being a mom

What Happens When You Finally Lose The Baby Weight

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omg scaleLike so many women,after having twins I was fixated on losing my baby weight. No matter how far you’ve come in terms of health after having a baby, the ability to say that you weigh what you did before getting pregnant is appealing to the ego, and I let that goal blind me to the rest of my accomplishments. But I wasn’t prepared for what it actually feels like to finally get back to your pre-baby weight.

I envisioned myself with a baby on each hip, sporting washboard abs like fit mom Maria Kang. Not that I’d ever had anything close to a six-pack before having kids, but I was certain that as a stay at home mom I’d have all this free time to work out. Naive, I know.

But getting back into a fitness routine was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Between recovering from a c-section and the toll bed rest took on my body, it was close to four months before I felt physically capable of working out again. And even when I did feel well enough, sleep deprivation or guilt over leaving my babies made it hard to get into an exercise routine.

My diet wasn’t helping either. Stress and boredom collided to find me eating bags of chips while the kids were napping or sneaking Hershey’s Kisses during temper tantrums so that I started to gain weight. I was frustrated with the realities of caring for two babies and unhappy with how I felt and looked. I was certain that if I could only get back to my pre-baby weight, the world would make sense again.

I had some honest conversations with myself about the kinds of snacks I could be trusted to have in the house and gave myself permission to get to the gym more often. And my outlook on life improved. I had more energy, I was sleeping better, I was calmer and happier with my kids. I reached a healthy weight and could have stopped there but I didn’t. Instead of being proud of the progress I’d made, every time I stepped on the scale I was mad at myself for still being heavier than that elusive pre-baby number. Every run wasn’t far enough, every treat was unearned.

It was a long, slow process, but the day finally came when I stepped on the scale and saw the number that has eluded me for close to three years. I had done it– I had gotten back down to my pre-baby weight!

And absolutely nothing happened. The scale didn’t shoot out confetti, there was no mass of people and cameras waiting outside the bathroom door with balloons, a marching band and a giant fake check. No one stopped me on the street to tell me how good I looked, and thanks to my everyday uniform of yoga pants, my clothes didn’t fit that much better.

I had spend all this time and energy obsessing over something that just.didn’t.matter. I looked  and felt exactly the same as I had one, two, even three pounds heavier, but I had forced myself to shed those pounds, convinced that they would somehow make a huge difference.

I realized I had two choices: I could continue to track every calorie in sacrifice to the scale gods in order to maintain this weight, or I could stop letting three numbers dictate my life and focus on making good food choices and getting enough exercise. I won’t lie and say I threw my scale out then and there, but I have tried not to let the scale readout dictate my mood for the day. I’m more willing to take a rest day when I need it, or to indulge in a spontaneous cookie.

If you too are on a quest to hit that magic number on a scale, I invite you to pause and ask what you expect to happen once you get there. Because you just might realize that you’re perfectly healthy and happy exactly as you are now.

(Image: saje/GettyImages)