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Coping With Weight Gain After Weight Loss

Post Pregnancy Photo - The Lemon Bowl

Pregnancy or not, most people don’t enjoy gaining weight. I get that. But it can particularly difficult to handle after you’ve achieved significant weight loss success. After spending years counting calories, weighing food and measuring serving sizes, there is something very counter intuitive about watching the scale creep up week after week. With every new “decade” you hit on the scale (150’s, 160’s, etc) you can’t help but think back to the sense of accomplishment you felt when you originally broke through that particular plateau.

Liz Before and After

Of course, weight gain during pregnancy is a good thing. It’s a necessary thing. I am nourishing developing brain cells and supporting the growth of an an entire little boy for goodness sakes. In my first trimester, I couldn’t stand the thought of kale and I can assure you there were no measuring cups around when I was scooping out ice cream. :)

My body craved carbs, and lots of them. One tablespoon of peanut butter? Ha! I listened to my body and threw everything I knew about calorie counting out the window. But in the back of my mind, there was always that lingering fear that this weight would never come off and I would never get back to my old ways of eating.

Now that I’m safely in my second trimester, I’m happy to say that vegetables are once again my friend and I have a decent amount of energy to go to the gym or go for a walk most days of the week. Am I taking boot camp classes? No. But I’m moving and finding a healthy balance.

With 20 weeks left to go and at least 20 more pounds to gain, I’m going to remind myself of the following:

  • Healthy eating is a permanent part of my life. Just because I randomly craved corn chips in my chicken noodle soup or splurged on a box of Reese’s Pieces doesn’t mean I’m not eating healthy, whole foods 80% of the time. It’s ok to let loose once in awhile.
  • Kickboxing will be there when I’m ready. Since I get out of breath walking up the stairs to my gym, I can hardly manage lasting through my usual one hour kickboxing class but I will get there again. Just because some women run marathons at 9 months doesn’t mean I have to feel badly about taking a break from my old workout routine. I will get back to it.
  • The weight will come off again, I promise. The first year after my first pregnancy I lost 65 pounds and wound up 15 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight. Just because you read about women who gain 10 pounds with every baby doesn’t mean that has to happen to you. Everyone is different. And if you do keep those last 10 pounds it’s ok too.
30 Day Plank Challenge - The Lemon Bowl

As fate would have it, yesterday I came across a 30 Day Plank Challenge shared on the Fit Mom MOVEment Facebook page. On a whim, I challenged my friends on Facebook and Instagram to join in the fun and it took off like wildfire. Apparently I’m not the only one who loves a good challenge!

Want to join? Leave a comment below, send me a note on Facebook or tweet me! We can give each other a virtual fist pump when we’ve finished our plank for the day. I’d love the support and would be happy to cheer you along as well. And by celebrate I mean commiserate about our sore abs for a month. :)

Have you ever struggled with these similar feelings about gaining back weight you’ve already? How did you cope? Would love to hear from you.

Disclaimer: My feelings towards pregnancy-related weight gain are not to be confused with any lack of appreciation for being pregnant. Anyone that knows us personally knows that our two pregnancies have been pure blessings from God and complete miracles. Please know that I am not and will never complain about being pregnant. I can assure you I’ve never been happier in my life than when I’ve been pregnant. 

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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families.

49 Comments

  1. Love this post, Liz! It is definitely hard to separate our thinking about weight gain and our thinking about pregnancy weight gain. Even though it’s healthy it’s still hard to stomach when you have worked so hard to lose weight in the past. Keep up the great work :)

  2. Such a great post Liz! I swear I need to find a happy balance in my life that includes exercise, but for some reason I always forget to include it in my daily. The plank challenge sounds like something I totally could do… maybe I’ll start there? Thanks for such an open and inspirational post… you are the best! love u tons! XXO

    1. You are so sweet – thank you for reading this post. I love the plank challenge because it really is just seconds (at most, minutes) a day. If we don’t have time for that then we have problems. :) xoxoxo

  3. I love your positive, refreshing attitude on this, Liz! Regardless of whether we’re going through the same thing, I think we can all relate that it is SO important to have a healthy attitude about our bodies and the changes they ALL go through as women. Wonderful, honest post that was a treat to read!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words (as always) Georgia!! I appreciate you reading and I’m glad you could relate. :)

  4. This is a fabulous post, Liz! I have to admit that when I think about being pregnant one day there is definitely a small concern about the weight gain that goes along with it (more about being able to lose afterwards). This actually made me feel a lot better about thinking about it AND about the ability to lose the weight once the baby is born.

    1. It is a common fear among so many of us!!! I am glad my story can give you a bit more confidence going into pregnancy because I really do think it’s a time of life that goes by quickly. It would be silly to waste it away worrying about our figures. Besides, you have brownies. ;)

  5. I’m not pregnant, but I did lose a lot of weight and the scale slowly kept creeping up. I lost 35 lbs, and ended up gaining 20 of it back. I lost control, but now I am back, and the past two months I lost 10 of them. I have 5 more pounds to go to get to a happy weight and 10 pounds to go to get to a goal weight. Thank you for this post! Going to hit the gym today!

    1. You know what – I love that you have a “happy weight”!!! I do too and I think that’s the key to being satisfied in life vs. always searching for what you can’t obtain. Congrats on your successes!

