Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How I'm Trying To Lose Weight and Get Fit

Today's lunch. (I had half the fish.
 The other half I ate for supper.)
Some of you might remember that I posted 5.5 months ago, when I was 6.5 weeks postpartum, that I wanted to lose weight, and how I would try to lose weight. The reason that I wanted to lose weight was because I was over 40 lbs more than the upper range of my ideal weight, and that scared me. I felt like a fat blob...
Well, over the last 5.5 months I did lose weight. Between 15 and 20 lbs. Not sure how much is from how I was eating and how much because of nursing (and tandem nursing to boot), and while I am glad my weight went down 15-20 lbs, I still have a long way to go... but my body seemed to have plateaued at this certain weight, 25 lbs above my upper end of my ideal weight range.
And I keep on getting people asking me if I'm pregnant. No, for the record.

I was trying to decide whether or not I should just "learn to be happy with my body" and not try to lose weight... but honestly, I would like to be a little less fat, would like to lose cellulite, and would like to be able to go clothes shopping more easily and/or fit into my old clothes better. Not to mention that I'd like people to stop asking me if I'm pregnant.

A friend recommended to me this program called "No Excuse Moms" which caused a little bit of an uproar and controversy back when, but in short, she says there's always an excuse why not to try to lose weight, etc... but being a mom isn't an excuse. In short, she has a program and a group to try to encourage and motivate moms to get fit and lose weight.
I read through the program and it sounded very up my alley. Not extreme overboard, cutting out carbs or fat or both- but rather sticking to healthier fats and keeping the carbs healthier- and only minimizing carbs past a certain hour. And stopping to eat minimum 3 hours before bed, but ideally by 7 pm.
It also includes a certain amount of exercise on a regular basis.
And you're allowed one cheat meal per week- but it should be planned.

So I joined this Facebook group and now I'm surrounded by a group of like minded moms- moms who are trying to lose weight, and get in shape- and are going to do it in a healthier way- no fake sugars, no processed "diet foods", etc... And seeing all these moms and seeing what they've been able to accomplish has been really inspiring for me.

I officially decided to join the group 8 days ago.

Since then I've been working on cutting down my carbs- since I think that's probably my biggest thing causing me to stay heavier- I used to live off carbs, then I've gradually reduced my need for them. I'm certainly not cutting them out, but for the most part I'm doing Paleo and/or GAPS diet approved carbs- legumes (mainly lentils and split peas), sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, bananas and other fruit... I am having other carbs, like the occasional gluten free grains, and potatoes- but much smaller servings, and ideally not more than once, maximum twice a day.
Basically- I've been heaving diets heavy on the produce, and ideally less carby produce, plus some carbs every meal, though trying to concentrate the carbs for breakfast, have less for lunch, and even less for supper. And then having protein every meal. I'm doing legumes sometimes for my carb and my protein for meals, but for supper I am trying to have an animal based protein and very little carbs.
And while I am including fats, I am trying not to go overboard. Like I had avocado today- a quarter avocado with my lunch and a quarter avocado with my supper. But I'm not deep frying at the moment- though I will drizzle things with olive oil or sesame oil or whatever...
I am following my body's cues- when I first started this, I was doing no grains, and too low carb, etc... And I realized it was making me a little light headed. So I am making sure to have some "heavier carb" meals and then it's great.
To make this doable, both from a work perspective and from a financial perspective- I am making separate meals for myself and my husband/kids. No one in my family needs to lose weight other than myself- my husband and kids are all very slim- they should not be eating low carb/diet friendly foods. So I am making them simpler foods, occasionally we're having our meals overlap. Like if I make a salad, I'll take a bigger portion for myself, give some to the kids and hubby along with their carbs and proteins, and make a separate protein for myself. (Something I often did anyhow since I can't have cow dairy or eggs which the rest of my family does have.)
I also am serving the same thing for a few meals sometimes for myself- eating leftovers for breakfast, etc... making a bigger batch and spicing it differently for different meals, maybe. Or even the exact same thing for two meals in a row. That's cool with me, so long as the food tastes good. Which I'm making sure of.

Another big thing I'm working on is portion control. I have a self control issue when it comes to food- I eat way too much; even if the food is healthy, that doesn't mean I can eat unlimited amounts without gaining weight... So I'm really working hard on deciding before the meal how much I'll be eating, and eating only that, no more. It's hard, and I'm not always successful, but I'm making progress there.

Another self control issue is I like to snack before bed. I sometimes eat the most junk right before bed. I'm working hard on not eating past 7 pm, or even 6 pm- my goal is to wake up hungry in the morning, not satiated, so that I can have a nice breakfast to start my day off. Most days I've been good about this, though I occasionally don't manage.

I've also been getting more active- because it's not just diet that needs to change- I need to burn calories and speed up my metabolism via activity, in addition to building muscle.

In short, I have three things I want to work on- cardio/aerobic activity, and especially improving my endurance so I can exercise for more than a few minutes without getting winded, plus exercises to strengthen my abs and thighs and glutes, and strength training.

