Thursday, April 18, 2013

How My Body Was Transformed Before My Baby's First Birthday



 First of all, I'd like to make it clear that this post is not meant to make anyone feel bad if they have not reached their goal weight by their baby's first birthday. I recently wrote a post called Finding Beauty in the Baby Weight and I truly believe that even if your body is never the same after you give birth, the extra weight and body changes are 100% worth it when you consider what you've earned from that weight and those body changes. This is really not a post specifically about weight loss and trying to look better at all. What's important is feeling better. As shown above, when I came home from the hospital after giving birth to Emerald, I weighed almost 200 lbs (I am 5'2") and I felt just awful. My joints hurt, I felt lethargic, I had no energy to run around with my toddler and I was in a pretty miserable mood most of the time. Yes, some of this was due to giving birth and having a new baby and the hormone changes involved in that, but I have found that throughout my daughter's first year, the healthier my lifestyle is and the better in shape I get, the more energy I have and the happier I am. It is so much more fun for both me and my girls when I am in a good mood, when I have plenty of energy for them, when I get sick less because my immune system is out the roof, when I am strong enough to dance with them and toss them around...I feel amazing. So, I repeat, this is not a post to rub in people's faces that I lost 74 lbs in a year and make everyone feel guilty if they have not been able to do the same. No, this post is meant to encourage and motivate women (especially mommies who are struggling with their baby weight) to take steps towards living a healthier lifestyle. Our kids deserve for us to give them the best of us...the healthy, strong, energetic versions of ourselves. And I know for me, being a mom is sooo much easier not lugging around that extra 74 lbs. The more muscle mass I gain, the more weight I lose, the better my immune system is and therefore the less I get sick, the more fun I have being a mom. My hope is that this post would encourage and motivate anyone who has given up on losing weight or feeling good simply because they are busy or have kids. In less than a year, with a baby and a toddler, I have managed to whip my body into shape with only a 20 minute break from the kids a day (and all of us mommies deserve a 20 minute break every day). If I can do it, you can do it. I promise.

So here's what happened. I was 128 lbs when I got pregnant with baby #2. I gained a whopping 60 lbs during pregnancy. Partly because that's just what my body does when I'm pregnant (I gained 44 lbs with baby #1), partly because I didn't really eat right, and partly because since I also had a toddler I did not feel like I had enough time or energy to exercise daily like I did during my first pregnancy. In labor with baby #2, I weighed 188 lbs. Somehow I lost NO weight giving birth to her even though she weighed 9 lbs 4 oz, and when I came home from the hospital I still weighed 188 lbs.

Honestly, the first 40 or 50 lbs melted right off. I used this amazing weight loss plan called "Being a Mom". Nursing constantly WHILE chasing a toddler around all day and never having two hands free to fix myself food. And on the rare occasions when I did fix myself a meal I usually ate standing up and ended up throwing half of it away because it went bad before I had a chance to finish eating it. Not the healthiest weight loss method and I'm not saying to try this, it's just what ended up happening. I also realize that breastfeeding burns TONS of calories so moms who formula feed their babies do not have this easy peasy weight loss technique. 

Even though I was approaching my pre-baby weight, I felt awful. I was not eating the right kinds of food or the right amount of food. I also had zero muscle mass and had gobs and gobs of flab. Eventually I got tired of feeling sick and tired all the time and I made some changes.

These are the three changes I made, not just to lose weight but to feel great and be healthy.

1. I started drinking TONS of water. About 12-14 (8 oz) glasses a day (I feel like I need that much to stay hydrated while breastfeeding...for a non-breastfeeder, probably 8-10 glasses is plenty). This helps flush the body of toxins and prevents bloating as well as avoiding dehydration which causes headaches and other health issues that us mommies do not have time for.

