Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Myths about Postpartum Weight Loss

So, I love the Today Show. It's no secret that I love it. If you ask my family what I am usually doing around 7:00AM, they would unanimously say "Watching the Today Show!" My friends are probably sick of me starting sentences with "I saw _______________ on the Today Show..." However, my favorite show did me wrong the other day. Really wrong. I watched this segment about how celebrities aren't like us when it comes to taking off the baby weight. DUH. Consider this my "letter to the editor" if you will. Here were my problems with this study:

- The study included candidates who were overweight before they got pregnant. During the interview the expert communicates that most of the individuals in this study were overweight.
- The report stated women should gain 18-25 pounds during pregnancy. That is the recommendations for OVERWEIGHT women. Women with an average BMI gain an average of 25-35 pounds. So, when they say 50%of women had an extra ten pounds and 25% had an extra 20 pounds to lose, they're referring to a study done with predominantly overweight women. They only mentioned that once, leading me to believe all their statistics and studies included people like me, who had a VERY healthy lifestyle and average BMI.
- The report stated that women burn 280-500 calories EVERY TIME they nurse. Not true. Simply not true.
- At 2:05 in the video, the "expert" says we shouldn't base our feelings on celebrity weight loss but we can use it as motivation. The live interview expert had a very uncomfortable disapproving face when the camera panned to her because NO, celebrity's baby weight loss is not motivational. 

Decided to break up my rant with a little HenJo action. He's working on his tripod form. I give this a 10!

So, I did my own research. It took about ten minutes. Hello, Today Show, expert researcher and new mom for hire! (Note I did more than ten minutes of research but this was the best article I found.) I found a Q&A on WebMd with Elizabeth Ward MS RD. She seems legit. The Q&A featured some of my burning questions, so here are a few myths to bust:

1. Nursing will help you lose weight. Yes, nursing burns calories (280-500 a DAY, not per feed), but with those burned calories comes increased hunger. Just as with an active lifestyle, food should be fuel while nursing. Ward even states that you can gain weight while breastfeeding! The reason is because, although you could burn some calories and fat, your body protects some stores of fat for breastfeeding.

2. Counting calories will help you lose the baby weight. If you're not breastfeeding, go for it. Ward does not recommend doing that for breastfeeding moms. The energy it takes to breastfeed means limiting calories could zap you of even more energy. Fun fact: she states that the quality of milk is determined by the quality of your diet, the quantity is dependent on how often you nurse. (Note: some women simply have low milk supply, plain and simple.)

3. You will lose the baby weight in a year. Ward cautions that many breastfeeding moms do not lose the weight until they are finished breastfeeding. So, depending on how long you plan on nursing, keep this in mind. I hope to nurse Henry until one year (When he will hopefully transition to milk pending his allergy), so this helped me have a more realistic outlook on things.

Year. Made. And thanks Vaseline for following me...

Finally, to my lovely Savannah. She is simply the cutest. I loved watching her adorable prego self every morning, and I'm glad she's back! She was absolutely right when she said "I don't know how I feel about this study." After the expert stated gaining 18-25 pounds was average, she made a comment I would have made concerning putting on weight during pregnancy: 

"A lot of the advice you get is to start (being active/healthy) during your pregnancy so you don't put on so much weight, which by the way is really hard to do from someone who put on 42 pounds." 

You could just insert "38 pounds" and that would be something I would say. You see, I was active during my pregnancy, I was eating healthily, I am still active now and I am still eating healthily. Just as my feelings were about the onslaught of tips to avoid holiday weight gain, I think we need to back the heck off with the obsession with losing baby weight. It does no good for a mom's self esteem, whether you're a nationally televised news anchor or a stay at home mom. We all see the pictures, we know some people miraculously lose the weight, but we need to take a step back and be concerned with our own world, not the world around us. If I had known this information before I had my baby, I think I would have been handling my (What I have considered to be slow) progress better.

The takeaway from this is that everyone and everybody is different. Some women are going to lose their baby weight quickly, while others, like myself, will have weight stall after weight stall after weight stall. The important thing is putting healthy nourishment into your body, exerting a healthy amount of physical activity, and doing everything possible to raise this beautiful baby you've been blessed with. It took me a long time to get to this place, and I have my moments of "UGH I just want to fit into ALL my clothes again!" But Henry is the greatest thing I have ever done, and he's worth all the effort to get myself back into my best running shape.

How about you? Have you ever seen a television segment that irked you? Have you ever written a letter to an editor? Any myths you would like to bust? Tell me about it!
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