Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I am gonna lose you, Baby Weight!

I had a baby in January and like any other brand new mom was faced with a task of having to lose "the baby weight." I thought I should dedicate at least one blog post to this topic. This post is not about dramatic weight loss story that you hear on TV like the one from this week about Beyonce losing 60 lbs. Good for her and let's admit - it is her job after all. Here are my 5 cents on this matter.

During the pregnancy I gained about 40 lbs. I was size 0/00 before the pregnancy and seeing my weight go up was very hard. But it was for a good cause. Once I saw my weight starting to reach high 30s during week 39 I just stopped looking at the scale. I did not do anything until my doctor cleared me for the exercise (first 6 weeks after labor). I lost first 20 lbs in the first couple months from birth (the largest!!!), breastfeeding and some light exercise. The other 20 lbs have been more challenging - still working on those.

The official start date of losing "baby weight" was in mid-March. I have lost on average about 1 lb per week since then. I am starting to fit into some of my old clothes and I have gained more muscles than I had before. Plus I am still breastfeeding, which means biologically I must have extra fat. 'Cause Baby needs to eat!

Weight loss formula is simple: burn more calories than you consume. Question is: how do I do this? Answer is the same you always hear: diet and exercise.

My guiding principles in the weight loss process have been:

1. Set realistic goals - I am giving myself a year to get back into my old pre-pregnancy clothes and shape. If it happens sooner, then great! But I am a mother and have a little person to take care of now.

2. Consistency - Find time to exercise and stick with it. I go to the gym 3 times a week. That's all I can allow myself at this point. I cannot go every day.

3. Seek professional help to motivate you - I found that having a personal trainer has been very helpful in pushing me out of my comfort zone.

4. Plan in advance your meals - as a new mom and a full-time working professional I don't have much time to prepare snacks or meals right when I am hungry, so I have been buying some low carb and high protein snacks and preparing lunches in advance.

Now a little bit more detail on what has worked for me so far and of course few pictures.

Let's talk Diet first. Most important, I am not starving myself. But I have made few adjustments in my diet.

1. I eat more protein and less carbs during the day and avoid eating carbs at night. My dinners these days are comprised of a protein (fish, chicken), salad and steamed vegetables. If I do have carbs, I have quinoa or brown rice. Here is a picture of a dinner few weeks ago - Salmon, steamed broccolini and salad with tomatoes and avocado.

2. I don't eat white flour and baked sweets during the week and only allow myself a pastry once on a weekend. Yes, I do have that almond croissant and fresh baguette with butter!!!

3. My staple foods these days are:

a) Breakfast - whole wheat English muffin with 2 tablespoons of almond butter and 2 teaspoons of preserves or fresh berries. Calories - about 330-350.

b) Snacks - string cheese, non-fat greek yogurt (Chobani brand plain with some honey and fresh berries or already sold with fruit), apple with peanut butter, nuts. Using advice from my trainer when I snack I try to have both protein and carbs (e.g. apple/banana with peanut butter). I also had mango with peanut butter and strawberries with peanut butter. Not as good as apple but did the job.

c) Lunch - salad with oven roasted turkey, chicken breast, tomatoes, 1/2 avocado and lite swiss cheese. I usually make my own dressing - olive oil and lemon. But sometimes I use balsamic vinaigrette from the store. 

4. Do I feel hungry? Yes! Do I eat refined carbs at night? Sometimes. I am human and few slips are ok. But I get up and start fresh the next day. I gotta tell you - it is a challenge.

Now what about Exercise?

I have been working out with a personal trainer Matt Holland from 24 hour fitness. Highly recommend! We create workout routines for me that I can do on my own. No surprises here, my routines are full of
- squats and lunges
- interval cardio training where you alternate between periods of high and low intensity cardio
- by the end of a workout I am ready to crawl back home

Matt pushes me to new limits and has also been helpful with the diet advice. He does give me "a stink eye" when I mention corn flakes or croissants. I am being open with him about my time constraints and so he creates workouts to fit my time schedule.

Few other things worth noting:

1. I did go gluten-free for 2 weeks and it made my life very inconvenient. Feel bad for those who really have a problem with gluten. 

2. Worries about lower milk supply with losing weight and doing exercise. In my case, it did not happen, still have milk. Just drink more water. 

That will be all for now. I have been happy with my weight loss progress and hope few of you who read this may get some tips and encouragement in your weight loss. 


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