body after baby

Reflections on Losing Weight

Recently a reader asked why I wasn’t trying to lose weight this time like I did the first time. I wanted to address that.

When I lost weight the first time, it was definitely “easier” (weight loss isn’t really easy, but looking back, it was definitely easier then than now). I was younger, I was living alone and in complete control of my diet. I cut out trigger foods entirely–no pizza or ice cream. I counted my calories and was somewhere between 1600-1800 calories during the duration of my weight loss journey.

I ate the same things every day. I had a fake egg McMuffin for breakfast (an English muffin, egg beaters microwaved and a slice of cheese) or oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch was a turkey and cheese sandwich on low calorie bread with a serving of Wheat Thins. A snack was an apple. Dinner was a Lean Cuisine with a salad. And dessert was sometimes a rice krispie treat (90 calories) or a chocolate Fiber bar (150 calories) and a glass of milk.

I didn’t drink my calories. I drank a lot of diet soda. Then eventually I cut out diet soda and switched to sparkling flavored water.

That was pretty much my diet for 16-ish months. Small variations here and there. Sometimes for dinner I’d cook a chicken breast on my George Forman grill and have a salad and some cooked vegetables. Sometimes I’d splurge and have a cheat meal in a restaurant.

Once I reached my goal weight and maintained it for a little while, I changed my diet. Eating so much processed food was not great. Yes it helped me lose weight because I could accurately count my calories and I had built-in portion control, but really it wasn’t something that was a lifelong thing. Eating processed foods like that helped teach me portion control and realize how I should  be eating.

When I moved in with Michael (a million years ago), I started eating REAL FOOD. I’d have Lean Cuisines at work for lunch because they were easy and portion controlled. But other than that, I wasn’t eating a lot of processed foods. And that has pretty much been my life for the last 8 years–eating real food.

I maintained my weight loss for 10 years–give or take a 5-10 pounds.

Then I got pregnant.

I did really well when I was pregnant. I didn’t go nuts and say “I’m pregnant! I can eat anything!” I wasn’t “eating for two”. I gained 33 pounds while pregnant. I lost about 18 of that right away, I’m sure part of that was just baby. LOL

But then I struggled. Breastfeeding became my focus and my goal and whenever I tried to lose weight my supply would tank. So I decided to just wait until I was done breastfeeding to actively try and lose the weight.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been trying a few different things in order to lose those last 15 pounds. The reason I haven’t done “what I did before” is because I don’t really want to do a highly processed food diet in order to lose the weight. Sure it worked last time, but I don’t necessarily feel like it would be the healthiest option for me now. I am not sure what to do or why what I’m currently doing isn’t working.

Part of me wants to just be ok with being 15 pounds overweight. I want to be one of those people that loves my body no matter what size. But I really struggle with that. It’s weird to feel like I did when I was 250+ pounds. I KNOW I am not back to where I was, but psychologically I feel stuck in a weird place in my head where I am overly critical of my body, I hate that none of my clothes really fit properly — even though I’m not really in a much bigger size — and I hate having my photo taken.

Then I think, is this the message I want to pass on to Logan? Do I want him to grow up and be critical of his body, self-conscious, or have food issues like I always had? No. I don’t. I don’t want to look at certain foods and thing “these are bad” and I don’t want Logan to feel that way.

I realized recently that my brain had changed into that “Bad food, Good food” frame of mind. Doing this diet recently that’s limiting carbs–I am now looking at foods that are high in carbs and thinking “I can’t eat that, there’s too many carbs in it.” It’s very weird–especially since 6 months ago I would have eaten that rice or English muffin and not even thought twice about it.

I’ve seen it creep into my brain in regards to everything. “Bad Food.” Logan is exploring eating “real food” and I’m trying different things. I caught myself the other day when I was making him breakfast of a frozen whole wheat waffle with peanut butter on it (one of his favorites) and I thought “carbs are bad.” Um, he’s 16 months! He doesn’t need to limit his carbs. Absolutely ridiculous. But that’s where my brain is these days–being critical of “Bad Food.” I don’t like it.

Since March I was doing the lower carb diet thing and lost about 7/8 pounds (gaining and losing the same 2 pounds since the initial loss) and lately I’ve kind of stopped for a few reasons. First, I stopped losing. Second, I was tired all the time. Third, I was feeling frustrated that I was restricting and not seeing results. Lastly, I didn’t like how much I was focusing on “Bad Foods.”

I’m not going crazy eating carbs now, but I am eating more of them on occasion. I’m still trying to keep it to a minimum but I’m not being super restrictive. I’m staying the same in weight. Several of my pants are loose and baggy, but I’m not seeing results on the scale.

