Body after baby

As a healthy and fit woman of 30, I was afraid of the condition my body would be left in after having a baby. Photo: Kate Clarke

LOS ANGELES, Ca, June 7, 2011 — As a healthy and fit woman of 30, I was afraid of the condition my body would be left in after having a baby. 

My yearning for a baby outweighed those frustrating thoughts of losing the body I’d come to know and grown to love. During the last 11 months, my focus was on growing, delivering and keeping a newborn baby healthy.

Now, with all the new changes that came from growing a baby, I’m trying not to forget myself and, most importantly, learn to love my new body.  

38 weeks

From a very young age, I was tall and thin—to the point of frustration. Everyone would say how lucky I was to be tall and thin. It came with challenges; clothes never fit, I didn’t mature like everyone else, and I was taller than most boys my age. It took years until I loved my body, and once I did, I came into my own. 

I finally found brands of clothes that fit me and I even learned to love the fact I was taller than the boys. I was confidant inside and out.

A friend of mine would always talk about how her mom, who had four children, learned to love her new body after having them. This was the moment I decided to move forward, and though I could have adopted, I wanted a child from my own gene pool.

As each month came and went, I watched my body change in the most amazing ways. In the beginning, I was sure I’d be the only woman in the world who wouldn’t grow a pregnant belly, but to my surprise, I, like generations of women before me, grew a big beautiful belly, with an incredible baby inside.

My anxiety waivered from one day to the next. Some days I knew the life inside was worth the sacrifice of my body, and I would deal with what it looked like after the delivery. Other days I would stand in front of the mirror observing my body, noticing every change, and stressed that things would never go back to the way they were.

Not only was I dealing with my personal concerns of gaining weight but, also because of a past back injury, I was instructed to gain only 20-25 pounds, which seemed impossible with my cravings. Halfway through my pregnancy, I was exhausted from worry and consumed with fear of all the ‘what if’s’ of pregnancy.

I decided to let all my fears go. Being a nutritionist, I knew that whatever I wasn’t happy with I could take care of after the birth.  After making that decision I felt free to love myself and experience the joy of being pregnant and marvel at the body’s ability to change and transform in a way that was almost magical. 

I found that letting go of my fears was the first step in accepting and loving my new body. I happily gained the allotted amount. I listened to the needs of my body, ate what my body needed, and what I knew was right for both of us. 

Today, I’m beginning my journey into motherhood.  I’m five months out and wear my body like a badge of honor. There are changes I’m almost positive will never go back to the way they once were, and I’m ok with them.  I continue to listen to my body and what it needs nutritionally. With all the fun I’m having with my new little one, I’m trying not to forget myself and, most importantly, learn to love my new body.  

Eating while pregnant (A few tips):

  • Whole foods
  • Lot’s of fruits and vegetables
  • Proteins (organic when possible)
    • Beef
    • Chicken
    • Lamb
    • Fish (stay away from fish with a high level of mercury:  tuna, swordfish)
    • Beans
  • Eat as few processed foods as possible (processed foods can give you extra calories)
  • Stay away from caffeine
  • Whole grains
  • Stay away from soft cheeses that are unpasteurized
  • Stay away from lunch meats

As your size increases:

  • Stay away from large meals
  • Reduce acidic foods: lemons, limes, tomatoes
  • Enjoy a variety of food before the baby is born if you are breastfeeding. The first few weeks of breastfeeding will require a limited variety of foods.

A suggestion when to introduce foods into your diet when breastfeeding.

Eating for you and your baby the first six weeks:

  • Chicken soup
  • Rice, pastas, breads
  • Turkey and chicken sandwiches
  • Chicken, turkey
  • Avocados, leeks, red peppers, carrots, celery, potatoes
  • Stay away from spicy foods
  • Stay away from onions, garlic, strong herbs and tomatoes
  • Stay away from dark greens

 Eating for you and your baby the second six weeks:

  • Everything from the first six weeks
  • Butter lettuce, romaine, iceberg lettuce
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Olives, pickles

Eating for you and your baby the third six weeks:

  • Everything from the first 12 weeks
  • Artichoke hearts and hearts of palm
  • Slowly introduce red meats, white fish
  • Slowly introduce greens

After you finish breastfeeding it’s time to kick it into high gear:

  • Add tons of nutrient dense foods into your diet to reload your body
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Slowly decrease the amount of food you intake daily. (Breastfeeding burns calories; which allows you to eat more than your body needs with out breastfeeding).
  • Cut back on the sugar in your diet
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Weigh yourself once a week and monitor your progress
  • Journal your foods so that you’re aware of what you’re eating

Good Luck!

Chef Mary

For more great cooking tips, recipes and stories from Chef Mary, visit her blog. To learn more about Chef Mary, check out her Hail Mary’s, Inc. website. Email questions for Ask Chef Mary Fridays to or click the Ask Chef Mary link above. 

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The information provided is general information about healthy eating. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice or treatment that may have been prescribed by your physician or other  healthcare provider. Always consult a physician before starting any new diet or regimen. 

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 -cl- 6/7/11

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Mary Moran

Upon graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts in 2002, Chef Mary Payne Moran began her professional career shelling crabs at the world-renowned restaurant, Michael's in Santa Monica.  Simultaneously, she launched her own company, Hail Mary’s, founded upon the belief that good food nurtures the soul, and began catering weddings, parties and large corporate events.

In the fall of 2008, Mary began teaching her culinary skills to others.    Currently she can be found at Hollywood School House teaching her after school cooking class, and teaching her popular "Vegetables or Not Here I Come" assembly.

Most recently, Mary has launched another division in her company as well as a chef she is now also a Certified Nutritionist for high profile clients.  She helps her clients discover their healthy way of eating.  Mary has recently been published in the Los Angeles Magazine, & The New Jersey Star Ledger.

Daily she addresses cooking aficionados through her blog - Cooking with Chef Mary as well as her how-to webisodes on You Tube.

Contact Mary Moran


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