By Rebbecca Hemmings aka Becks
When I discovered I was pregnant in August 2012, I was so excited at the prospect of challenging myself to lose the weight afterwards. At that time I was at a great weight, I felt wonderful and looked fabulous. I was confident that I could repeat this success.
However, after gaining 4 stones during pregnancy, growing out of all my clothes and losing my muscles tone (due to being banned from most forms of exercise whilst pregnant because I was classed at ‘high risk’), all that optimism dwindled like a falling leaf.
The funny thing is, I did not binge eat whilst pregnant. Yes, I ate more than I normally did but not a significant amount. I was always very conscious of over-doing it, yet I promised myself I would not feel guilty for what I ate as I was nourishing my baby.
So, my beautiful daughter was born in May 2013. Though sore from a C-section, I was generally quite blissful, glad to have my body back and ready to get into my pre-pregnancy clothes. Yes, I knew I wouldn’t get into them straight away but I honestly didn’t think it would take a year! I mean I started exercising (albeit slowly) 6 weeks after giving birth. I started teaching 2 classes a week at 12 weeks.
I remember in the early days I would take weekly photos of my belly as it reduced in size. I shared this information with my sister. I was met with raucous laughter and the comment: ‘Weekly? You’d better start taking them monthly at the very least!’ Was she really saying that it would take months for my stomach to get back to normal? Yes she was!
At that point I did stop taking the weekly pictures because deep down I knew she was right. I could feel it! This getting back to normal stuff was going to take some time. Secretly I was tired of putting on my clothes and feeling rubbish because I looked ridiculous in them. I took to wearing a swimming costume when teaching Zumba, as I couldn’t fathom the embarrassment I would feel if my post-pregnant belly popped out. Plus, I hated the feeling of the extra jiggle when I did my then defunct signature pump. I was get really paranoid when teaching my classes. Especially if new people came and didn’t know I had had a baby. I took every chance I could to mention it. I felt every one’s eyes on my stomach and I imagined they were saying ‘Oh, it’s a bit bigger than I thought it would be by now!’
Then I realised, that these thoughts were perceptions of my reality and that I was free to change them. In fact if I did change them to more positive points of view, I might have a better experience. So I did! I stopped expecting my poor body to fit back into my old clothes and bought new ones that complimented my new shape. I kept wearing my swimming costume and other support garments (guilt –free), until I felt confident enough to not wear them. I told myself that the women in my class all know I’ve just had a baby and they actually admire the fact that I am up and running and working towards my goals just as they are. These new thoughts really changed my experience, I was able to relax and think about other stuff. It made no sense worrying, I was doing all I could to lose the extra baggage.
So in one year what have I done to lose the extra weight? Well in the first two months, I taught two classes a week (I started out very gently). I ate what I liked within reason but I was careful not to over-do it. Then in month 8 I began teaching 6 classes a week, plus I did a 7 week weight loss programme (remember when I wanted to lose a stone for my birthday?) I lost 12 lbs.
Now? Well we have just celebrated Jasmine’s 1st birthday and one friend commented that ‘You look smaller now than before you were pregnant’. The scales say I have lost the 4 stones I gained. I notice my hips are the narrowest they have been in years. I put that down to me doing a lot of SO Dancehall classes (as we do a lot of lower leg work) and I’ve also included a lot more squats and lunges into my Zumba classes. But the more important thing is that I am really happy with my body and its progress. Once I let go of unrealistic expectations, everything literally has fallen into place. It feels great!
Now, the question I keep getting asked is: so when are you going to have the next one? Well err.. despite the progress I have made, I would like to hang on to my new shape a little while longer so erm.. we’ll see.