Friday, October 10, 2014

Pregnancy weight: Gaining 32kg then dropping 20kg

If someone had asked me what my weight was a year ago, I would've found a way to get out of answering. Even though I weighed way less back then, now I have no trouble announcing it to the world because my weight gain is but a small price to pay for being a mum.

When I got pregnant I was 53kg (116.8 pounds). I’ll admit I had just lost a ton of weight for no apparent reason (well, I was 58kg (128 pounds) so only 5kg(11 pounds)). The only change in my life was that I had cut fizzy drinks out of my diet, a decision that regrettably has since been reversed.

So I was 53kg and I was pretty happy, why? Because if I gained the average 14kg (30 pounds) I would reach 67kg (148 pounds). That seemed like an easy gain to handle. I’ve been 67kg before so I knew what to expect. But not to my surprise thanks to my North African genes, I reached 67kg very early on in my pregnancy! I gained weight like crazy in the first trimester, which made no sense since I was throwing up a lot of the time.

I started dreading weighing myself before my antenatal appointment. I knew I was gonna see a horrendous, unjustifiable increase. I was gaining half a kilo to a full kilo a week (how crazy is that?) but I didn’t go on a diet since my doctor seemed OK with the weight gain. I knew I was not over eating so I didn’t lower my intakes. I ate my fish and vegetables as normal, and yes OK I had the occasional chocolate bar. (I admit! it was two a day).

By the end of the 9 months I was 85kg (187 pounds). That’s EIGHTY-FIVE KILOGRAMS!! And the baby was what? 2.7kg (7 pounds)? Say the placenta and everything else around the baby were another 2kg (they weren't, but let’s just say they were). That left me at over 80kg when I gave birth.

Was I depressed about my weight? Naturally. Jumping from a UK size 10 to 18 in 9 months was not easy, but I wasn’t going to let my new body weight eat me up. I knew I was still in there, under all that fat. I knew (hoped) I would lose it eventually. And although I’m still 12kg more than I was to begin with, I’m happy with my current weight of 65kg (143 pounds) at four months postpartum. That means I lost 20kg (44 pounds) in total. Not bad.

So how did I get here?

After giving birth I breastfed exclusively for a month. Even though my mum was stuffing me like a Christmas turkey everyday to produce enough milk for her grandson, I still lost around half a kilo a day for two weeks. I’m guessing that was just extra body fluids. By the end of the second week I was down from 81kg to 74kg. Pretty good for someone who did nothing to lose weight.

But after that my body just didn’t seem to want to lose anymore weight on its own. I barely lost two more kilos over the next two weeks. I was 72kg one month postpartum. That meant I lost a total of 13kg (You see if I gained the average amount of weight during pregnancy I would have probably gone back to my postpartum weight by now. Thanks, genes, thanks.)

I had two months before I needed to go back to work and I did NOT want to end up buying all new clothes. Shopping for a pear-shaped body was never easy, and now with all that weight gain I looked like a disproportional joke. I was determined to reach at least 65kg so I could fit in Medium/Large and keep certain body parts under control. You all know what I’m talking about here.

I started going to the gym in my building. I went for 30-50 minutes three times a week for two weeks. I lost around 2kg. It was still far from ideal but everyone said I should cut myself some slack. So I did. When I reached 69.9kg I stopped going to the gym. I was officially in my 60s! (yes, 69.9kg is in the 60s. It starts with a 6, doesn't it?!).

And slacked I did, for several weeks. I did watch my food intake though, so instead of eating a cake, I had a banana. I continued eating and drinking (not alcohol, breastfeeding mothers) as usual. I weighed myself daily just to make sure I wasn’t gaining anymore weight. By three months PP I was 67kg. That’s another 3kg down by doing little more than switching foods.

After returning to work, I slowly lost more weight. After the first month I reached 65Kg, which is where I am now. I’m not sure why, possibly because working distracts me from eating, or I just find little time to eat now. But it happened, I’m happy.

Could I have lost weight faster? If I wasn’t breastfeeding then yes, absolutely, but I  wasn’t going to switch my baby to be exclusively being bottle-fed for my selfish desire to fit into my old clothes. I could have also done a bit of research and followed certain diets to lose weight, but I barely had time to do anything other than looking after my boy.

The point of this post is to tell you all that you will probably lose the majority of your baby weight by the time you are 3 months PP, even with stubborn genes. So don’t stress, you will shrink down. So don’t throw out any of your pre-pregnancy clothes just yet. There is hope!

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