In the past decade I have been pregnant a total of 27 months and have nursed for 6 years. My body shape has been all over the map during these stages of pregnancy, post pregnancy and nursing. Even when I finally got back down to my former size, I really wasn’t. I may have fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, but there was always a bit extra that wouldn’t go away. I justified it as coming into my Mommy Body, but I knew that I could – if I still wanted – get to my best shape possible once again.
It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been a lot of hard work and discipline (two dreaded words in terms of weight loss, I know), but the payoff has been worth it.
It took 3 months to lose 12 pounds. One pound a week. I didn’t use diet books, and I didn’t take a grueling kickboxing class at the gym every morning. I had tried those tactics before without success. This time around, I just did what felt right for my body, my schedule and my lifestyle. And it worked!
My body will never be Heidi Klum perfect. It just won’t be. But I am now stronger, leaner and more energetic than ever before.
The habits I have formed and the weight I have lost will help propel me to a much healthier, happier future. Because, Ladies, you know we still have menopause ahead of us, and I’ve heard that’s no walk in the park. Pro-active steps now are bound to pay off down the road.
*Disclaimer: I am not a dietician or a doctor. I do try to read up on healthy living so I feel somewhat confident in sharing these tips. But by no means is this the Bible on losing weight.
1. Eat Good Fats – Hard to believe, but eating healthy fat can help you lose your own body fat. Professionals at Shapefit.com say, “Dietary fat increases your chance of getting fit and staying fit. Fat regulates our hormone levels, it’s essential for healthy hair, skin and nails and it controls our appetite by regulating leptin response. Fat also lowers insulin response when we eat carbohydrates with it and eating good fats actually burns fat.” As busy moms, we need fuel during the day and eating foods like peanut butter, avocados and almonds is a great way to get it. The last thing your family needs is a grouchy mom running a household merely on fumes. Eating healthy fats will give you the energy you need to be the best mom you can be.
2. Drink Green Tea – This has made a huge impact on my weight loss. After getting a trainer from WTC based on the Waist Training Center reviews I read, he told me that green tea has many benefits including its ability to increase the body’s capacity to burn the fat faster. It also helps boost the body’s metabolism and lowers the appetite. For years I drank water like a fish, but switching it up throughout the day to incorporate green tea (both cold and hot) has really made a difference on the scale.
3. Limit Flour and Sugar – I am not one for eliminating anything entirely (everything in moderation, right?). Well, flour and sugar should be used sparingly if you truly want to get rid of those last baby pounds. The first few days will be hard. Heck, they just plain stink. But once you get over the hump, the cravings do subside. And what I love about cutting these two things out is that your food choice options really open up. I am a pizza girl. I get cranky without it, in fact. This recipe (right), which contains no flour, has been a life-saver for me these months. It satisfies the craving and tastes amazing.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Serves 2; Adapted from Your Lighter Side.
PHOTO COURTESY Danielle Walker www.againstallgrain.com
1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)
pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*
To “Rice” the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, and stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes). Enjoy!
*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.
4. Exercise daily – I know, I know. It keeps getting worse. The bright side? Exercise doesn’t have to take up a big chunk of your day. 25 minutes in my living room while my two-year-old naps is what I do 6 days a week. Occasionally I’ll add in a brisk walk later in the day, but that is more for the chance to zone out to Black Eyed Peas radio on Pandora and get away from chores for a while. I am not usually one to advocate specific workouts but I will advocate Classical Stretch because it has revolutionized my body. I have done every workout under the sun and taken every class at the gym imaginable over the past two decades. Classical Stretch is the best I’ve ever found at re-shaping my body and also being kind to my body. Some workouts really beat you up (I still have ongoing back pain because of the wear and tear I put on my body through exercise). This program not only has helped me drop two sizes but has alleviated years of pain in my neck and back.
5. Exercise hourly – What??? OK, stay with me. A few times throughout the day I will do just a little something to speed up my heart rate. A few lunges while making dinner, some plies while brushing my teeth, butt squeezes while sitting in car line to pick up the kids from school. All of these little bursts of expended energy add up throughout the day. I think more importantly, they are a good way to help keep me accountable. If I am doing butt squeezes in car line, then I am not going to be tempted to eat the kids’ snacks from the backseat too. If I am doing lunges while waiting for the soup to simmer, I am less likely to munch on chips and salsa prior to dinner. It’s the little things that make a difference.
6. Eat Yogurt – I am a huge proponent of 0% plain Greek yogurt. I eat it each morning for breakfast, either in a bowl with chopped fruit and some fiber cereal, or in a smoothie. The protein in the yogurt keeps me full until about 10am when I have my mid-morning snack. If you can’t tolerate the tartness of plain yogurt, drizzle honey on top. And if you don’t have any fresh fruit on hand, swirl in some fruit preserves. Yum!
7. Snack – Finally, a fun one! Yes, you can snack. Snack often, in fact. But, of course, choose healthy snacks. I keep string cheese in the fridge to eat when my energy dips; I love Wasa Light Rye Crackers with a bit of avocado or peanut butter around 10am; and I usually munch on a bowl of popcorn around 4pm before I start cooking dinner.
8. Cut Back – If you intend on losing weight, you’re going to have to eat less. Become aware of how much you are eating throughout the day because it’s amazing how much food we really do consume in one sitting. Challenge yourself to cut back. Instead of a whole, large chicken breast, cut it in half and add an extra scoop of broccoli instead.
9. Don’t weigh yourself – My husband has never wanted a scale in our house. So for 13 years I have weighed myself only a handful of times. At first I hated this rule, but really it has been a blessing. It’s nice to not have a scale to jump on each morning and beat myself up over the times it tips in the wrong direction. Those scales are not our friends in most situations. I’m not saying to never weigh yourself. Just do it in moderation.
10. Sleep – Dr. Michael Breus shares, “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly”. So get your rest, mamas. We need it on so many levels and in the case of losing weight, sleep is very beneficial. Forgo the 10pm TV shows and head to bed early. Your body, your mind, your muscles and your family will thank you.
Megan Smith is the founder of Art of Homemaking. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband and 3 boys. She is an entrepreneur, writer and occasional crafter, and she loves to learn about the art of homemaking. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter and read her daily ramblings at www.homemaking101.com.