Baby weight.... I still have it.... or do I?
I don’t typically weigh myself.... especially when I’m feeling insecure. If I do weigh myself it’s usually when I’m feeling good and want to have some metrics to associate with that good feeling. Today that backfired on me a little bit, and I’m using this post to sort of process the information I received from my scale this morning.
I’ve had two babies; at this point I think you all know that. Both pregnancy experiences and postpartum experiences were extremely different; also something you probably know but just in case you don’t here’s the quick info. With my first, Raea, not only was I unable to run pregnant, I was unable to run for the year leading up to the pregnancy! I had a knee injury that eventually needed surgery, which I had while 22-23ish weeks pregnant. I went on to quickly get back into shape mostly without any glitches (one calf injury... horrible timing since it was 10 days out from the marathon, but as a whole things went smoothly!) Due to that smooth postpartum experience, when I got pregnant with Maebel, I was arguably in the best shape of my life coming off of 6k and marathon PRs (range!). I was able to run all through pregnancy, although difficult and painful and questionably stupid, I was still able to do it... postpartum with Maebel seemed like it would go even better than with Raea since I never really stopped running... but... obviously that didn’t happen! Below are two photos. The one on the left is right after my 6k XC PR, about 2 weeks pre-pregnancy (6 weeks before I’d find out). I was only 14 months postpartum and at, what I usually consider my prime “walk the line” race weight. 127lbs. On the right? Me this morning, nearly 21 months postpartum, and 147lbs!!! (Don’t cry, Caitlyn)
20lbs between these two photos!!! WHAT!?
The only reason I even stepped on the scale to begin with was because I was looking for a way to measure my fitness. I don’t have running times or races or training paces to give me feedback. I’m working out a lot and feeling good! I thought the scale might give me that positive reinforcement to continue even though I’ve been really tired with my schedule shifting from mornings to nights depending on where In the world matts job takes him during this selling season. I’ve tried to remove all metics in my life that might discourage me, but I thought for sure this number was going down (especially since the Cadbury eggs are behind us...). Last time I weighed myself I was coming in at 141 pretty consistently... which was frustrating, but not unexpected. My typical weight is around 132-135, and since I had not been training much that variation is not unusual or concerning... BUT I’ve been crushing it at the gym lately and getting my heart rate super high with exercises I’m not really efficient at, sweating up a storm and definitely burning a lot... I feel good, and in my opinion I look good... so I innocently assumed I’d be slightly under 140 which I really only saw once or twice since I’ve had Maebel...and that would motivate me to keep doing the gym stuff that I don’t necessarily love, especially as it gets nicer outdoors! THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED (obviously).
I saw that number and immediately started thinking “what am I doing wrong?” Or “why can’t I lose this baby weight” or “am I ever going to be as fit as I was before I had Maebel”.... and then I stopped.
Why am I letting my weight define my fitness? Yes, it has in the past. Anytime I dip under 130 I know I’m fit and am ready to crank a few good races. I never restrict beyond just normal “That second piece of cake isn’t necessary” or “hmm that food didn’t make me feel right”... and I have never struggled with an eating disorder.... so the weight drop I experience is a natural byproduct of hard training and I know I’m peaking at the low-for-me weight. I’ve also learned that that sub 130lbs is only good for a few weeks before it becomes unsustainable (just like peak training). Then I race the goal race, hopefully crush it, and take a week or two off either way and everything regulates back to mid 130s.... so it’s never a concern.... but natural weight loss (not weight loss by restriction or control) has always been a metric for prime fitness for me thus far.
But that doesn’t mean it always will be or should be.
I don’t know what my weight was here, but it was not under 140. I was 7 months postpartum and pretty damn fit based on runs I was completing (but not aware I was pretty injured from pregnancy... I thought it was my new baseline.)
I was also really fit here, and not under 140. I was probably pretty heavy here but never weighed myself... I don’t know why today I let this number make me feel less than. I think it’s because the only time I’ve ever seen a number that high I was within one month postpartum. I instantly was thinking it’s baby weight still. I ran my entire pregnancy and I’m dealing with baby weight! How will I ever lose the baby weight? WTF is baby weight anyway? Since having Maebel I’ve been injured so often I’ve taken up new types of exercise... maybe it’s not leftover from pregnancy, but weight from different kind of fitness. I’m lifting, I’m spinning, my quads are getting bigger and I’m hitting the glutes hard every day (and it shows!)... Did I expect to grow these muscles without that number on the scale growing? I also have been intuitively eating more protein. It’s what my body craves to feed my muscles. I don’t know, Temporary lapse of judgement and reason, I guess. My body hasn’t responded well to most things I did pre-pregnancy, and I’ve been in a constant phase of metamorphosis, evolving and adapting to a lot of new things... almost everything I knew to be true about my body pre-pregnancy(2) has been thrown out postpartum, so why am I trying to hold it to some meaningless other pre-pregnancy standard seen on the scale. The truth is, you are never the same after a baby.... your whole lifestyle will change, so it’s likely that your fitness habits and routine and expectations will in some capacity, too. That doesn’t mean your goals have to, but the way to get to those goals might.
Im not sure if more weight will help or hurt my performance, but probably better if I just don’t look. Just like turning off the Garmin, if you feel good... that’s more than enough validation. I can’t WAIT to get my orthotics. I e had lower leg injuries my entire running career that I’ve been able to manage by being young, resilient, and stubborn.... that’s not working for me anymore. These orthotics are going to change a lot about how I distribute force and stress... so there’s a lot of adjusting ahead, but hopefully this puts an end to my DNS streak for good.
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!