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Ack! Losing That Baby Weight

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Unlike celebs, we know that kicking those pounds is no joke.

woman looking at the mirror

Krista Vernoff: When my daughter was 3 months old, I glanced at a mirror one morning and was startled to discover that I was obese. I don't say that glibly; I was genuinely startled. I loved being pregnant (after the constant nausea of the first trimester had passed.) Starting around week 12, I felt beautiful and glowy. Instead of apologizing for my bulgy belly the way I had been for years, I could thrust it out into the world proudly -- 'cause now I had a reason for the bulge: I was growing a person. I freaking loved it. I also loved the unapologetic eating that came with pregnancy. A pint of ice cream a night? Why not?? I'm growing a person! She needs calcium! So do I! New York Double Fudge Chunk has calcium! Bring it on!! Loved it. And as my clothing size grew, I just took it as a natural part of the pregnancy experience (which it is.) I gained 50 pounds, and I just trusted that once the baby was born, it would come off as easily as it had come on. And that is where I was really wrong.

When Coco was 3 months old, I had lost 27 of that 50 pounds which sounds great -- until you consider that I lost 26 of those pounds the first week. The baby, the placenta, the water weight -- all of that came to 26 pounds. So in 11 weeks, I'd lost one pound. Maybe that's why I suddenly noticed that I was obese. Previously, I hadn't considered it obesity, I had considered it a necessary weight gain that would necessarily fall away. Adding to the problem of the pregnancy pounds was the fact that I when I got pregnant, I was 20 pounds heavier than I had ever been, which put me at around size 16. Add to that 24 pounds of pregnancy weight. I don't actually know what size I was because I was shopping exclusively in the plus size section of Nordstrom, where they are kind enough to not put numbers like "20" and "24" on the clothes. Instead, they put things like "1X" and "1XX." Sweet of them, right? Always a size one. Anyway, yeah, I was obese. And I really, really did not want to be.

I was LOVING the experience of being a new mom. My gorgeous girl stopped sleeping at the 4 month mark and the next three months were hell -- but those first few months of her life? She slept like a dream. She slept seven hours straight the first night home from the hospital, and I let her, trusting that she would wake when she was hungry. I was really into being led by my instincts as a parent. I didn't read any books. I didn't follow advice. I absolutely refused to wake her up every two hours because the lactation lady said I should. I trusted my gut and my heart and it worked for me beautifully. But when it came to getting my body back? To recognizing myself in the mirror? To feeling physically well enough to keep up with my husband on walks around the neighborhood? When it came to alleviating the pain in my knees and back that came with all that extra weight ... I didn't have any instincts. I didn't know where to begin. Everything in me just wanted to sit around gazing at my baby girl while snacking on almond croissants. That was my very strongest instinct. And so I called in an expert.

In response, my dear friend Az Ferguson, who knew me well enough to know how to motivate me, invented a game. Just for me. And that game changed my life. It changed my body, it changed my energy, it changed my understanding of myself and my own strength. How? By making the process of getting physically fit FUN.

I wanted to sit around and eat croissants and gaze at Coco because it filled me with joy. So replacing that joy with something that felt like a chore just wasn't gonna happen. Thankfully, Az got that. (Okay, he got it AFTER he came over and taught me all about how to eat right and exercise and then I thanked him and completely ignored his advice. But still, he got it.)

He challenged me and two of my girlfriends to compete against him, and my husband and another guy friend. He put a prize on the line. He attached points to healthy habits like eating well and exercising and drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. So now, instead of "dieting," I was playing. And I love a good game, so I played all out. And on the days when I didn't feel so much like playing, I played anyway because my points were being averaged with the points of my teammates -- my girlfriends -- and I didn't want to let them down. (So, when my competitiveness waned, my codependence kicked in.) I lost the remaining pregnancy weight over the next three months, and then, over the next three months, I lost another 20 pounds.

I love this game. I love it most of all because I have a daughter. And for a lot of my life, I would look in the mirror and not like what I saw and feel powerless to change it. And I don't want that to be a lesson she absorbs. I want her to look in the mirror and love what she sees and know that if she doesn't love what she sees, she has the power to change. I want to teach her, by example -- which is really the only way, that she has the power to change her perception, the power to change her mind and the power to change her body. I want to teach her to claim her power, to love her body, to love her life. The game Az invented is helping me, still, every time I play, to get that just a little more. And the best part is? Just like being Coco's mommy, it's still fun, every single day. Game On!!



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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Secret Mommy August 20, 2009, 7:37 PM

I love this. And your story could be mine. When I got pregnant with my first, I was 20 pounds heavier than I should be. I only gained about 28 pounds with him, which all came off within the first 3 months, but I still had my previous extra 20 pounds, plus I was now a size bigger, even at my pre-pregnancy weight. Now I’m pregnant with my 2nd and DETERMINED to get my body back in shape after he is born. I don’t want my kids to see my unhealthy lifestyle (I’m not super crazy about exercise…though I love the outdoors…and I have an insatiable sweet-tooth…) and take after it. I want them to be active, physically fit, and like you say, feel empowered to change what they are unhappy with when it comes to their weight or energy. Thanks for a great article!

abbi August 20, 2009, 8:06 PM

Jillian Michaels - Banish Fat Boost Metabolism.

I do this everyday, and she’s not lying when she says if you stick to it dilligently, you’ll get great results.

45 minutes… even 3 times a week would be beneficial. Don’t tell me you don’t screw around atleast 45 minutes a day doing things like reading momlogic, watching tv, etc.

Besides, get your tech-savvy kid to download it and then you’re fit for free.
Works for me

Sarah  December 2, 2009, 4:02 PM

Yes, I can completely releate! But, fortunately, I found an amazing doctor in Santa Monica that specializes in helping new moms lose weight through customized diet plan and hormone balancing! She is AMAZING…her name is Dr. Fradin-Read at LifeSpan in Santa Monica, CA…She has been a LIFESAVER to me and many others! :)


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