2. I started eating Caveman Style. It's called the Paleo Diet. It's not so much of a weight loss diet as it is a healthy eating lifestyle. You can read more about it by clicking on the link above, but basically it's loading up on meat, fruits and veggies with some nuts and a little dairy and eliminating all grains, sugar, starches (like rice and white potatoes) and processed foods. Oh my goodness. This diet/lifestyle change is AMAZING. I mean it makes me feel INCREDIBLE. It gives me tons of energy, and everything I eat just makes me feel so HEALTHY. I cannot say enough good things about it. Every time I get lazy and have "cheat days" and start eating gluten free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and gluten free frozen pizzas I get bloated and cranky and lethargic. Then when I switch back to hardcore Paleo I feel amazing again. Also, I lost 18 lbs the first month I started eating this way. The great thing about this too is that there's no calorie counting. You can literally eat meat, fruit and veggies until you are stuffed full and you are still going to lose weight (or maintain weight if you're already at a healthy weight) as long as you are not eating the sugar, grains, starches and processed foods and especially if you are drinking tons and tons of water.This diet also works wonders for boosting the immune system because all the fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins that your body uses to help fight diseases.

3. I started using Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred workout DVD. I recommend this workout DVD above all others because a) it is intense and effective and b) it is only 20 minutes long, the only 20 minute long workout DVD I have seen in stores or online...most of them are 40-50 minutes and as a mom of a baby and a toddler I'm lucky if I can take a 10 minute shower every day let alone set aside almost an hour to workout on top of that. My husband agreed to watch the girls for me in the evenings (usually while they are having their before bed chill out TV time) so I can do my 20 minute workout and take a 10 minute shower. The way the workout program is set up, there are 3 different levels which get progressively harder and you are suppose to do each one for 10 days until you have worked out for 30 days straight. I think I got about 6 days into it before I realized that there were days I simply COULD NOT workout...either because we were out too late, one of the girls was sick and clinging to me, I was not feeling well, etc. so I just did each level every day that I possibly could (usually 4 or 5 days a week) until I felt like I could move on to the next level. I still do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred every day that I can, usually either level 2 or 3 depending on how challenging I want my workout to be that day. I lost probably 5-10 lbs within 30 days of starting this workout, but the important thing is that I started gaining muscle mass which means I am much stronger and have more energy. Also, since exercise releases endorphins that improve a person's mood, the more consistant I am with my workouts the happier I am.

If you find yourself lethargic much of the time, get sick a lot, suffer from mood swings or just crankiness in general and/or have a few pounds to shed, I encourage you to try a 30 day challenge. For 30 days, make a point to drink at least 8 (8 oz) glasses of water (more if you are breastfeeding), eat only what is approved on the Paleo diet, and workout daily (Again, I highly recommend Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred since it is only 20 minutes but intense enough to be effective). At the end of the 30 days, my guess is that you will feel healthier, stronger, be in an overall better mood, have more energy for your kids and you'll love the feeling so much that it will become your new lifestyle. 

12 comments:

  1. Wow, and you look amazing! Good for you for doing it the healthy way! I gained 80 lbs with BOTH of my pregnancies. I was up to 220! I went sugar free/low carb and eat much like the Paleo way but with a few differences. I'm down to 149. I have about 15 lbs to go but feel so much better getting rid of the lbs and the sugar/processed foods! I may try the 30 Day Shred! I've heard great things about it! Thanks for your inspirational post!

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  2. Thanks for reading! I think you will LOVE the 30 Day Shred. It's perfect for busy mommas who need a quick and effective workout. The first 5 days are hard but once you start gaining muscle mass you feel just amazing! Pregancies do crazy things to our bodies...congratulations and GREAT JOB for getting so close to reaching your goal weight! It takes so much work and self control to make a lifstyle change like the one you made going sugar free/low carb but the results are worth it! Good luck and keep up the hard work!

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  3. You really inspire me to start my weight loss. My baby is almost 8 months old, and I only lost a couple of pounds. I'm startin today, I just had enough of being tired, and everything hurting!!! My baby already plays alone for 30 minutes in her play yard, so that gives me time to exercise. And I'm starting a sugar free, full of vegies and fruits diet. My baby inspires me also, because I want to be here for her and my grand children for a long time! And since I'm feeding her a healthy diet, it makes it easier for me to eat the same things! You have a nice family! I hope your father is all right, let us know. And please get a puppy for your girls, they will love it I'm sure :)
    Thank you for the inspiration!

