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November 9, 2010

FAT....and postpartum weight loss

FAT - what an ugly word. Does fat ever make anything in a sentence sound good? "That fat orange cat eats a lot of lasagna." Nope. "That baby is so fat!"...Nope..I think I prefer, "That baby is so chunky!" What about - "I love those cheeks...they are so FAT!" ...NOO! Maybe if you had said, "...they are so chubby!". Let's see.. "I would kill for some big fat chocolate chip cookies." Ummm...maybe this one works :P

Short-version of my FAT journey

Since I've had Arissa, people haven't been shy in calling me the 'f' word. Its sad really, because no matter how much we try to ignore it, that word has a stinger at it's end. My journey with being fat isn't started a long time ago...when I was a toddler..I was fat...chubby. Then as a kid, I was normal...not too fat, not too skinny. During my pre-pubescent years and a couple of years after, I had suddenly gained weight and although I wasn't truly fat ..I wasn't one of those skinny girls who all those acne covered boys crushed on. And I was fine with that. I was a tom-boy; I loved soccer, practiced basketball even though I didn't have the height for it, wore shorts and t-shirts way more often than skirts and girly tops, I could beat up any of the guys in my class and I would rather curl up and read a book than be bothered by make-up (although few years later, I found myself secretly 'in love' with the romance section of the library and I'll also admit to being in love with a Backstreet Boy).

During my teen years, I developed quickly and eventually became more in tune with my 'feminine' side. And around that time, I, unfortunately, also became aware of the expectations society has regarding girls and their weight. I've never experienced being truly 'skinny'. I have always been curvy. As a teenager, it was hard sometimes, because to most people, a curvy teen meant either sexy (to the perverts or adolescent males) or fat (to the skinnier teenage girls). Being either can be hard at such a complicated age. Now, I'm extremely proud of my curves, wouldn't give them up ever to be stick skinny...But if I say, "I just want to be healthier and not just slimmer" or that "How I look doesn't matter as much as how I feel"...then that would be a complete lie. Everyone wants to look attractive, and if in today's society that means being a skinny Minney, then most girls want to be that. I've been a part of this global struggle we women go through day in and day out. For me it wasn't about fitting into the slinkiest outfit or attracting the most good looking men. I didn't want to be super slim and sexy, I just wanted to be attractive enough so that when my soul mate comes along, he wouldn't completely miss me whilst checking out the scores of more appealing females.

From the ages of 14-19, I was satisfied with how I looked. Guys liked me, girls envied me and I never dieted or exercised in an effort to loose weight. I ate what I wanted, enjoyed my time with my friends and wore outfits without being embarrassed about any big rolls of blubber. Then at 19, my father passed away and life became...difficult. I suddenly became bombarded with too many responsibilities/expectations. I had initially planned on eventually applying for medical school and becoming a doctor (although, its NEVER something I had myself wanted to be...I guess it's an Asian(brown-yellow)'re only successful if you become a doctor, lawyer or engineer!). After my father passed away, I hadn't taken anytime to deal with my loss. No one told me I should and it never occurred to me either. He was such a HUGE part of my life, my being...I had never realized it until after he was gone. His presence and consequent absence had affected everything, from how I ate, when I ate, how much I smiled, when I put my socks on, how warmly I dressed in the winters, when I went to sleep, how well I slept...everything. Basically, I had to start dealing with life, every little thing he had helped me deal with, plus I was doing school full-time, worrying about my grades because everyone would call and say, "So, how are your grades doing?" or "Are you doing well in school?" and worse, "You have to go the medical school because your father wanted you to, so keep your grades up!" (Sad that no one once thought to call and ask how I was coping without my father). Soon I was working full-time along side studying full-time. The vending machines, and lattes are what kept me going through the day. After I got home, the depression would set in. My body was screaming for some sleep, but my mind would run 10 miles a minute thinking about everything I had to get up and do in the morning. With the depression came insomnia and soon I was spending the entire night eating and trying to find something funny on TV to make me laugh. Over the next 2 and half years, I gained 55 pounds. Then one day I came to the realization that I was killing myself, living life the way I was and I needed to help myself change. So after reading hundreds of magazines/books on diet, exercise and weight loss, I formulated a plan to gradually and permanently loose the weight. I joined the gym, started working out and eating healthier. Lost 11 pounds in 2 months. Then I met Sunvi and we fell in love and decided we wanted to get married. I needed to look good for my wedding... So I threw out my gradual healthy weight loss plan and went for a plan that would help me lose more weight quicker. I starved myself...almost. And I did lose weight. These are some pictures from before my wedding and during my wedding:

