Before and After…

Pregnancy

How to lose that post pregnancy belly…

I never thought I would be the type to go under the knife after my last pregnancy – but there I was 6 days after my last child in the OR ready to have weight removed from my belly — well it actually was probably less than a pound – it was an inflamed appendix.

I have seen a lot of advertisements for products and programs showing females how they can lose their post pregnancy belly. Recently, I saw a new one floating around Facebook with pregnant, post pregnant and post “product” pictures. I felt like I needed to share my experience.

I have had 4 children, all natural births and have used the same “program” for each of them which has allowed me to return to my “pre-pregnancy” body (Is your body ever really exactly the same after your first birth?).

With my last child, 6 days after he was born, I was back in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. The recovery from this was so much more challenging than recovering from natural deliveries – at least for me. As a result – I took pictures of my recovery over the course of 4 weeks on my “program”.

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10 days post delivery, 4 days post surgery
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18 days post delivery, 12 days post surgery
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27 days post delivery, 22 days post surgery
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33 days post delivery, 27 days post surgery

Now that you have seen the pictures, you are probably on the edge of your seat wondering, “What did she do or use to drop weight/get her belly back so quickly, not just after delivery but surgery too?” The answer: Nothing.  All I could do was eat a healthy diet, not only to produce breast milk for my newborn infant, but to also provide the energy my body needed post-surgery.  The hardest part was I could not exercise for 6-8 weeks in order to allow the body to heal and not contribute to any of the possible post-surgery complications (none of them sounded like anything I wanted to experience so I decided to play it safe and follow the doctor’s orders).  The extent of my exercise during my recovery built up to walking around the house, work and neighborhood as the recovery weeks progressed.

Disclaimer: Let’s be clear that everyone’s body is different and each female responds differently to pregnancy (and not all females have the same experience with each pregnancy). Second, my recovery from pregnancy and surgery did not begin right then. It began long before I was pregnant and continued through pregnancy. What I am referring to? Simple, it is staying active/exercising and eating a reasonably healthy diet. I have always been active (as an exercise physiologist I have been teaching group fitness for almost 20 years) and have maintained a reasonably healthy diet most of my life (I grew up with a mother who made most everything from scratch and have continued that practice within my family). When people find out I am a registered dietitian, there is a perception that we do not eat anything unhealthy like donuts, chocolate or treats. However, I enjoy my treats just like anyone else and actually love to make cookies and treats and absolutely love chocolate and peanut butter. The key is to try to maintain moderation in all things.

So before you say, “Well how does that help me? I don’t have the same body type or the same lifestyle and eating habits.” Making small, appropriate changes can have a large impact over time. Your experience may not be like mine (but I guarantee that there is no magic product or program out there that is better or safer than appropriate exercise and a healthy balanced diet with all things in moderation).

You can’t change what is in the past, but you can change what you are doing now and the choices you make as you move forward.

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