Diet Dispatches

Success. Setback. Carry on

November 8, 2011 

Pondering pounds shed

Andrea Weigl, food writer, who is on maternity leave, writes: Let me first say: Every woman's body is different. Every woman's childbirth is different. Every woman's postpartum weight-loss experience is different. I am chronicling my own experience here but am making no claims that my experience is typical or unusual. I really have no clue what to expect since this is my first child. I have been warned by many friends that it took nine months to put the weight on and will take nine months to take it off. That is my expectation. I also expect it will at least take that long to get back into shape since my exercise routine really stalled as my pregnancy progressed.

During my pregnancy, my weight rose from 150 to 178 pounds. Two weeks after my daughter was born, I have lost 21 pounds. While pregnant, I read about women losing 10-plus pounds shortly after giving birth. I wondered what made up that weight gain and may account for the weight loss I experienced.

Shelley Wilkins, a pediatric dietitian at WakeMed who likely has given birth to her own daughter, Olivia, by now, shared these details:

Fetus: 7 to 8 pounds (3.2 to 3.6 kg)

Fat stores: 6 to 8 pounds (2.7 to 3.6 kg)

Increased blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds (1.3 to 1.8 kg)

Increased fluid volume: 2 to 3 pounds (0.9 to 1.3 kg)

Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds (0.9 kg)

Breast enlargement: 1 to 3 pounds (0.9 to 1.3 kg)

Uterine hypertrophy: 2 pounds (0.9 kg)

Placenta: 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg)

Wilkins noted that this information comes from a website approved by WakeMed for use in healthcare settings.

I have been amazed that I've lost so much weight. Frankly, it concerns me that maybe I'm not eating enough. I am breast-feeding, which requires more calories. In my next post, I'll share the nutrition advice that Wilkins and other Raleigh dietitians offer to new moms.

Food isn't a reward

Carole Tanzer Miller, features editor, writes: So I successfully brought my weight into my safety zone with a one-week "blitz" of meal replacements and a daily "lean and green" meal. I embarked on the final days of October at 137.5, right where I wanted to be. It was effortless and efficient. I thought that was the easy part.

Boy, was I wrong! Here's what was easier: I managed to undo the blitz in just three days. That's right. Three days.

And here's what has me really steamed: We spent Monday sightseeing in Washington, D.C. It was a glorious day, with a chill in the air. And we walked ... and walked ... and walked, as this record from my pedometer shows. Mind you, we logged this 6.48 miles on a combination of sometimes bumpy surfaces - concrete, cobblestone and gravel - sharing the task of pushing my husband's wheelchair.

Days later, my hips and legs still ache. But not as much as my heart does after stepping on the scale this morning.

There it was: The weight I'd lost and a little more. Frankly, I'm too mortified to share it here.

So how come?

It's the same old story: Food rewards. We walked all day, then enjoyed a sumptuous supper at one of Teddy Roosevelt's favorite watering holes, the Old Ebbitt Grill. After all, we worked hard for that cheese platter and the crab cakes, right? And the buffalo shrimp salad at dinner here in Raleigh last night.

As my health coach says, "You're not a dog. Don't reward yourself with food." OK, Charity, I hear you!

My takeaway: It takes A lot of work to burn 459 calories, and very little work to burn all that effort. I'm red-faced and back on the blitz.

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