You can't really tell how skinny I am, but you can at least see I wasn't FAT anymore...This is few months AFTER I met Sunvi

Few months before our Wedding

I know you can't see my body in this one but I think it's pretty picture :)
Yes, I looked great during my wedding, but soon it was all over and I was back in Canada while Sunvi was back in New York. I let myself go and just ate and studied and missed my husband. Over the next year and half I once again gained about 35 almost all of the weight I had lost quickly; I went from being around 120 during my wedding to 155. And just as I was about to start another balanced diet-exercise regime...I got pregnant. Losing weight was obviously out of the question...Of course over-indulgence wasn't necessary but what pregnant woman doesn't like to indulge!

By the end of my pregnancy, I had tipped (a little too much) the scales at 202 pounds!! So I had gained almost 50 pounds! I'm only 5ft 2in tall.... so being over 200 is crazy! As much as I loved my humongous belly and how I looked while pregnant...crossing the 200 mark on the scale during that last week, made me cry.

Taken the before I went into labor

And once Arissa was born, my beautiful round belly was gone and it was replaced by pounds of fat, jiggle and jelly EVERYWHERE! I was no longer beautiful, I know longer felt beautiful...I was once again...FAT...just really FAT. The first 3-4 really didn't bother me. I was fat because I had a baby and didn't watch what I ate...I accept that but my main concern is the well being of my child and dieting can come AFTER I've exclusively breast fed her for a year. However, the last few months, people telling me how fat I've gotten, how I need to start losing weight has really been getting on my nerves. Honestly, I feel that telling someone they are fat or that they need to loose weight is verbal abuse. I wouldn't tell someone that EVER. If someone lost weight, I might comment on that...but I would never call someone FAT!

Anyways, so now I am on a mission and my 2 rules are: Loose weight gradually while still keeping up my milk supply so I can breast feed AND Don't stress out about it!

My simple PLAN for month 1-2:

  1. Drink at least 10 glasses of water a day.
  2. Walk, dance or actively play with Arissa for one hour everyday. Increasing my activity is soo very important. I had lost 28 pounds in the first month after giving birth...I wasn't watching what I ate...I was just active..we went to the mall, went for walks. After coming to Bangladesh, I've gained 16 pounds back...purely because I'm so inactive here.
  3. NO chocolates or sugary delights...I think this will be the hardest for me to follow so I'll allow myself 2 cheat days a month where I can indulge in whatever I want. 
  4. Up my protein, fruits and veggies and limit rice to one meal instead of two.
  5. Eat brown/multi-grain/whole wheat items instead of white breads whenever possible.
I'm not sure when I'll actually be starting... see I've found that whenever I set a goal with a specific date...I end up not doing it on that date and then disappointing myself...So I'll just start when I'm ready and Month 1 will be counted from there. My reason for publicly stating that I want to be healthy again are: 1. So that you people can encourage and support me. 2. You can stop telling me I'm fat. 3. You don't force me to eat something I don't want to when I come over to your house and 4. So that I feel more accountable if I end up not following my plan and one of you asks me how much weight I've lost.

So if anyone has any suggestions (based on experience would be better) on how to loose weight while breastfeeding, please email me or comment!...OH FYI... I thought breast feeding made you loose weight!! WTH...Hasn't helped me even though I breast fed Arissa like crazy and still feed her 7-8 times a day.

I'll do a monthly weight-in update blog post once I start and go for a well as what I've been doing...wish me luck!