  6. I agree! Pregnancy is something which is not to be seen with the prism of weight. Family and emotions are also important. Weight loss can be achieved by following some consistent rules for 2-4 months, but the joy you get from serving kids is unmatched.

  7. I’m worried about the same thing. One of the biggest reasons I’m losing weight is because my doctor told me that at my before weight, I would be considered a high risk pregnancy by default. I told myself that I want to eliminate any pregnancy risks that I can control for my future kids (the obesity).

    I totally understand that if my husband & I get blessed with a pregnancy, there will be weight gain for me. It will be hard to face those higher numbers, but like you said, I can always lose the weight again. :-)

    1. Good for you for being proactive about your health Amy! Sometimes I kick myself for not losing the weight before I got married but I am happy I did it before pregnancy. Let me tell you, it’s hard work and I can’t imagine doing this at my old weight. Kudos to you for being proactive! And I wish you all the success in the world achieving pregnancy when you’re ready.

  8. Just like I tweeted, you surely are an inspiration, Liz! Love that you are encouraging so many to do this challenge. And, yes, kickboxing will be waiting right there to kick your butt after baby boy gets here! I guarantee it! ;)

  9. I can so relate. After my first appointment (when I was pregnant) I decided that I didn’t want to know the number on the scale because I didn’t want to take away from the experience or get upset about it after each ‘weigh in’. Best decision – still don’t know the #. Having two babies, you’ll lose the weight no problem! Plus, you look amazing – nothing to worry about in my opinion :)

    1. You’re the second person to tell me they looked away during the OB weigh-ins!! The funny thing is, last appointment I thought I had gained 10 pounds and felt so happy to learn I only gained 2 pounds in a month. I’m sure I’ll eat my words later but I was actually so glad I found out the weight – it made me feel so happy – hahah. Thank you for your nice words… you are so sweet. :) xo

  10. My first pregnancy I was so skinny I didn’t think about however once the doctor’s office scale hit 149 I didn’t want to get on there anymore! Second baby it was harder to maintain the weight but pregnancy is a time to really enjoy eating. The weight will come off. My husband being an OB/GYN sees the struggles with so many women and your story is an inspiring way to help.

    1. You are so sweet Cathy, didn’t realize your hubby was an OB/GYN. I think it’s hard because we never talk about it publicly but we all have our struggles.

  11. Beautiful job! I know how you feel, as much as you appreciate what your body is doing (you’re growing a human!) there is this anxiety and even depression about what is happening to your body. After three years I still am not back to “pre pregnancy” weight, although the food blog doesn’t help that! And even when other people tell me how great I look, it doesn’t matter. I still want to feel and look how I used to.

    1. I really think more women relate to this than I realized. So much of it is in our heads, don’t you think? I know when I first lost a very large amount of weight it took a long time for my brain to catch up with my body. I kept going to the larger sized clothes in stores. Thanks for sharing your story Jackie!! :)

  12. Being completely honest, one of the things I struggle most with when thinking about trying to have a baby is the weight gain. I’ve always struggled with body image and maintaining a healthy weight. I love your outlook; you are such an inspiration!

    1. I completely relate and I’m confident it’s more common than people care to admit!! Baby making didn’t come as easy as we had hoped and I think that helped me change my perspective tremendously. God always has a plan and I think that was part of mine – to appreciate being pregnant and be ok with gaining weight. Still a struggle though. xo

  13. I can relate with this post on so many levels. I GAINED a lot of weight in college and took about 2 years for me to lose 60 lbs. Now after having my first child I have put 30 lbs. back on and I can’t seem to get motivation to lose it.

    1. It really can be hard and you just have to take it one day at a time. I think that’s why I love silly challenges like the plank a day. Who doesn’t have 20 seconds?

  14. oh girl – i totally hear ya!!!! I have to remind myself of these things ALL the time. I had lost 30 lbs but gained quite a bit back going through a miscarriage and then fertility treatments… I just have to remind myself that NOW is not the time to lose weight – I’ve got a baby to nourish (Praise God!) and it’ll be worth every pound I’ll have to lose after the fact! :)

    1. That is the best attitude to have about it all!! We also had a long battle with infertility (which I need to share with you sometime) which I do think helps put things in perspective. Like you said, thank God we have babies to nourish. xoxoox

  15. Love this post Liz! My husband and I were just talking about my attitude toward pregnancy weight gain is so so different this time around. I think mentally I’m feeling a lot healthier about it, knowing it’s temporary and it will come off like the other times. I will admit, I’m eating much much healthier than last two pregnancies and guess what, still gaining about the same – it’s how my body is built to build another body I guess! But I feel healthier really, because I’m trying to eat better.
    Its hard to gain weight in any form, I totally agree, I cant wait to lose it again with you :)
    I started this pregnancy doing planks, then totally slacked. I’ll get back on the plank train with ya – though they may be on my knees ;)

    1. I’m so glad you relate to this post!!! I really love having you as a pregnancy buddy this time around. And I agree, I really do feel more confident the 2nd time around. So glad you’re joining in on the plank fun!!!! We can do it!! (Right?)

      1. It took me years to finally lose the baby weight from first two (plus some extra that needed to go), it was total work…I was at a good place before I got pregnant, will get there again!

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