For cardio, I have started running. There's this program called C25K- standing for Cough to 5 Kilometers- turning you from a "couch potato" to being able to run 5 kilometers in one go, in 8 weeks. There's a bunch of apps you can download- I got this free one- and I've been liking it so far. All I know so far about it is the first week's training sessions- you start off with a 5 minute walk to warm up, then it tells you to run for 60 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds, then run then walk, etc... 8 times, and then you walk for 5 minutes more to cool down. It's very managable since it breaks down the running into smaller, doable chunks. Don't get me wrong- it's still very hard, and I'm sweaty like a dog and my heart is racing after I finished, but I manage to do the whole thing, and am not just dragging my feet home...

I'm also doing exercises at home. As much as I know I can just do my own exercises that I make up, and I have done that- I find it easier to follow along with a video. That way I know exactly how much to push myself, to know how much is doable, so I don't stop before I should.

I like this Jillian Michael's 30 day shred video- there are others with other levels, but this is level one where I'm up to.

And then there's fitness blender's calorie burning workout.

Since I don't have weights, when these call for weights, I just use closed 1 liter lemon juice bottles in each hand instead of weights and it works well.

Because my biggest problem generally is keeping at something, I really like the motivation I get from this group.
And for the past 8 days, I haven't gone a single day without exercising. I'm trying to rotate exercising different parts of my body, letting my muscles rest as needed. But I've been on a roll and I'm really proud of myself.
And I just feel really good. My stomach feels great with this current diet as well.

I even think I can see a difference in my belly already! My husband also sees a difference.

I am buying a new digital scale for myself- I broke the last one- because I would like to be able to track my progress- and I bought new running shoes for myself since my sneakers are falling apart... So hopefully I'll make good use with them.

And here's to more progress!

Anyone successfully lost weight? How much did you lose? Did you lose it in a healthy way? Did you manage to keep it off?
Anyone trying to lose weight? How much are you trying to lose, and how far along are you so far? What are you trying to do to lose weight?
What's your favorite at home workout routine?

Linking up to WFMWReal Food WednesdayFat TuesdayMostly Homemade Monday,


  1. Congratulations, Penny! Losing weight can be so hard, but you're doing a fabulous job. I'm really interested in building muscle without having to spend on a gym membership, so I'll check out the videos.

    1. Thank you Annemarie! I hope you like the videos! I am anti spending money on a gym membership....

  2. I found it hard to lose weight while I was nursing because I was just so hungry all the time!

    I've packed on a few dessert pounds lately. I don't think I'm quite ready to tackle them yet.

    Great job sticking with it and mixing it up when you hit a plateau. I hope the Facebook group stays awesome for you.

    1. Fortunately I am not sooo hungry at this point. Good luck for when you're ready to tackle those "dessert pounds".

  3. Great entry! I wonder if filling the bottles with sand instead of juice or water would make them heavier?

    1. Possibly. But for now, filled with water is enough for me. But maybe salt also.

  4. I've been working hard. I've lost about 18 pounds this year but I am soooo stuck with 15 pounds to go since my last baby. He's two. Lots of work. No progress.

  5. thank you for this. good inspiration. i gained weight pregnant (lost most of it on delivery), then gained weight nursing (low supply especially if i hadn't eaten well), and then got pregnant again immediately after stopping nursing. this means that i started this pregnancy at a higher weight than the last one, and by the grace of God am throwing up much less. i am almost 20 weeks and feel like last time at 30 weeks- over 200lbs, can't eat large portions, heavy. i keep saying that after this one i take a break to lose the weight. so far i am great at maintaining weight, terrible at losing it. the only thing that works is appetite loss from stress. even exercise just makes me build muscle and feed it. we shall see.

    1. Tell me about it...
      My first two pregnancies I had nausea and threw up, but only gained 15 lbs... Third pregnancy I was very nauseous, threw up a lot, just started going off gluten, and only gained 7 lbs... Fourth pregnancy I was nauseous all the time but threw up maybe 10 times during the pregnancy, and ate to stop being nauseous.... so I gained about 30 lbs... which is why I started out much heavier this postpartum period....

  6. Yay!

    I've been trying to lose weight--only a modest amount, 10 lbs--but despite joining the gym and taking up running it's been rather resolutely stuck to me. Plus my eczema is back with a vengeance, so just breaking a sweat is physically painful.

    So I've been making adjustments to my diet. Actually, I call it the "eat-what-your-toddler-does" diet, LOL. Since kidlet gets jealous if he sees me eating anything that he's not, I find it infinitely easier to just give him what I'm eating. And since I prefer him to eat healthy foods, that means I also eat more healthy. And his portions are only slightly smaller than mine, so it's easy.

    I've just gotten a bike again, with a child's seat on the back. It's a lot easier to take kidlet out everywhere now, so I do. It's so great to be able to just get on a bike and go places. I don't quite know how much exercise that gives me, though: I'm never tired during the day, but once the evening rush is over, there are days when I basically go to bed at 8 pm.