*Sorry if this blog was a little hurried towards the end (and has lots of spelling mistakes)...Arissa is a handful and if I don't finish this's gonna take me till next nap-time tomorrow before I can start again.


Afsana K said...

your still beautiful to me bubu! :D

and yea, ur plan seems good.. you should start doing that!

Anne said...

Aww you're still beautiful! Don't worry about what people say, you have a gorgeous face and hair. Do it for YOU to feel better, not for them - 'cause rude comments don't even deserve a second in your mind!

Sabrina S said...

First of all, don't pay any importance to the hurtful words from people lacking common courtesy. Better yet, comment back on their appearance and let them have a taste of their own medicine. Standing up for yourself does not make you a bad person. Secondly, you’ve gained your pregnancy weight over the span of 9 months. This means losing all the weight will happen gradually and most likely not before your daughter’s first birthday. The saying “Breastfeeding helps you lose weight” is not true for all women. Some of our bodies slow down metabolism to ensure enough fat stores during nursing and this contributes to retaining some of that pregnancy weight. Once you’ve weaned your baby, losing those extra pounds will come easy with the help of a decreased appetite. Just be patient and give your body some time to heal. After all, it’s only been through the biggest and fastest change a human body can ever endure in a lifetime. A tip of advice on eating healthy would be to have a journal where you write down every bit of food you consume on a daily basis. This has to include everything from the amount of water you drink in a day to the only bite you take out of a cookie for its taste. This might help you stay on track and the rest will come slowly but surely ☺

Yusra.K said...

your always beautiful bubu :)
just try to be healthier i guess, your plan sounds really good !

Antara said...

Thanks guys for the kinds words of support!

And thank you Sabrina...I will definitely start keeping a food journal...another friend had also suggested calorie counting...but calorie counting might be hard because I wouldn't know how to count calories for all the desi food we eat

Noni said...

This was a very good read Antara. I've been there with the weight issues and I still continue to struggle with them. Growing up, I've heard a lot of "fat" comments. But I think it's important to try and ignore hurtful and useless comments and focus on any useful advice they give.

I hit my Oh No I am getting out of control about a year and a half ago I think. I had been working and studying full time and really didn't care about what I was eating. I started with Weight Watchers and I am really glad I did. They didn't teach me any more than I knew about food but it helped a tonne because it made me aware of what I was eating. I wasn't a bad eater so my weight loss was VERY slow. But it turned out we usually eat way more than we need to. Spent a few months keeping track of everything that goes into my mouth and tracking it's fibre and fat content.

Now I know my limit and it still is a constant battle. I think it is something I will struggle with for life. I have the "FAT" genes after all :(

Sorry I can't help you with the milk production tips though :)

Best of luck on your healthy path. I don't consider desi food all that encouraging towards my weigh loss plans. If you figure out a way to make desi food healthy, plz blog about it :D

Sajiah said...

apu i must say i love reading ur blogs! u just express urself so makes me want you to proof read my essays and projects hahahaha! :P

i think after giving birth ppl shouldnt be expecting so much..ppl in bd are lame lol ugh!..u do what u have to ur pace :)

Antara said...

@nurun - thanx so much for the words of encouragement, I think I have the fat genes too :( sucks doesn't it? I am going to start becoming more aware of everything I put in my mouth :)

@sajiah - thanx! =D
and yes people here don't know their boundaries....on eid too I got 3 people telling me I got fat...first thing they said!! Anyways I looked them in the eye and said I"I had a baby...what did you expect?"

Anonymous said...

I randomly came across your blog. Thought I could try suggesting somethings. I guess I would suggest you not up your fruits that MUCH. Fruits are excellent for your health, but they are a more simple of carbohydrate than whole grains are and so have a lot of sugar. Stick with the recommended daily amount (is it 5-7?) and don't drink fruit juice. Though if you have an urge for something sweet, go for a fruit rather than a cookie.
When you go out, try going to your destination by foot rather than driving.
And I guess the evident thing is eat less and move more.
Good luck! I'm trying to lose my post-pregnancy belly too.

Antara said...

Thanks anonymous! :) I guess you are right about the fruits...thanks for the tip!

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