Friday, November 2, 2012

My body after baby

Confession: Today I bought a dress that totally didn't fit me. Unfortunately, it's not that it was too big (an easy fix with a cinched belt); it was too small. And I knew this, but it didn't stop me from bypassing the dressing rooms, taking said dress up to the front register and purchasing it. That's right, I bought it. All in the name of cute minimalist color-blocking and an exposed zipper down the back.

Like an idiot I was all happy to get home and try on the damn dress so I could brag to everyone I knew about how at two months postpartum, I already fit into “those” kind of dresses – the kind with cinched waists, slim shoulders and tailored butts. You know, the skinny girl kind. Of course somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew full well I wouldn't fit into the thing. I still have 14 el bees of baby weight to lose (although I hide it very, very well) and once in a while I'll look at myself naked in the mirror and swear my ass has exploded to Kim Kardashian proportions. J insists this isn't the case but husbands can't always be trusted when their wife's weight is at issue. Anyway, irrational Crystal assured me that somehow it would fit, or at least I'd force it to fit. Well let's just say that if the dress were Cinderella's glass slipper it would be less like this:

And more like this:

It was much worse than a little snug. I felt like a sausage stuffed in to size zero casing. Curtains of armpit fat spilled out the arm holes. My thighs made the fabric across them pucker in a most unappealing fashion. And the waist. . .well, it looked like I'd slipped a small rubberband over my torso to use as some makeshift belt. This time last year this dress would have looked stunning on me, in fact it probably would have been loose on and I would have pretended I didn't love all the compliments I'd get for how great I looked in it. Now I looked like Jeana Keough from Real Housewives of Orange County, albeit with no Playboy Magazine past to attest to my former hotness.

Dejected, I tore the dress off and flung it over my shoulder into the baby's empty crib (I currently use Ava's nursery as my second closet). So, aside from collecting dust on its hanger, I guess this dress could serve one of two purposes:
  • It can serve as a reminder that I'm a fat cow now that I've had a baby. This can further remind me that not only has the baby sucked me dry of all energy (along with parts of my soul), she's also ruined my body in her wake. 
  • It can serve as a reminder that though I may be of fat cow status now, if I work hard at losing the weight I can one day fit into some version of this dress again.
Of those two purposes I think I'm better off attempting to be a little positive, so I'm going with option number 2. Like Stella, I need to get my groove back. The dress will now join my pre-pregnancy Hudson Jeans, Banana Republic little black dress and countless other garments that don't fit me to serve as overall motivation to get myself (and my butt) back into shape.

I'm not asking to look like a Victoria's Secret Angel, but I also don't want to keep going this way and wind up padding around my house in a leopard-print muumuu like Kirstie Alley with a bag of Cheetos. I want to feel good about my body again and not automatically hold a shirt or towel up over my midsection if J happens to walk in on me while I'm changing. I never used to be that girl who was insecure about her body. Before I was Samantha Jones about my body; now I'm Bridget Jones. Maybe it's karma for sunbathing topless once in my entire life because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about (turns out not much, other than sunburned boobs).

For a girl who hates working out I don't quite know what I'm going to do aside from count calories and starve myself back to skinny-ness...but that seems a bit unreasonable at the moment since I need every last ounce of my energy to make it through these days. Plus, the last time I counted calories -- 1,100 calories per day – I always felt like I was one step away from fainting like some character in a Jane Austen novel. Definitely not conducive to raising a baby.

I plan to keep walking and maybe I'll gradually cut my calories here and there. I suppose the occasional crunch wouldn't hurt either. I've been a good little witch and cut out my brownie batter habit a few weeks ago, so there's that. The next step is cutting out most of the junk food I eat (humongous sigh). I guess I'll have to say goodbye to Taco Bell, Panda Express, Red Vines licorice and basically anything else that comes packaged in a box, bag or jar. This is the best rule of thumb for a diet since anything packaged in one of these is generally high in sodium, preservatives and, well, all that stuff that tastes good. I once heard that the most healthy way to shop the grocery store was to cruise the perimeter, which makes sense. That's where all the produce, meats, dairy and freshly baked goods are. Everything else in the store's middle is just junk (no matter how good it tastes). So if it means I can get back into that dress and back into a better frame of mind about my body,  I'll make the sacrifice and shop the perimeter more.

After all, not only are there clothes in my closet waiting to hang out with me again, the holidays are just around the corner and that means. . . holiday dress season!!! (I type those exclamation points with heartfelt sarcasm.) Normally this time of year elicits quiet squeals from me since holiday dress shopping and wearing are some of my favorite things. This year, though, I'm meeting it with equal parts skepticism and remorse. No matter how much I cut calories there's no way in a healthy hell I'd ever be able to drop 14 pounds by Christmas. It's a crap situation all around. Nevertheless, I've got three events in December already lined up that I need to at least try and look good at:

1.) A white elephant Christmas party one of my new mom friends is throwing for a group of us mothers. Obviously a cocktail dress would be too dressy for this occasion, but I still need to be the hottest mother there. Naturally.

2.) J's office holiday party. It's being held at a steakhouse in downtown SF (fancy, fancy) and is a great excuse to rock a stunning cocktail dress. Lucky me? Again, I need to be the hottest wife there. It's a gold standard I constantly strive for.

3.) My cousin's wedding. It's going to be a black-tie, evening shindig, so a TKO dress is in order. I'm thinking something in a jewel tone that doesn't highlight the thin layer of fat I now carry around on my back. Not a big deal if I'm not the hottest person at this party since half my extended family are Persian Kardashian-lookalikes that make me look super vanilla in comparison.


Finicky Cat said...

An occasional reader here; first-time commenter.

Just had to say - oh, boy, can I relate! But learn from my mistake, okay? In despair once, I tossed a pair of adorable totally wonderful jeans that I loved...because they were size 2 and I didn't think I'd *ever* be that small again. Ha! So don't do that. My waist was never quite as narrow as before-baby, and I have a few stretch-marks, but I really did get back to a size 2. And rock those little dresses again...

If there's any secret, it's 1) be"naturally thin" to begin with; 2) nurse your baby faithfully; 3) eat real food, not garbage. Probably exercise helps a ton, too...but it's just not something I do easily.

I'm going the other direction now, though - just done with another first-trimester!

Want any more encouragement? Well, this is my sixth pregnancy (we like babies!) and the weight-loss has happened every single time...though it does take somewhat longer after the first one.

So keep that dress, and don't worry!

Crystal said...

Wow, sixth pregnancy?! Okay, you've given me hope that I can lose this weight! I'm so tempted to toss all the clothes that no longer fit me, but I love them so much. Thanks for the reassurance, it definitely helps! Oh, and congrats on your newest addition's impending arrival. :)

Linda said...

Dont throw the clothes away! Start walking, walking torches calories more than anyone could ever imagine. Breast feed and eat properly. Don't count calories, it's a time KILLER and time you don't have. Buy some dvds (I love Jillian Michaels) and do them when baby is sleeping. I used to hate exercise too, but once you see the changes you start to love it. I know a slew of women with small children and six packs. Quality good food, small meals 6x a day, breast feed/pump and do some exercises you like. Oh and you aren't superhuman or a rich celebrity so don't expect yourself to have shed the wait ASAP. Slow and steady wins the race! One protein, one (good) carb and veggies/ fruit at every meal 6x a day is the fat torching diet.

Finicky Cat said...

I know this is a *month* later...centuries past-due on a blog...but thanks for the congratulations! And I forgot to mention in my original comment that the illustrations from Cinderella are HILARIOUS! So apt! I know just what that feels like...

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