There are very few things in life more difficult than losing weight, especially as you get older. It takes dedication and a commitment to make life changes. Humans are creatures of habit, and unfortunately, we pick up bad habits rather quickly.
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I recently had my second baby. Normally, I'm a petite 5’2” woman, and pregnancy has never my strong suit. I also have a giant husband who measures in at a whopping 6’5”. Together we produced two very large boys.
Going into this pregnancy I knew it would be my last so I didn’t restrain myself from any cravings. If I wanted a cookie, I was going to eat a cookie… okay, maybe two cookies – who’s counting anyways?
I also headed up the Catering department at a luxury hotel, so indulging in amazing food was not something I was ever going to turn down. Pregnant women like to joke that they are eating for two, but let’s be honest here; the second person is practically the size of a melon. I’m sure they don’t require a whole cookie just for themselves.
I admit my love for food is unparalleled, pregnant or not. This obsession coupled with hypothyroidism, hormone treatments, and an intense sweet tooth caused me to gain nearly 20lbs before I even became pregnant. During my pregnancy I gained another 40lbs, so I knew once this baby arrived, I would have my work cut out for me.
In my last trimester I put together a weight loss game plan. I knew if I waited I would get caught up in the daily struggles of taking care of a newborn and my goals may have been sidelined.
Let me first state that I am not a weight loss expert, a doctor, a nutritionist or even a personal trainer – I am just a busy mom who is passionate about my health and the example I set for my boys.
The first step was writing my goals down and sharing them with friends and family. I am a firm believer in sharing your goals so you are held accountable for them. Plus, you can use the encouragement and support you receive as inspiration to continue on your path.
Next, I created a realistic timeline. It takes nine months to put on the weight, and it very well may take nine months (or longer) to take it off. Being a mom is stressful enough so be sure to make attainable goals, as you want your weight loss to be a healthy one.
Finally, I downloaded some helpful apps to track my progress and started following a few fitness blogs. Over the last several months, I continued to stay true to myself and my goals. If I cheated one day, I made a conscious effort not to do it the next day or any future days.
Below are some tips that helped me reach my goal weight:
- I wrote down my goals and shared them.
- I chose to nurse my son. Nursing, if you can and choose to, will help you lose up to 500 calories a day! This helped tremendously with my initial weight loss.
- I toned down my portions. Eating off of a salad plate rather than a dinner plate helped me gain perspective on my portion sizes.
- I ate very little dairy, refined sugars, or gluten. Dairy and gluten can give your baby gas when nursing so giving them up was a win for both my baby and me. I know gluten-free products can be expensive, so try substituting one item at a time as your budget allows.
- Sweets were just an occasional treat, not part of my daily meal plan. I missed my cookies!
- I signed up for a Mommy Fit class. These classes are a great way to incorporate your baby into your fitness routine, and are a perfect networking opportunity for you to meet other new moms.
- I enjoyed running as a cardio workout so I signed up for future races to keep my goals ongoing.
- I followed fitness / healthy lifestyle blogs religiously. Three of my favorites: New mom, Kelsey Byers Fitness, Becci Prather Fitness, and Angela Carpenter, The Yoga Life Blog. All give recipes, food recommendations, fitness routine suggestions and post videos to show the ‘How To’.
- I had two apps that I also used religiously: The Nike + Running app to track my miles and running goals, and My Fitness Pal to track my calories, food intake, and exercise goals.
- When the baby napped, I tried to use that time to work out, whether it was simple floor exercises, push-ups, or using hand weights.
- This one may sting a little… I consumed very little alcohol. Alcohol is a complete waste of calories, and it also would have prevented me from nursing my son. I now consider it only as a treat on special occasions. The nightly glass of wine for relaxation is now a thing of the past.
Today my son is almost five months old and my progress has exceeded my expectations. When I checked into the hospital I weighed 185lbs. I currently weigh 120lbs. I feel amazing but most importantly, I feel healthy.
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