Losing The Baby Weight: My Strategy and Game Plan

My practical strategy and realistic game plan for losing weight post baby. 
Losing the Baby Weight - My Strategy and Game Plan - The Lemon BowlHappy New Year!! Can you believe it is January already? Between sleepless nights with a newborn and chasing after a toddler all day, this year truly flew by in the blink of an eye.

After spending February – November pregnant then landing smack-dab at the start of the hectic holiday season, I am officially Thanksgivukkahed-out. Believe it or not, I am so ready to get back in the salad again.

Lake Michigan - The Lemon BowlDon’t get me wrong, I loved being able to let loose. There are few things more enjoyable than drinking a chocolate malt during a hot summer day on Lake Michigan without worrying about fitting into my maternity clothes the next day. But as I mentioned during my pregnancy, watching the scale creep up every week after achieving weight loss success was less than thrilling.

WalksThe good news? I tried to stay active throughout the bulk of my pregnancy. The weather was nice for much of it which led to frequent walks with my little man. He also happens to love the kids area at my gym which gave me a good excuse to hit the treadmill.

30 Day Plank Challenge - The Lemon BowlHeck, I even coordinated a fun “Plank a Day” challenge with many of you! It was a good time until the last week or so when I felt like my stomach was touching the floor. ;-)

Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Ketchup - The Lemon BowlWhile I certainly didn’t hold back when it came to food, I tried to stick to the 80/20 rule: eating clean, healthy foods 80% of the time so that I could enjoy French fries or cheesecake the other 20%.

Losing Weight - The Lemon BowlFast forward to today and it’s time to come clean: I have 39 pounds left to lose and none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. What’s more, my body is craving sweat sessions. Before getting pregnant, I was spending 3-4 days at the gym in Kickboxing, Boot Camp, Spin class and more. I never thought I’d miss lunging across the gym holding weights over my head but I do. I miss being sore. I miss pushing myself. I miss surprising myself when I met the challenge. I miss the people who helped me through the workouts. I miss all of it.

BrothersTo be perfectly honest, I’m going a little crazy being cooped up inside with a newborn and very active toddler all day. The winter months can really drag on here in Michigan. We can’t go for walks and it’s too cold to spend more than 10 minutes outside with a newborn. Forget the calorie burn, I need the exercise simply for the endorphins it produces. I need the feel-good hormone that I so desperately crave.

Weight Loss Plan - The Lemon BowlSo, I’ve come up with a game plan to help lose this baby weight and, more importantly, reach optimal health in 2014 so that I can be my best self for my family and lead a good example to my children. Here is my game plan and I hope you hold me to it:

Gym 1. Get Moving: You never regret working out. Never. It’s not rocket science but it needed to be put in writing. My body craves movement. It needs exercise! And I deserve the time to myself to recharge and get my blood flowing. There will be challenges ahead: going for walks aren’t really an option until March and I’m not quite ready to take my newborn to the gym day care. But these obstacles are really nothing more than excuses and it’s time to cut the crap and get moving.

Tips for Creating and Keeping an Exercise RoutineAny movement is better than no movement. If I can’t get to the gym, I can always do a YouTube or DVD workout while my older son naps and the baby watches. Even though I prefer working out in the morning, I can always go in the evening when my husband is home from work or any time on the weekends. Whatever I need to do, I need to make exercise a priority. I need to add it to my weekly schedule just like a conference call or a freelance deadline. I’ve done it before, I know I can do it again.

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 5.10.01 PM2. Let the Blog Work for Me: The wonderful thing about being a healthy food blogger is that I get to develop fresh and flavorful recipes for a living. Being home with two kids under 3 requires a lot of energy which is all the more reason why I need to fill our plates with real food that comes from the ground or has a mother. We’ve gotten a little too lax in this department since the baby arrived and it’s time to purge the pantry of the junk once again. Will it take time to prep salad for the week ahead or cook extra soup to freeze half? Yes. But I am worth the extra effort and so is my family. Food is fuel but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. My mission is to continue creating easy, seasonal recipes that don’t taste anything like health food.  What recipes would you like to see here? What would you like more of? I am all ears!

