I have gone back and forth, debating whether or not to write this post. My hesitations were:
(a) This is an issue that women are bombarded with daily and I want to be sensitive to that. (b) I wouldn’t want it to feed any competition or insecurity, etc. Those of us who have been trying to lose weight are each on our own journeys with different bodies, goals, time constraints, and plans and I wouldn’t want this to make anyone in a different place in their weight loss journey to feel discouraged; and (c) Since I have blogged through some of the hard places I’ve been in with body image this past year and the ways that God has worked through it, I didn’t want anyone to think that I’ve lost those lessons or that now that I’ve lost the weight God isn’t still refining me. I also don’t want to give off the vibe that this is where I am looking for my value or finding my identity.
Despite those arguments, I (obviously) decided that I would write this post, and here is why:
1. I invited my readers into my weight loss journey and have shared my struggles. I think it is good to share my victories as well.
2. Committing to new disciplines has been a really good thing for me. I have blogged about ways that God has used this whole thing to shape my character. I think it is ok to show how it has shaped me physically as well.
3. I want to have it documented to look back on one day. I’m sure at some point in my life I will be in a place where I need to lose weight again, and it would be nice to have this to look back on to be reminded that I can do it and it’s worth sticking to the hard work. Should we be so blessed to have the privilege of getting pregnant again in the future, I’m sure I’ll have struggles with the post baby weight again, and I could look back at this post and be encouraged! And even if it is not related to weight at all, it serves as an encouragement in goal setting and discipline.
4. I hope that this might encourage some of my other mamma friends. I have a few friends who are currently pregnant that have asked me different diet and exercise questions, so hopefully this will answer some of those questions and encourage them to hang in there and not get discouraged.
So here you go! From Sugar Free, to Weight Watchers; Pilates, gym and “Insanity,” here are the results (I have pictures of myself in the 2 of the same outfits as “before” and “after” pics), and then I’ll give my evaluation of each diet and exercise plan:
And here’s another:
It took me 14 months to take off the baby weight. It definitely didn’t just fall off of me. I kept wanting to think that I was one of those people who could just eat whatever I wanted and didn’t have to work at it, but I finally had to accept the fact that I do have to work at it. So I did. It was so good for me. I’ve blogged about the ways that God worked on my heart and sanctified me in some sin issues through it, but it was also good for me to just have to commit to discipline in areas that I just didn’t want to. I think that sometimes it can only be a good thing for me to add extra discipline into my life, especially since we live in such an indulgent, consumer culture.
Here are the different methods I tried:
Sugar-Free: For one month my husband and I completely cut sugar out of our diets. Yep, that means we didn’t eat any sweets (although we had a few with artificial sweeteners), bread or pasta (unless they were stone ground, whole grain), rice, etc. You can search “sugar free” back through this blog if you want to learn more about exactly what Jordan and I did to cut sugar out, but here is my brief summary: I wouldn’t do it again. I felt so deprived, that I thought and dreamed about food with sugar all.the.time. I thought I was going to lose my mind. In addition to my mind, I did lose 7 lbs that month. But by the time it was over, I binged big time, and probably put some of the weight back on. I had thought I would feel so great and have so much energy, but I never really did (likely due to the fact that I was the mother of a 7 month old, so feeling energy was probably unlikely no matter what I was eating 🙂 ). Although I did feel awful once I started adding sugar back in. The biggest downside to sugar-free though and the main reason I wouldn’t recommend it is that we consumed WAY too much artificial sweetener. Which is probably way worse. I’m sure there are many people who have been able to commit to and even enjoy this lifestyle, but it was not for us.
