Image by DrJimiGlide
Remember I’m working to get healthy this year? Well, I’m finally feeling ready to step it up in the “diet” department. I lost about 2/3 of my baby weight in the first week post- birth, but since then I’ve lost nothing. I may have even gained a little back….
So, now it’s time to get serious about getting back to a healthy weight. I’m not sure where I’ll end up — when I feel “right” and my clothes fit well, I’ll be done. I’d ideally like to be around 125 (I’m 5’3″) but I’m not sure I will. 125 – 130 is where I think is best for me. Currently I think I am around 140 (I am afraid to weigh myself post-holiday craziness).
Curious how I’ll do it?
What I Won’t Do
A lot of women looking to lose the baby weight make some mistakes. Here are a few posts you need to read:
So, I clearly won’t be doing either of those. Calorie and fat restrictions are just begging to be unhealthy. We all need adequate calories for our bodies to work efficiently, and I’m still exclusively breastfeeding Jacob — I definitely don’t want to cut back! I could lose my milk supply. As for fat, we need it in order to make use of the critical fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. Plus breastmilk is mostly fat, and Jacob needs that. I’m not cutting back on the fat.
Another thing I won’t be doing is killing myself to exercise. Studies have shown that excessive cardio is not healthy for us and does not lead to permanent weight loss. I’ll be definitely trying to “move more” by chasing the kids, taking walks with them, maybe even pulling out the Wii Fit again and playing with that — making exercise a part of my daily life. But I’m not going to set goals like “I will exercise one hour per day” or anything like that. Especially if your metabolism is on the low side (and mine always has been), exercise isn’t going to fix it. In fact, metabolism is usually low because you eat too little for the amount of energy you are using! (We’ll talk more about that on Friday.)
I also won’t be choosing “diet foods”(packaged foods), artificial sweeteners, or “cutting the pop.” The only “pop” I drink is kombucha and I’m keeping that. I usually drink water. If I need or want another drink (like tea, which we make a couple times a week), I’ll use a small amount of raw honey. Natural is always better than industrial!
What I Will Do
So what will I be doing?
Having a Big Breakfast
I wake up starving, but I often put off breakfast for at least an hour. Maybe once a week I skip it entirely. (That’s better than when I was a teen and skipped it everyday!) I notice, though, that even when I have a decent breakfast (say, 2 – 3 eggs, 1/4 lb. sausage, and 3 cups of smoothie), I’m still really hungry, and I slowly feel worse and worse until lunch — and that doesn’t usually fix it, because I don’t eat enough then either. Not good.
Instead, I’m going to start eating a huge breakfast. I’ll have some savory protein, a fruit smoothie, sourdough pancakes or toast (my starter‘s doing much better now!), and I might add in some vegetables too. I will spend this week figuring out how much I really need to eat for breakfast.
I feel best when I have a smoothie with my breakfast. I add plain yogurt to it, and something about that makes me feel really good. I haven’t been making smoothies very often lately, so I will be going back to doing that again. I also feel better with more fruits and vegetables, so that’s another reason to add a smoothie.
After Daniel was born (and a couple months prior), I was adding a lot of coconut oil to my smoothies. I lost the weight fast that way, without even trying. (3 months postpartum and it was gone, by 6 months I was down an additional 15 lbs.) I’m going to start adding a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to my smoothies again, and hope that it has a similar effect (while also being an excellent source of nutrition).
Another thing that has worked for me in the past is to limit dairy. I will not eat (homemade) ice cream now. I will have the yogurt, and I will occasionally cook with some raw milk or butter, and I’ll eat cheese sometimes, but I will cut back on this a lot, at least temporarily. The dairy I do have will be raw and homemade whenever possible.
This was definitely part of my weight loss before. I’m not going to completely eliminate them because it’s hard to eat enough and maintain my energy and weight while exclusively breastfeeding. Instead, I’m going to make good use of my sourdough starter to create breads that are healthy. If I can get a good crusty bread, I’ll dip it in olive oil (something else that helped me before). Other than sourdough and the occasional soaked bread or rice, I won’t be eating grains for awhile. I’m aiming for 2 – 3 servings a day, and some days none.
Daily Salads/More Veggies
I have always really enjoyed veggies, and throughout college, I always packed my lunch and put a salad in there everyday. That was way before I knew anything about real food, too. I have done that on and off since having kids, too — I make 5 to 7 salads on the weekend then have one daily. It guarantees I get lunch even on super busy days, and prevents me from saying, “I just don’t want to make one right now.” I’m going to do it again. I also made a big pot of vegetable soup over the weekend and I plan to eat that daily, too (excellent with rich beef stock too!). I’ll be adding in veggies and fruits with snacks too (along with cheese or some type of fat/protein). (Are you curious what I put in my salads? If so I will post my favorite combinations soon!)
It’s been a pretty mild winter, so on days when it’s sunny and at least 40 (more often than you’d think), we go for walks. I will also pull out my Wii Fit, though I think I’ll have to share it with my kids now…. That’s okay. They actually enjoy watching me play, too, so I’ll still get a turn! If we have a string of not-so-nice days, we might head to a local indoor playground for some exercise, or perhaps I’ll just chase them around the house awhile.
The Final Goal
I’m hoping by the time the weather is warm (3 – 4 months), I’ll be back where I want to be. I’m not trying to move fast or lose weight quickly. A pound or two a week is sufficient.
Frankly I won’t be stepping on the scale too often anyway. My goal ultimately isn’t about that number; it’s about how my clothes fit and how I feel.
One summer when I was about 19, I went to the gym 5 days a week. I went because I enjoyed it, and because I was working out with a friend who was about to head off to West Point. (Hi Emma!) By the end of that summer, I’d lost no weight, as a number on the scale. But everyone kept saying I looked so good, I looked thinner, etc. I’d built muscle and become stronger and healthier without that number changing. That is just fine. If I don’t actually “lose weight,” but I am stronger and healthier and my clothes fit better, I’ll take it.
Finally, please remember — this is my plan. I’m choosing this based on what has worked well for me in the past and what makes me feel the best. Your plan may look very different. I’m not recommending this as “the” way to lose weight or get healthy. Feel free to use it as a guideline if you would like to, but always tweak it to suit your own needs.
**This post has been entered in Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist.**