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 5.10.54 PM3. Keep a Food Diary: As of December 28th, I have started tracking my calories again. The reason I share nutritional information for every recipe is because my weight loss success was the result of measuring portions and counting calories. While I wish I could simply eyeball a tablespoon of peanut butter or a teaspoon of olive oil, I know that when I don’t measure food I am consuming more calories than I realize. If you’ve ever wondered what a real serving of ice cream looks like, try weighing out 64 grams. You’ll about die. I did! But knowledge is power. I like having control and knowing that if I do X, I will get Y.

Eating

Calorie Counting Disclaimer: I don’t want to get too in-depth about counting calories but I do need to say that I do not believe all calories are created equal. In other words, I would much rather you consume 1800 calories a day of brightly colored foods, lean protein and whole grains than 1800 calories of brown and white processed foods that have been stripped of their nutrients so that they taste really sweet, fatty and salty. I believe in eating foods that have a dual purpose such as preventing disease, improving your health or giving you lasting energy. If you can find an Oreo cookie that does that, sign me up! But in the meantime, make your calories count.

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 5.12.01 PM4. Positive Support System: Making long-term, healthy lifestyle changes takes hard work, commitment and dedication. If you aren’t surrounded by cheerleaders who help motivate you and push you to reach your goals, you are only making it that much harder to succeed. I plan to surround myself with people who lift me up and believe in me. In turn, I plan to pay it forward and be there for others looking for a partner in crime to help reach their own personal goals. Strength in numbers, right?

So there you have it, friends. Thank you for reading and thank you for being here. I am looking forward to 2014 and hope to hear what your hopes and dreams are for the year ahead.

Thank you, as always, for making mine come true.

xoxo,
Liz

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Comments

  1. says

    I seriously can not tell you how much I LOVE this post. I mean, I am a newly wed with no baby, or no plans to have said rugrat for years to come, but this post is so informative girl! This is perfect for anyone that wants to just lose weight period, even if it isn’t from pregnancy. I agree with all of your points and I love love love love how you mentioned it’s important to eat food from the ground or has a mother…so perfectly stated! Thank you for this post and Happy New Year girl! :) God bless.

    • says

      Thank you so much for your sweet words Taylor! I’m so glad you read this post. You’re right – these tips are all tips I used even before I was pregnant! They really apply to anyone looking to live a healthier life. Thanks again and Happy New Year!!

      • Adrienne says

        Liz, I love your recipes! I’m currently on the path to loosing baby weight. My baby was born late October of 2013, but I’m confused to how many calories I should take in to loose weight and still be able to breastfeed. I’m on myfitnesspal to track my calories, but it suggest that I should consume 1200 a day to loose weight but my doctors recommend 2000-2500 calories a day for breastfeeding moms. I’m confused to say the least, any tips or direction you could point me in would be great.

        • says

          Hi Adrienne, Congrats on your new baby!!! Our babies are just a month apart – mine was born in November. :-) I’m afraid I can’t give out individualized health/nutritional advice because I’m not a trained dietitian or nutritionist. If I were you, I would just try my best to listen to my body and eat when I’m hungry, not out of boredom. :) You can also always find a local dietitian in your area by using this website: http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdfinder/default.aspx Hope that helps! Good luck and congrats again!

  2. says

    So happy you fully enjoyed your pregnancy and holidays..thats awesome! I love all your tips..so many of them in the past I use daily…”Am I hungry enough for an apple?” Love it! You can do this liz, and you’ll rock it! Without knowing it, you motivate me daily to get my tush in gear! Happy New Year!

    • says

      YES!! I love that you use the apple trick!! It’s such a great strategy and I love that it doesn’t require much effort!! Thank you so much for your sweet words – I’m honored to know that I motivate you because you inspire me in so many ways! Happy New Year friend!

  3. says

    Are you in my head?! Lol. Yep, you are. So ready to get back in the salad again! And I miss being sore (from workouts not poor posture) too!
    You got this girl, WE got this :)
    Happy new year!! Let’s kick this 25lbs to the curb :)

  4. she chrastka says

    Thank you for the words and encouragement. I have tried everything this sounds simple just need the help following it. I know if I read this daily it will help. Thank you again

  5. says

    Love every word of this! I didn’t just have a baby, but I DID fall off the bandwagon big time the last few weeks of December with working out. Like you said, I mostly miss it for the endorphins versus all of the other benefits. Planning to get reacquainted with good ol’ Jillian Michaels today.

