I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and an email from a reader asking me to share more about what has worked for me in losing some baby weight kicked my butt in gear. Because I know how much we all want to lose the baby weight, but I also know how hard it is to get started (much like trying to write about it all to share in a post). But here I am — trying to share what helped me jumpstart my weight loss, which is still a work in progress (like 12 lbs to go…)
Let me start with a little background so you will know how relatable and doable this is.
- I’m not a big exerciser. I’m active, I walk a lot, I love to hike, do the occasional bar class — but I don’t ever get to a gym and I am not a runner.
- I like to eat. I like to eat yummy things. I almost never go to a restaurant and order a salad. I also like dessert and booze.
- I gained around 35 lbs during my pregnancy with Calvin, but probably started with 5 extra lbs already.
- I have hypothyroidism (a lovely postpartum gift from my first baby-delivering experience).
- I have never before done a cleanse of any kind, or any other Whole30-style eating plan.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way and you can see that regardless of where you’re at, you can do this!
Break Up With Your Worst Habit First
I was 20 lbs heavier than I am right now on January 1, 2015. On that day, I quit coke (the soda people!) cold turkey. I love coca-cola so much (why is it so freaking good?) and had become really reliant on it to get through the day. Well, I dumped my boyfriend Coke on his ass. And in one month I lost 8 lbs just from drinking water in place of the 1-2 sodas a day I had been having.
Eat Real Food That You Make At Home
By mid-February I knew I needed to make another change. We were eating out too much and I really wanted to get back into the habit of cooking at home — something I had stopped doing during my pregnancy when cooking made me ill. When I did cook at home it was heating up frozen meals from Trader Joe’s or making the occasional spaghetti. I wasn’t doing any real cooking or meal prepping. One of my best friends who has a baby a little younger than Calvin asked me if I wanted to do a Whole30 with her. I immediately said yes thinking I would just do my best and since she lives in Chicago and I live in LA she would never know if I cheated and it would motivate both of us to do better than we were. Then I looked into what doing a Whole30 really entailed and thought there was no way in hell I was going to be successful. NO WAY. I didn’t go into it with much confidence in myself.
On February 16th (after I ate the last of my Valentine’s Day chocolates) I started a Whole30. I did make a few “healthy cheat” allowances, so I can’t truly say I did a real Whole30, but I used it as a basic guideline and I did it for 30 days. By the end, I had lost 12 more lbs. But more than the weight loss, I lost sizes. I went down 2-3 sizes in my clothes, was back in my old jeans and tees, and had more energy than ever. I really felt so good. I didn’t realize that my low energy and mood swings were due to my diet — I assumed it was more from being tired and from my postpartum hormones. But after 1-2 weeks of eating this way, I realized it was mostly due to my diet — primarily sugar and sugar crashing. I’m not gonna lie to you — the first 7-10 days are tough. I was hungry. I was sick of eating the same few things (until I got the hang of what I could eat and made lots of food at once so I had it already prepped and ready). I was craving sugar and carbs. But once I got over that hump, it was not that bad at all.
I’m not going to go into detail about Whole30 or paleo-style eating (you can find lots of info online about that if you google it or read the book) but here are some of the foods/meals I ate a lot of:
- eggs (scrambled, omelet, & frittata-style with chopped veggies mostly)
- sweet potatoes
- sautéed chopped veggies (I bought the pre-chopped veggies at Trader Joe’s to make this even easier – just make sure you buy fresh or frozen veggies that are plain – no sauces) which I added to almost every meal
- a TON of fruit – I made a big container of fruit salad (strawberries, blueberries, blood oranges, kiwi, bananas, pineapple)
- pork tenderloin with baked apples (sautéed in coconut oil with a little cinnamon)
- grass-fed angus burgers or meatballs
- tortilla-less burrito bowls (I would make grass-fed angus steak chopped into small pieces, mix with veggies and homemade guacamole — I also allowed myself black beans even though they aren’t technically Whole30 compliant)
- smoothies (coconut milk + frozen fruit of choice — I also allowed myself all-natural, sugar-free peanut butter and added that to smoothies with frozen banana)
- chicken and veggies (peas and brussel sprouts were favorites)
- zucchini noodles
- I cooked everything in coconut oil
- I don’t like tuna or salmon, but if you do that is great to add to your list
- I liked adding some vegan protein powder (you have to pick one without whey to be dairy-free) to smoothies (it is compliant, but check with your doctor if you are nursing)
- for a quick snack or “treat” I liked the lemon, apple, blueberry, and cherry Larabars, which were compliant (and cheaper in bulk on amazon!)
- lots and lots of La Croix water (mango and strawberry pina are my favorites, but they are all refreshing for a change from regular water)
A few tools that will definitely come in handy for this type of eating are:
- mandoline (just be very careful – I chopped a tiny tip of my finger off cutting sweet potatoes!)
- electric chopper (this thing is a must in every kitchen, and so cheap too!)
- cutting boards (I like these to help prevent cross contamination)
- a crockpot
If you can, do this with a spouse or friend. It was SO helpful to have a friend doing this with me — we would text each other to whine, bitch, moan, share recipe ideas, encouragement, etc. Also, I recommend finding a few people online to follow. I liked following people on instagram for food ideas. You can also find some blogs like this one that give you good shopping list and recipe ideas.
I’d love to follow along on your journeys as well, so anytime you get in a workout or try a recipe or are feeling good, post a photo on instagram and use #breakingupwiththebabyweight so we can all encourage each other in this journey. And remember to not be too hard on yourself. Small victories should be celebrated. And it is more about health and feeling good than a number on a scale. But we can do it!
I totally planned to stick with this style of eating once I was done with my 30 days, and I did for a while. But then I got my first period, Calvin cut two teeth, then he got croup, then we weaned unexpectedly, and my hormones started going crazy (I’ll share more about my weaning PPD once I get out of it, because I’m definitely not out yet) so I started “survival eating” again. So I plan to get back on this really soon and get back into my workouts and hiking as well. So I need encouragement too! It’s so hard to eat well when you’re tired and going through so much. It’s so hard to work out. I’m going to start trying to fit in hikes, and some workouts at home when I can. And I’m going to try another Whole30 starting June 1, so who wants to join me? Follow me on instagram and let’s do this!
UPDATED 12/30/16: So, I ended up finding out I was pregnant with Quincy by that June 1 date (whoops!) and am ready to do another Whole30 again in the new year. He is turning 1 next month and after a year of living in survival mode (colic, reflux, 3 kids, and sleep deprivation = rewarding myself with food and eating to get through the day for an entire year) I am the biggest and most unhealthy I have ever been. But re-reading this post reminded me that I did it before, and I can do it again.