Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Away They Go: 10 Tips and Tricks for Trimming off Post-Pregnancy Pounds

I’m tired of wearing maternity clothes: my baby is now 2.5 months old. 

I know I’m not going to drop down to my pre-pregnancy weight in the next two weeks, but I am ready to make a purposeful movement—a two week challenge. My goals are to eat healthier, exercise every day (just for these two weeks as I am not completely crazy), and drink a whole lot more water. (According to PBS.org, to discover how much water you should drink in a day, divide your weight in half. For example, 200 pound person should drink 100 ounces (“America’s Walking: Drinking Water”). So I should be drinking…nevermind. I’m not that brave.)

My life is stressful: I have three children ages four and under. They don’t nap at coinciding intervals yet. I am new to this stay-at-home mom business.  I love food. I have trouble finding time to work out. The next two weeks aren’t going to be easy, but I have to kick-start something.

I have a few tips and tricks I’ve learned and want to implement to make a healthier life in general. I’ll share them with you.

1)   Tell someone.
I kept making little promises with myself to be good, but it’s pretty easy to break secret promises. I purposely didn’t make concrete goals and vocalize them to anyone because I knew that meant becoming serious about the sacrifice healthy living can mean. I texted a friend about my challenge, asked her to join in any way she wished, wrote this blog (terrifying), and started posting pictures to Instagram daily (even more terrifying). Now people know, so I’ve got to keep going.

2)   Set some goals.
As I said, I have made specific goals, and those goals have a time-frame I can live within. I’m not giving up cookies forever. In fact, my two-year-old asked for donuts today, and I told him there would be no donuts in the house for two weeks…but we could have a donut party after that. When the two weeks are up, I can make new goals that are easier to live up to on a longer-term basis, such as working out 3-4 times a week and allowing myself a couple “cheat” foods.

   3)   Find ways to satisfy yourself.
My family believes in ending each meal with something sweet. If I deny myself completely, I often find myself covered in at least a dozen empty candy wrappers in a guilt-and-sugar-ridden haze. I found these granola bars I’m letting myself eat every once in a while: I compared their fat and calorie content to some Swiss Cake Rolls (which are in my house today! Ah!), and I think the substitution is a much wiser way to help my sweet-cravings.

4)   Discover workouts you like.
I prefer weightlifting to cardio, but I know I need the 
latter to burn off what three babies have helped me 
add on. (Actually, I always got nearly right back to pre-pregnancy weight before getting pregnant again, so 
I cannot really blame past babies for current excess pounds.) I’ve found some videos like Shaun T’s T25 
and Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred that combine strength training with bursts of cardio. This busy mama loves the 
20-25 minute lengths and the combo of what I like and 
what I need.

5)   Learn it is okay to get dirty.
I don’t like waiting until later in the day to get cleaned up, but while I am trying to meet some particular targets, it is okay to change up that fresh-in-the-morning routine and shower after I squeeze in a workout before lunch. (It’s really okay; it’s really okay—I keep telling myself this.)

6)   Cut yourself some slack.
In two weeks, I will have to learn how to put regular workouts into my normal routine, but for right now, ignoring the dishes (because household chores are a great excuse for skipping a workout) is okay. I’ve talked to my husband about it, and he knows this is temporary. Give yourself permission to drop a responsibility (besides the children) for a short period of time.

7)   Bribe yourself.
I asked my husband for a specific amount of money as an award for losing ten pounds. These two weeks are to give me a boost towards that goal. And, remember my donut party? With that money and those pastries in mind, I can work out and eat well for fourteen days and make later goals to continue on. I can! I can!

8)   Get support.
I cannot eat well if my family is chowing on pizza and ice cream all week, so—sorry guys—but those things are banned. I’m going to cook meals we can all eat together. I may modify my portions and double up on veggies while I go light on the carbs I offer them, but my family is going to play a part in my success (whether they like it or not…though they probably won’t even notice).

9)   Find some good visuals.
My friend was Mrs. Tennessee USA. When her husband signed her up for the pageant (which she really did find a splendid present, though I would have freaked!), she wasn’t in shape or ready to show her body in front of a crowd. The pageant itself—and that stage—became a reason to be healthier; there was no going back. She later advised me, as I was working off the weight of my second child, to find some visuals to leave out, such as a bathing suit or a dress you want to get back into. Or, better yet, a new dress! Such visuals make your goals more tangible and meaningful.

10)   Remember why you are doing this.
Finally, think carefully on your motivation. I need to lose weight—not because I am ugly. I need to lose weight because I have a closet full of incredible clothes I miss dearly. And, my body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). I will NOT desecrate that temple by speaking poorly of it, especially in front of my children. But I need to take action. The next two weeks will stink (literally, as I will be sweating it up each day), but, after that, 3-4 workouts a week will seem much more practical, and a couple cheat meals will feel incredibly rewarding.

PS—On DAY ONE of the new workout routine, my potty-trainer decided to make two accidents for me to clean up right after I got the baby in her crib. Then he wanted to climb under my planks. Then the baby woke up when the video had eight minutes left. BUT, I had to tell myself that even an unfinished workout is better than a bum on the couch.

PPS—On DAY TWO, I tried to jam three children in a double stroller. The baby told me in no uncertain terms she preferred to be carried. Though I've been advised that a walk isn't the best workout, but there must be some exception when said walk involves toting an extra 11 pounds in a baby sling while pushing an extra 70-80 pounds of little boys and stroller. Plus, as it started to rain on our way back, I sweated much harder than any workout video as I huffed to get the baby to shelter. Exercise = accomplished. Every day is a new lesson; I’m working it out.


“America’s Walking: Drinking Water.” PBS.org. n.d. Web. 10 June 2014.
First Corinthians 6:19. Biblegateway.com. n.d. Web. 9 June 2014.

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