January meant the start of a serious health turnabout. For various reasons (postpartum recovery, never-ending family sickness, and holidays) I put off losing the baby weight until the new year. I have a lot of work to do. Not only did I start the pregnancy 10 pounds heavier than my first one, I was 25 pounds heavier at Sam's birth than I was at Jack's. So, yeah. Need to lose the weight.
I'm doing it! I lost 15 pounds last month. I have 12 pounds to go to meet my goal. (My goal is reasonable, and hopefully I can reach it and then lose more.) I expect it will take a lot longer to lose that last 12. There was a lot of holiday bloat and pregnancy fluff that comes off fast.
My method is simple:
Eat whole foods. No processed. Exercise every day.
Ok, I have more rules than that. But in general, I wanted to make an easy plan that I can follow long term. I've counted calories and carbs. It works for a while. Then I burn out and fall off the wagon. I also feel restricted and crave junk, often searching for fancy products that meet my limitations in weird ways (Atkins products, for example).
My eating rules:
I can eat as many whole fruits and vegetables I want.
No processed foods.
No refined flour or sugar.
No soda, even diet.
If I eat starches they need to be whole grains (whole wheat, oats, quinoa, etc)
Stevia and xylitol are allowed.
I can eat two chocolate servings a day.
Weekends are rule relaxed.
In practice what this means is I make most meals from scratch and I can eat as much as I want so long as I follow the rules. Potatoes in a slow cooker roast are fine. Cocoa, banana, greek yogurt smoothies with stevia are good. Steel cut oats for breakfast with cinnamon and maple syrup, or eggs and fruit:
We can eat out, but the restaurant needs to be fairly wholesome. ModMarket Fresh, Panera Bread, Subway, Boston Market, Jimmy Johns, Chipotle. These are places where you can look up all the ingredients and judge whether they use too many processed foods, too much salt, and other junk. It's nice to have this option on the weekend, so I don't feel like I'm starving myself indefinitely.
I also let myself have a diet soda, preferably caffeine free, on the weekend. I have a serious diet coke addiction. It's something I really enjoy and I was probably drinking 2-4 cans/fountain refills daily. I went cold turkey for three weeks and now have a couple on Saturdays. Much better.
I also don't eat the chocolate I'm allowed. But sometimes I do, and I eat more than I should. Tonight I made pumpkin oat cookies (low sugar, dark chocolate chunks, no fat) and I ate more than I should have. But I try not to let it ruin the day. There's no calorie count, so I don't feel like I failed my record and I need to make it up the next day. Flexible and low tracking effort - that was my goal and it seems to be working. The weekend cheat days sort of reinvigorate me to start afresh each Monday, sticking to the plan better.
I exercise every day but Sunday. At least 5 minutes, and I aim for 10-30. I do this right after Sam wakes up and I feed him. This is how I get it done:
He's gotten better at using his saucer. At first he didn't like to hold himself up in it and he felt alone. Now he turns himself and plays with all the toys for the whole time I work-out. I do sit-ups, squats, lunges, planks, etc in my bedroom. Or I run on the elliptical that Amanda loaned me. Or if I have musical rehearsal, that counts for my daily exercise. I always spend a good amount of time stretching too. I also have very active boys. I rarely spend time sitting at home except during nap. I'm constantly going up and down the stairs, picking up after them, cleaning, cooking, and squatting and lifting Sam. All of that, plus breastfeeding, is burning off more calories too.
I hope in a couple months I can report that I'm closer to my goal and still living the healthy, active life!
Update: forgot to mention one of my motivators. For every 5 pounds I lose, verified by three consecutive days of weighing, I get to buy new clothes! My wardrobe is horribly out of date, too young for me, slubby, and almost nothing fits. So this is a great reward for myself.