I recently sat down with Amy to discuss how she’s gotten back to her regular routine post baby. Amy has been hyper focused on making her lifestyle conducive to always being lean and it has paid off in so many other areas of health. If you are pregnant, recently had a baby, or are looking to finally get back to your pre-baby weight you can learn something from Amy and the amazing changes she’s made post baby.
How much weight did you gain during your pregnancy?
I don’t know. It’s hard to say because we didn’t do the required weighing.
They did the measuring but I did a pass on the weight. The reason I didn’t use the scale, is because I didn’t want old demons popping up during pregnancy. I just know myself really well and first of all, because our pregnancy was not expected I wasn’t sure how I would respond.
So it was a surprise. My A type personality definitely flared up and I thought I just want to really do what was best for the baby and I want to put my ego on the back burner.
I put protective measures in place so that I didn’t inflame myself.
Obviously I wanted my body to gain whatever amount of weight it had to gain for a healthy pregnancy but I just had this feeling that if I was watching the scale go up every week, it may trigger old behaviors which may then trigger binge eating and subsequently restricting.
I didn’t want to do that to myself or to my baby and so we skipped on the weighing.
Long story short it was definitely somewhere between 25 and 30 lbs. The reason I would say 30 is because I know what it felt like to have 30 lbs on my frame. That’s how much I originally lost 8 years ago but of course it’s different.
The weight was a very different weight. It was obviously mainly my stomach but then there was a lot of water weight too. When I left from the hospital I felt like my stomach was still extended and I still looked pregnant. But I lost a lot of weight just through labor. It was crazy.
How long did it take you to get back to feeling good – as in lean?
I was just thinking about this the other day.
I lost the majority of the weight extremely quickly.
I remember True was 6 weeks and we went in to Sage to buy some essential oils. At that time my mother and sister were in town to meet True.
My mother and sister didn’t see me pregnant. They only saw me before pregnancy and 6 weeks post labour. At Sage my mother just kept looking at me and saying to my sister “are you sure she had this baby?” To her eyes my body was exactly the same.
After I came out of the bliss of just having my daughter I realised that the tone of my body was not, you know, it was gushy. I just remember everything being a bit flabby and loose and no where near the consistency it was before pregnancy.
And I remember at that point having to literally take a deep breath and refocus my attention every time I got upset about my body consistency.
I’d be like, “Oh God is this gonna be my body now”. My back was wider, I had love handles and my stomach was smooshy and my legs were jelly. I didn’t have any firmness going on whatsoever.
You know it wasn’t lean and tight.
The same day we were shopping at Sage the woman who worked there said in a shocked tone, “you had this baby?” And I burst out laughing and I said, “why does no one believe that I had this baby?”
My body on the outside looked pretty good. I was the only one who knew things weren’t the way I was used to the being.
But to feel good physically, mentally and emotionally, honestly it took a year. I remember True’s birthday thinking I haven’t thought negatively about my body in a while and I was thinking that I haven’t felt self-conscious in a long time. I definitely had battles in the first year but I seemed to have dissolved.
After having the baby my body was completely different. Old me would have been mortified by the changes that took place but who I am today had faith that through eating on plan, exercising and following my own lifestyle guide I would be fine. My body would bounce back to where it was supposed to be in the time it was meant to take.
What type of things did you do in terms of diet and exercise throughout the course of that year, to get back to feeling like yourself again?
So again, I was lean at 6 weeks post baby, which was great but it is important to note I didn’t binge during pregnancy and I exercised consistently.
I ate vegan ice cream three times and I upped my calories but I did exactly what I was supposed to when carrying a child.
I included more carbs and more fat than usual. But I did not veer off and I didn’t use it as an excuse. I knew what was coming.
I stayed really focused on nourishing my baby and also protecting myself from having a really horrible time after.
I really had a hard time at first because we’re out here in BC by ourselves. I don’t have childcare or family to help me with True and she has always been the type of baby who needed me to be holding her, looking at her or talking to her so working out just never went back to the way it used to be.
I was just totally thrown. So I started taking her for walk-naps and it really worked. Every day I did speed walking. Every day, since the week I had her. Every day for one and a half hours. Walking, walking, walking.
The other thing I started doing as I physically started to feel better (and I really took my time with healing) was some running, not jogging but literally burst-sprints, like I used to. I’ll still do that. I’ll do a run and then walk, and then run and then walk.
Yes, throughout the course of your walk but you are not aggressively tracking things?
