about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    A Look Back.



One Year: Postpartum

I look at Cullen and I see a one year old.  For as fast as this year has felt, I watch him laugh and chase the dogs, and it’s easy to believe he is one.  I cannot believe, however, that I am the mother of a one year old.  I’m still wrapping my head around the whole mother idea in general.

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Soon after Cullen was born, I wrote a lot about my postpartum experience and my journey into motherhood quite a bit.  Having a baby is a total-life changer (as it should be).  As I eased into it, I focused my writing more on Cullen and our family, and less about me specifically. 

And here I sit just a few days weeks after Cullen’s first birthday (I started this post two weeks ago!) – a time of much reflection and emotion.  I never really did official postpartum updates beyond the first few weeks – mostly because I knew that recovery would be a natural process that took a good bit of time.

So where does that leave me a year later…?  These days, I feel pretty great.  I’ve been pretty steady and consistent in my weight and health since about six months postpartum.  As far as hard numbers go, I gained 34 pounds during my pregnancy, and as of today I’m actually 12 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight.  Now, I know that sounds like a big swing, but there are a number of things to consider as far as weight goes.

One week vs. one year postpartum – pictures taken exactly one year apart!

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At the time that I got pregnant, I was about 4-6 pounds over my “typical” weight – the weight I’d held steady for several years prior.  It was just a few months after my car accident, and since my activity level was down, me weight was up a bit. 

In the months immediately following childbirth, my extra weight came off slow and steady as expected.  I was actually back to my pre-pregnancy weight at seven weeks postpartum, although my body certainly looked and felt much different.  I did pretty minimal exercise, mostly lots of walks with a baby strapped on my chest.  Despite my best efforts to train for a few races, exercise definitely took a back seat this year.  But I’ll get back to that in a minute. 

Somewhere around six months postpartum, breastfeeding started to have an increased demand on my body.  I mentioned this in a previous post too, but essentially – Cullen started crawling and moving at a very early age.  Because of his increase in activity, his caloric needs increased, and at that point I was his only source of food.  My weight started dropping quickly, and I significantly increased the calories and fat in my diet in order to keep up.  But I lost a few extra pounds around that point that have remained off, despite my large appetite.

For the first few months after Cullen was born, I survived on sugar and granola bars.  I had to really work to get any color into my meals, and I couldn’t believe I was struggling so much with something that used to be my strength.  Now, at one year I feel like I’m eating better than ever.  Part of that is probably due to our new neighborhood – way less takeout and quick stops into a bakery. 

Now that Cullen is into solid foods – three meals a day plus snacks! – it has really forced me to take a second look at our family’s nutrition and wellness.  I make sure we’re all getting a good variety of veggies, carbs, and vegetarian protein every day.  (I’m planning to write another update on Cullen’s meals soon, so I can go into more detail on this then.)

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Anyway, this is a really long winded way of saying that cooking and eating are going well, and in that respect, I feel really healthy.

Exercise…well, that is another story.  If you had told me a few years ago that I would essentially take a year off from consistent exercise I would have been shocked.  It was such a huge part of my life for a long time, both for health and happiness reasons.  But for whatever reason, I just haven’t really made it happen this year.

Part of that, to be quite honest, is probably because I was lucky enough that breastfeeding helped me lose my extra weight, and so I didn’t have as much motivation to get back to the gym as quickly.  I also really struggled to fit in exercise while taking care of Cullen.  I won’t bother laying out all the excuses I came up with, but for me they have felt overwhelming.  I know there is a solution to every excuse, and if you really want something you’ll make it happen.  But I think that’s just it – I didn’t really want to.

Much of parenting is all about trying to find balance and identify priorities.  I knew this year would go quickly.  Pretty early on, I decided to stop stressing about fitting in trips to the gym, and start enjoying a little extra time with my family.  I fit runs in when it worked, and when it didn’t, I’d try to squeeze in a walk later instead.

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Getting to stay at home with Cullen is a huge privilege, so instead of dwelling on what I couldn’t do while with him, I started just embracing what we could do together.  Don’t get me wrong – while I say I haven’t formally been exercising, I have still stayed very active.  We walk a lot, do family hikes on the weekends, and I try to be up and moving with him as much as possible.  We walk the dogs twice each day, and often meet a friend for a walk mid-day as well. 

