As I said in my first post, I have a roller coaster relationship with food and weight. I’ve never been extremely overweight or underweight but I wanted to find a weight I felt my best at, while also finding that mystery of moderation with food and especially my weakness of desserts. After I had my fourth child I binged on some donuts in the hospital. I just gave birth, don’t judge me. After surviving the first month or two with my newborn I knew it was time to start trying to shed the extra weight that I hadn’t already lost as a result of, you know, actually giving birth to a baby (which for me is always 15-20 pounds lost within the first two weeks).
I was nursing, and with my other three babies, nursing did nothing to help along the weight loss. However, I turned to something I had had some success with in the past, after I had my first child. I counted calories. This time around I only counted for around two weeks to try to get things jumpstarted. I couldn’t believe that some months I lost 6 to 8 pounds. For some reason, combined with calorie counting, nursing did seem to help this time. I wasn’t exercising at all and mainly just focusing on making better food choices and I lost about 20 pounds. Then I plateaued for a while.
I decided to do an elimination diet. This purely was not for weight loss. I was getting daily headaches and never having done an elimination diet, I thought it would be irresponsible if I didn’t at least see how what I’m eating may be affecting my health ( I did figure out caffeine was causing headaches but no food seemed to affect them except alcohol). Well, I was miserable the first few weeks, and mildly depressed haha. Also, to my surprise I lost 10 pounds in about 3 weeks. Granted I’m sure some of this was water weight but I had all of a sudden come down to a weight I had wanted to get to, very quickly. I mainly maintained that weight, all without exercise until the holidays and then I gained about 4 pounds back.
I decided to start exercising. But I didn’t want exercise to be at all related to my food consumption. In the past I would try to burn off excess calories. Like I would eat a huge dessert and snacks and then try to jog it off. This time, I wanted to do something I liked (ie no running unless I felt like it). After a rocky start to 2020 and not consistently working out for January and February, I decided to buy a calendar I could write my workouts down on. I made weekly walking goals. I started off with just 10 miles a week and I tried to workout a certain amount of time (like spend 1 and a half hours working out per week). I used the fitness app FitOn. It’s completely free and I loved it! You do have to plan out your own workouts for the week, which I recommend. Making a plan got me excited to work out, and that’s huge, you can’t dread your workouts. There may be some days I’m feeling too tired to workout or I know a tough workout is coming that may make me not want to do it, but most of my workouts I don’t mind doing and actually enjoy most of the time. Make a plan, even if it’s just picking a workout you want to do the day before. As the weeks went on I added to my mileage goal and upped my workout time. For a time, when the weather was nice and I had lots of daylight hours, I would wake up early and walk at least three miles, around five days a week and then I would workout from 2 and a half to 3 and a half hours a week. I tried to eat healthfully and make changes that I didn’t mind making too much like when my family would have spaghetti I’d eat just a little bit of noodles and eat the majority with veggie spirals or when my family would have rice I would eat cauliflower rice or at least mix in cauliflower rice with normal rice. I still would eat foods I liked and splurged fairly frequently. Over the summer I got to my lowest weight I had been since I got married but that elusive 10 pounds I still wanted to lose remained. I kept working out and found resources, all free online.
I started doing Mommy Trainer’s 6 week challenge. I like challenges because your workouts are all laid out for you. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLllcSaUro6511jUAaGgQJXLXElWAmjflP
Then I found NourishMoveLove workouts, and she gives you free monthly workout plans. All of these people I found have very healthy relationships to food and working out. Nourishmovelove.com
Finally I found Caroline Girvan on youtube and did her Epic 10 week challenge and I’m in the middle of her Epic Heat series. It seriously challenged me and was the longest I worked out thus far; hour workouts, five days a week being the norm. Because of this I scaled back the walking. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpis3RcTw6t47XO0R_KY4WQ
Again, over the holidays I gained about 5 pounds back. I didn’t gain for the longest time and then in January the overindulgence from November to December seemed to catch up to me. In January I took time to just try to start eating healthier but I knew I had come to a point that just eating healthy and still indulging rather frequently was not going to get me to my final goal.
February I started Heather Robertson’s 12 week workout challenge and the big change here was I decided to finally buck up and count calories. I counted calories from February to May in some form or other (I was usually not super strict with it). My weight loss was super slow, like 2-3 pounds per month. This was hard on my mind and I had to decide to just keep persevering. Slow and steady got me to within three pounds of my goal weight but we all know that a specific number isn’t important and we should have more of a goal range. However, sometimes you just want to hit that number, I know I know. I admit I got to my “weight loss goal”, that arbitary number I had set for myself after I got sick with covid and didn’t have an appetite and stopped working out. After not working out for a week I instantly lost three pounds which was interesting to me. This proves my point though that at my goal weight (which I hit but didn’t maintain for too long) I was sick and not working out and when I was a few pounds more I was healthy and stronger, it’s not the number on the scale that matters.
