REAL LIFE

How I learned to accept my post-baby body

Bouncing back after baby number one proved to be a whole lot easier than baby number two…

“I’ve always been the opposite of a yo-yo dieter. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a diet. That’s because my weight just basically stayed the same size no matter what I ate, how much exercise I did or didn’t do and regardless of any other factors going on in my life. I was genetically blessed with a size 9 back-side for most of my life!

Then I fell pregnant at age 33. I put on a whopping 17 kg. My doctor kept saying to me, ‘you are putting on too much weight.’ It was true that for the first time in my life I was eating unhealthy foods like Twisties and raspberry cordial. I was by no means a health freak before falling pregnant, but I did enjoy ‘sometimes foods’ only ‘sometimes’, not daily.

Franki Pregnant
Franki pregnant with baby number two.

My cravings for Twisties and raspberry cordial though seemed to be the panacea for my all-day morning sickness, and I want giving them up no matter what the doctor said.

When my baby boy was delivered, my unhealthy penchant became apparent though. I remember having my photos taken with my newborn and having to wear cardigans and jackets over dresses because I couldn’t do the zippers up. But I was OK with that. I knew it had taken nine months for my body to nourish this baby and transform, and it was going to take me at least nine months to get my former body back.

Franki with her son Maxwell
Franki with her first son, Maxwell, 8, before baby number two existed! (Credit: Franki with her son Maxwell)

It was closer to 12 months, actually, and my size 9 jeans were all traded in for a size 10 – after I’d broken every belt loop on them hitching them up over my new mummy muffin top. But I was OK with that. I’d written countless health and body image stories as a women’s lifestyle journalist over the years and I knew all too well that as we age, as we have babies and as our lifestyles change, so too do our bodies. As long as we are within a healthy weight range and get enough moderate exercise each day, it’s ok.

Baby number two, however, was a different story. I was 42 when I fell pregnant with my second partner. I’d been a size 10 for the past ten years and I naively presumed I’d go through this pregnancy the same, and lose my baby weight in a similar way. Oh lordy me was I wrong!

Franki with her two sons Maxwell, 9 and Louis, 6 months
Franki with her two sons, Maxwell, 9 and Louis, 8 months. (Credit: Franki Hobson)

I put on 22 kilograms during this pregnancy. I didn’t eat Twisties and raspberry cordial, but I did eat vast amounts of food. The morning sickness was so bad that I became a carb-eating monster. I had to have bread/potatoes/bananas in my gob and filling my stomach to stop the nausea. It was an awful cycle and while I knew I was becoming bigger than Ben Hur, I had to keep fulfilling my daily responsibilities working, being a mum to my 9 year old son – and food was the only way to keep the nausea at bay.

When I had my second baby, Louis, who is now 19 months old, I realised this baby weight was going to be harder to shift. I wasn’t as active as I was when I was 33 and of course with age comes natural body aging related and degenerative issues – our muscles require more upkeep to get the same result, we have to work harder to keep our joints, tendons and fat stores burning etc.

It has taken me 19 months to look in the mirror and not want to cry at my new body – which is still 10kg heavier than before I fell pregnant.

I’m not in the healthy weight range, according the Institute of Health and Welfare. In fact, I’m one of the 63% of adults who are overweight or obese in Australia. And I am all too aware of the health-related effects that obesity causes, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions, some cancers and the ability to control or manage chronic conditions.

I am not complacent about my health, or the fact that I owe it to my children to be in optimum health for them, but I have resolved to put my body non-confidence in a vacuum sealed bag and shove it under the bed. Instead, I’m using all that negative energy to develop healthy tweaks to my life – from the foods I eat to exercise and relaxation. It’s a slow journey – a slow journey indeed! But one I’m glad I’m on.

If you are struggling to stay active, or maintaining a healthy weight, speak to your doctor who can perform a health assessment and develop a healthy weight loss plan that suits your lifestyle and needs. Or visit https://cansciencetaketheweightoff.com/ for more interesting facts about weight loss.

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