My one regret – if you can call it that – for this year is probably my lack of strength training.  I’m a huge believer in building muscle and staying strong, and this is something I’d really like to change.  Before Cullen was walking, I hauling him everywhere in my arms.  He definitely helped me gain some nice upper body strength.

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But now that he’s cruising around without my help, I’m rested and able to do more.  My arms don’t ache at the end of the day like they used to.  So I’m not going to make any grand proclamations about training or races right now, but I would like to increase my strength.  I think my lack of muscle is also reflected in the lower number on the scale.  It would be nice to feel (and looks!) buff again! 

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I had planned to continue here and talk about motherhood and parenting at one year postpartum, but I’ve been exceptionally wordy already.  Seems better to split into two posts. 

A few final thoughts – overall, at one year postpartum, I feel (and look, in my opinion) as healthy as ever.  I wish I was doing a bit more strength training, and at some point I’d really like to jump back into consistently running.  My wildest dreams involve a regular return to yoga too, but one thing at a time. But honestly? I just don’t feel as passionately about exercise at this current stage of life as I used to. I expect that passion will return eventually.  In the meantime I’m active and athletic enough to chase a very high energy toddler around all day. 

It will be interesting to see how my energy and appetite change as breastfeeding continues to decrease slowly.  I haven’t had my body all to myself in almost two years – it will be interesting to see what that feels like again!

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The rest to come, in part two!

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99 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Michelle (The Runner's Plate)     at 4:21 pm

I loved this post, Emily! Maintaining a healthy weight has always been a concern of mine, so reading this post gives me hope it is possible to lose all of the pregnancy weight!!

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Natalie     at 5:51 pm

It was right around my son’s second birthday when I finally felt like I had my whole self back…and regained my passion for exercise! Now I belong to a gym with childcare and do runs with the BOB whenever we can. Also for at home workouts…yogaglo.com is wonderful and fitnessista posts great free weight circuits.

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 7:44 pm

A year has passed by so fast! I think you have the best attitude about balance and moderation. It’s very inspiring. :)

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Michelle     at 7:11 am

Really enjoyed this post. I like how you don’t pretend to have it all figured out. Mommyhood is hard. You look pretty great. Are you planning on doing a post updating us on what you’ve decided for Cullen vis a vis milk/weaning?

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Shana     at 8:07 am

This is a beautiful post and makes me less nervous about having my own kids one day. Thank you!

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Jaglangham     at 10:29 pm

You are beautiful, inspiring and talented! I have made at least 10 of your recipes and all have turned out fabulous. Thanks!

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Sarah     at 3:26 am

I haven’t been consistent with exercise since having my one-year-old, either. The urge to work out really comes and goes, and like you said- that’s ok. We have our sweet and active little boys to run around with!

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Maya     at 4:37 am

You look amazing!! I actually HAVE made running something of a priority since giving birth a yr ago, but it’s changed a lot for me too… I only run three days a week and have been very disciplined about using speedwork training plans (partly bc I know I have to schedule my runs in advance and stick to my plan, or they won’t happen), and I’ve PRed by a lot in both 5K and 10Ks thanks to them! But every time I start running more than, oh, 50 minutes a run I just lose all motivation… I was planning to run a half in Dec. but I just decided that it wasn’t worth it to me. Running is a nice release but it isn’t my priority, and I keep having to readjust when it feels like a burden instead of a break. I’m sure you’ll be back too, and don’t sell yourself short as a post-partum runner… you’ve finished TWO half marathons since Cullen was born, no? So impressive!!

I can’t wait to hear what you’re doing for strength training, because I haven’t done any this year either amd really want to start!

Maya

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Jackie     at 6:20 am

.Great Post Emily!! This is exactly the way I feel at eight months postpartum. I was just telling my husband this morning that I can’t believe I have lost most of my muscle mass and I am dying to gain it back….slowly.

“I just don’t feel as passionately about exercise at this current stage of life as I used to. I expect that passion will return eventually.”