Heather Robertson’s challenge on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd6ao0klUb8&list=PL2ov72VWpiOrZliY8_Upde97LVtSx8pCA
In the beginning of my journey after my son was born, I knew I needed to address my portion control issues with sugar and occasional binges. I also had the mindset that if I was going to do this, get down to not even a certain weight but to a place I felt confident in my tummy area because that has always been my “trouble spot”, it was now or never. Losing weight as I got older would only get harder and I was sick of thinking about weight loss. Either I do it, or accept my body as it was cause I didn’t want to live always wanting to lose weight and unhappy with my body.
I journaled in the beginning, trying to practice eating just a small portion of something that would be a trigger food for me. Sometimes I did great, other times not so much. I still like to have a little something sweet everyday but now I’m trying to save treats for a couple times per week and special occasions. I had the mindset that I either needed to learn how to have self control around sugar or give it up completely. This is still a struggle for me but I’ve gotten much better about portion control and reigning myself back in. I used to struggle a lot with an all or nothing mindset and I’m much better about that now. You don’t have to wait until summer is over to start eating better or until Christmas is over to workout again. Start today, start on a Wednesday not necessarily a Monday. You don’t need to follow a strict diet like Whole 30. Throughout this entire journey the only diet I followed was one three day smoothie cleanse when I felt like I had plateaued. Diets are often too restrictive and don’t really prepare you for normal everyday life. Make changes you feel you can make. If you are at war with your mind, any changes you are making aren’t going to stick.
Some bloggers and podcasters who are great with addressing the mindset aspect are Kaitlin Moorhead https://kaitlynmoorhead.com/
and Megan Dahlman from the Strong Mommas blog and podcast.https://www.strong-mommas.com/about.html
A book I loved is called It Was Me All Along (https://www.amazon.com/Was-Me-All-Along-Memoir/dp/0770433251) It chronicles Andie Mitchell’s journey from always being an overweight child to losing over 100 pounds and the mindset aspects of all of that. I highly recommend!
My nutrition advice would be to make changes where it doesn’t hurt too much. Can you do without your toast with breakfast? Can you mix some cauliflower rice in with your normal rice to up the nutritional value? Where can you add some veggies into your day? I still struggle with that one the most. Some sites that I love for nutritious recipes are:
Ambitious kitchen http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com (she also has her own story of finding balance when you love food!)
RunningwithSpoons: http://www.runningwithspoons.com great recipes for flourless muffins or breads and more!
Family Freezer: thefamilyfreezer.com This site is great for when I make a bunch of healthy freezer meals I can pop into my slow cooker.
Chocolatecoveredkatie.com has great recipes for healthier sweets and CookieandKate.com has the best granola recipe that I make all the time to sprinkle over greek yogurt in the mornings.
I love the protein powder from Costco, I think it’s Orgain and it’s vegan (which sits better with my belly) as well as sweetened with Stevia instead of artifical sweeteners.
My husband and I just recently got back from Hawaii and I’d be lying if I said it was easy to go right back to healthy eating and working out. It’s hard to get out of vacation mode sometimes. I gained five pounds over the last month and I”m not panicking, I just know I need to get back on track and keep working out and eating a few less treats. I think if you’ve ever struggled with your weight, there is a fear that you will just keep gaining it until you are back where you started and I can start to feel that way. However when I focus on my habits, instead of just weight, things always balance back out. The scale only tells one part of the story. Focus on your habits and what changes you can live with, and you will find a weight you feel comfortable with. I’m now on the maintenance journey and that doesn’t mean I reached perfection. I still don’t look ripped and have a six pack but I’m working out and eating in a way I enjoy and in a way that doesn’t consume my whole life. Life is so much more than whether your thighs touch or you have ab definition.
I hope these resources can help you in some aspect of your journey to health and body confidence. Always remember, skinny and healthy are different things. You can be 15 pounds more than you want to be and be perfectly healthy and you can be at your goal weight and very unhealthy. So number one, we should strive for healthy, but I also realize that a lot of us just want to lose some vanity weight and that’s ok too, as long as you do it healthfully. I’m not a doctor or a personal trainer but this has been my journey and my journey will keep evolving as well. Some things that work for me now, might not in ten years and that’s ok. We truly just need to find what works for us at the stage of life we are in and be honest with ourselves as well. If you don’t want to live your life eating cauliflower pizza and turkey burgers acknowledge that and find your balance. If you can’t see yourself working out five hours a week just do activity that you enjoy and can fit into your day. So experiment and try out different workouts and meals and see what sticks. You can do this! If me, the sugar queen can do it, you certainly can too. Tell me how you stay healthy in the comments below!