Alright - ready or not, here it comes. So many people have asked me questions about how I've lost weight. The answer is never short, and it never will be. Every experience comes with a story. So here's mine: the blog post about how I lost over 30 pounds in a year and two months, while being pregnant for 9 of the months. Warning: I'm going to be very candid and share with everyone how much I weighed then, during, and now. Also, I'm going to mention quite a few times how being pregnant really motivated me to get in better shape. Finding motivation is key. For me, another motivator besides pregnancy was my prom dress. I was determined to fit back into it. Guess what? I do now! Goals truly can be met with hard work!
Right now I am currently at my year long goal weight of 135! Yay! What a great feeling to reevaluate my goal weight to a lower number. Fourteen-ish months ago, I was weighing in around 168 and 169. How discouraged I was to think this was heaviest I had ever been in my entire life, prior to what I weighed when I gave birth. Now, I have to preface this by saying this was BEFORE I was pregnant! Just so no one mistakenly thinks the reason I dropped weight was because I had a baby. You are destined to lose a little weight when you give birth (for me, it was 7 lbs, 15 oz) ;). Anyway, I was weighing in at 168. Just terrible for my height and frame. When I found out I was expecting on December 10, 2011, I realized one thing - I had to be healthy not just for me, but for my baby too. So it began.
I started to watch what I ate. That came a little easier with morning sickness, since I was watching what I was eating in a different way... Ugh :( I paid attention to what kind of things I was feeding my body. For me, I love veggies. So I incorporated more veggies into my diet. I made some ginger butternut squash soup that I basically lived off of for a week or so. (recipe here: http://www.brit.co/butternut-squash-soup - for me I eliminated the onion, and garlic and replaced with brown sugar since I liked it sweet). Watching what I ate was very important right then while feeling nauseous. I found that healthier foods settled better with me. So not by choice at first, I eliminated fried foods. Eventually I felt well enough to enjoy them once in a while, but after being so used to not eating them, I just really didn't crave them so much anymore.
I eliminated coffee and soda from my diet for the first 5 or so months. Now for those of you that know me, I was a coffee and diet coke addict. I mean that seriously. The morning sickness helped with that a little, but I think this was the hardest part. Eventually I let myself drink decaf coffee and soda at work once in a while. To lose weight: ELIMINATE SODA. There is no way around it. There is nothing good about drinking what is almost pure sugar or carcinogens and aspartame. Your body doesn't need it or like it. I know, I know, I still drink it once in a while. But this is one quick way to cut calories. How about replacing it with sparkling water? Or even just soda water with lime. Two great ideas that gave me the carbonation I wanted without the extra calories and junk.
I belonged to the YMCA before, but being pregnant gave me the motivation to really work out more. Just doing some light elliptical gave me an edge. Trust me, especially while pregnant, I never went too hard on the machine. Now on the other hand, for about 6 or so months of my pregnancy, I was doing Zumba. I know this is not necessarily typical of someone who is pregnant. But it was sooo much fun! Me and a couple friends went one or two times a week for an hour. Finding a good friend to go with you to classes like these will help immensely. Steve has always been one to like working out, couldn't convince him to Zumba though, I wonder why... :) He's been very concentrated on fitness for a few years now, and he is a wonderful motivator!
Counting calories was something that I didn't begin until about a month after having Ben. However, this is crucial! People who have lost weight the right way will most often tell you that it's about what you eat more than exercising. Evaluating your caloric needs to maintain your current weight is important too. Go to website like this one ( http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/calories-goal.php ) to kind of get an idea of how many calories to consume per day based on your goal weight, goal date, etc. For me, to lose two pounds a week, I need to consume only 1200 calories a day. To maintain the weight I'm at, it would be 2200 calories a day.
Calculate your macronutrients. I know, this seems like it's just for body builders, right? Wrong! Yeah its great if you only get 1500 calories in a day, but if you somehow get 25g of saturated fat, it didn't do you very much good! Saturated fat = bad. Moving on :) This site will help you get started ( http://www.freedieting.com/tools/nutrient_calculator.htm ) To give you an idea, my macronutrient needs come out to be 127g carbs (I know, forget low carb diets!), 95g protein, and 42g fat with less than 4 being of the saturated variety. Now these goals are very tough to meet everyday using my limited 1200 calories, I must admit. I don't meet them nearly every day. However, trying is what's important and will eventually lead to results.
Utilize your smart phone! I count calories using the MyFitnessPal app, available on android and iPhone. I'm able to quickly look up calories at restaurants and I'm even able to create my own recipes! So handy. And very shocking/surprising when I come across some things that I would've eaten without a second thought without knowing the calorie contents (aka anything from Culvers...*sigh* I'll get to that later). I do know its harder to count calories without a smart phone, but it is completely worth it.
Eat out smartly. Steve and I like to eat out, there's no way around it. With his schedule and mine, we would rather spend our time eating out than cooking. Lately though, there's been more cooking at home, which ultimately is the smarter choice if you're cooking the right things. What's nice is that most chain restaurants have to post calories for each item. And if you're at somewhere thats not a chain, you can ask! Don't be afraid, I've been asked many times about the calories in an item served at Stockholm (not a chain), and it mostly just makes me curious to know as well But if you've got your smart phone, you can just look the item up and choose the most average looking one.
