The Surprising Thing That Kept Me from Losing the Baby Weight

You know those people who tell you that breastfeeding is the key to losing each and every stretchy pound you gain while pregnant? I swear they’re not telling the truth about how they lost their baby weight. Breastfeeding may help take off some pounds, but not everybody loses every pound gained during pregnancy from nursing. I know I didn’t.

And you know those celebrity moms who swear their baby weight just “flew” off, not from the private trainer who works them out twice a day, or the private chef who feeds the family, or the lypo they may or may not have had after having that baby, but from playing with their children and “eating right”? I think every woman who has had a child knows that’s total b.s. I play with my children all the time. It doesn’t mean I suddenly look good in a swimsuit. 

See, I’m not afraid to admit that I was one of those moms who was anxious to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight after the birth of my children. I’m also not afraid to admit I’m a bit of an exercise junkie and I try to eat well, though my diet is not always perfect. I care about the way I look and how much I weigh, but I try not to let my desire to be in shape dominate my life.

But, like most women I know, I’ve found it more than difficult to get my pre-mom body back. There are certain factors that are beyond my control, which I’ve tried to accept. I’m older now and so is my metabolism. My body, no matter what size, is just a bit droopier. My parts aren’t as perky as they were before I had kids and my skin isn’t quite as taut and toned no matter what I do. Taking all that into consideration, I still found it incredibly difficult to shake that extra bit of chub that came with my second pregnancy.

For a while I tried to up my exercise game. I was sure that I just wasn’t working hard enough. When that helped, but didn’t totally get me to the weight I wanted to be, I looked at my diet. I’ve always been a healthy eater, but I like to occasionally dabble in junk food just as much as anyone else. So I cut out the cheats — those little nibbles of sweets and treats that I figured were probably keeping a few extra pounds packed on me. And still, I couldn’t get my weight to where I wanted it to be.

Finally one day during lunch, I realized why I probably couldn’t get rid of those few pesky pounds. In my rush to get my children where they needed to go each day, I’d often skip breakfast and sometimes barely even eat lunch. This day was no different, so by the time we sat down to lunch, I was starving. While waiting for my salad to arrive, I started to nibble on my daughter’s fries. And when my son didn’t finish his chicken fingers, I took a bite…and then four bites…and then finished whatever he didn’t. 

Suddenly, my healthy lunch turned into a fried food fest all because I was absentmindedly finishing my kids’ food.  And I realized that I probably finished my kids’ food more often than I realized. While my kids have the gift of a youthful metabolism and much better portion control than any adult I know, I don’t. They can eat pizza and chicken nuggets and French fries without getting fat. Sadly, I can’t.

So from that day on, I stopped nibbling on my kids’ lunches and snacks. I made an effort to keep myself from getting so hungry that I’d eat whatever wasn’t tied down to the ground, or my kid’s food. Since sticking to eating only the food on my plate, it’s amazing how much better my pants fit!

Photo: Getty