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Monday, August 10, 2009

Baby fat

Apparently I have lost some of the baby weight. At least according to a nanny at the park.

When I arrived at the park this morning with the two kids this woman was sitting on a bench chatting to a friend. They had been talking about me. When I looked towards them and smiled the woman said "I was just telling her you used to be fat but now you are getting skinnier". At first I wasn't sure if I understood what she had said. Did she really say "fat"? Maybe she said "firm". No, it was fat. The woman continued. "I used to think you were old because your face was so fat", she gestured to her face as if to add three chins, "but now I can see you are young".

I kept smiling through all of this. I even laughed. "Well," I said, "you know, it can be hard to find time to exercise with two kids. And I was really big when I was pregnant. It is hard to lose the weight". I smiled. I laughed some more.

As unintentional as it was, her words hurt me. I have been struggling with my weight. While it was nice to hear that I was skinnier it made me worry about what I looked like this past year. Have I been wandering around looking fat and old? Is that what people saw when they looked at me?

My mood of sadness and frustration about my weight actually started this weekend when we received the photos from our recent family photo shoot. The photos themselves are amazing. The girl looks beautiful. The boy looks like an Eastern European prince, at least according to my dad. The photographer did an excellent job. But when I looked at the pictures of myself I was startled. Is that what I look like? The me in the pictures and the me in my head are different. The me in my head isn't as heavy as the one I see in the photographs.

I know that I haven't lost all the baby weight. I can fit into some but not all of my pre-baby clothes. I am definitely not as skinny as I was after the girl was born. After her birth I lost all the pregnancy weight and then some. I had to buy new clothes because everything was too big. I was one of those annoying people that went around saying "it's the breastfeeding! The weight is just falling off!"

Not this time. This time the weight has been slow to come off. I try to eat well but sometimes I eat a cookie or a KitKat bar at the end of a long and trying day. I try to exercise but it rarely happens. There is always something else that needs to be done. Or I am too tired. Usually I am too tired. At the end of the day I don't have the energy for much except to sit quietly and, maybe, spend sometime with the husband. And I am not enough of a morning person to make it out of the house at 6am for a run.

I did take a few yoga classes over the winter and went to a mom and baby exercise class for a few months until the boy was started to crawl. That helped. I know I need to do more but I feel caught. Caught between the time and energy needed to exercise and the feeling like I should be exercising. Like the mom with a baby at the girl's preschool who goes to the gym three times a week. Or the mom with a baby from the park who goes to boot camp.

But I'm not them and they aren't me. All the shoulds do is make me feel bad.

So this is me for now. Skinnier. I will try to stay positive and keep moving forward. Focusing on the ier.


  1. Holy shit! I would have probably burst into tears and I would have totally wanted to slap that woman! And I'm not violent at all! That is just SO RUDE. GOD some people have NO tact. While she meant well, I guess - telling you you look good and that you have lost weight - saying what she did is just wrong. I've struggled with my weight my whole life, and now that I have 2 kids I cannot lose weight as easily at all. I'm a yo-yo dieter, up and down every other week. It sucks, and I will never be skinny. It is not easy. Yeah, good for you for staying positive.

  2. Wow. Some people really don't know how to use their social filters.
    My current motivation - now I just have a few extra pounds that I'm not crazy about, not the tricky-to-get-rid-of baby weight - is that we're going on a trip in November with a group of people 10 years younger than us. All lovely and thin... and I want to be, too. (with the exception that I also want to be pregnant, so if that happens, I'll be thrilled to show off a bit of belly!!).
    I am not a big fan of exercising for the sake of exercising, so I'm just going to try to supercharge my regular stuff. Going up the stairs? run up instead. Dance while I get dressed or do chores (also entertaining... yes I laugh at myself). That sort of thing. who knows if it will work... I'll tell you in November!

  3. Not a very nice thing to say and believe you me, I know it's hard to find time to brush my teeth some days so exercise and eating right are a challenge. While what those women said was not nice I wonder if there was a language barrier. Often my Italian mom tries to say something pleasant and it comes out rude and hurtful. They were trying to pay you a compliment but it clearly came off sounding wrong.

  4. It is always hard when other people say what we have been self conscience about. I always look at photos and wonder where the extra "skin" around my chin comes from.

    I lost a lot of weight by walking right after the kidlet was born, but went back to work and realized I have no self control and the fair trade chocolate just put the weight back on.

