Friday, September 17, 2010

DOING THE HEIDI: Going Back to Pre-Natal Me

I’m five feet tall and barely hit the 100lbs mark. I’m still not sure whose fault it was that I ballooned to 145lbs on my full term – was it the whole bunch of bananas and jar of Skippy Superchunk Peanut Butter I always had in my office drawer or my husband’s genetic pool, he at 5’9 is the shortest compared to his brothers. My friend and I were strolling in the mall when she bumped into an officemate who took one look at me and eagerly cooed, “Uuuuy twins?!” I was already 10 months pregnant and knew I wasn’t going to go into labor as the x-ray revealed my baby’s shoulders to be as wide as the opening in my pelvic bone so I called my OB to schedule a C-section the next day. Her team pulled out my 8.7lbs son just right before he pooped.

Breastfeeding was the immediate choice, apart from the proven benefits to infants, it is also supposed to contract the uterus much faster. But with a voracious boy who fed off me every two hours, I also got hungry very frequently and ate like a construction worker. In despair, I stared at my dark, loosely deflated tummy covered in stretch marks and realized why aesthetic clinics dominate expressway billboards. But then there’s Heidi Klum, she has four kids and the last time she gave birth, even managed to get on the Victoria Secret catwalk after eight weeks! Disregarding Heidi’s multimillion ability to employ a fitness team, and discounting the possibility that her incredible mix of beauty and brains might have sprung from an alien race of alpha females…I decided that if she can regain her pre-natal body then so can I!

Losing excess pounds wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but moving out of my mother-in-law’s house into our own townhouse and having to fire the nanny was. I breastfed exclusively (no formula), cleaned the house, cooked our meals and did the laundry while setting up an events company with a friend. In 12 weeks I was down to 110lbs but very close to the end of my wits.

Salvation came in the form of a very able househelp/nanny. With her around, my husband and I were able to go back to dragonboat rowing – I was never athletic but I took to this sport three years ago as a form of release from office stress. Cardio endurance is essential so in my team, we were encouraged to take up running which I loathed. I joined several 5k fun runs, it was when I decided I was ready to advance to 10k that I found out I was already a month pregnant. Given my history of miscarriage, the OB advised me to stop all strenuous activity. More than a year of being home-based, getting back in training was a reality check on how out of shape I was, for most parts I was panting for breath and could not keep up with the team’s pace!

I already look like I did before I had a baby except for the slight belly, loose skin and stretch marks that may never go away without surgical intervention but apart from the aesthetics, I need to work on being truly physically healthy. When I can, I run around the park in front of our house. Last May, I did 5k in a running event and clocked in at 28:40.

Before my son turned last August, I promised to run my first 10k. Last July I joined “Run for Life” and clocked in at 1:06:45… it’s my way of introducing him to a mom who will be able to keep up with him and a multi-faceted woman who will keep herself always interested and interesting.

Who knows… maybe a full marathon might not be an impossible dream.

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