Once again I find myself having to lose weight after a baby. I wrote about how I did it with the last one here, and for the most part, I’ll use the same strategy. In a nutshell:
- Move every day (take a walk, jump on my rebounder, lift weights)
- Eat on a small plate
- No eating after supper, no random snacking (just one healthy snack in between lunch and supper)
- Eat real food (no fast food, no trans fats – big no-nos for me) in reasonable portions
- No mindless eating (no eating while driving or when my mind was otherwise engaged)
These common sense, forever bits of wisdom have always helped me stay at a good weight. And I printed out and placed on the fridge two photos of myself after babies 5 & 6 for “thinspiration”.
This time, I thought the weight would come off faster than with previous babies, primarily because I was only pregnant for 6 months! But the opposite has turned out to be true. Likely reasons for this:
- The tremendous stress I was under during the pregnancy and for several months afterwards made me crave (and eat) carbs and junk. Hello, donuts. (I normally don’t touch trans fats or junk like that with a 10-foot pole.)
- The damage to my body from 6 weeks of bedrest (among other things, bone loss, muscle wasting and lowering of metabolism. Whee!)
- Crappy hospital food (I tried my best to eat as healthfully as I could, even having my husband bring in healthy fats and snacks for me, but I found myself ravenously hungry while I was in the hospital, and when I asked for extra food it was junk that I wouldn’t normally eat)
- Turning 40 this year
Of all these factors, I think the first two were the most important. After my son was born, I found myself having intense cravings for carbs, likely from the stress, depression and sleep deprivation I was experiencing.
In the past, I gave myself 8-9 months to lose the weight, figuring that since it took that long to gain, it would take that long to lose. And I was fine with that, but now I feel particularly impatient to lose it.
So I started a low carb diet to give myself a jump start.
I read the book Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, and the science behind the approach makes sense. This diet works well for me because I can eat as much as I want (no calorie restriction that causes your willpower and metabolism to crash), and it keeps your blood sugar stable. I’ve had issues with low blood sugar all my life. I’ve always had trouble with carbs, feeling poorly after having pancakes for breakfast or popcorn at movies, for example.
The first few days in, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my cravings for sugar and carbs totally disappeared. I am perfectly content without pasta (which I never ate anyway), potatoes, corn, rice and grains. (I do miss oatmeal, and the occasional corn tortilla, I will probably add those back in after I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight.)
I have lost over 10 pounds in less than a month, and I never feel hungry or unsatisfied.
Well… until I shopped at Trader Joe’s yesterday. What do I eat my chicken liver pate with now, without those lovely rosemary crackers? I decided to buy a loaf of sprouted rye bread. I’ll toast it and eat a half slice slathered with pate.
Traditionally one to eshew diets, especially any that eliminate entire food groups, I don’t plan on staying this low carb forever. Some people find that their thyroid starts acting up if they eat low-carb for too long. Also, I’m watching my milk supply carefully to ensure my diet doesn’t sabotage that.
But, despite the fact that I actually stopped working out (other than daily walks), wanting to make sure it was the diet responsible for the loss, this is obviously working well for me, and I can see myself staying on a low-to-moderate carb, Paleo-style diet forever. I eat a lot more vegetables now, they’re on my plate for every single meal. (My grocery spending also went way up, likely a result of eating more meat.)
One of the frustrating things about weight loss is how your weight can fluctuate and plateau despite doing all the right things. Yesterday I was lamenting to my husband that I hadn’t touched sugar, wine or bread or any other carbs in weeks yet the scale had stopped dropping a few days earlier. I even cheated and ate a half a dark chocolate bar (darn Trader Joe’s!).
The next day I weighed myself and the scale had dropped FIVE pounds.
Maybe Jeanne Calment, supercentenarian, was on to something. She ate over 2 pounds of chocolate every week and looked 100 pounds soaking wet. Dark chocolate is something I decided would be an allowed cheat, after all French women swear by it.
Laura Vanderkam says
Wow, congrats on losing 10 lbs in a month. The fluctuation issue is frustrating. I am trying to average things out over a week or two rather than look at any individual day, but that’s tough.
Yeah, it is frustrating, but I’ve read that people who weigh themselves daily tend to weigh less, probably because they subconsciously adjust their behavior. I did add a cheat day once a week, and added a wee bit of carbs back in because I found my energy was just too low! I had a sweet potato with breakfast yesterday, a little dark chocolate, and a coconut flour (healthy – with flax seeds, lol!) brownie.
I once tried Dr. Mercola’s No Grain Diet for a few weeks (to try to get rid of candida, not lose weight), and was shocked at how quickly I got used not eating any carbs, not even fruit! So I get that.
I didn’t do anything special to lose wt after my pregnancy, but #1, my son is an only; #2, I’ve always been really strict with myself about diet; and #3, I was still 4 yrs away from turning 40 at the time. I think when perimenopause hits, it does make a difference b/c I put on a few pounds last fall when I broke my arm and had to sit around and do almost nothing for 2 months – and my diet hadn’t changed.
BTW I just wrote an article about dark chocolate, and in my research I learned that, on average, people who eat dark chocolate on a regular basis are thinner than those who do not. Helps balance blood sugar, plus it’s instead of eating the weight-gain-producing flour-based products, are my best guesses.
Yes, dark chocolate is my safe go-to treat.