Weight Watchers: A good friend of mine who had also had a baby around the time I had Riley recommended that I try Weight Watchers. She had actually encouraged me to do it earlier on, but I didn’t want to pay to do it (I think it was like $54 for 3 months). After the sugar free experiment, she told me she was going to join WW again so I talked to Jordan about the price and decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did! I LOVED Weight Watchers! I did the online version, so I didn’t have to go to local meetings or anything. You tell WW what your goal weight is, the time frame you would like to lose it in, and then they give you a certain amount of “points” you can spend each day on food in order to achieve your goal weight. I wanted to balance being ambitious with being realistic, so I decided to set my goal weight at 5-7 lbs more than my pre-baby weight. Everyday I would log what I was eating, and they would keep track of my points. I could look ahead of time how many points something would be, so I could plan well before eating at restaurants or planning meals for the week. They have some tasty recipes that will tell you how many points they cost, and you are allotted a certain amount of extra points each week that you can either divide throughout the week (a glass of wine or a cookie each night), OR you can save them up and use them for one event (eating whatever you want at a restaurant or being able to have cake and wine at a wedding reception!) So this was the absolute perfect diet plan for me. I never felt deprived. If I wanted to eat the cupcake a friend brought over, I could. It just meant I would have to eat a lighter dinner and drink water the rest of the day. It helped me to be smart in budgeting what I ate and understanding portion control. By the end of the 3 months I had signed up for, I had achieved my goal weight. Thank you Megan for encouraging me to do it! 🙂
The Gym: In college and a few years after, I used to love working out at the gym. So from June-December I had a membership to a local gym here, Kinetix Fitness. I actually kind of got it for free (well technically I had paid for it 3 years ago), but that’s irrelevant. They offer childcare, which I thought was going to be a huge motivator to workout. I would joke with friends: “Shoot I should just go to the gym everyday to take advantage of the childcare and go read in the dressing room or something!” But the truth is: I hated dropping Riley off at that childcare. First of all, the childcare workers didn’t speak English, which I’m fine with, except for the fact that they could not communicate with me if something had happened with Riley while I was gone and I couldn’t communicate with them if there was something she needed. Second of all, the childcare room had an open ceiling so that you could hear the kids. Sometimes I would hear Riley crying and I just couldn’t bear it. Every time I would pick a machine close to the childcare room and strain my ears to see if I could hear Riley. Sometimes I would look in the glass window and she would see me and get excited, so I was just done right then. There was no way I could walk away, even if I had only worked out for 10 minutes. So needless to say, the gym is not my thing anymore. I would go once a week usually, twice tops, but rarely had a challenging workout since I was so focused on the childcare room. I was actually relieved when my membership expired.
Pilates: So on the days that I was avoiding the gym, I would try to do some Pilates at home. For some reason, I have always enjoyed Pilates. In the beginning of my pregnancy, a friend of mine who is a Pilates instructor met with me for private sessions and it was awesome. I still have the workouts she did with me written down on a sheet of paper. So at times I would pull it out and do that workout, use a DVD, or just put together Pilates stuff I know from over the years. While I do enjoy Pilates and I’m sure it made my core stronger, I didn’t see obvious results. Perhaps if I had mixed it with more cardio I would have, but I think the lack of cardiovascular exercise during that time slowed it down.
Insanity: Recently I have started doing the “Insanity: Fast and Furious” workout DVD. To clarify, it is not the Insanity series. It is an Insanity workout condensed into 20 minutes, with the same intensity and results. So basically, it’s super hard. I both hate it, and love it. I hate it because, well it is awful. I sweat like crazy, want to cry, sometimes fall on the floor and have dumped my entire bottle of water over my head in the middle of my living room, soaking my carpet and couch. But I love it because it is only 20 minutes (so much more doable with my schedule as a toddler mommy) so it’s a much easier time commitment, and just when I hit my wall and think I can’t take it anymore, I only have 10 or less minutes left and can (most of the time) talk myself through it. I have only been doing it for 2 and a half weeks, every other day, and I can already see results. So far it has been the most effective workout for me, and I’m growing more fond of it as I get in better shape and build endurance.
So there you have it! 55 lbs. later, I have finally reached my post-baby weight and am feeling encouraged, motivated, thankful, and healthy :).
Thank you to all of my friends and family who have been such incredible support through this!