Coming Clean about my Plus Sized Postpartum Body

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I have to admit that while I was pregnant I had this sort of dream sequence in which I could breastfeed myself down to my ideal body weight all while bonding with my beautiful little boy. Afterall, breastfeeding burns calories, right?

Uhhh, sure, I guess. The reality is that I sit on the couch all day with a baby who is mostly using my boobs as a pacifier and my postpartum weight loss seems to have just consisted of the actual weight of the baby. I’m totally still wearing my maternity wardrobe and I have a hard time mustering the confidence to leave the apartment even when I don’t have a baby in tow. 

As the days pass I feel more and more bonded with my little guy and my ass feels more and more bonded with my Ikea furniture. Now that my 100 days of darkness are almost done I’m feeling a bit less like an extra on the Walking Dead and a bit more like a chubbier slightly more tired version of my old self, it’s time to start putting a regular exercise routine back in place.

While a mere week or so ago the idea of doing an exercise DVD seemed about as doable as cuddling with a volcano, I’m actually ready to be a bit more physical. I’m actually craving a bit (a lot) more physicality.

I recently signed up for Class Pass, a subscription service that allows you to try out boutique fitness classes in your area, and have gone to a Barre class (SO HARD), an old folks yoga class (WE ALL JUST PRETENDED I BELONGED THERE) and a Zumba class. I use it when The Fella is home or when we have the nanny. And when the baby goes to sleep at 7pm, I’ve mustered every ounce of energy I have left in my body and have been doing a 30-minute dance DVD. I’m not exactly racking up a hardcore calorie deficit, but that’s not really my goal at this point—I just want to not be sitting on the couch for a while. My world is very small these days. Very small, and my ass is simultaneously growing and getting flatter.

And, now that the weather is cooling down a bit, Ethan and I are going on longish walks in the park a few days a week. Really, the length of the walk is regulated by his tolerance for not being attached to my boobs, which can vary in increments of 0 minutes to 3 hours.

I am currently at the highest weight I’ve ever been. It’s hard. Looking at my jiggly, stretch-marked belly in the mirror is a harsh reality and I tell myself everyday that I don’t want Ethan to remember me this size. I need to lose this weight so that my son will always remember a healthy mom. My goal, my hope, is to lose a pound a week for a year. That seems healthy. That seems doable. As for diet, I’m nervous about cutting calories because I have milk to make, so I’ve been following the Weight Watchers nursing mother’s program. I spent many years on Weight Watchers and have been for a very long time kind of disillusioned with the points system/support group style program, but right now it seems like the best choice for my current lifestyle. If left to my own devices I have a habit of cutting calories a bit too much and that won’t work for us right now.

So far I’ve lost zero pounds, but hey, I’ll get there. Maybe. I hope. Sigh.

Wistful about working

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Trying to write this blog, while holding a screeching infant in a ring sling while doing the “please stop crying” dance. Our changing table doubles as a standing desk. 

Like any job, there are positives and negatives to being self-employed. Maternity leave is both. The positive is that I can choose to take as long a leave as I’d like. The negative is that we’re a one-income household for however long that is. I decided while I was pregnant that I would give myself a three-month leave, which is a pittance compared to other parts of the world, but pretty comparable to the leave friends of mine in the corporate world received and so seemed like a good compromise.

The Little Fella is 10 weeks old today, which means that I only have two weeks left of my self-imposed leave, and I have mixed feelings. I really miss working; I miss using my brain for things other than momming. But I’m having a hard time with the idea of letting someone else take care of my baby. Now, I’m lucky in that I don’t have to work a consecutive 40-60 hour workweek like the rest of the planet. We’ve hired a part-time nanny, who is truly lovely, for 20 hours a week so that I can work uninterrupted, and the rest of the week I will try to work in dribs and drabs during nap times. We’ll start with that schedule and see how it goes.

When both of your parents are writers there's a pretty good chance that a journal will be a diaper bag staple. I've been recording our milestones and my feelings in a journal to give to the Little Fella one day.

When both of your parents are writers there’s a pretty good chance that a journal will be a diaper bag staple. I’ve been recording our milestones and my feelings in a journal to give to the Little Fella one day.

I am actually really excited to go back to writing, and I realized I was ready to go back to work earlier this week when my editor sent me the fact-checked copy of my manuscript to review and I couldn’t wait to dive in. She gave me a week to send it back to her, I sent it back the same night, forsaking my usual “sleep when the baby sleeps” pm nap to stare at my keyboard for a few hours. I’m lucky, I know that I get to do this whole working and momming thing on my own schedule, at least for now, but the idea of it all still seems overwhelming.