Never. Not like I used to at all.
Now, my thing is just to get a really good physical work out and to be honest with myself about feeling like I have physically accomplished something with the work out. I’m still really in tune with my body. I tried to break a sweat. I tried to get out of breath.
I ran so hard yesterday that my lungs are sore today. That’s how I know I need to step it up again. Because I didn’t run that much.
The other thing that I used and I highly recommend (especially for busy moms) is the “all day work out”. So, I lift weights all day. Any chance I get I just go and do my circuit.
The other thing that really really works for me is dropping and just doing squats and squat jumps.
And now True does that with you?
True will do that with me which is really fun.
The other great thing we have done is dance. True loves to dance. We dance but in the dancing, one of my dance moves is to pick her up. I do bicep curls with her. I do squats with her. She just thinks we’re having fun and dancing and she loves it. So I definitely physically used her as well.
How have you addressed the nutrition side of things over the course of the last year?
So here’s the other thing, as soon as True was born, I was like, right back at it. I wanted to dive right back into Bikini Body.
Then I had trouble with milk supply and again I was like this is not about you looking hot in a bikini, this is about being grateful for your body and nourishing your child right now. There’ll be a ton of time in your life for you to be self focused and selfish and the whole thing.
I did check myself.
I had to, because of the breastfeeding thing. I had to increase my carbs again. Which is really hard for me because I’m not used to it.
The thing with carbs is they’re not evil. I’m the biggest advocate for carbs because I used to be on a low carb diet and I never got lean. My brain was foggy. I was moody. I even had a hormonal issue, whatever.
There’s like a happy balance to be found for me because in my experience the more carbs you eat the more water you hold. You think you are chunkier than you actually are. For a woman that’s what I think the biggest problem with carbs is.
I had to up my carbs. I had to have more fats. Just weird things that I don’t normally do. I kept everything super healthy again and that was even easier with breastfeeding because it was such a visual thing that what you are putting your body directly goes into what you are giving your child.
I was super super healthy, just eating more. I was eating more quick things, which isn’t my personality. I’m very much a person who makes everything from scratch and when I have to turn to some things that I normally wouldn’t, like larabars, usually I just make my own. There was no time for that though.
If we look at your calorie intake, I can see you increased it by adding a few more carbs and fats, but the fats are coming in the morning through MCT oil or nut butter and first thing too.
Yeah, that was something I was fully against before.
And it is not for everyone, but in this specific case it worked.
Yes, it works for my body.
I’m trying to analyse if I would continue I guess or what I would probably would cut back on. I am still a big believer in the morning to make sure you have your fruit.
I have to see when I stop breastfeeding if I continue with the higher fats in the morning. I’ll see how it works.
Now I just eat really healthy. I definitely need a lot more carbs (while breastfeeding) and I still leaned out. It just took longer, that’s the only thing.
I know how to get to a goal in 3 weeks if that’s your goal but there are certain sacrifices you have to make. I was not able to do that. I feel like my butt just started to come back in the last 3-4 months.
I definitely could have had faster results if my parenting style and choices were different. What ended up working for True and I was attachment parenting with exclusive breastfeeding. This left little time to workout intensely (while alone) and didn’t allow for me to go super lean and strict with my diet.
Had I had more time and my body back to myself sooner, results most likely would have come even faster. I am still breastfeeding True (now 19 months). I have not been away from her yet and I am currently pregnant. My intense workouts and super tight eating are still a bit away for me. But my time will come.
UPDATE: I’m pregnant again! This pregnancy has been very different in that I was extremely sick for the first trimester. I will be doing an updated post on this pregnancy so far and my journey along the way.
I would love to hear your post baby body concerns that you would like me to cover here in the comments below.
– Amy Layne
Thank you to Amy for sharing her journey.
The key for Amy is that she set herself up for success. She knew her body, and where her overeating was likely to come from. The added bonus of seeing herself directly provide nutrients to a baby significantly impacted her will and desire to continue living a healthy lifestyle, eating well and moving her body.
Amy challenged herself physically by not only moving her body on a daily basis, but incorporating baby and slowly upping the difficulty level.
Amy is a textbook case of knowing your binge triggers. She understands her relationship to food on a higher level and can see the impact unhealthy food could have before it happens. She is very good at checking in with herself when it is time to make a decision around food. These are all tools we could build upon and use in our own lives.
Amy’s story is one of inspired preparedness and living in the moment. These are qualities any of us could benefit from on a health and weight loss journey.
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