My practical strategy and realistic game plan for losing weight post baby.
Happy 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.
Don’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.
The 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.
Heck, 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. ;-)
While 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%.
Fast 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.
To 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.
So, 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:
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.
Any 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.
2. 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!
3. 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.
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.
4. 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.