Monday, December 18

The Art of a Size Zero Pregnancy

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This title isn’t intended to sound like a pompous declaration of having all the answers and nor is it meant to suggest that size zero is the best size to be.

It is derived from the fact that our son’s name is Zen and I happened to be among the lucky few who was back to my original size just a few weeks post delivery. Loads of people keep asking me, ‘What’s your secret? How did you shed the weight?’ Since I’m a firm believer that every individual, pregnancy and baby is different, there are no generic rules, and I held off answering questions… but now almost five months into being a Mum, I realise that I may actually be able to help people who may be victims of the fear that some people create around pregnancy. You can only ‘go back to being size zero’ if you were size zero to start with, so this is more a rough guide to going back to your original pre-pregnancy weight. Remember this applies only to a normal, healthy pregnancy. If you have any complications or are advised bed rest, this definitely doesn’t apply.

Our gynaecologist Dr Feroze Soonawala told us in our first meeting that ‘pregnancy isn’t an illness’. I was told to be normal, do everything I’d usually do, just with a few adjustments. Walk, don’t run while exercising. Do yoga, but make sure your instructor knows you’re pregnant and can guide you with what asanas are permitted and those that aren’t. Do not start something new, just continue with what your body is used to. If you never did yoga before don’t suddenly start. Do not eat for two — a foetus starts smaller than a little seed, it’s hardly a dinner companion for a three course meal! This ‘eating for two’ is a myth and often the culprit for those crazy 30 kg weight gains some unfortunate women get stuck with.

I was in the gym the morning I delivered! But if all’s going healthy and well, you’d rather be exercising half an hour daily then simply lying on your back. I’m not saying not to eat well, by all means do, just in moderation — one chocolate, not three. Similarly don’t over exercise. I did half an hour to an hour of brisk walking daily and yoga two or three times a week. Sometimes I swam. Before I was pregnant, I used to run at least half an hour daily and do yoga thrice a week. So it was almost the same routine with the adjustment of walking and not running and no ab exercises and other asanas that squeeze the tummy.

Keeping fit and active during my pregnancy helped me have a normal delivery. I’d be lying if I said it was painless or just slightly painful, oh no, it hurts! I kept resisting an epidural but eventually when the pain got unbearable, I took one. Clichéd as it sounds, it’s true that when you see, hear and touch your little baby, you forget all the pain. Having a normal delivery also enables you to be up and active soon after, so by visiting hours, I was walking all over the place. Next morning when my doctor visited me, he found me doing a few surya namaskars. Although surprised, he said if I was feeling up to it, there was no harm in getting back to what my body was used to.

Three days after Zen was born, I was back to my daily brisk walks between diaper changing and feeds. Although I was doing light stretches and a bit of yoga at home, I waited a month before getting back to class. Looking after a newborn, even with good help, keeps you on your toes. Especially if like me, being an enthusiastic first time mum you want to do everything yourself! Did you know that breast feeding can make you burn up to 600 calories a day? My secret to being back to size zero after pregnancy is a combination of exercising, eating right, breastfeeding, keeping on my toes with diaper changing, playing with Zen and the fact that years of exercise has helped me have a fast metabolism. It was also all those rule book ingredients (many of which are wonderfully elaborated on in every pregnant woman’s bible, ‘What to Expect When You are Expecting’) that helped me get back into my jeans so quick! Then, and of course, the main ingredient was Zen (pun intended) being as calm and chilled-out as possible through it all and our little son Zen, who is the very reason I discovered this art!

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