Making A Change

Post baby weight loss has never been something I’ve thought much about. I suppose I was lucky in a sense as I was 27 when Ethan was born and thanks to breastfeeding (sneaky cheeky calorie smashing bonus), I lost ‘the baby weight’ fairly soon.

The problem was that breastfeeding also gave me even more of a sweet tooth than I normally possessed and whilst I was in heaven with the amount of tasty treats I consumed whilst the pounds dropped off, I was naive in thinking that my weight would somehow level out after I finished burning calories in form of my ass in a chair feeding my son.

In fairness, my mother-in-law did warn me that I couldn’t continue my calorific diet when the feeding stopped, but that I likely would and would then find myself looking at my too-tight clothes wondering how the hell that happened? Prophecy she is. At the end of my year feeding Ethan, I was the slimmest I’ve ever been. One year later than that… I was close to the heaviest I’ve ever been.

I should mention that my weight fluctuation has never been severe… We’re talking about a dress size. But when that change in dress size (without admitting that I must change my wardrobe) means that you can’t sit down in your jeans without cutting off the circulation to your thighs, it’s time to make moves.

Aside from the uncomfortable attire, turning 30 was a bit of a kick in the backside towards my new health focus. I realised that I had never been a regular exerciser and that if I was to have a snowball’s hope in hell of feeling confident in my body as I got older, not to mention having some stability in my size, exercise must become a part of my routine.

I recently learned this concept of a ‘keystone habit’. A keystone habit is a habit you adopt that has a positive knock on effect in your life and makes other positive habits easier to implement.

I found that by working out a few times a week, my mood is better, I make better choices with food, I put more effort into my appearance and I generally walk a little taller. Even though I’m early on in this (I’ve only been at it for the last two months) and my appearance has only slightly changed, there are enough benefits for me to keep going.

I also had the moment of dawning that if I didn’t start now and see it as a lifestyle change, then I would never likely actually do it. I would never be ‘a girl who goes to the gym’. And it turns out I really really like being ‘a girl who goes to the gym’.

And tell me if I’m wrong… But does it seem like there is a general culture change towards fitness these days? I seem to be constantly bumping into personal trainers, people in activewear and the fact that my local Irish sandwich shop is now serving quinoa just blows my mind. (An enjoyable side effect of this new trend is that it also seems to make it cool that I now wear trainers with a dress. I am so down for that.)

So I shall keep you posted as I venture into this world of fitness. I see a rabbit hole ahead of me and whilst I have no intention to try my hand at body building in future, I certainly have some serious goals I’m pretty determined to achieve.

Are you a fitness convert like me? If so, what was your moment of dawning that pushed you towards it?
Anyone thinking of taking it up?
Also, anyone else find the pounds pile on post breastfeeding?

P.S. I would love to thank those of you beautiful women who commented on my post last week about having an only child. I truly was feeling alone in our decision, so the fact that so many of you had stories, advice and similar feelings really did change my perspective and brighten my week. So much love for you all!

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Naomi can’t decide which she loves more: adventuring with her boys or being left alone in a luxurious bath with a great book.
Follow Naomi on Instagram @naomiliddell

19 Comments. Leave new

yes to piling on the pounds post breastfeeding! I was at my slimmest after a year of breastfeeding (also helped by walking miles with the pram, and a stint of quitting dairy due to my sons allergies – no cheese or choc, devastating but good for the waistline). I stopped breastfeeding when I came back to work and weight is creeping back – doesn’t help that I’m in an office job so sitting still at a desk 5 days a week doesn’t help, and find it hard to fit in exercising in spare time. Still, baby steps – aiming for one run at the weekend, one dance class during the week, and start wearing my Fitbit again so I can at least aim to walking enough steps each day!
Well done and good luck with the rest of your fitness regime!

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Juliet I found the Fitbit SO helpful when I had a desk job. I know people who think it’s just a gadgety gimmick, but I found it helped me choose the stairs and remember to get up from my desk.

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I loved the gym during maternity leave and felt like I could justify it as just one hour of ‘me time’ a couple of times a week. Once I was back at work I am struggling with the guilt of having ‘me time’ when I feel like I should be spending precious time off with the little one. Rational me knows it’s only an hour, and looking after my own well being is going to a have positive effect for baby too, but the mum guilt wins! (Or maybe I’m just using that as an excuse 😉)

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Totally agree about the sweet tooth and it staying with you after breast feeding. Before having my girls I wasn’t a huge fan of cakes and the like, but after… Woah! Show me the cake! With my first little girl I managed to get my weight back to a manageable level after stopping breastfeeding, but a 2nd pregnancy came along quickly and with it more feeding and sugar addiction. It all came to a head this Christmas when I couldn’t find an outfit for a party that fitted and my brother in law told me to my face that I’d gotten “chubby”. So I quit sugar (not entirely- but cut down massively), cut carbs (again not entirely) and started doing fitness DVDs and hitting the gym. As of yesterday I’m 2 stone down and have dropped nearly 2 dress sizes to be the slimmest I’ve been since I was 21. My energy levels are back and mentally hitting the gym has been so good for me. Good luck with your own goals and remember if you fall off the wagon, dust yourself off and get back on. I’ve had my weekends of overindulgence, bye come Monday I was back at it xx

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Love this! Well done to you for the two stone off and I am definitely going to re-visit your words post-baby when I need some encouragement! xx

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Amazing, well done Sarah! This is fab inspo.