    Walking really, made a huge difference, and grazing on healthier food throughout the day. I have had weight problems since my teens and it is hereditary. I am not a morning person either, but will say I have lost 5 lbs in three weeks on the Wii Fit. I was surprised.

    Good luck in finding the motivation and combination of what works for you!

  5. I look in the mirror and see the stretch marks, extra weight, jiggly bits and I too am hit with the "I used to run and jump and ride and hike and fit into a size 2" blues. I am angry at myself for not being more motivated, I am angry at my husband for cooking with bacon so much, I am angry at how busy we are and that I get no time for me to exercise (housework does not count).

    This baby weight thing is hard to lose. I'm so tired all the time from lack of sleep that the exercise motivation goes right out the window. I am like every other mom out there in that statement I am sure.

    I looked at pictures from Sandbanks, two weeks ago, and realized that I looked just like my mother. And this is not a good thing. I felt so down when I saw my side profile and even a black swimsuit couldn't hide the thick waist.

    So I read your post, and I nodded knowingly. I've been asked when I am due, and I just say "Ahhh its just post-baby fat" and feel humiliated. I am still wearing my maternity pants.

    Its time to change, just sometimes it feels insurmountable, doesn't it? But if lots of other women can do it, we can too.

  6. Wow, that is HARSH!! Good for you for being good-hearted and not putting that woman in her place!! I was very fortunate this third and LAST pregnancy, which was NOT the case with my other two! I was able to drop weight pretty fast, but of course I got the..."you're so skinny, what's wrong with you!" So really you lose either way! :) But now that I've completely weaned...I'm sure I'll start gaining it back...darn that cookie habit!! xo

  7. OK, I have to admit I laughed when I read this. I just couldn't believe what she said. What it a cultural difference? I know some cultures tend to be a lot more blunt, though they mean well. In the travels that I have done, I've had some extremely insulting things said to me with very good intensions. All that being said, it still hurts, especially when you are feeling a little self conscious about it in the first place.

    But try and remember that things can change, that weight is something you have control of, and it will come off when you are ready for it. Just try not to get it caught in your zipper. It hurts like hell! ;-)

  8. Julie stole my comment, minus the zipper part.

    Pudge you can work on -- when the time comes, if it comes at all.

  9. The woman is really very nice and I talk to her most days at the park. It could have been a language barrier or even just a difference in what we think is okay to say. I am pretty sure she meant it as a compliment. She just hit a nerve.

    I am going to try to motivate myself more. I think exercise is key. But not at the end of the day. I am too tired from those two. I will start with weekends and see what happens. If anyone wants to join me for yoga on a Sunday afternoon just let me know. :-)

  10. I too wondered if it was a language/cultural barrier. You can't imagine some of the comments I got when I was living in Korea.
    I'm trying to find the will to starte getting active - I have a good 40-60 lbs to lose :P I went to strollercize once so far, is that considered a start? It's be nice to have a motivation group or something...

  11. Of course I wanted to see a picture. Because I am sure that the way we see you is not at all the way you see yourself. At least, that's how it is for me.

    Last weekend, my husband's grandmother said to me, 'Well, you're finally losing some weight.'

    Dude, I am 117 lbs. and had 2 children in 2 years. Down from 122 lbs. I only didn't sock her in the mouth because she is 92.

  12. I totally want to reach through the computer - run over to your park - and strangle this woman.

    Remember, she is a nanny, probably never given birth to anything (other than demon spawns).

  13. I have the advantage of teaching at the gym. Nothing motivates you to go regularly like HAVING to be there whether you want to or not.

    And, in my opinion, there's one photo of your boy in particular in that batch where he looks positively ethereal. I'm betting that's the one your dad was looking at when he made the European prince comment.

  14. I'm about to become a bootcamp mama . was spinning over atcyclefit for 4 months but that was during the day when big M was in daycare, and nominal daycare was provided for baby M. Now I'm back at work and going to sacrifice (well the whole family is sacficing, really!) two evenings a week to make it happen. It's going to be hard . .But I think, for me, it will be worth it . . have to get over this hurdle I'm stuck on. Haven't lost any weight in a while and since my spin clas ended in July I haven't picked up anything else.

    Good for you for showing a stiff upper lip - I would have cried, I think.

    You are where you are and you can only go on from here. No use looking at the old self, you're the new and improved self - you can mother two beautiful children, you can do ANYTHING!

  15. I know how you feel.. I've often felt like the 'me' on the inside doesn't match the one on the outside.