I’ve chronicled my weight loss journey after having Annabelle and a while back I set the goal of wearing a bikini (for the first time in two years!) on our Bahamas trip this spring. On one of my previous posts, I promised photographic evidence–it seemed so far away and I got caught up in the moment. (What was I thinking?!)
Well, that day is here. As this post goes live, I’m thousands of feet over the ocean on my way to a “rustic” private resort for my sister’s beachfront wedding. I’ll admit to wavering in my resolve to put my bikini body out there for all the world to see (and potentially scrutinize), but a promise is a promise! I want to show that through hard work (unless you’re one of the lucky few) and commitment, you CAN achieve a healthy figure, even if it’s not exactly how you used to look. I also want to encourage other mamas to be proud of their post-baby body.
I don’t own a scale– I instead tracked my progress through how I felt and what I was able to wear. When I finally was able to put on (and button) a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans, I considered my goal met. But it wasn’t exactly that simple.
I went through an in-between stage where maternity gear was way too big, but I still wasn’t able to fit in my old clothes. I got stuck here for a while and it was a little discouraging. However, I was determined to get back (close) to my pre-baby size, so I made a couple relatively simple changes and was finally able to break through that final plateau and lose that “last ten pounds” of baby weight.
1. Walk, Walk, Walk! — We’ve had a lovely spring here in Texas, so I’ve taken full advantage before we’re into our brutal 100-degree-plus summer days. Every day possible, I load Annabelle in the stroller, pick Lilu up from school, and we hit the pavement. We’ve mapped out a route in our neighborhood that takes about 25 minutes–just enough to get the blood pumping, but not completely wear out my six year old companion. It’s fun and it doesn’t feel like exercise, but I’m adding in an extra calorie burning session and keeping that metabolism going during what would otherwise be the dreaded “afternoon slump.” I also squeeze in walks in other ways, like parking farther away at the store or taking the stairs. I’m sure you’ve heard all that before, but it really does add up!
2. Stop Eating Late at Night — As a former bartender, I’m used to having late meals. Even though I’ve been retired from that “profession” for a few years, the habit carried over. I would wait until after the kids were fed, bathed, and in bed before I would actually sit down to feed myself. However, your metabolism slows close to bedtime, so it’s harder for your body to digest that food. I made a conscious decision to eat WITH the girls instead of waiting and not only did my weight loss pick back up, but it was much more rewarding to have a family dinner.
3. Eat More Veggies! — As a family, we already enjoy our greens. However, as we got closer to vacation, hubby and I decided to add an extra serving of vegetables to each meal. The more you fill up on healthy food, the less room you’ll have for the stuff that isn’t. Plus, you’ll feel amazing!
Well, here we are at the moment of truth. And here is my real “bikini body” for all the world to see– no filters and no retouching! It’s taken a full year to get to this point and even though my tummy is far from what I would call perfect, my belly button is a little wonky, and I do have stretch marks (though a pre-vacation spray tan does wonders to camouflage them), I’m proud to say that I accomplished what I set out to do, and that is to feel comfortable enough to wear a two-piece for the first time in years.
And YOU CAN DO IT TOO mamas!! You just have to keep at it. I was barely able to walk for my first three months postpartum and wondered how that (HUGE) pooch was EVER going to go away. But I started walking and moving, and I slowly worked my way up to more intense cardio, power yoga, and weight training. Since I was breastfeeding, I didn’t do a strict diet, but rather I focused on healthy choices to go along with my commitment to exercise.
It’s going to be HARD, it’s going to be discouraging at times, but it is POSSIBLE! Maybe you’ll always have stretch marks (I think I will…and again, don’t be fooled…the spray tan hides them well) but you earned them! There’s no reason to be ashamed (quite the opposite actually) and no reason to cover up what I like to call our “badge of honor.” I for one, would never dream of laughing at another woman who is brave enough to rock a bikini after having kids, especially now that I know just how tough it is to get that weight off! I’d actually feel like cheering her on– you go!
That’s what we need to do as women: cheer for each other’s successes and encourage each other in reaching our goals. I mean, we’re dealing with many of the same struggles right? My hope is that you take two things away from this it’s that (1) that you CAN achieve a body you’re proud of, and (2) to be more compassionate towards other moms and their body issues.
Pshew! First public bikini selfie: check! Not sure if I’ll make that a habit 😉