Here is my list of things to eat out while still staying in my calorie limits-
-Chilis: Chicken Fajitas (no tortillas or sour cream), and their soup/salad lunch with no creamy soups and no chips (ok maybe just a few, but not too many!) :)
-Chipotle: I love their chicken burrito bowl and their veggie burrito bowl (brown rice, both beans, fajita mix, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, YUM). Don't get the burrito though - the tortilla has all kinds of hidden calories! And again, no sour cream. Sorry :( This will sky rocket the caloric value of your meal too. Just go to their site and you can calculate the calories of what you normally get. (http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/nutrition_calculator/nutrition_calculator.aspx) *Edit* One thing I forgot to include is how a Chipotle burrito bowl will usually last me a couple meals since they're pretty big.
-Subway: I know we all see the commercials, but Subway is seriously a great place to find healthy options. You can also find many unhealthy options too, so be careful! My favorite is the 6" Turkey on Honey Wheat with pepper jack and basically every veggie they have minus the lettuce(iceburg, bleh) and black olives. Just go to this website to check out what you would normally get. ( http://calorielab.com/restaurants/subway-ca/3012 )
-Olive Garden: "How can you walk in there and see breadsticks floating past and not want them?!" Well you WILL want them. And you say that you will have one. Or a half of one. Look up how many calories those are and you won't want them for very long :) During lunch, I suggest the salad with dressing on the side, and the minestrone or pasta e fagiole. During dinner, I would say the mixed grill with chicken and steak, roasted potatoes, and grilled veggies is a good option.
-Panera: A great place to have lunch with an array of colorful and healthy options! They have calories listed on the board for you, so its pretty fool proof :)
Ok, so these are just some of the ones I would recommend. Looking up calories online can't be repeated enough. Knowing what you want to order at a restaurant helps too! When you go in with a a plan, it's hard to come out disappointed.
Having a cheat day once a week is a great way to let your body know that the calorie deprivation does not mean it's going to starve, and it keeps your metabolism up. My cheat day is Sunday (a little on Saturday, to be honest), because I just can't resist the potato bake, swedish pancakes, and bacon that await me on the Stockholm buffet on Sunday. Sometimes I can't eat it after seeing it all day long, but it isn't very often :) Having a cheat day is important for your mental state too. All that hard work isn't in vain! I usually don't go crazy, but I try to stay within 2200 calories on my cheat day. Which seems like I could eat everything off the Culvers menu compared to my measly 1200 on a normal day! This brings me to the next point...
Know what to splurge on. My weakness, as mentioned before, is Culvers. I love their buffalo tenders and cheese curds and obviously the frozen custard. This means if on a normal 1200 calorie day I decide to go to Culvers, I have to reconfigure my entire day around that trip. Totally worth it for me on some days.
Now. To tackle the issue of at-home eating. For me, if something delicious is around, I will eat it. If it's convenient, I will eat it. So the main point on this, don't buy junk food to keep around, and make convenience healthy!
Tools for healthy eating:
Even if you live by yourself, with your parents, significant other, significant other and kids, you only and kids, you and roommates, cooking in a crockpot is totally doable. I do it all the time. Since Steve and I tend to like different things (another reason eating out is sometimes easier), I will usually make up food for myself and freeze it in plastic, premeasured containers. Another method is to freeze all the ingredients in a plastic bag for a time when you don't have extra time to prepare before hand, and just want to throw it in very quickly. I would list all of my favorites, but there are really so many (15 bean soup, chicken tortilla soup, chicken teriyaki with peppers and onions, butternut and acorn squash soup, salmon with brown rice, etc, etc) All totally do-able. Just do a google search and you'll be bombarded with recipes. Almost anything can be cooked in the crockpot!
Magic Bullet type machine.
I actually asked for one this Christmas with the intention of using it to make homemade baby food for Ben. I didn't realize how easy this would benefit my own healthy-eating lifestyle! I can whip up a smoothie for breakfast using kiwi fruit, blueberries, and spinach(you don't taste it!), and the next minute blend together some egg whites with a jalapeno, onion, and a little cheddar cooked with, you guessed it, some more spinach and some tomato and avocado to eat with it. If I'm feeling brave I'll even eat some kale with in. I don't like the texture, but sometimes I can choke it down! Look here for more superfoods to incorporate in your diet, I'm talking butt-kicking, antioxidant filled, cancer fighting, completely good for you foods! ( http://skinnyms.com/50-super-foods-the-ultimate-shopping-list/ )
Now that you've got your tools, just get online to look up recipes. Even search for ones that have the calories already laid out for you.
I know that since sometimes kids are in the mix of things, tackling a weight loss journey can be hard, I know. The YMCA has a fabulous daycare that I feel more than comfortable handing Ben to and knowing he will be well cared for. Some good words from friends have helped convince me too :) If you aren't comfortable doing daycare, play with your kids. Kids love to play and love attention, so why not give them some? My five month old Benny weighs over 20 pounds! Talk about weight training! I can do a few squats holding him, laughing and giggling the whole time, and we both feel like a million bucks afterward. I use my baby harness to add some extra pounds to my daily activities too. Talk about a way to realize how much weight I've lost- I carry a 20+ pound kid around and marvel at the fact that I used to have that much extra poundage attached to my body!
SO. It's hard to capture an entire year's worth of activities in one post, especially when the year has been such a monumental one. There is so much to a journey. I will end this post with a little recap of goals met and dates.
End of 2012 - 168 lbs.
(My weight stayed the same until about my 8th month of pregnancy)
Pre-birth weight 8/6/12- 172 lbs
Post birth weight 8/8/12- 154
Goal met - fitting into prom dress - 12/14/12 - 140
Goal weight met - 135
If you have any questions, seriously, text me, email me, facebook me, anything!
facebook.com/HallieJohanna (for my etsy)