I’m not going to lie, this pregnancy weight has been much harder to shed than I had initially imagined. For whatever reason, I had blocked from my mind the blood, sweat, tears and 12 months (!!) that it took me to lose all 50 lbs. that I gained with Parker. While I didn’t gain quite as much with Lexi (total gain was 43 lbs.), I’m decidedly more impatient to lose the weight this time. So far, I’ve lost 30 lbs. since her birth 12 weeks ago and I’m hoping to knock out the last 13 lbs. by Christmas. On average, I’ve been dropping between .5 to 1 lb. a week, so Christmas should be very doable.
The Food Plan
While most people who want to lose weight initially focus on their lack of exercise, diet is definitely about 70% of the equation. I mean, I could run 3 miles every day, but if I come home from that run and eat Fettuccine Alfredo and chocolate cake, all that hard work was wasted. On the flip side, I need to make sure that I’m consuming enough calories since I’m nourishing both myself and Lexi. This is part of what’s keeping the scale moving slowly. While I selfishly want to go into “Caloric Nazi” mode, I can’t. Obviously, my milk supply takes priority over the speed with which I’d like to lose the weight, so I will myself to have patience (not my strong suit) and try to focus on the big picture.
I start off my nutrition plan by building my meals around protein. My favorite breakfast these days has been 2 hard-boiled eggs and an apple (cut into slices) topped with 1 Tbs. of peanut butter. Lunch is usually either egg salad, tuna salad or 3-bean salad and then dinner is some combination of protein, veggies and carbs. For snacks, I’ll have a palmful of almonds or walnuts and I’ll munch on fresh fruits and raw veggies throughout the day. Speaking of menus, he’s what we’re doing for dinner this week:
Monday – Black beans and rice
Tuesday- Spaghetti and a turkey Bolognese sauce
Wednesday- Zucchini fritters
Thursday- Sausage and Peppers
Friday- Turkey burgers
Saturday- Benihana style fried rice and beef stir fry
The hardest thing for me right now is limiting my sweets (since I got in the habit of indulging during my pregnancy), but I just keep the focus on how good it will feel to finally drop the rest of this weight. For me, losing the weight is more about how I feel than how I look. When I’m fit, I actually spend far less time paying attention to how I look in my clothes and focus instead on how fast I’m running or how far I’m cycling. In other words, it’s easier for me to maintain my level of fitness because my goals are often centered around training for events instead of on losing the weight.
The Exercise Plan
As a work from home mom, this is where things get tricky. Just a year ago, I could happily jaunt to the gym for hours on end without a problem. This year? Not so much. The gym doesn’t have childcare and Lexi is still too small for the jogging stroller, so I have to get a bit more creative to get my workouts in. First things first – I need to set realistic goals, at least for the next year. There is no way that I’m currently able to get in 90 minutes of exercise, 6 days a week (my pre-pregnancy routine). With that said, even though I’m completely pressed for time and snowed under by obligations, working out has to be a priority or it will take a backseat to the 1,000 other things that also need my attention. Here’s how I’ve been doing things:
- 2 nights a week (Monday and Wednesday), I leave the kids home with the Irishman and I head to the gym for cardio (Mondays) and to yoga (a 90-minute class on Wednesdays). This is my official “alone” time and I am grateful that my husband understands the value of me needing to clear my head when I’ve been on baby duty at least 20 hours a day (since I cosleep with her too).
- 3 days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday), I do a workout from the Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD followed by the Med Ball 200 routine. Both things together take me about 40 minutes. I have the DVD, dumbbells, a medicine ball and floor mat all ready to go in my living room and I usually just knock it out of the way first thing in the morning (while the Irishman is getting ready for work and Lexi is kicking away in her Pack-n-Play). I find that once I sit down at the computer for the day, my motivation to workout goes right out the window, so I must get it done before that. The first two weeks of doing this were really challenging due to all of the distractions at home, but once it became a habit, it was as part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth. Oh and another thing, I do this three days a week regardless of how well I sleep. If I waited until I felt well-rested to squeeze in a workout, I’d still be carting around this weight on Lexi’s 18th birthday!
- On Saturdays, we head out together as a family. Whether it’s to the park (where I can push the stroller around while the boys play) or hiking on of the local trails, our outdoor activity is always focused on exercising. This is partly due to the fact that Parker needs to burn off energy or he’s bouncing off of the walls. We have a large, flat side yard so we usually wrap up the day by throwing the football or kicking around a soccer ball. All in all, we’re moving for a large part of the day.
The one thing that has been grossly lacking at the moment has been running. This was primarily due to 2 things – (1) the lack of a functional sports bra, which I just remedied last week; and (2) the inability to slip out of bed without Lexi noticing. Normally, I would wake up at 5:30am and squeeze in a run before anyone else woke up for the day (at 7am), but little Miss Lexi has a homing device that let’s her know the second that I’m no longer next to her. I suspect this will cease to be a problem in the next handful of months (when she isn’t nursing as frequently at night), but in the meantime, I’m getting a treadmill for my birthday (YAY!) so that I’ll be able to slip downstairs and rack on the miles either in the morning or in the evenings. While I’m not a huge fan of the treadmill, it’s better than not running at all and it’s going to be a huge savior in the winter when we hit the single digits and snow. Between that and my bike trainer, I should be able to get all of the cardio I need.
I should add that I try and stack as much cleaning and laundry on the weekends as I can (when the Irishman is home) so that I’m free during the week to focus on workouts (in the mornings) and getting dinner ready (in the evenings). While the house isn’t nearly as clean as I’d like, it’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make for the sake of my mental health. Finally, I remind myself on a daily basis that she will not be an infant forever and before I know it, my workout schedule will once again get to be as manageable or as insane as I want it to be.