So, my postpartum body is kind of squishy. Since this is my third baby, it is predictably squishier than it has been before. Since I am entirely sick of my maternity wardrobe, and I gave away all of my clothes that are larger than a size six the last time I lost the baby weight, and I’m on a limited budget, I’d like to fit into my pre-pregnant wardrobe as soon as I can. I don’t own a scale, but my weight at the last midwife appointment 2 weeks ago was 168. I’m short so that really stacks up on me and even my T-shirts don’t fit. The weight I feel good at is around 130. That’s 38 pounds to lose. If I lose 1 1/2 lbs a week, I’ll look great in my favorite red dress by summer. As added incentive for myself, I hope to extract from the Genius Husband a promise that when said fabulous dress finally fits he will go with me to someplace cool enough to wear said fabulous dress to without any children in tow. (It was imagining myself in a great outfit, which I envisioned in itty-bitty detail, and attending the GH’s company Christmas party in it that kept me sprinting up and down our entrance steps 15 minutes a day to get rid of the last 10 lbs after the Girl was born. I didn’t have a treadmill back then, and stairs use the largest muscle group and so burn the most calories and I didn’t have much time so I needed to move faster and it seemed like the most efficient blahdy blah blah blah… Anyway the very specific goal provided the needed incentive to add exercise to my crazy days. I had many other far more worthy and long term goals, such as good health, strength, teaching my children to take care of their bodies by taking care of mine, and the memory of how much better it feels to move and be when not carrying extra weight around, but it was picturing the outfit that actually got me off of my butt and tying up my shoes. I guess my inner couch potato is shallow like that. Use what motivates you.)
So I have a plan to make this happen. I already do many things that will help me, as you know. I don’t eat processed fats, I eat fruits and vegetables, I eat whole grains, I avoid sugar, white flour, and sinple starches, I don’t drink sweetened beverages, and I drink a lot of water. (Oh yeah, and I’m breastfeeding which takes care of an extra 500 calories a day.)
So here’s what I’m going to add to that because pregnancy has changed my eating habits enough that I need to alter them again now that I’m not.
1.) No snacking/unplanned eating. I will only eat breakfast lunch and dinner if I can. Because I know that my blood sugar will drop and produce cravings if there is too long an interval between these meals, and breastfeeding tends to make me hungry more often, I will also plan what I will do in case that happens. So, I will have on hand things to eat in emergencies. These will be almonds, soy nuts, fruit, and vegetables. I already carry a small bag of soy nuts or almonds in my purse wherever I go. What I want to add to this is portion control. I plan to divide the almonds and soy nuts into individual portion sizes, either in zip lock bags or the reusable mini plastic containers that I use for my kids. This will keep me from eating too much. I will have to think about whether or not I am hungry enough to get myself a second portion. I’ve gotten into the habit of constant snacking in order to meet the pregnant protein requirements and this will help stop it.
2.) No eating while standing, sit down to eat, always.
3.) No eating while reading, watching TV, driving, etc. Only eating at the table during meals, or snacks. I already do this most of the time, though sometimes I find my eyes wandering for reading material during breakfast.
4.) Relearn portion sizes. I’m thinking of buying a scale to measure portions for a while until I remember what a real portion is, instead of the supersize me version. (I got this idea from French Woman Don’t Get Fat.)
5.) Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. My preferred method is to go for a brisk walk outside somewhere pretty, but since I have small children that isn’t always possible, they walk too slow and I don’t usually have help with childcare. So I have alternatives. I have a treadmill, I have exercise videos, I have belly-dancing videos, I have a weighted hula-hoop that’s great for ab muscles; I try not to get bored. My kids often exercise with me. As an addendum to this I want to sit on the floor as often as possible and stretch for a while when sitting. This would be watching shows, talking on the phone, directing my children as they clean up, etc. I’m chronically inflexible, and lot of workout time for me goes to stretching so I’m trying to do that during my regular day so that it doesn’t steal time from other things and keep me from my workout goal.
6.) If I’m still hungry after a meal with my revised portion size, I may have seconds, of salad. I always make too much anyways, this will keep it from going to waste.
7.) This one is entirely unique to myself I expect. I will not eat more Challah bread after the Shabbat meal. I will eat the piece that comes with dinner and not attack the rest of the loaf after dinner and eat it with thick slabs of butter. I’ve been kind of letting myself go on Shabbat but really, extra bread and dessert together is not exactly balanced.
The main goals of my plan of course are to avoid eating more than I need, and to make my body stronger through exercising it. I still plan to eat dessert a couple of times a week even butter every so often and to enjoy my food even more by giving it my full attention instead of mindlessly stuffing it in my mouth while I stand in the kitchen preoccupied by other things. I have found with exercise that it has to be something that I enjoy, not necessarily a “fun” activity, but something that makes it possible for me to take pleasure in the way my body is moving and working. Walking is the best activity for me, though dancing and aerobics come close. When I’m stronger and more fit, I enjoy running too, I like the feel of my strong legs and lungs as I settle into pace. I’m not there right now, but hope to return eventually. Once every week or two I will try on my favorite jeans again to see if I can do them up yet. So far I can get them up, but there is a gap at least 5 inches wide between the buttons, and the thighs are very tight. If I come across a scale I’ll weigh myself, which won’t be very reliable information since it won’t be the same scale but I’ll share anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.