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For me I don’t think breastfeeding did that much to help me lose weight. O was born in October and I think what was going to come off had done so by the new year. I think it had more of an impact on shape. I went back to slimming world and slowly it has slid off. I’m 2 stone down since the start of the year. I’m 5lbs ish off target (just had mastitis and a holiday so a little bit of work to do). I’m considering dropping my target so I’d lose 3 stone in total. You get shiny stickers and I want that sticker! I would be at what I think is my natural weight. I’ve done it with minimal exercise. I think I need to do some work on my head regarding the little paunch that’s as the result of 2 sections. For me I just didn’t want to be a chubby mummy waddling with the pram – I also wanted to be a strong and healthy example to O.

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Sadly for me the slimming effect of breastfeeding only seems to last about 3/4 months then I start piling the pounds on 😫 I fed my daughter until she was nearly 2 and I’m feeding my son now at 8 months but I’m almost the heaviest I’ve ever been and it seems terribly unfair! Granted I pretty much eat whatever I want and that involves a lot of biscuits but still, I’m jealous of women who say breastfeeding made them lose weight! I’m a dress size bigger than I’d like to be and I don’t feel comfortable in a lot of my clothes so I need to do something about it. I used to be quite into fitness and went to the gym regularly but since having my first child (nearly 3 years ago) it’s gone completely out the window! The trouble is that by the time I’ve got them to bed on an evening I just want to eat my tea and watch telly rather than skip off to the gym! I’m not sure how to overcome it but I need to try as I know I’ll feel better about myself if I commit to exercising a couple of times a week! X

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Well I had a TERRIBLE chocolate habit before children, and breastfeeding made that habit 10 times worse! I lost weight for about the first 3 months of feeding, although largely due to stress (baby in A&E several times anyone?!) combined with good post-natal exercise, but once my baby stopped sleeping through those classes I found it harder to go, and more opportunity for tea and cake with friends arose instead. Suffice to say 18 months post baby I am not at my slimmest. I can fit in most of my old clothes but they don’t hang properly. I gave up sugar for lent and it was brilliant, but as soon as Lent was over I dug straight back in and have now discovered I’m pregnant with no. 2 and all I want to eat is chocolate (so at least that explains the speed at which I relapsed?!). I am trying to get it under control but woah…! I am with you about exercising though! I had only just got back to the stage of feeling like I could run and enjoy it before Easter (also to do with the lack of sugar I suspect!) and I was feeling great if not my slimmest. I will be endeavouring to get back to shape as soon as I can (albeit sensibly). I do try to walk to work though as often as I can, usually 2-3 times a week, so that’s something. So glad you have found something that works for you Naomi!!

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I’ve just joined the gym – my daughter is nearly 4 months old and I’m still breast feeding but the weight loss has stopped (with my son it kept dropping until I was a stone lighter than my pre pregnancy weight). I’m planning on breast feeding for a year so have to ensure I’m maintaining hydration to keep my milk flow. I only go to the evening classes when my 2 are in bed. Already I am feeling the positive effects to my mental and physical health. I’m finally back in my pre pregnancy skinnies and can send my maternity trousers to the charity shop. I’m also hoping to be a good role model to my 2 showing that exercise and eating healthy are good choices. That sneaky glass of prosecco and chocolate bar seem so much more justified now 😊 Xxx

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Naomi, I’m going through the exact same issue now! I’m now only on a couple of breastfeeds a day because I’m back at work four days per week. That, combined with being actually a lot more sedentary at my desk rather than running after an active 13 month old, means I’ve piled on about 3kgs in a
few weeks! I didn’t notice it until it was all here, sadly. I’m still eating like I was when I was breastfeeding loads and it’s so hard to kick that habit (especially when there are constantly chocolates in our work kitchen, argh!).

I’m doing pilates one day per week now and am going to try and include more actual exercise into my day, even if that’s just power walking or running to and from the station on my work days. It’s really hard though, I’ve really enjoyed being able to eat whatever I want while breastfeeding – now it’s back to reality!

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agh Kate I’m with you on the chocolate-in-work-kitchen situ…. seems like everyday there’s a birthday / someone back from holiday / “lets get Tuesday treats” etc… so hard to resist!!

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Haha, it’s terrible, isn’t it, Juliet! I feel awful as people say “It’s my birthday, here’s chocolate” and my response is, usually “NOOOOOO” which makes me sound like quite the birthday scrooge!

