Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pound for Pound

I have discovered the secret to losing weight and keeping it off. Not that I even needed to, as I've been underweight all my life despite having a very large appetite for my size. People are amazed at how much I eat, more so because they don't know where the food goes (hollow legs?) on my small frame.

So ladies, here it is. The surefire guide to weight loss: Have a baby. Nursing, lack of sleep and just looking after an active baby as it grows will melt the pounds off without your even being aware of it.

I gained 22.5 lbs when I was pregnant. One week after giving birth I'd already lost 12, the other 10.5 came off within 3 more weeks, followed by 4 more. My pre-pregnancy clothes were falling off me, and I had to dig into my wardrobe and pull out shorts I hadn't worn since I was 18 years old.

Of course I can't speak for all mothers, as there are many who seem to have problems losing their pregnancy weight. But I honestly can't understand how it stays on, provided one takes an active role in caring for their own child (or children - surely the more you have, the more weight you lose?). Most of the women I know (including my sister, who has always longed to be that little bit thinner) have gotten to their lowest weights ever without even trying just by having children. Keeping up with them is a sure calorie burner, and it keeps you fit as well. I eat more now than I ever did while I was pregnant, and still the weight stays off. Those elusive 2 kilos!

Sadly, we live in a country where it is the norm for most families to hire nannies exclusively to look after their children. While this is inevitable when women need to work, too many mothers who don't have full-time jobs prefer to leave their children in the care of others, and this mystifies me. Who wouldn't want the irreplaceable memories that come from bathing, feeding and changing your own baby? It would break my heart if my child took a tumble on the playground and ran howling to his nanny instead of looking for me, as I've seen many children do. I know mothers who've never cut their babies' nails, bathed them, or even put them to sleep. On the nannies' days off, they have no idea how to care for their own children. Sad.

As my husband says, and rightly too, one day our son won't want to hug or kiss us or even be seen in public with us, so we need to take advantage of these precious moments while we can. I fully intend to do so.

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