I’m futzing around with two different book ideas to start working on this fall, one of them requires significantly more research than the other and I’m not sure I have the mental bandwidth to absorb all the information that would be needed to make it work. That’s sad. Right? I’m too tired to take the intellectual high road. I probably shouldn’t admit that on the Internet, but I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

Moms, how long did it take post-baby to feel like your brain was running on all cylinders?

My plan is to take a little time before getting serious to try out both ideas, see what feels more fun to write and in the meantime pick up some freelance articles to pay for the nanny. I also have a few speaking engagements lined up, that will have me out of town and away from my baby, which is scary…but oh my goodness I’m going to sleep alone and it’s going to be so amazing!

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Also amazing: this mascarpone and berry french toast. I’ve been heading out to a local cafe for breakfast with the baby a few days a week to test the boundaries of our ability to not have meltdowns in public.

Piece by piece, I’m starting to feel like a multifaceted human again. Reading books, eating out, I’ve even started exercising. Gently. I’m sticking with cardio right now because I’m dealing with some ligament issues in my hands (pretty common in new moms, apparently) and don’t want to irritate the injury with weights. I’m doing a dance workout series, 30-minute a pop, 6-days a week. I don’t get all the days, but I do the best I can if Ethan decides to sleep for more than 10-minutes at a clip. And we’re taking a Mommy & Me yoga class twice a week (which is basically about an hour of me trying to stretch but breastfeeding a crying infant instead).

Life is different. But good. And while I’m nervous about loosening up the reins of Ethan’s care a bit, I think it’s good to invest in having time for myself. It takes a village…even if you have to pay them.

Man, I make cute people.

Man, I make cute people.

Greetings from our Babymoon

The Fella  and I are spending the week in the Dominican Republic for a little babymoon. Wait, did I forget to mention that I’M PREGNANT? 🙂

It didn’t exactly slip my mind (between the nausea and the constant exhaustion it’s been pretty hard to forget); we wanted to wait until I was past my first trimester and all of our testing came back normal to announce it publicly. I have to say that I’m still a bit paranoid, but I’m trying to not let my previous loss color this pregnancy. My thyroid is still an issue, but so far this little one is a strong lil bugger and I’ve had zero complications this go around…knock on wood.

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Inez has been a great big sister so far, whenever I lay down on the couch (which is most of the time) she lays down with me, keeping my belly warm with her head. She’s spending the week with my parents. I miss my furry little belly warmer.

And, since good news comes in waves, The Fella also got a new job. He accepted a new position that starts next week, and as soon as he hung up the phone from accepting the position I immediately started looking up last minute vacation deals. Something tells me our days of romantic getaways are going to be pretty few and far between in the years ahead, so we best take advantage of the limited time we have left as just a couple of kidless folks. 

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Don’t worry, those are virgin.

In preparation for our week in the Greater Antilles I downloaded some prenatal exercise DVDs to my computer. All inclusive resorts are slightly less harmful when you can’t drink, but my baby bump started showing at exactly 12 weeks, and am looking a little more pregnant than I feel comfortable with right now, so now that I’m out of the more dangerous trimester I’m planning on upping my exercise routine to include more than the gentle elliptical routine I relegated myself to for the last few months. . After all, I’m going to need to keep up my strength to get this kid out of me. 

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Our first order of duty was to take a walk on the beach.

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And to say “hi” to some of our neighbors.

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Our Internet connection is somewhat fickle, but I’m going to try and post a few blog posts this capturing our adventures (mostly eating and sleeping) and misadventures (who knows what!) in Punta Cana, as well as my December resolutions.

Mamas, did you go on a babymoon?

Did you know that Pregnant women are more susceptible to sunburns? 

An Ode to Fall Food (and a Recipe for My Sweet Potato Pie)

First of all, thanks for all your comments yesterday. I definitely plan on looking into some of your suggestions about food eliminations to help ease the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. Having said that, it will probably be after the holidays. There’s going to be a lot of gluten in my life in the next month and a half. I fully embrace the gluten right now, as evidenced by my food choices yesterday.

It really is the most amazing time of year for food. When The Fella and I bought groceries at Trader Joe’s this week we stockpiled Turkey-less Roasts (made with vital wheat gluten) with stuffing and mushroom gravy. If you’ve never had a tofurkey you’re missing out, it’s some good eatin’ and a lifesaver on nights when you don’t want to chop, dice, stir, and sauté. I just dump it in a baking dish with some asparagus and call it a meal.

As far as seasons of eating go, I’m definitely a fall/winter girl. I like heavy foods: soups and stews and roasts. Summer is great, but there’s only so much smoothie and salad eating a girl can get behind. Once the cool weather hits and I can fire up my oven again without fear of turning my apartment into a sauna I’m a happy girl. I’ve already put in a request to my mother for a beef stew for my birthday dinner with the fam (The Fella will be fed, but he’ll totally be missing out on some good home cooking) and have serious plans for T-day damage.

