
My doctor suggested maybe I wasn’t as far along as I thought and to come back in 2 weeks. She ordered a blood test to be done that day and then another one a week later. When I came back in for that follow up appointment my fears were confirmed. I was having a miscarriage.
My blood test showed that my hormone levels had decreased over that one-week period. Basically, I was becoming less pregnant as the days went on. My doctor gave me the option of taking medicine that would speed up the process in my body, or they could surgically take care of it.
I opted for the medicine, not wanting surgery. Unfortunately, the medicine did not work, and I ended up needing the dilation and curettage surgery. I’ll spare you the details on what that entails, but it was not pleasant.
After losing weight I was excited for another baby. Losing that baby was painful in ways I cannot even describe. I felt like I had somehow failed. I know many women have miscarriages. They’re incredibly common, but that did not stop me from feeling like I let my fiancé down. He did not feel that way, but I still did.
This sadness caused me to want to eat and I often gave into that urge. I added back all the weight I had lost and then some. I was back to feeling sluggish, sick, and embarrassed. My fiancé sat me down and told me he was worried about me and my health. He told me he loved me anyway, but really hoped that I would lose weight.
What he said to me hurt. After an abusive relationship based largely on my weight being told again by my partner that I needed to lose weight was painful. He in no way meant it as an insult. He truly loves me and only wanted me to get healthier. He then suggested doing what no other guy had ever offered to do. He was going to lose weight with me.
Back at it again
We signed up for Weight Watchers together. I was making a second attempt at postpartum weight loss. I say this is also postpartum because, even though I didn’t have a baby, my body still had the shift in hormones and I had still put on some weight.
We began eating right and setting a good example for our daughter. She even discovered a love for broccoli, although she now claims she doesn’t like it. After a few months I was down another 25 pounds and went back to the doctor.
We still wanted to have another baby and I felt like I was back to getting to a healthy place for that to become a reality. Once the doctor gave me a thumbs up to try again, we did. It wasn’t long, about 2 months, before we discovered I was again pregnant. I was excited but also anxious. After one miscarriage I was worried it would happen again. I did the same thing I did with my first pregnancy and really watched what I was eating to ensure I stayed healthy and did not put too much weight on. Again, I was required to stop Weight Watchers.
Postpartum – Where I am today
I kept my weight gain to just under 25 pounds and in June of 2019 my fiancé and I welcomed our son Kai. Of those 25 pounds, Kai was just over 8 of them. A perfect and healthy baby boy. I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight within 2 weeks of giving birth and was excited to get back to Weight Watchers.
I have always been successful on their plan because it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. That sounds like a catchphrase, and in a way, it is, but it’s totally true. Weight Watchers is perfect for postpartum weight loss. The diet causes me to create a healthy lifestyle. Instead of restricting what I’m eating like other diets, I just make better choices. I don’t have to eliminate pasta or cake. I can still have those; I just have to count them. This makes me think before eating.
I have been back on Weight Watchers for about 4 weeks now and this time I am throwing some exercise in to the mix. I am already down 15 pounds and I feel better than I have in years! I am still a long way from my goal weight, but on this plan, I am confident I will get there. My fiancé is participating in the plan too. He gained some sympathy weight with this last pregnancy and we are getting healthy together.
Unlike a regular diet, with Weight Watchers I am changing an improving my life and the life of my family. My daughter, now 3, sees what we are doing together and is making better food choices too. She still likes her cookies and candy, what toddler doesn’t? But she also likes fruit and most vegetables. She’s excited for family walks and trips to the park. I know that I am setting such an important foundation for her eating habits.
Even though I am not yet where I want to be, I am excited to be on this weight loss journey. Having my family behind me, helping and cheering me on, is so empowering. My story is really just beginning and I’m going to walk this journey one day at a time.