The ‘fat pants’ dilemma

Having a baby shortly before the holiday season introduces special challenges. First, there’s travel. Are you going to travel with a newborn or make everyone come see you? Second (and more relevant for this post) it’s a bummer of a time to lose weight. Pecan pie! Christmas cookies!  Cheese platters!

Consequently, though I’m back to my usual running routine, the last 10-15 lbs of baby weight is coming off at a rather pedestrian rate. I can wear my old jeans, but it isn’t pretty. And I’m realizing, 2 months postpartum, that it won’t be pretty for a while.

So I’m faced with two choices:

1. Continue squeezing myself into my old clothes and trust that the discomfort will discourage me from eating unhealthy fare or

2. Buy clothes for the body I have now, and risk that I’ll start accepting my current weight.

I’ve heard reasonable arguments for both choices. My Shape magazine this month, for instance, instructs readers to “Keep your (tight) pants on.” The gist? “To avoid return trips to the buffet (and packing on extra pounds), wear a belt or a pair of skinny jeans as a reminder to keep yourself in check.”

On the other hand, being comfortable and wearing clothes that fit right can also put you in a better mood. And happy people may be more likely to take care of themselves.

I’m not sure which is right, but I wound up buying a larger pair of jeans this week. Good choice or not?

15 thoughts on “The ‘fat pants’ dilemma

  1. Good choice! Some things take a little time.

    My second child was born in late October and I remember the Christmas stress well even though he’s now 12.

  2. 9 years ago when I was two months postpartum, I bought clothes in a larger size so I could go back to work and not feel like a sausage. When I lost the weight, I had the clothes taken in. Now, however, I don’t have such a good reason and I’m a believer in the slightly-tight-pants approach. It works for me, I’ve dropped two pounds this week by wearing pants that remind me of the size I want to be. It’s just uncomfortable enough that I don’t want to eat very much.

    So I say you are in the zone where buying a larger size is just fine and at this time of year, don’t beat yourself up about it.

  3. I did weight watchers and three four years after getting prego with my first child (and I only have 2) have gotten back to pre prego weight..–and I gained 55 lbs with baby 1 (not watching what I ate and pretty much doubling my body size! ) and 45 with baby 2 (being careful)
    you are like just two months post part and three kids in, I think you just need a little more time. And to relax about it. I think wearing tight clothes doesnt’ make sense ! maybe just wear some of the maternity stuff you like from like month four or five.. I do also highly recommend weight watchers. I wrote down everything I ate for 9 months starting when my second child was one month old — everything.. it is kind of like 168 hours for your weight
    also weight watchers supports breast feeding… try to be careful focusing on weight loss when what you care about is breast feeding.. the body needs weight to breastfeed and some women loose sight of this and it is kind a sad

  4. I can only lose about 1/2 lb/week while nursing or I lose supply. Since it was important to me to nurse, I accepted the slower weight loss. Is this a factor for you? (I gained just over 35 lb with twins and was 23 lb over prepregnancy after delivery. I then GAINED during the first 3 months, because I was so stinkin’ hungry.)

    1. @Twin Mom- yes, I’m nursing exclusively, so perhaps that is part of it, or at least I’d like to blame that! I was hungry at the beginning, but it’s getting better now. I think I also learned some bad habits with eating when I was nursing Sam (now 2). I started training for the marathon when he was 3 months old, and between that training and nursing I was literally starting every day with a 1000 calorie deficit. I ate whatever I wanted and still lost weight. For a variety of reasons though, I don’t think I want to tackle a marathon at the moment. So I need to work on the eating part.

  5. You buy the fat pants. I used to agonize over this, never buying a size up or a size down, insisting that I should only wear clothes in my goal size. But there are different seasons in life, and ill-fitting clothing is a small misery we don’t have to endure. I get what Shape Magazine means for cocktail parties – it seems like a good hedge against over-indulging. But for dailiness? Nothing beats an extra pair or two of cords in the size that actually fits.