    Cheering you on for the last 25, and hopefully more of your yummy salads and smoothies to come. You’ve got this! :)

    • says

      Oh man – falling off the bandwagon is an understatement! I will confess most of these tips are the same strategies I used before I ever had my first baby – it definitely applies to anyone, baby or not. I am so craving endorphins!! I think I will join you for a little Jillian Michaels reunion today..thank you for the good idea!! And thank you for your words of encouragement and support!!! You’re the best! xo

  6. says

    Thank you so much for this post. I have a 10 month old at home and have been working hard to get back in shape. It hasn’t been easy but I try to take it 1 day at a time. I want the new year to be about staying healthy and active as a good example for my family also. Your words today are very encouraging!

    • says

      Oh tell me about it!! It’s so hard with little ones home all day isn’t it? One day at a time is such a great attitude! You can do it! I’m so glad this post was encouraging for you – please keep me posted on your journey!! Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014!

  7. says

    You can do it Liz! :) I have definitely fallen off the bandwagon at the end of this pregnancy and having the holidays fall right at the end!!

    I love the idea of working out while the older one naps and the younger watches. I know it gets hard to find time for exercise when you have two little ones but making it a priority is a great goal! I hope I can do the same. I also like the idea of prepping salads and soups–totally worth it to keep you on track. Great idea! Happy New Year!

    • says

      I’m so glad to have a partner in crime!!! We can totally do it together Julia!! Yes – prepping ahead of time has been such a life saver for me so far. I’ll push you and you can push me – deal? Happy New Year friend!!

  8. says

    Ahhh, yes the weight loss battle ;\ I’ve had 4 kids so I feel your pain sister! I love working out for the most part (hate running ;) oh, and burpees, duh. Finding time and quite honestly the motivation most days is an ongoing err quest. So true tho that you will never regret working out, I feel AWESOME every time after I do even if seeing results seems to be harder as the years creep up on me.

    • says

      haha I thought we could use some laughter!!! :) Don’t even think about this stuff until 6 weeks postpartum my friend!! You’ll get there. It took me an entire 12 months to lose the weight after my first. Happy New Year!!

  9. says

    Two of my absolute favorite quotes that helped me lose the baby weight from both pregnancies (oh, and not eating ice cream every day):

    “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”

    and

    “If it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”

    You got this, Liz!

  10. says

    You are right on the mark with all of these points, Liz, and I have no doubt that you’ll be feeling great in no time. For me, the portion size was huge. I used MyFitnessPal, which really helped to make me aware of what I was putting in my mouth (far more than I realized). You are an inspiration, Liz, and it’s always helpful for others go through the journey when they see someone like you knock it out of the park.

    • says

      Portion control = you hit the nail on the head!!! Even in just the few days I’ve started tracking my food again I really realize how loosely I was eating during my pregnancy and over the holidays. It’s funny how you think twice about eating something simply because you don’t want to have to add it to your food diary!! Thank you so much for your vote of confidence Dara! Happy and healthy New Year!

  11. says

    Liz, thanks for this awesome post. I always love the wisdom and great info in your posts. Thanks for inspiring us all to eat wisely. On the weight- you can do it!

  12. says

    You got this! I have no doubts at all! :) I’ve definitely been feeling the itch to work out more lately as well. For me, it’s cutting back on the blog so that I actually have *time* to work out. The blog helps pay the bills but I need to be healthy and happy too! :) Happy New Year!!!!! xo

    • says

      Thank you so much friend!! And I completely agree that exercising is more important that blogging! The thing is, the blog will be there when we get home from 30 minutes at the gym. ;) Plus, I could really use the added energy these days and I know you can relate!! Happy New Year friend!

