Five months have flown by since I had a baby so I thought it was time to talk baby weight (not to mention give Chaz a much-needed break from blogging).
Pre-pregnancy I was finally at my dream weight of 9st7 thanks to ultra marathon training – the 9s had previously and may now return to being unchartered territory and as the weight quickly piled on I dreamed of the day I could start to tackle the weight gain post-baby. As superficial as it sounds, I just didn’t feel like myself during pregnancy and hated being bigger – I can’t say it was a magical time for me as those around will confirm having dealt with my horrendous moods.
The time finally came when I went for my eight-week check up and the doc gave me the go-ahead to start some gentle exercise as well as recommending doubling up on good sports bras following her own experience of running while breastfeeding (top tip – bye bye black eyes).
Before baby I’d realised the Ron Hill 10k, one of our favourite races, was taking place early March which turned out to be about 11 weeks post-baby. Setting myself this target spurred me into action and after barricading my boobs down with two heavy duty Shock Absorbers I tentatively embarked on some very short runs, quickly building up to 6 miles just in time for race day.Along with Chaz, our friend Jen and Chaz’s friend and workmate Debbie we headed off on the new route on a slightly grey Sunday morning.
I immediately felt TERRIBLE. Really slow, sluggish and struggling to keep up with the others, despite their pre-race claims to be slow runners and Debbie being 14 weeks pregnant herself they were all leaving me for dust. I didn’t mind this – my only goal was to finish and I’m not a competitive person at all (Chaz got 100% of those genes) but as it was making things harder I broke off and attempted to ride solo until Chaz insisted on tagging along at the back with me telling me stories to get me through it.
I finished the race in about 1 hour 19 minutes – not last but not far from it! I actually burst into tears when I saw the results – pathetic I know – but quickly pulled myself together and reminded myself most of my fellow runners had (presumably) not given birth 11 weeks earlier and it was an achievement to get back out there. Seeing Quincy at the finish line cheered us up and it was a great way to mark my first Mother’s Day as a mum.
Clocking in over 13 stones post-baby (what can I say, I don’t do things by halves), I was still struggling to lose more than a couple of pounds a month at this point despite my best efforts to be healthy and run when I could.
It was time to shake things up and my knight in shining armour came in the form of personal trainer Sy from The Fitness Bank gym in Oswaldtwistle. I’d long been double tapping on Insta gym bunnies lifting and squatting their way to dream bodies but never had the nerve to try much in the gym myself beyond the usual cardio machines. Chaz had been working out with Sy for a while in between training for big races so I decided to give it a try and managed to get a weekly session with him. Even better, he let me bring Quincy along and park her pram up in a quiet corner of the gym for a snooze while I got my sweat on.
I was 12st10 on my first session with Sy on 1st March – revealed in a Biggest Loser style weigh in where he made me stand with my back to the scales so he could hit me with the verdict, something he still makes me do every week.
I found the workout hard but fun (I finally understood why Chaz walked even more slowly than a 6-month pregnant me after her first session) and have been enjoying it more and more every week since. It’s different every week so I never get bored or dread certain exercises and Sy’s even given me workouts I can try at home on the days I can’t make it to the gym.
At my first session Sy asked if I’d be up for following a diet plan he’d devise for me – at this point I was willing to try anything. Stocking up on eggs, cottage cheese, Sunwarrior vegan protein powder and Quorn I started the plan as soon as I could and I haven’t looked back.
Two months later I’m 11st7, so that’s 1st3lbs down and a stone away from my initial goal of 10st7.
Surprisingly, I have found the plan easy to follow and enjoyable – it’s made me realise I didn’t eat as much protein as I thought or should beforehand and as it’s all about eating the right things often to keep up your metabolism I’m never hungry. The evening meals are family friendly so I don’t have to eat separately – things like Quorn spag bol and chilli, veggie sausages and sweet potato wedges, tofu stir fries and one cheat meal a week on a Saturday.
Running is still a weekly fixture – I try to get out as often as I can at the weekend and it’s a good way to escape the baby and gossip with Chaz when she can squeeze me in around her intense training regime.
I walk miles and miles most days, ditching the car and dragging the pram or baby carrier out whenever I can and taking Bernard on daily treks all over the place in between “proper” workouts.We’ve also started Saturday morning gym sessions with friends to chat our way through the lunges. Another great thing about our gym is the pay as you go factor which means you can go as much or as little as you can manage without forking out a hefty monthly fee and feeling guilty when you can’t make it. We’ve been testing Sy’s workouts on everyone by putting Terri, Rachael and Abbi through their paces so far and if anyone else fancies joining us, the more the merrier!
The other thing that’s been great for getting back into the swing of things is the Active Mums programme run by Hyndburn Leisure. I started buggy fitness and buggy bootcamp classes as early as I could and I still attend the Monday morning buggy fit class at The Park children’s centre every Monday.
The sessions are cheap (£1.50 – £2.50) and it’s a great way to meet other mums and dip your toe back into the world of exercise – it’s a good workout without being intimidating, you can take things at your own pace and if your baby cries you can break off or pick them up, use them as a weight if you’re that committed to finishing the workout or as an excuse for an early finish if you’re knackered. Just kidding Sally! I do not do that.
The Monday session is my favourite as we work out in the park which makes it more fun (oddly) – Sally who runs the class is a great motivator and she brings her own little girl along too so everyone is in the same boat. There’s a brew and a chat afterwards which is handy for feeding hungry babies post-workout. If you’re wondering how to get back into fitness after having a baby I would seriously recommend sessions like this as a great first step.
Hopefully I am only halfway through my post-baby weight loss “journey” so more updates coming soon, in the meantime if any of my fellow mums have any tips, insight or advice I would love to hear it!