The Empire (Waist) Strikes Back

When I had my first daughter, they told me that after the birth I would look five months pregnant. They didn’t tell me that was the end of the sentence. As in:

“After you have the baby you will look five months pregnant.”



My youngest is nine years old and I still get people asking me when the baby is due. (I’d really like a word with the designer who brought back empire waists, because they have a lot of awkward conversations to answer for.)

When I got married I was probably the thinnest I’ve ever been. Not because I’d been dieting or working out in preparation, but it turns out that if everyone had several bouts of intestinal parasites and a week of dengue fever, Weight Watchers would be out of business. I naively thought that once I was done having babies, I would go back to my wedding weight.

I read that during breastfeeding my body would naturally lose the weight I’d gained. Turns out I was awesome at breastfeeding, but I was also ravenously hungry and failed to lose any weight. The upshot? My boobs are permanently bigger than they were pre-kids. The downside? They are also disproportionately affected by gravity.

For a while when the kids were small I went through contortions (figuratively, of course) to exercise. I would wake up early in the morning and painstakingly extract myself from the pile of snoring toddlers in our bed and sneak out to the deck to do yoga. Inevitably, I would be right in the middle when someone would start to cry. I’d get mad about having my exercise interrupted and act like an asshole to my kids.

It wasn’t long before I decided that I’d rather be nice to my kids than be thin so I gave up the exercise.

A couple years ago I thought it was time to try again since the kids were not only sleeping through the night, but also into the morning. So I did the thing that no sane person should ever do: I made a New Year’s resolution about exercising.

After about a week I had exhausted my knowledge of calisthenics, after two weeks I’d done all the calisthenics that exist online and was bored and in danger of quitting. Then I saw that my cousins were obsessed with Jillian Michaels and I began downloading her exercise videos.

screen-shot-2011-12-29-at-4-55-40-pmI thought I would hate exercise videos, but it turns out I actually like Jillian Michaels. She’s not too shouty, she’s a little goofy which makes her seem human, and best of all she invents new moves all the time, so it doesn’t get boring. I’ve done yoga, yoga meltdown, yoga inferno (doing yoga in the tropics is automatically Hot Yoga), kickboxing, abs abs abs, cardio abs…I’ve tried zumba, cardio insanity, and just about everything in between.

Which is a good thing because it keeps me from being bored. Nearly three years into my New Year’s Resolution, I still exercise five days a week, even if I only have 20 minutes. It turns out that when I get my exercise in, I am actually a nicer person. I have more patience. I feel better.

And I still look five months pregnant.


Especially in empire waists. – Becca



  1. 6 years postpartum with my fourth I I get those questions too 🙂 Whenever I even hint that one day my tummy will be flatter my littlest protests that she needs my squishy tummy. And yes it feels great to exercise even thought the bread dough tummy remains.


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