Monday, August 20, 2012

Losing the Baby Weight

It's time. Time to focus on losing the extra 15 pounds I've been carrying around.  15 pounds that used to be just baby and placenta, but now has been replaced by a gut and a double chin. I was lucky enough where I didn't gain very much weight while pregnant; in fact I only gained 25 pounds total, which is the minimum amount most doctor say that you should gain while pregnant.  Unfortunately, my luck ran out there, because although it wasn't that much gained, it apparently was too much to easily lose.  

The primary reason I've struggled losing the baby weight was due to breastfeeding.  As I discussed in my breastfeeding post, I make "skim milk".  My milk is not naturally fatty enough for my baby, so I was instructed to up my fat and calorie intake so that my low-weight-percentile baby could fatten up.  And anytime I even considered counting calories, my breastmilk supply would plummet. To make matters worse, breastfeeding makes you ravenous.  The kind of hungry where you might actually kill for a chocolate chip cookie (or four).  You don't crave wholesome veggies and fruit either; you crave sweets. Decadent, calorie-filled sweets; like cupcakes and ice cream.  Even if you aren't a sweet person before your pregnancy or child-birth, if you are breastfeeding, you are likely to find yourself a major sweet-fiend.   

What about exercise you say?  Well, I was, ahem, blessed with a high-needs, non-napping baby.  For the first 4 months of my daughter's life, she cried 24/7.  I would spend my entire day trying to get her to nap, and she would nap for 10 minutes and then wake up again, screaming. She HATED the stroller. I used to try to go on walks with her in the neighborhood, and she would literally scream bloody murder the entire time. My neighbors were relieved when I  finally gave up.  So, exercise was near impossible during that time. At around 4 months, she started taking longer (aka 30 minute) naps, so I was able to start doing short bouts of exercise again.  Well, let me tell you--huge breastfeeding breasts, filled with milk, HURT when they bounce! When I tried to run, I could almost hear the milk sloshing around. I tried wearing 2 sports bras, but when you are busting out of DDs on a 5'3" frame, it didn't do much.  So I had to stick with lower-impact exercise. I made it a point to walk at least 3 miles at least 5 days a week.  The scale did not move.

When my daughter was 7 months old, the summer was quickly approaching, so I decided to rev up my exercise routine. I strapped on my two sports bras, and started doing a 30 minute intense work out video (Jillian Michael's) daily, along with my 3 mile walk.  I cut down on my sweets, and focused on eating healthier. I exercised 6-7 times a week for an entire month.  I was so excited to step on the scale at the end of that month; I just knew I was going to see a substantial weight loss.  I was devastated when instead of weight loss, I saw that I had actually gained a pound.  I cried for an entire day straight. After my pity party, I did some research and learned that breastfeeding releases a hormone that can prevent your body from losing weight.  Basically your body holds on the calories you ingest, to protect your milk and keep it fatty, and therefore ensure that the baby will be well-nourished.  While this isn't true for everyone (obviously, there are many women out there who lose tons of weight while breastfeeding), it seemed that was maybe what was happening to me.  So I gave up. I decided to postpone any more weight loss attempts until my daughter weaned from nursing. I still focused on eating healthy, and I continued walking 3-4 miles a day, but that was it.  

Eventually, my daughter weaned. My crazy sweet cravings slowly disappeared, and my voracious appetite went along with it.  She began taking longer naps at routine intervals.  I found that I could run again without my breasts being in pain.  So here I am. Ready to focus on losing the baby weight...again.  Hopefully this time will be less heart-breaking and more inspirational. 

So here's my plan: eat less calories than I burn. If you aren't breastfeeding or pregnant (or have a medical condition), there is no "trick" to weight loss. It's basic science. For every 3500 negative calories, you lose a pound. The best way to achieve this is through diet and exercise. So that's what I'm going to do. The problem is: I HATE dieting. Diet food is gross, and I love to eat. Food makes me happy! So that means I'm going to have to exercise a lot.  Because I'm so short, I can only eat about 1200 calories a day if I want to lose a pound a week.  1200 calories is not very much food. However, if I exercise, I can eat way more than that! Right now I burn about 500 calories a day exercising, so that means I can eat up to 1700 calories a day. That is a much more workable limit for me. My exercise right now consists of jogging for 15 minutes and power walking for 75 minutes. I can't do it all in one go, because of my daughter's schedule, so that workout is split into 2 different times--I power walk at 2pm, and run at 5pm.

I am also going to decrease my carb intake and increase my protein intake. I'm not going to cut out carbs completely, because I don't think that's very healthy, but I'm going to focus more on unprocessed carbs (sweet potatoes: good, pasta: bad).  Finally, I'm going to monitor all this dieting and exercise with an iPhone app called "My Fitness Pal"; which is amazing. I've used it for 2 weeks now, and I love it. It's really easy to log exercise and food(recipes too!) in it, and it keep tabs on your net calorie intake for the day. 

So what does this mean for my recipes here on My So-Called (Mommy) Life blog? I'm going to focus on healthier recipes for sure. Especially lower carb recipes. But I promise that all the recipes here will NOT taste like diet food. I don't like using fake sugar (I'm pretty sure researchers will find out in a few years that stuff is killing us), and I usually avoid foods that are turned into an unnatural fat-free state. I will, however, use low-fat versions of items, and use a lot of spices to make the food more flavorful.  I know I'm more likely to stick to a diet if it doesn't feel--or taste--like a diet.  If you personally are not on a diet (you lucky person you), I promise that the recipes I'll be posting for the next few months will still be worth making and eating; just swap out any low-fat ingredients with the full fat if you like. 

Today begins Week Two of my weight loss journey.  I hope to be near to my goal weight by Week 10, but it will probably take until Week 15 to reach it.  I'll try to post some updates as I reach these dates.  Until then, I hope you enjoy the healthier recipes I'll be posting for the next few months. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bridget,

    My name is Brooke Shearouse, and I am with Pure Barre Athens, a boutique fitness studio located on Alps Road near Kroger. I know this post went up two years ago, but it seemed like the best place to stay on topic. How inspirational that you lost twenty pounds by maintaining a healthy-eating and jogging regimen after your daughter was born! It occurred to me that Pure Barre Athens might be of interest to you and your readers who are also trying to lose baby weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle as a busy mom.

    Pure Barre is a full-body workout designed to challenge all women and shape and sculpt a feminine body. The choreography is also low-cardio and low-stress on joints, so it is safe for women at any stage of life, including pregnancy. Pure Barre is much more than a workout. In addition to improving strength and flexibility in as few as 10 classes, Pure Barre:

    • Offers a discounted three-month price for women during or after pregnancy
    • Provides a daily escape where you can recharge and allow everyday worries to fade away
    • Allows you to invest back into yourself after working hard for others all day
    • Inspires you to become your best self and gives you a feminine strength to show the world
    • Was recently voted Flagpole Magazine's Reader Picks Favorite Place to Get Fit, Favorite Adult Classes: Movement and Favorite Fitness Instructor
    We would love to have you try a free Pure Barre class and meet the Athens team! To schedule your free class or to find out more information, please contact me at I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you,

    Brooke Shearouse
    Pure Barre Athens PR