Unrealistic Expectations for Losing the Baby Weight: Give Yourself a Break, New Moms!
I'm a little frustrated with fellow new mom Kim Kardashian. Today I was in an airport and saw Kim on the cover of a magazine in a bikini, announcing how she lost 40 pounds in 50 days. Sigh.
First of all (and assuming it's true), I'd like to know exactly how much she spent on doctors, trainers, and chefs to achieve that. Second, it's not realistic, healthy, or practical. It's exactly the kind of faux-information that can drive a new mom crazy. It's enough to keep our babies’ diapers clean, ourselves showered, and our breast milk flowing. We don't need to get into a bikini for the first six months of their life. We had a long walk into pregnancy; let's give ourselves just as long to walk out of it.
My babies are 5 months old, and I'm happy to announce that I'm down 18 pounds since I started a weight loss effort in May (they were born in February, and I cut myself some slack for the fourth trimester). It took me twice as long to lose half the weight, and I'm cool with that. Heck, I'm proud of my achievement!
I did not have a personal trainer or a chef. My tool of choice was the Jawbone Up band, which can be purchased for a little over $100. It helps me keep track of my steps (I try to walk at least 5 miles a day), and most importantly for this new mom, my sleep. I try to get 7 hours of sleep per night. It's possible, and it's critical for weight loss.
I also read a book, called French Children Don't Throw Food, which I recommend highly. There is a chapter on weight loss that describes the French attitude toward losing the baby weight: Parisian women don't diet; it's too regimented and terribly unchic. But when they do want to lose the baby or any other kind of weight, it’s simple: They "pay attention." They are selective and intentional in their food choices.
So when I feel like munching in the mid-afternoon, but I'm not really hungry, I say no to cheese and crackers and yes to a whole cucumber. It fills me up, helps me munch, and is a whopping 25 calories. I opt for lighter fare like salads and soups as my "thank god the babies have gone to sleep" dinner I enjoy with my husband at 8:30 p.m. After all, it doesn't make sense to have a big meal that close to bedtime, no matter how much I'd like to make a big meal to celebrate with my husband.
I do treat myself to a little bit of high-quality chocolate at night. A friend recently treated me to a care package from Madécasse, a premium chocolate company (African harvested and processed). So I have a simple, satisfying bite before bed as a reward for paying attention all day.
While I applaud Kim's accomplishment, it's not something I—a working, pumping mom of twins—can realistically achieve. However, my babies are steadily gaining weight, I'm steadily losing it, My husband and I still seem to like each other, and I've got good chocolate on my bedside table. I might not be cover-story worthy, but all's well in my little world. And that's something worth paying attention to.