weight loss support

How Much Food Do I Really Need?

Trying to lose weight post-partum has definitely been a struggle (as I’ve written about many times here). The fitness aspect hasn’t been the struggle for me. The food has.

I feel like part of the problem is that for nearly 10 years I was on a “plan” that worked. After losing 110 pounds, I kept the weight off by working out consistently and by counting my calories. I logged my food pretty diligently for almost a decade. With a few blips here and there, I kept the weight off. I could splurge on treats or go out to dinner and still maintain my weight with about a 5 pounds fluctuation up and down.

When I got pregnant I did not eat for two. I increased my daily calories per my doctor and I still worked out. And then after Logan was born, (after taking about a month off from counting calories) I was back to logging my food but I was still eating a lot of calories. Every time I tried to lower that daily number my milk supply was effected.

I am pretty proud of myself for staying “on track” while pregnant. But I admit, I did give in to foods I didn’t really eat. I had managed to mostly kick my candy habit while losing and maintaining my weight loss. Sure I had treats and dessert (homemade cookies or ice cream, or chocolate) but I stayed away from the candy bar type stuff that was always a trigger for me.

While I was pregnant I craved two things: orange juice–which I started drinking a glass of with breakfast every day (probably 150 calories worth–and I COULD have drank several glasses of juice, but controlled myself) AND Reese’s Pieces candies. I have NO idea why those were the two cravings I had while pregnant with Logan but they were. Once he arrived, I cut out the juice.

The candy? Not so much. I am still eating candy on occasion and I absolutely hate that it’s so hard for me to kick that habit. It’s no secret I’ve always struggled with sugar but…dammit, why is it so hard this time around to STOP the sugar??

Let’s get back to that.

So I am still hovering around the 13-pounds-left-to-lose-mark. Ideally I’d like to lose 20 but 13 is my goal. I talked to my doctor recently and she suggested I reduce my daily calorie base to 1400. (She also suggested I try going vegetarian, but that’s a whole other conversation. 🙁 )

I decided to give it a try and went from around 1600 calories a day to 1400. Sometimes I eat back some of the calories I burn in the gym but I am trying really hard not to eat all of it and try to stay around 1500 or 1600 total on work out days.

Reducing my calories to 1400 was a bit of an adjustment at first. The first week it felt really stressful because if you break it down, 1400 calories is NOT that much food. So 400 calories for breakfast, maybe 100 for a snack, 400 for lunch and 500 for dinner. Yikes! I’d see my number of left over calories getting smaller and smaller…and I’d feel discouraged and sometimes I’d beat myself up. But after the initial hunger and getting used to that number, it wasn’t that bad. And sometimes I even found that I’d bring snacks to work and I didn’t really need them.

Since going back to work full time, I’ve started working out a few days a week during my lunch break. The gym at work can be kind of crowded, especially on bad weather days and Mondays. So I’ve adjusted my lunch hour around in order to work out earlier. In the past I would have a snack before working out –fruit or Greek yogurt or a low carb protein shake–and then work out, shower, and eat lunch at the normal time. But shifting to an earlier lunch hour to workout, I noticed that I didn’t need my morning pre-workout snack anymore.

So I wondered, How much food do I really need?

I decided I could probably skip my morning snack on workout days and just workout. Then eat lunch later. And I’d be fine. And it helped me stay at my lower calorie range.

I have no idea how many calories are the “right” number. I mean, I workout a lot and pretty intensely. So how do you find the proper balance between how many calories you need to not completely crash and still get your good workout in? I pose that question because I honestly don’t know the answer.

Recently I decided to give it another shot. First, I decided to try doing the lower-carb diet again. I kind of gave up on it this summer. I lost about 7 or 8 pounds on it when I first tried it in the spring but I stalled out and just felt like I was torturing myself and not seeing any results–so I stopped and just counted my calories every day and didn’t care about limiting carbs.

Second, I decided to try and cut out the candy. Recently at the store I did not buy ANY treats! None. I am going to try going cold turkey on the dessert/candy/treats and see if that also helps.