I emailed my doctor and spelled out exactly what I eat in a day and what my exercise looks like in a week. I was honest and told her exactly what I was doing and said it wasn’t working. Her response? “Wow, you’re already doing everything I would suggest.” GREAT. 🙁 Except she said eat whole foods, drink more water, and reduce my calories to 1400 a day (instead of the 1500-1600 I was eating). Okey dokey! Reducing my calories it is.

So that is where I am at currently. I’m considering tracking my macros on Cronometer instead of tracking calories (a friend suggested tracking macros instead of calories because it is working well for her). I am also considering turning off the calories I burn exercising in MyFitnessPal so that I am not eating back those calories I burn. I will keep you posted on what I decide.

 

Light Carb

I haven’t been around here much lately and there are a few reasons for that. First, (broken record time), I was sick! Yep…mid-February I got a cold that turned into strep throat, then pink eye again (thank you daycare), then another cold that turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection. On top of that I’ve been dealing with a nagging hip injury that I’m doing PT for. So I’ve been crabby and not in the best of moods. Thankfully Logan and Michael haven’t really been that sick lately. I’m finally on the mend (after yet another round of antibiotics, sigh).

Second, last time I really wrote a post about my weight loss efforts I said that I was buddying up with a friend to try and lost those 20 pounds that I’ve been battling for the last year. (I can no longer use the excuse I just had a baby!)

Sadly, I gained and lost the same 4 or so pounds since starting in the end of February. Same old story that it’s been since I had Logan. The same 5 pounds I gain and lose over and over and over again.

My friend Debby has been steadily losing weight, which is fantastic! She’s doing Weight Watchers and she swears by it. She says any time she needs to lose weight she goes back to WW and it always works. As she put it–weight loss is about food for her, not exercise. The old adage “You can’t out exercise a bad diet” is very true. Even if I don’t want to admit it!

So recently, once I was feeling better from my plague, I decided to try something different.

I cut out bread, pasta, rice, etc. I decided that I would give this a try and see if it worked.

 

 

*I’m not doing a Low Carb diet.

Not really, anyways. But I can easily cut out worthless carbs like bread. Pasta? I rarely eat pasta. The only time I ever eat pasta is in a frozen meal that I’d eat for lunch and I’ve decided to stop doing those. Even though they are quick and easy for work, they aren’t exactly healthy. So for the last month I’ve stopped buying the frozen lunches.

What carbs am I eating? 

Sweet potatoes on occasion, fruit, my plain Greek yogurt, beans and hummus. There are carbs in most foods, but I’m really trying hard to keep it to a minimum.

Typical day of food:

Breakfast: two scrambled eggs with turkey sausage or bacon, coffee with cream. 

Snack: fruit, usually an apple or whatever is in season.

Lunch: Salad with a protein and roasted veggies.

Snack: Hummus with veggies, usually carrots or cucumbers.

Dinner: Protein and veggies and salad, for example: chicken thigh, sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon, salad. 

Dessert: Depends on what we have, trying hard not to eat it every day.

The first week was kind of hard. I crashed a few times because I didn’t have enough calories for the day and had a headache and was cranky and hungry. But after that it was ok.

Here is an example of two days:

 

Right now I’m just paying attention to carbs and calories. In a few weeks I’ll focus on lowering my sugar count. It’s a gradual process.

The hardest part is taking a moment to think what can I have? Sometimes you want a quick and easy dinner and you think, hmmm how about a burrito? But then you realize the tortilla has a lot of carbs. Damn. Ok…burrito bowl salad instead!

It also takes time to prep everything. Today I had the typical breakfast:

…and then packed a lunch for work that was kind of labor-intensive. Strawberries for a morning snack; black bean hummus and cucumbers for an afternoon snack; lunch was slices of ham and roast beef rolled up with a piece of pepper jack cheese, olives and pickles. Doesn’t sound like much but it took time to put everything together! Tomorrow I’m going to roast some veggies to take to work–that also takes time!

I had one “cheat” meal last week.

Michael made lamb burgers with feta and olives in it and I had it on a bun! With a beer! The beer was amazing. Lots of carbs, yes, but worth it for one day out of the week. The next day I was back on track with low carb.

The results? I lose 2 pounds last week. I’m slightly encouraged–enough to keep trying this diet and see where it goes. But I’m also not that excited about it because like I said, I’ve been gaining and losing the same 5 pounds for a year. So until I see myself lose a few more, I’m not getting too excited yet.

It’s funny…I was talking to Michael about how much easier it was to lose weight the first time…I lost 75 pounds fairly easily. It was slow and steady and took effort and time, but I was really only counting my calories and exercising. I wasn’t TOO restrictive and still had some treats here and there. Then when I got to about where I am at now, the weight loss got REALLY hard. And once again, it’s hard. I don’t know why those last 20-25 pounds or so is the hardest to lose, but it is. It’s so frustrating!

Anyways, that’s the update for now.

QUESTION: If you’ve done a low carb diet before, what were your go-to low carb foods?