    1. Good luck with that! Interesting that you say your toddler eats healthier than you- I eat healthier than my kids do, generally, since they're more demanding about what they want to eat, etc... But my kids are also older than your kidlet.
      I wish I could bike ride more, but its not safe to bike ride outside of my little village, and my little village is very hilly so it is super hard to ride....

  7. Losing weight while being a mother is extremely hard - it takes a lot of patience and hard work, but it can be done! After suffering from an eating disorder while younger when pregnant with #1 I literally ate for two from day 1 and gained about 70 lbs. Yes, that number is correct...unfortunately. You can imagine what it did to my self-esteem and my emotional state. I struggled immensely to try and make a dent in that number and managed to lose about 15-20 lbs but by the time #1 was 6 months old I fell pregnant with #2. Ended up losing a little weight over pregnancy #2, but still was very, very far from my ideal weight. Continued to work extremely hard in the months after #2's birth and was seeing progress, slow as it was, but more or less steady progress. Then when #2 was 9 months old I fell pregnant with #3. #3 was my best pregnancy so far, I actually didn't gain any weight at all during the pregnancy (which means that as my baby was growing fine, I was losing weight). And yes, I was monitored by my health practitioner every step of the way to ensure I was doing things safely without harming myself or my baby. Am proud to say, that #3 is now 9 months old and I am about 5 lbs away from my ideal weight. And yes, I nursed #1 and #2 to 12 months (they self-weaned, probably due to the pregnancy hormones), and am still nursing #3...

    Yes it's been about 4 years since falling pregnant with #1, but thank G-d I have been able to lose the weight. For the record, I did not go to a gym, did not take any supplements or diet shakes, no detoxing, no lipo, no gastric banding....nothing but lots of old fashioned hard work, balanced eating and sweat (exercise). Lots of hard work in transforming my relationship with food in terms of recognizing in myself when I am full, or if I am *actually* hungry and not bored/stressed/tired...learning to put the fork down before finishing the whole plate, eating only when hungry and not "just because". Increasing incidental exercise and exercising regularly (even without running!). I do still eat junk food, and still have this entire time - but only if I really feel like it, and because I only eat it when I really want it, a small amount satisfies the craving. I agree with Penny - better to allow yourself treats or special things within your boundaries rather than denying everything and then over-indulging later on. Best of luck with your efforts Penny!

    1. Thank you! Yes, losing weight healthily and making it into a lifestyle change is hard.... but worth it! So far down 10 pounds in the last month!

  8. Recently I have been on a quest to get fitter and lose a little weight. I too have a small child so time for me to exercise alone is at a premium. I used to pay for a gym and go every day ( pre this child) but now I do not want to pay money or take time to get ready, go there, shower when I leave and on and on. I use every excuse in the day to exercise even when my daughter is around, squats when she is busy, lunges, you name it I find a minute when I can. I have started getting up early and working out on a free ( ancient) exercise bike I found for free and an even more ancient stepper which I also found. I think exercise is a mind set ( as is eating healthy) and when you want to do it for yourself you do no need fancy gyms or special diet food. Good luck in your journey :)

    1. Awesome! Yea- the biggest problem about exercising at home is all the distractions....

  9. Penny, this sounds great! I lost weight several years ago when I started mild exercise (slow jogging for about half an hour) and then I cut out gluten. I think that had the incidental affect of lessoning the amount of sweets I would eat -- I couldn't take samples when I went out or eat donuts at work -- and at that point I didn't know how to bake replacements so I ate fruit and dark chocolate instead. Later I started eating more fat which helped my satiation, which I think is very important. We deserve to be happy with our food and feel full, and if you feel full you're less likely to go overboard with some other food later. All of this was before I'd ever been pregnant -- I'm pregnant now so I'm curious to see how all of this works later. I also think stress and sleep have huge effects on weight -- if your body doesn't get enough sleep it can't get any benefits from the workouts -- you have to rest to make gains. And your hormones can get out of whack from lack of sleep or stress. So anyway, good luck with the changes you're making -- your lunch looks delicious!

  10. I love C25K - I've done the program a bunch of times, as I go through periods of running and periods of taking a break - I have a bad issue off and on with plantar fasciitis in one foot, so I sometimes have to stop for several months. I find it's a good program to build up. And then they have others that take you from a 5K distance up to a 10K distance. I'm in the process of losing 10 pounds that I gained when I was on a no-exercise regimen leading up to some surgery at the beginning of the summer. My cousin started a FB accountability group that sounds similar to what you are doing and I love that. My husband and I also did 30 days of Paleo to kick-start us and we've both decided to stick with it long term - we really do feel better.

    1. Glad you feel better with Paleo- its always awesome to find what works for you best!

  11. You go Penny! Im praying for your success! :)

  12. Hi Penny, I'm wondering if you are continuing with kombucha and kefir drinking with following no excuse mom. I love them and would also give the the excercise routines a go but one of the rule is water only :(

    1. I have been drinking kombucha, but am trying to make sure to leave it to ferment longer so there isn't sugar left in it.


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