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    1. You're very welcome! I'm glad I could give you a little push in the right direction. :) It's hard to get started but after only a few days your body starts feeling so much better and that alone is enough to stay motivated. I've kept my weight down almost another year (by youngest is almost 2 now) and every time I have a "cheat" day and eat junk food or if I go a few days without working out I just feel sick and depressed and lethargic and awful. It's a lifestyle change for sure and it's one I hope to keep up forever and teach my girls so they can live healthy too! Good luck and thanks for reading!

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    2. PS Thanks for the concern about my dad. He passed away last April after a 9 month battle with cancer at just 59 years old. I believe he is in heaven now and doing just fine. :) We miss him but it's comforting to know he will never have to fight any more battles and is healthier now than any of us are. :)

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  4. Oh I am so sorry to read that. I'm sorry for your loss! I believe he was a win for you, not every child gets to have a father, and as I read it, he was a really good one too. He sees you from up there, I believe the same thing as you, that he is in heaven, feeling better then ever. Sorry if I opened up your wounds, I didn't mean to hurt you. I wish you and your family all the best! I might come back one day to let you know about my weight loss process, and I will read some ideas on activities with my baby. Thank you again.

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    1. No worries, I should have written a follow up post about him a long time ago. :) I really appreciate you asking about him! He was a really great dad but what he always really wanted was to be with Jesus, even before he got sick. So I know he's getting his wish come true now. ;) Absolutely, please do let me know how your weight loss goes! I hope you find lots of ideas on here you can try with your little one. Thanks for reading!

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    2. Hey, I just came back to let you know that my diet isn't going so well, I have difficulty to remind myself to drink water, and it's still easier to make a toester strudel then cut up some fruits, but I am trying!!! However, I started exercising, OMG I cannot even move really :D I chose these exercises http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuWlm1_etEw Wow this just showes me how out of shape I am. I have been doing it for about a week, everything hurts but that is good. I'll be back with more update as I progress. Take care
      D

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    3. Thanks for the update! Try leaving an 8 oz glass of water somewhere you go often (I leave mine on my kitchen counter) with a pen and paper next to it. When you drink a glass of water, write down the time. I try to drink a glass of water every 1-2 hours that I'm awake. It ends up being about 12 cups a day. After a week or two of this your body will be trained to crave water every 1-2 hours and you won't have to remind yourself to drink. :) The more water you drink the less hungry you'll be too! When you work out, you'll find you want to eat healthier because it gives you more energy for your workouts. Also...keep in mind that this is a lifestyle change. It may be easier to grab a toaster strudel then fix yourself some scrambled eggs and fruit, but since you know it's not good for you, don't give yourself that option. Simply stop buying them so you don't have the temptation! I've learned that if it's in the house I'll eat it. So when I grocery shop, I make a grocery list with only food I'm allowed to eat and I don't buy anything that's not on my list. That way only good food is in the house so if I'm hungry I can't cheat with an easy, not so healthy meal. :) I make my husband keep his junk food at work. If you have a family member that insists on keeping junk food around, designate a special cabinet or shelf just for them and don't allow yourself to even open it. :) Hope these tips help! Good job for taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle. I'm looking forward to another update soon! :)

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    4. One more thing...fitness blender has some really great workout videos on youtube once you are ready to switch things up. I find I like to have lots and lots of videos to choose from to keep me toned all over and different levels of intensity for if I'm feeling lazy or want a good challenge. :)

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    5. Hello Rebekah, I'm back. After I last posted here, I started the 30 day shred, sometimes got lazy, than started back up again, so anyways I started with 182 lbs, today I'm down to 170 lbs!! I still want to loose at least 15 lbs. It is a life changing experience for sure! Thanks for your inspiration!!!
      Dolly

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    6. Wow, congrats on your progress! Keep up the AMAZING hard work! A few months ago I started up a facebook group called 30 Day Health Challenge where each member comes up with a new personal goal to stick to for 30 days. If you need a little support, encouragement and motivation, feel free to join! :) I recently started Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 DVD and it is INTENSE but effective. I like it even better than the 30 Day Shred! :)

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