This week has been national breastfeeding week so I thought it only fitting to incorporate feeding Benjamin into the post. Eight months into breastfeeding and we are still going strong. I’m really proud of both of us to have made it this far, and I have high hopes we will make it to my goal of a year, and perhaps even beyond.
There were many reasons behind my choice to breastfeed and one of them, although not a main one, was that it can help slim you down after giving birth. I don’t know how much breastfeeding has actually helped me to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but it can’t be a bad thing.
I knew I wanted to lose the weight I had gained during my pregnancy in preparation for our wedding this September, but I was also keen to drop the pounds safely and without hindering my ability to feed Benjamin.
I had Benjamin in the middle of October and I didn’t make any attempt to get back in shape until after Christmas, which gave me six months to lose the weight in time for my first dress fitting (this morning – eek).
I had gained almost three stone during pregnancy, and after the initial drop after birth I was at around eleven stone by the new year when I started eating healthily with two stone to lose. One of the main things I did to start with was to cut out the doughnuts I had become obsessed with when Benjamin was a newborn. Luckily we moved house in January and moved away from the Waitrose which stocked my favourite treat.
I initially went about losing weight the same way I had with my two older children, by eating healthily five days a week and allowing myself two cheat days where I could have whatever it was I had been craving in the week. However, a few weeks in I finished reading The Goddess Revolution, which is all about being kind to yourself and not punishing your body if you eat ‘bad’ foods and it changed my mindset.
In the book, the author Mel encourages you to stop labelling foods bad and good and to tune into your own body to eat what makes you feel good inside and out. One of the chapters in the book is about ‘healthy eating’ being just another word for a diet, and that allowing cheat days is not a positive mentality to maintain. So I ditched my healthy eating plan and instead tried to listen to my body to find out what it wanted me to eat.
Ultimately this way of thinking was what helped me to lose weight. Ironically it was when I stopped trying that I actually began to see the weight drop off and I felt amazing. I wasn’t depriving myself of anything I wanted, but I started noticing when I had eaten foods that were nutritious and when I had eaten ‘junk’ food, and I made more healthy choices because they made me feel better, instead of feeling forced to. I allowed myself whatever I wanted and continued some ‘bad’ habits of eating at night in bed watching Netflix.
Initially I was exercising a couple of times a week, sometimes at the gym, sometimes with a home workout DVD but then a couple of months ago I stopped and I didn’t do any exercise at all. I went on holiday to Spain and I just enjoyed spending time with the children and having delicious food and wine each day whilst we were away.
When we got back, the weight didn’t come back on, but I felt sluggish and my tummy in particular looked and felt out of shape. I knew I had my dress fitting, and then the wedding coming up, and I finally found the motivation to start working out.
I’m going to cover my exercise routine in another post, but regularly making the effort to work out has really helped me to feel more fit and confident, and my body is starting to look more toned. I also feel even more motivated to eat well, as I don’t want my exercise to have been wasted. I have upped my water intake, and limited my treats each day because I know in the long term it makes me feel so much better.
I’m now down to my goal weight and I am happy that I didn’t rush myself or take any shortcuts to get to this stage and best of all, I’ve been able to healthily maintain my feeding for Benjamin during my weight loss. I still have a way to go before I’m completely toned and confident with my body, but for now, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m proud of all my body has done and continues to do.