Losing the Baby Weight

Let me preface by saying I, by no means, have the "perfect post-baby body". No way! I wish. But I have gotten several emails from readers asking how I got back to my pre-Bear weight and I'm always interested in reading how other women shed the baby lb's. It seems all moms have different opinions on the subject and unique ways of getting back in shape so I want to share with you all what's worked for me.

3-4 days before finding out we were expecting...
11 days after Bear's birth...
I'm a firm believer now more than ever that when it comes to getting back to your pre-preggo size, it's not what you do after giving birth but rather while being pregnant. From day 1 until the day before going into labor, I walked 2-5 miles every single day (with the exception of a few due to bad weather). Towards the end it was more of a waddle than a walk, but I still did it. Honestly my intention wasn't to avoid gaining too much weight; my doctor told me early on that walking throughout pregnancy would ensure shorter, easier labor. That's all she had to say. I was lacing up the ol' tennis shoes every day with that piece of motivation...until the end, then Z had to lace them up for me. Other benefits of walking during pregnancy:
-It keeps your heart strong and your muscles toned. "A stronger mom will have an easier time meeting the demands of motherhood," says Neporent, an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, and author of Fitness Walking for Dummies.
-It burns calories, which helps prevent excess weight gain.

-It keeps blood pressure down.
-It keeps your body fit, which offers protection from gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
-You'll have an easier time exercising after you have the baby, "because you'll already have an exercise routine in place," says Rocker, a personal trainer and fitness expert based in Los Angeles, who specializes in walking workouts.
-It eases constipation. (this is more important than you think!)
-Anyone can do it, "and it's something you can do just for yourself before you have to focus on your baby," Neporent says.
(resource: parents.com)
The day before our due date, I walked 9 1/2 miles. Yes, you read that correctly. I am a crazy person. Don't worry, it wasn't all at once; I walked 3 different times that day with the hopes of getting Mr. Bear down and out. And guess what? It worked! 15 hours after my last walk, I experienced my first contraction and early labor began. Bear was born the day after his due date. I could honestly feel him dropping lower and lower throughout the day I walked so much; it was pretty wild. There's no opposing gravity! That stuff is for real.
 After giving birth, I couldn't walk (or do much of anything) for the entire first month due to an episiotomy and slow recovery...down there. It was frustrating but also a blessing because it allowed me lots of couch/cuddle time with our sweet newborn son. Even without exercising, less than 2 weeks after having Bear I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight. Some might credit this to nursing, but I truly believe it was all the walking done during those long 9 months. I gained 23 pounds the entire pregnancy and was surprised at how quickly they were gone. We learned in our birthing class that most of the weight gained during pregnancy is due to:
-extra blood
-baby (duh)
So don't fret, expecting mommas! That weight is being put on for good reason and baby needs you to gain in order to keep her/him healthy.
*I also should add that I was really, really sick during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. It was bad. There were a lot of naps being taken and mornings/afternoons/nights spent hugging the toilet, so I literally had to force myself to get out and walk. Some of those days it wasn't much, and I took it very slow, but I still tried to get out and get a little fresh air when I felt like it.

On diet during pregnancy:
 No real helpful tips here because I simply ate what I wanted while pregnant. For about the last month and a half, I had a pumpkin pie milkshake from Jack in the Box every single day. Without fail. Granted I didn't go crazy eating everything in sight, but if I wanted something, I let myself have it. I didn't notice a real increase in appetite until the last 5-6 weeks and definitely consumed more calories during that time. Bear was growing! He came out a chubby, healthy boy weighing 8 lb. 4 oz. and was 21 3/4 in. long.

On nursing and weight loss:
 Call me crazy, and some of you will disagree, but I honestly don't think nursing has helped me lose baby weight, or any weight for that matter. I have exclusively breastfed for the last 3 months and while I'm aware of the immense benefits, I don't believe weight loss for mom is one of them. Actually, I find myself hungrier, much hungrier, now than I ever was while pregnant. I'm eating a ton! So just because I'm burning extra calories due to nursing (around 500 a day), I'm more than making up for it with cherry pie and Frosted Flakes. So yes, I'm burning extra calories, but I'm eating to compensate. Breastfeeding has encouraged me to drink more water, which I'm thankful for.
Fitness routine post-pregnancy:
I took my first walk, with Bear in his stroller, the day he turned 1 month old. My body wouldn't have allowed for anything sooner; recovering from labor was rough! We walked 1 mile that day, and for the first 2 weeks continued to add a little more distance each day. Bear is now 3 months old and I walk 2-3 miles a day. Usually Bear and I take one walk in the afternoon (1-2 miles) and then I walk later in the evening (2 miles) while Zach gets some one on one Bear time. As much as I love being with and holding our son all day, it's also good for me to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air. I never run (because of bad knees and, well, running sucks), but walking reaps both physical and mental benefits as well.
I hope I've answered some of your questions from previous posts; please, please feel free to email any other baby/momma questions you might have. I'm no expert but I do love discussing all things baby! Hope you're having a wonderful week...happy hump day!