The one food I look forward to eating every year is sweet potato pie. It’s a total comfort food that I only make once a year. I’m not much of a pumpkin girl, but sweet potato fills that orange-tinted pie void in my life. I once made one for The Fella’s family and they didn’t know what it was, but I say surrender to the sweet potato and you’ll never be sorry. I’ve attached my recipe below.

Kim's Sweet Potato Pie
Serves 8
The easiest/best darn sweet potato pie you'll ever eat
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1lb canned sweet potatoes in syrup (you can also boil them fresh if you'd like, but you might need to add more sugar later)
  2. 1 graham cracker pie crust
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
  5. 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 c. unpacked brown sugar
  7. 1/4 c. maple syrup
  8. 25+ marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (or 375 depending on oven, mine runs a little hot so I go with 350)
  2. Mix and mash all ingredients (except for marshmallows) together
  3. Pour sweet potato mixture into pie crust
  4. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes
  5. Add marshmallows until they cover top of pie completely, bake for an additional 5-15 minutes until marshmallows are golden brown
Notes
  1. You'll want to let this cool for about 10 minutes before serving. It should still be warm, but not scolding hot.
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What are your favorite holiday foods?

Here are my gluten-y eats for the day…

Breakfast

Bagel with light cream cheese and cajun seasoning; pomegranate seeds

Bagel with light cream cheese and cajun seasoning; pomegranate seeds

Lunch

Chicken noodle soup and a slice of cheese toast

Chicken noodle soup and a slice of cheese toast

Dinner

Turkey-less Roast with mushroom gravy and asparagus

Turkey-less Roast with mushroom gravy and asparagus

Dealing with Hashimoto’s Disease

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You haven’t seen a picture of my dog in a while. So please, take a moment to revel in how adorable Inez is. Yes, it has occurred to me that I need a hobby that isn’t lavishing obscene amounts of affection on my dog, but I don’t have time for that…I have a dog that needs constant coddling.

I revealed a few months ago that I was diagnosed with a hypoactive thyroid. Technically, I have something called Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and can impair thyroid function. I tested positive for Hashimoto’s years ago. Like three years ago, and my doctors never wanted to treat it. Ironically, it was about three years ago that I started gaining weight that I couldn’t seem to lose no matter how much I restricted my calories (which also ended up in me screwing up my basal metabolic rate) or how much I worked out. I thought once it was discovered that I’d just take a pill and it would go away, but what I’ve learned over the last few months is that it takes a lot of trial and error to get it under control. And I’m still in the error phase. Since I started treatment I’ve more than doubled my dosage and my thyroid hormone levels are still out of control.

It’s been a really frustrating experience, and one I might never have gotten treatment for if I hadn’t miscarried last June. Silver lining? After months of crappy blood test results I finally switched doctors, and my new doctor is of a much more aggressive mindset in regard to treatment. Something I’m happy about, and hoping I’ll finally get my body back in some sort of functional order.

In the meantime, I’m grappling for the first time with the fact that my body isn’t always within my control. It’s a hard realization for someone who has always believed that if I just followed the rules; eating healthy foods and exercised regularly, everything would be fine.

I’m lucky, because as far as chronic health issues go, Hashimoto’s isn’t life threatening and it’s very common, meaning there are lots of avenues for treatment. I’m hoping with more aggressive treatment I’ll be able to get back a positive place with my body, both in how it feels (In addition to weight gain, the two symptoms I seem to live with constantly are exhaustion and very dry patches of skin that sometimes get scaly and bleed. I never told anyone this, but I wanted to get a tea length dress for my wedding, but didn’t because I was too nervous about the dry patches on my legs showing), and how it looks. 

In the meantime, I’ve decided to focus on the positive and go back to my daily food blogging roots. Taking pictures of what I eat every day actually helps encourage me to make better food choices and eating better makes me feel like less of sloth, even if I want to nap constantly. 

Have you ever dealt with a chronic illness? 

Breakfast

Smoothies! The Fella had chocolate, and I went with vanilla protein powder + milk, 1/2 a banana, and a tbsp of almond butter

Smoothies! The Fella had chocolate, and I went with vanilla protein powder + milk, 1/2 a banana, and a tbsp of almond butter

Lunch

Corned beef sandwich on multigrain bread with mustard; sauteed summer squash with onion, garlic and basil

Corned beef sandwich on multigrain bread with mustard; sauteed summer squash with onion, garlic and basil

Snack

Pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate seeds

Dinner

The Fella is in charge of salads in our house: Arugula, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, carrot, tofu, almonds, chia seeds, and oil and vinegar

The Fella is in charge of salads in our house: Arugula, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, carrot, tofu, almonds, chia seeds, and oil and vinegar

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