UPDATE

Last week in addition to cutting out candy and sweets (other than fruit and my coffee creamer), I decided to give the lower-carb diet a try again. So last week I went back on the bandwagon.

I stopped buying sweets and desserts and was surprisingly able to give up the candy without noticing too much of a hardship or craving. The carbs? I was somewhere between 50-75 grams of carbs for each day. I felt like crap all week, honestly. I felt run down and like I had the flu–but I didn’t. I just felt exhausted and burned out and my workouts suffered and my mood suffered….I’m sure it was cutting out carbs.

So no bread, pasta, rice, etc. No potatoes, reducing the fruit I eat (I had raspberries for dessert two nights). I’m eating more protein and fat. I’m hoping this second week will be better–and that I will feel less run down. I know that’s pretty common in the beginning when you go low carb….UGH.

The good news? I weighed myself over the weekend and was pretty happy to see a 2 pound loss. I have no idea if that’s the low carb diet or cutting out sugar or both. But if this trend continues, hopefully I can relax and just be in maintenance mode in a few months! I do not believe a low carb lifestyle is the right choice for my body type…but I’m willing to give it another try.

From Pinterest

I’ve ranted about Pinterest several times before–about how you search for “healthy” recipes and they are really not that healthy. One of the things you also see all over Pinterest is the “thinspo” type memes. The thinspiration photos that are somehow supposed to motivate us to work out and lose weight. Sometimes they are pretty good, like this one:

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I think that’s a good motto to live by. One of the issues with binge eating is that regret and food guilt immediately afterwards. I’ve felt that way so many times, vowing to never eat that way again! Then the cycle continues. It’s the same way for exercising. There are definitely days when I wish I could skip it. But then I remind myself that even though I may be in a bad mood now, I will feel better after I work out. And I always do. That workout almost always fixes my bad moods. And this one:

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I love that above body-love picture. My entire life I’ve hated my stomach rolls. When I lost the weight, the rolls were still there, except this time it was loose skin. I still hated my stomach (and still do) and am working hard on trying to dispel those negative thoughts from my inner monologue. Stop the body hate. Stop criticizing myself. It’s so hard. Especially on days when you’re already feeling kind of down. But that one is a good reminder. Still beautiful.

So in that way, Pinterest memes can be beneficial. But what about this one:

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I hate those ones. Working out should not be torturous. You shouldn’t be miserable. You shouldn’t be puking or passing out. A lot of newbies who are joining the gym in January to lose weight think they need to go balls-to-the-wall crazy with their workouts. That is so not the truth. You’ll be much more successful if you ease into it. Pace yourself. Give yourself rest days, give yourself a chance to catch your breath and BUILD UP TO intense fitness. Burning out the first week or two, or injuring yourself, SUCKS. Don’t do it. Ignore that meme!

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This is another one that annoys me. The whole concept of a thigh gap annoys me. And then seeing stuff on blogs and online about “do this exercise and you’ll get a thigh gap!” UGH! So dumb. (Read this old post for more ranting: Thigh Gap Obsession! 🙂 )

I want to end on a positive note, rather than just ranting over Pinterest stuff that makes me roll my eyes. How about this one:

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So freakin’ true! This is one you should print out and put it up somewhere you can look at it. This is a reminder for everyone and not just about fitness. It applies to dieting, too. How many of you have been the “the diet starts on Monday” type of person? Then you spend all weekend bingeing and eating things you shouldn’t be just to start Monday morning with the super restrictive diet. That never works. Why put off something you can start today?

Making the decision to start eating healthy can start today, it doesn’t have to wait til Monday. Making the decision to get fit can start NOW. GO for a walk on your lunch break. Do some yoga stretching on your 15 minute break at work. Do 10 pushups and 50 jumping jacks first thing in the morning and each week add 10 to both activities. You’d be surprised about how easily these things will become habit and you will feel better. You will be surprised at how easily you will be able to add to these activities. You start to feel a little better and then all of a sudden joining a gym or starting to train for a 5k doesn’t seem so “big” and overwhelming. It’s the little things that add up!