  13. Kelly says

    In a very similar boat! Preggo Jan-Oct/2013 with my first, after just having lost 30lbs to get to my goal weight! Nothing fits, but lucky for me I’m a stay at home mom and yoga instructor so I don’t have to be in much more than sweats, still doesn’t feel great though! Have 20lbs to lose & am craving the endorphin rush and feeling of my blood pumping and sweat dripping! Had a rough delivery so I know even when I can workout I have to ease into it which will makemy diet

  14. says

    Love your plan! I usually do really well with the workouts, it is the clean eating that I struggle with – zero willpower, and a huge sweet tooth :) Hoping to get back on track with that in the next few weeks.

    Do you do any video’s at home? I am doing T25 right now, and love it! Only 25 minutes a day, but a killer workout. Might be worth looking into for your at home days.

  15. Cassidy Stockton says

    Great post! I’m definitely going to apply some of this to my own journey. I lost the baby weight, but still have a long way to go to be a healthy weight. You are definitely an inspiration!

  16. Amy says

    I admire your determination to be good to yourself and a positive healthy model for your family! And I love your sense of humor too! It’s so easy to get too serious and stressed out about losing weight and you make it seem that much more attainable. I’ll be following along as I am on my own journey– I want to lose 80 pounds! Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. says

    Liz, you are already halfway there – just the fact that you are food planning and can’t wait to work out is so fantastic! I love the idea of putting it out there as a call for help, support and accountability. You rock mama!

  18. says

    Love this Liz. I’m sure that post baby I’ll be in similar boat. MY problem is making my blog somehow work for me….I eat a pretty balanced diet- but if I weren’t baking desserts all the time I’d probably try to cut our sugar for awhile :) We’ll see how it all pans out!

    • says

      I have no doubt you’ll find the perfect balance my friend! I must say I give you gorgeous baking bloggers so much credit. Just the other day I was photographing healthy muffins and was getting ready to eat one when I realized I’m not even hungry, I was eating out of habit. It’s just about being conscious for me. Can’t wait to see your new bundle of joy!!!

  19. says

    I’ll be in your boat in just a few short months. Yes, it’s been great eating “whatever” I want, but I can’t wait to get back in shape and sweat a little (and not sweating from walking 50 feet). Good luck–I know you can do it!

  20. says

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article. Although I don’t have baby weight to lose, I yo-yoed last year…and have made a commitment to get in shape for good this year. Very inspiring.

  21. says

    You are the best cheerleader, Liz, so I hope you find just as wonderful cheerleaders for yourself! :) I still have Simon on my belly and thighs, so hoping to get back into some sort of workout routine soon, too. My excuse? It’s too dark in the mornings to run so, you know, someone might kidnap me so I’ll just sleep in instead and let my kids wake me up at the crack of dawn so that I”m in a bad mood for the rest of the day… ;) Actually, I think I’m going to buy “Just Dance” for our Xbox and start with that. I know you want to join me (and Usher)! ;)

    • says

      I totally want to do Just Dance with you!! That’s actually such a good idea!!! I just found out I can get Jillian Michaels workout videos in my living room with Amazon Prime so that is my goal once I get my OB’s sign off to workout. :)

  22. says

    I love these goals, Liz. Not only are they reasonable, but they’re focused on positive steps rather than deprivation — so key!! I’m going to follow your advice with the “Get Moving” tip, especially scheduling it in. I’ve been so lazy for the last 9 weeks due to pregnancy nausea/fatigue, that I cannot wait to feel better and start working out again. Group classes here I come!

  23. Megan Mess says

    We welcomed our third little girl in the middle of December and everything you have said about needing to move rings true here. Here in Nebraska it also is still way too cold to go outside. I totally get where you are at. Thanks for the post, glad to see I am not in it alone ;).

  24. says

    How did you do with the plank challenge? I did that with my husband and we couldn’t get past 1.5 mins! If you made it past that any tips or suggestions would be appreciated :).

Trackbacks

  1. […] Your favorite chicken salad gets a healthy makeover with creamy yogurt and tangy dijon mustard. When you are busy with a 4 month old and a 2 year old all day, quick-and-easy becomes the name of the game when it comes to lunch time. Of course, life is too short to eat grilled chicken salads every day so I love finding new ways to create hearty yet satisfying meals that don’t make you feel deprived. Protein-packed lunches like this Lightened Chicken Salad have been the key to my weight loss success as I continue working off the baby weight. […]

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