How Mommy (finally!) Lost Her Belly

I wasn’t one of the lucky ones when it came to losing the post-pregnancy pooch. I have friends who looked exactly like their pre-pregnancy selves within a month or two of giving birth. I remember attending breastfeeding groups where brand new mamas were wearing normal, non-elastic-waistband jeans within a few weeks of popping out their kids. My doctor even told me my stomach would be “back to normal” after two months. Yet, there I was, still looking six-months pregnant, six months after I had given birth. And, to prove it, just a couple months ago, I was approached by one of those completely tactless and nervy people who asked when I was due. (Who says that?!) And, it was totally uncool.

Sure, when I was pregnant, it was cute to have a little round belly. I would thrust my hips forward and lean back to show it off. For the first time in my life, I wanted a belly, and I wanted people to look at it.…

But then, out came baby. And suddenly, the belly wasn’t so cute when baby was on the outside in my arms.

What about diet and exercise?

And, yes, in case you’re wondering, I was doing all the right things—eating what I consider healthy and trying to squeeze in as much physical activity as possible, including weightlifting and daily ab work: crunches and planks, during baby’s naps. I even was down to my pre-pregnancy weight within about two months…but, I still had the belly. In fact, nearly eleven months post-childbirth, my stomach still stuck out. And, frankly, after almost a whole year of waiting for its reformation to its old self, I had given up. At this point, did it even matter? After all, baby was perfect in every way; a puffy and flabby belly was a small price to pay.

Still, although I never obsessed over my no-budge pudge, I also couldn’t avoid the weekly reminder when I taught my step aerobics class. When you have a job that requires you to wear head-to-toe spandex, you can’t help but face the imperfections in your figure! I just assumed Spanx of assorted shapes and colors would be permanent pieces of my wardrobe. Until…

Just say “no” to sweets

My husband decided we were going to do the whole Lenten sacrifice thing this year. Though we were both raised Catholic, neither of us is devout about it these days. We both give our thanks, and he pays his respects to a higher power as he’s paid to sing at various churches. Yet, we don’t practice most of the Catholic traditions. Regardless, we thought each of us giving up an unhealthy habit wasn’t a bad idea. He gave up red meat. For him, that meant no more Five Guys five times a month, a hiatus from hot dogs, ordering pizza without the pepperoni, and a break from beef burritos. As for me, I gave up sweets…sort of.

Instead of my post-lunch peppermint patties, mid-afternoon vanilla lattes, or after-dinner hot fudge sundaes, I found substitutes to satisfy my sweet tooth: a banana mixed with plain Greek yogurt, a Fuji or Mutsu apple, or a Larabar (a combination of mostly dates and nuts–see for my new favorite.) And, my plan was to have one treat of anything sugar once a week. This ended up being a huge (think family-size) espresso brownie with fudge frosting the first week (that probably made up for the majority of sugar and calories I consumed the whole week…but, hey, it wasn’t easy at first, what can I say?) The rest of the weeks, I had a vanilla latte every weekend. And, much to my surprise…

Drumroll, please…

Besides feeling a little better about my choices and reducing my sugar intake by a ton, my pants started fitting differently! By Easter weekend, I could wear some of my snug tops, pants, skirts, and dresses again without looking pregnant. And, yesterday, for the first time since eight months ago when I got back to teaching aerobics, I stepped into class without my Spanx (and did a little victory dance when a couple participants in my class asked if I had lost weight.)

So, there you go, that’s my true story. Now that Easter’s come and gone, we’ll see if I can maintain my healthier dessert choices. I do have to say though, that my belly is not exactly what it used to be. Looking at my largeness (see picture above–is there a watermelon in there?!) at 40 weeks, I’m reminded that my stomach has been stretched in ways I never would thought possible. It’s no wonder it’s the first thing to swell when my sweet tooth gets the best of me. And, I don’t even want to think about what happens to my mid-section if I have another kid. But, in the meantime, I think I can do this. If I can have a baby, eat my cake once a week, and have a flat (flattish) tummy too, then why not?


Posted on April 30, 2011, in Nutrition & Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Now, I know that the point is how you feel about your own body. But I saw you when Jacob was, what, four months old? And I would NEVER have described your look as “pregnant.” Not in a million years.

  2. It’s true. People were asking me when you were going to pop at about five months. No one should be that huge. Yet, there you were, ENORMOUS. Glad you were able to lose that baby belly…but what about those of us who have a different kind of stomach to change…the floppy flappy post-weight loss extra skin kind? Is there hope for us yet? Not that I’m great about exercise, but I wonder if healthy eating or exercise can get rid of extra skin around the mid-section? Or, should people like me hold onto our tightly fitted undershirts worn only to hold in the excess?

  3. Thanks, Anne-Marie, for NOT thinking I looked pregnant after I gave birth. Unfortunately, most of the world begged to differ until just about a month ago. Yes, it’s about how I felt, but it was about my friends and family (and the random tactless person) looking at me and saying “Wow, wasn’t that belly supposed to go away? You’re so thin everywhere else.”

    And, Kate, thanks for your testimony that the belly really wouldn’t budge for me. As for the “floppy flappy”, I’m not a doctor, so I can’t give you any medically informed advice. However, I would say eating right and getting active couldn’t hurt. After pregnancy or being overweight and losing it, skin that’s stretched out may not always bounce back, but toning up the muscles and getting rid of the excess fat underneath surely is a good thing! Plus, the benefits of exercise and healthy eating go well beyond just getting rid of a belly. Thanks for reading 🙂

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