Thank you for being truthful.

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Ingunn     at 12:06 pm

This has nothing to do with this blog post, but have you heard of Veggie Grill? They have two locations in Seattle now (University Village and South Lake Union), and their food rocks! I had the Urban Plate since it’s gluten-free, the blackened portobello/tempeh stack was sooo good…and it’s the only fast foodish place I’ve ever seen that serves kale! Love it, and I think you might as well. http://www.veggiegrill.com/

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Whitney     at 12:36 pm

Time for number 2!! haha :)I say this because my sister and I are 20 months apart.

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Val     at 2:06 pm

I always love reading your blog posts. Even though I’m past this phase in the journey it’s so reassuring to know mothers are all facing the same challenges and major life changes. So nice that you are willing to share with everyone and open the discussions. You are absolutely beautiful at all your “stages”. It’s incredible what our bodies go through, creating this baby and then caring for them and then somehow transitioning back to our own again….often just to repeat the cycle :). I’ve always been a big exerciser but once I had kids the gym was hard for me because I just didn’t want to leave them at the kids club. But I have found some awesome at home videos that let me work around our often unpredictable shedules. My hsuband works unusual hours and the kids…well you know how that goes. It’s so nice to just be able to do the workout at home when I can fit it in. If you ever want some strenth video ideas I’d love to share some with you. Keep up being the best mom ever!!!

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linda     at 4:42 pm

Hi! I have a random question that I’m hoping you can share your opinion on. Does C still require the need for swaddle blankets and sleep sacks at age 1? I was wondering if you could update a post about the Must Haves for a 1 year old vs. Newborn.

Thanks!

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Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction     at 11:11 am

Great post Emily! I know what you mean about not wanting to exercise…when something drast (like a baby or a new job) takes up a lot of your life, it is hard to find that motivation again. I’m sure you wil lget back into in not time, but luckily you are still very active compared to a lot of people!

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Alison     at 11:22 am

My son is coming up on a year, and I totally feel the same way as you about running and exercise. They used to be something I loved and looked forward to, but throughout pregnancy and this first year I am just not as passionate about making time for it. I wish I was! But you put my feelings on the subject into words very well, and I’m realizing that it’s ok to not be a huge runner right now. It doesn’t mean I won’t be forever.

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Lisa     at 12:54 pm

It’s so interesting how things change, isn’t it?! When I was pregnant with Liam my OB asked what I was doing for exercise and I could rattle things off. Now when she asks what I’m doing during this pregnancy I said “you mean OTHER THAN chasing my almost-3-year-old around?!” Time is short and priorities change! You look great :)

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Katie     at 5:10 pm

Lovely post. I think walking and having an active LIFE is the best way to exercise. This is something I really appreciated since developing an inflammatory nerve disorder 3 years ago that left me disabled in activities (I can only walk short distances and can’t even drive) and not myself. It is slowly getting better and I just appreciate walking SO MUCH!

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Karla (@runoneaglewings)     at 8:33 pm

Great post! I agree you look great and so happy these days! The attitude you have taken about being active and not worrying about the running and other stuff is awesome! I know what you mean when you say it is such a part of life! Thanks for sharing!

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Kat     at 11:16 am

I always prided myself on being heathy – in both eating and working out pre baby. During my pregnancy with P I was walking 2-5 daily ( and running the first 4-5 months) and eating even healthier than before. Like you, after P was born I couldn’t remember if I ate at all, much less worry about what it was that I ate. Then around 6 months, as she started eating solids, I started examining our food and now we’re all eating balanced, healthy meals. It’s just crazy how much that baby can drive your habits. Now I’m pregnant with our second one and I feel terrible for not working out, nor paying close attention to my calories and that I’m getting enough! We’re still eating super healthy, especially since our toddler needs all the nutrients we can offer her, but it’s just too hard to make sure I have all my snacks and calorie intake when I’m chasing a tot, working insane hours, and divulging in my photo hobby. Que sera sera I guess?

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Jacquelynn     at 7:14 pm

I love this post! Your honesty and love for your family is just wonderful!

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