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Hi Naomi, this is also a pretty perfectly timed post although I find myself in an odd (and I’m aware of the eye rolling) situation. I have just dropped the feeding to night only – lo 7 months. I was probably at my strongest when I fell pregnant (so also read heaviest) so am currently way under pre preg weight, bump was all baby (again I feel those eye rolls) so was back in normal clothes after 10days – but this is not all good news, I struggled to keep my energy up during the first 3 months of little ones life and believe me I was ‘see-food-eat-it’ and having double breakfast and lunches etc to keep calories up! I went back to Pilates pretty quickly but I never felt particularly good with my image despite everyone telling me how lucky I was to ‘snap back’ ! I have just started with a PT and it has done wonders for me psychologically – getting stronger again and feeling happier in my own skin. There’s a lot of post baby stuff that no one warns you about but feeling good in yourself, gym or no gym, dress size up or down has to be pretty up there with the most important things xx

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Totally relate to this Naomi, it wasn’t pregnancy when I put on weight it was about 6 months post partum when breastfeeding starting slowing down but the chocolate habit didn’t! Also think sleep deprivation is a big factor in high sugar snack choices! I got pregnant quickly with number two and now that my youngest is two I’m really motivated with excercise and healthy eating. Think it’s a great role model for children and often hear my two playing ‘going for a run’ plus it’s the added bonus of having some guilt free time for yourself!
Biggest help is my husband as we both encourage each other to get out and exercise, even though at the time it can seem impossible to get out the house! Similarly I’ve been training with friends for a sprint triathlon in a few weeks time and it’s been great motivation.

Don’t get me wrong I still love chocolate but it’s all about moderation isn’t it! x

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Lottie Manns
19th May 2017 1:30 pm

I was the complete opposite Naomi. I was pretty slim the week after I gave birth and then whilst feeding I piled on the pounds. It definitely did not help me loose weight either time. Mind you, I have no idea how big I would have got if I hadn’t been! I think it was a lot to do with the amount of biscuits I was consuming but also because I had gone from a pretty hectic job where I was constantly on the go to just sitting on the sofa.

I had tried to exercise during most of my pregnancy with Molly but struggled with Alice as it’s not so easy to exercise when you have an 18 month old also demanding your attention. It took me the best part of 3 years to start to feel happier and more comfortable with a mixture of sensible eating and exercise. I definitely do more exercise now then I probably ever have and it’s easier now the girls are older and at pre-school/school. I tend to go straight off on a run after drop off 2 or 3 times a week and then mix in home work outs such as Davina or some yoga from good old You Tube. It seems to be a good mix and although I’m still heavier than I was pre kids I feel happier and more toned.

I try to watch what I eat but I have zero will power so figure it’s all about moderation. As I type this I have just raided two Lindt chocolate eggs from the girls easter stash….

xxx

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I’ve discovered a fitness class near me called sweatymama – Ollie comes along with me and is in a sling whilst I do lots of lunges and squats. I was aching for a good few days afterwards! My issue is more about the toning up – I’m back down to around the same weight pre pregnancy but I would like to feel a little more confident in my skin. My local council gives out 12 weeks free slimming world to those with a BMI of 25+ and as I’m not that tall I’ve fallen into that bracket. Going to bite the bullet and give them a ring this afternoon. Never been to a SW class before but a workmate has lost 5.5 stone with them!

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I’m so thankful I had the fitness epiphany before having children. After gaining lots of weight from grief eating I was engaged and unhappy with the prospect of lots of pictures. Enter an amazing friend who is a PT- Tom Hibbert of Winning Health Solutions in Southampton. He’s the first person who said “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change” to me- and boy was he right. Please please look him and his team up if you live in Soton as he is incredible- they gave me the tools and I’ve just applied them even after moving away. Another major shift for me was starting to run- it’s transformed my life- something I never thought I would enjoy after forced cross country at school! Turns out wandering through a beautiful landscape without a pe teacher yelling is a totally different experience!

So between weights, food choices and running I was back to a good level of fitness (having gained and lost a solid three stone…) and did my first 10k race just before Silvia turned one, followed by my first triathlon (400m swim 20k bike 5k run) a few months later. Positive pregnancy test four days after the tri, and now have to do it all over again!

Seriously, apart from getting help to get good knowledge, my major tip is to invest in a proper running pushchair- our BabyJogger Summit has been the best self care purchase for me. I can’t wait for Paddy to be six months to go out again- it’s guaranteed nap time apart from anything else…

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Thankyou for this post. It has been really interesting reading the comments and knowing others are thinking the same thing. I didn’t find breastfeeding the great slimming experience everyone said it would be. I bf my little girl until she was 14 mths and have struggled to lose weight since due to a number of factors. She is now 2;03 and has never been a good sleeper. Getting her to bed is tough, once she is sleeping, I am shattered and just want to eat chocolate! I recently had a miscarriage at 12 wks and realised that I have been comfort eating to prevent feeling empty. I have started a yoga class which I love but I would love to do more aerobic exercise. When does everyone fit exercise in? Ideally I would like to lose a stone. My little girl is enjoying walking rather than going in the buggy so we are going on shorter, slower walks now.

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