    1. @Abby- I’ve been thinking about “small miseries” in the context of willpower (I recently read Tierney and Baumeister’s book on that topic). I’ve realized I have enough discipline to work on long term projects, run, nurse a baby and keep my temper with my occasionally petulant older children. But I do not have the discipline to do all that AND endure uncomfortable pants. So there. 🙂

  6. I’d say go for the “fat pants”. Squeezing yourself into too-tight jeans and giving yourself an unattractive muffin top is just going to make you feel bad (and maybe overeat more). I always end up ignoring my too-tight jeans and they just linger at the back of the closet, waiting for some distant skinny future-me.
    I do think that was a good suggestion to wear something a bit tight to an event where the food might be extra tempting/abundant though.
    Awesome that you are sticking to the running, even in Christmas season! Am impressed!

  7. Thanks for sharing – you always seem like you have everything perfectly set up in your life, so nice to know there’s a little wiggle room like the rest of us.

  8. As much as I hate buying clothes, yes, have one pair of jeans and one pair of nicer pants that fits you now, otherwise you will be miserable over the holidays. When you’re trying to relax and enjoy being with your family, you don’t need tight pants digging into you.

  9. Good choice! My experience echoes yours: 80% of the weight comes off pretty fast, but it takes me a full six months to get rid of the last 5 pounds–and that’s a difference of a whole size at least. (I’ve breastfed and I’ve been told that might have something to do with it.)
    And that’s despite a regular exercise routine and a healthy eating plan.

    I would much rather wear one size bigger than feel pudgy because my pants don’t fit during postpartum months 2-6. (That’s the last thing a postpartum woman needs!) So I’ve gotten ONE pair of pants in the bigger size after each baby. (And I’ve had 4, and I’ve returned to my pre-baby weight after each one.)

    1. @Anne – good for you on getting back down after all four of them! It’s coming off, it’s just slow. But as the weeks add up I start to see real progress, and that is motivational.

  10. Laura: Here is another idea for articles discussion.. it is so nice to see all these women weighing in here.. I read that book Cinderella Ate My Daughter On your recommendation and plan to read some others you’ve recommended like that reasonable growth for companies book you recommended that other day and goal setting for revenue…

    Here is my thought …. the issue with the princess cinderella concept is it teaches girls that it is more important to look pleasurable and attractive than to experience pleasure… we as women want to experience pleasure and be happy and teach that to our daughters… and the weight thing and exercise obsession often goes the other way.. to the extend that exercise helps your mental health and helps you be more productive or self actualize great.. to the extend that you do it to please others it is a slippery slope an anti-feminist… it is good to see that even you and even the most self actualized women struggle with this and it is important for us as women to support each other… for a good marraige for example… sex is more important for women than being skinny or having your nails done or having the perfect bikini wax.. if those things help women ok but we have to recognize and get away from anything that focuses on us pleasing others at our own expense… and take ours..
    I thought it was interesting on the post on what to do in the morning that guys care about sex and coffee and women care about exercise and coffee.. and why is this? b/c men worry less about what they look like and more about what they feel and in being pleased.. this works in a sexual way but sometimes it also works in life… wearing tight clothes for a cocktail party — or get a FAJA – look them up online they come from colombia… or for an important business meeting is one thing.. or like a modern girdle.. but doing it every day isn’t pleasurable… it is done to please others…
    It is important to exercise and not be fat.. but some of the SHAPE magazine US magazine rhetoric about how to be skinny in two weeks after having a baby is anti-women and anti mother … and focuses on us looking good for others rather than experiencing pleasure and happiness for ourselves and taking our piece as women..

  11. Having been there (thrice), I have finally got the answer. Unfortunately 10 years too late for me, but my (young) friends much appreciate the design…for vanity, comfort and ease. Please see the before and after on the Hold Your Haunches Facebook page. Truly, these are every mom’s go to pant…

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