I (half-jokingly) predicted that I'd post my next blog entry after my baby was born... well... now she's almost nine months old. I guess that counts.
Motherhood is wonderful (and sometimes overwhelming, and exhausting, but mostly wonderful). My daughter is a radiant, happy, strong little girl who is somewhere beyond the 95% in weight (!!) and is keeping my life very interesting now that she has mastered crawling, pulling up on things, and using her pincer grasp to bring anything and everything up to her mouth.
My physical recovery from pregnancy has in many ways been a lot better than I expected, which ironically I think has kept me from really taking care of my body in the last nine months. I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes and down to my pre-pregnancy weight in just a few weeks, I was running 5Ks and almost hitting personal records within a few months, and all things considered came through the whole thing pretty unscathed.
A lot of the good habits that I had from my time Sparking, though, have started to slip... and now I'm starting to feel the impact. Thanks to breastfeeding, it seems like I can eat whatever I want without showing rapid weight gain, something I began to realize when I was gorging on cookies when visiting my family over the holidays. So while it sounds great to be able to eat whatever I'd like, this has led me to eat a lot more crap, which makes me FEEL like crap... and I'm getting in a bad cycle. I also know that breastfeeding is already starting to wind down (though I don't plan to wean for a long time still), and I can't hide behind the calorie drain of breastfeeding for ever. I also feel like my eating habits are getting worse and worse, and that's a bad trend.
This week I did some baking for friends who just moved or just had babies, and I don't want to admit how much of what I baked I ate myself. You know that nasty, headache-y buzz that comes from too much sugar? The really full stomach that comes when you eat AFTER snacking on crap all afternoon? Yeah... I'd kind of forgotten them. They're definitely back. Even when I'm not baking, I eat a lot more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than is actually good for me. Or I've polished off a packet of tea biscuits in a few days, just because it was leftover from making something else and it's there. I wouldn't say I'm binging, and I still have a pretty healthy relationship with food... but I don't like the way this has been going. I'm no longer eating the food that makes me feel good or liking the way I eat.
My husband is back to serious food tracking, we're already doing the hardest part of the whole thing-- figuring out how to track dinner and portion out meals. So now I just need to be honest with myself and log my snacks. I like to use the excuse that I'm too busy taking care of the baby to track, but the truth is that I find time for facebook and blogs... I do have the time. I just haven't quite wanted to be honest about what I'm eating these days.
The other reason I need Spark again is that I need to do some serious strength training. A few weeks ago I finally checked all my measurements on Spark, including some fitness measurements. Here's what I found:
Pre-Spark ---> Pre-pregnancy ---> 8 months post pregnancy
138 lb-->127 --> 128 (my weight seems to range between 127 and 129 these days)
29.5"-->26" --> 28.5" (not too happy about this one)
39"--> 36" --> 36.5" (Yay! My hips didn't spread! But wait... that makes my waist-hip ratio crappy... hmmm)
Like my hips, my thighs and arms all shrunk a few inches since I started Spark and are now about a half inch bigger than before pregnancy.
None of this is that big of a deal, but it does tell me that, even though my weight hasn't changed that much since before pregnancy, I've probably lost some muscle (since I'm slightly bigger at the same weight), and I'd REALLY like to find a way to draw in my stomach again. 2.5 inches bigger there isn't cool.
The worse news came when I did the fitness tests.
24/min --> 34/min --> 25/min
(Oops... carrying around my 25 lb baby in the ergo all the time apparently hasn't quite given me the Rambo-like arm strength I thought.)
20/min --> 37/min --> 12/min
Yes... 12. In case you're wondering, 40/min is considered "good," 25/min is considered "marginal," and 10/min is nicely termed "needs work." Apparently I need work.
This shouldn't surprise me... obviously, pregnancy does a number on ab strength, and not doing pushups for, oh, a year will make you lose that kind of arm strength. But for some reason I thought I was fine... running has brought a lot of my core strength back (or so I thought), and I do yoga... oh... maybe for 20 minutes twice a month. Ooops.
Finally, lately I've been losing some motivation to run. Heat and humidity in my part of Israel has hit the "can cut it with a knife" stage, and I also think I set a rather too ambitious speed goal in my latest run. We took a vacation to Rome at the end of June and I didn't run that week, and found it surprisingly hard to keep up with my plan when I got back into it... plus doing those fitness tests left me sore! All this is to say that I think the community here will help me stay motivated.
So that's where I'm at.
Questions if anyone can help me--
What helped your ab strength come back after pregnancy? Do I need to be careful about doing traditional ab exercises? How do I know if my ab muscles separated during pregnancy?
While breastfeeding, how did you figure out how many calories to aim for in your tracking?
If you made it this deep into my rambling, thank you!! It's good to be back.