Right now my house is in shambles. The family room is still half covered in glued-down carpet. The bathroom trim is half sanded. And as I type this, I am laying on the couch – in the middle of the kitchen. I just have to keep reminding myself that it is all in the name of DIY awesomeness.
So, since I am halfway finished with thirty-seven projects and completely finished with none, I thought I would share a bit about something else I’ve been working on. A before and after of a different sort.
Seven and a half months ago, I gave birth to the sweetest baby with the most beautiful blue eyes on the whole planet. Which brought many blessings. As well as thirty-one extra pounds. On top of the fifteen I had decided to lose right before I found out I was pregnant.
I know there are those who magically lose their baby weight through a combination of breastfeeding and fairy dust. Don’t even talk to me about those people. They are dead to me. I have not been so fortunate. Breastfeeding did absolutely nothing for me as far as weight loss.
|Or any other type of weight really.|
At two months post-partum, once I was cleared by my doctor, I decided it was time to deal with my body. So I weighed myself, measured everything, and took some before pictures. And I am going to be completely honest with you, when I looked at those pictures, I was literally stunned. That could not be me. Honestly, I looked as if someone stuck a bicycle pump into me and just kept pumping. It really got to me and I knew I had to do whatever it takes to change that.
Ok, are you ready for some pictures? (I am kinda nervous about this part so please be gracious.)
Let me just start by saying I have always been very slow to lose weight; my body is generally opposed to change. In the past I had always dealt with a little weight gain with lots of exercise but I knew that wasn’t going to cut it alone. Not to mention, at that point, a long walk felt like a major work out. So I started to change how I was eating – I cut out soda and sweets and junk. I cut back on all of my favorite foods – pizza, nachos, chocolate. And I had some minimal success with that. Very minimal. The first month I lost 2.5 pounds. Better than nothing, but not that much.
But much, much worse than that, the lovely, honest children I work with frequently told me that I looked like I was going to have another baby. (Dagger to the heart.) And one of the volunteers at school excitedly exclaimed, “Oh, and I see you are pregnant again!” No, no, that is just leftover from the last one. (Seriously, how do you gracefully deal with such a statement?)
Then I stumbled across something that actually made sense to me. I started listening to a podcast at the Smarter Science of Slim and started listening voraciously. Mind blown.
The author, Jonathan Bailor, basically looked at tons of research on weight loss and identified what actually works and what does not. And calories in, calories out is not the answer. He talks about tons of studies that show why so many of us are overweight and what to do about it. This is, like, seriously helpful stuff people. It is smarter! It is science! It is not just doing the same thing everyone else is doing – because most of the time everyone else isn’t have that much success either.
It is all about the quality of the food you eat. He likes to use the analogy of a clogged drain. When you eat lots of junk like processed foods, sugar, and wheat, the drain gets horribly clogged (i.e. your metabolism gets soooo slow). When you mostly eat high quality foods, the drain is flowing freely. So then if you eat a little something not so great every now and then, it isn’t that big a deal. Just like if you get one hair in your tub at home, it doesn’t cause a problem. It’s when it looks like there is an entire wig in the drain that things don’t work quite right. (I am not the only one with the hairballs in the drain after I shower, am I?)
Quality calories means lots of veggies and lean proteins. Also fruit, nuts, greek yogurt. Basically stuff that we know is healthy. The stuff our ancestors have been eating for hundreds of years. A hundred years ago, even fifty years ago, people did not go to the gym. They did not diet. And yet almost nobody was obese. Basically, you need to eat real food.
The only part that really sounds crazy is that you avoid grains – wheat, rice, all of it. Even whole grains. Even the oh so fashionable quinoa. I know. Sounds crazy. It seems like we are constantly being told how good whole grains are for us. At first, I thought this sounded pretty crazy myself. Who really recommends cutting out an entire food group – especially one of my favorite food groups? That does not seem balanced. But I tried it. And it works! And I have definitely noticed that when I do eat grains (because I do still cheat and have my favorite pizza sometimes) I get bloated. As in, I look like I am fatter than I am. Pretty much the opposite of anything I could ever want.
After my first two months of limited success with my vague ‘be healthier’ method, I switched to this method of eating lots of veggies and meat and fruit and nuts…about 80% of the time. (Yeah, I am not perfect. I LOVE food and I like to reward myself with something decadent when I am having a hard day. And I like to reward myself with something decadent when I am having a great day as well. Definitely need to work on that.) And even with only doing this 80%, I lost 8 pounds the first month. And at seven months post-partum, I was a few pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. Yay! I am still not where I want to be. And even though I weigh less, there are still some things that just do not look the way they used to. But I am very confident that I am on the right track.
And, yes, there has been exercise involved as well. But this post is long enough, so that will be a story for another day.
And how about an adorable picture to end on: