My Journey to Losing 40 Pounds of Baby Weight
So this is a post I’ve been meaning to get out for over a year now. My “baby” is now a 2.5 year old toddler and I’m happy to report I’ve lost and kept off the 40 pounds of baby weight that I gained with both of my boys.
When I was pregnant with my first, baby A, I naively thought that I could eat my way through the pregnancy and that the weight would just come off when I breast fed. What a funny little joke I played on myself because I didn’t lose the weight and I wasn’t able to breastfeed. I did end up losing about 20 lbs that very VERY slowly came off over time (think 6 months to a year), but I was still left with an additional 20 pounds that just wouldn’t come off.
By the time I became pregnant with my second, baby O, I knew better and decided I was going to be more mindful with what I ate. I knew that I didn’t want to surpass that dreaded number on the scale that I’d hit with baby A. I ended up at about the same weight when I gave birth to O and again, I wasn’t able to breastfeed without supplementing. So by week 3, I gave up.
By the time O turned 6 months, I was in full swing back at my job and started becoming extremely anxious. I went to my doctor and she prescribed me Zoloft. Within 4 days I dropped 10 lbs because I couldn’t eat. The drug extremely suppressed my appetite and my gums and teeth became sore to the point that it hurt to eat anything that wasn’t soft. I decided I couldn’t go on like this so I went back to the doctor and they prescribed me another drug. I didn’t like the feeling of being a guinea pig so I never took it. I used the Xanax that was prescribed on an as needed basis — which was rarely (think a few times p/year).
Out of pure desperation, I decided to go to a functional medical practitioner and try acupuncture. While it did help, my doctor also discussed something called Candida. During my assessment it came to his attention that I had taken far too many antibiotics in my life and very possibly could have a gut problem, which can trigger and amplify anxiety and also make it difficult to shed weight. To his recommendation, I took the test and sure enough, it came back positive.
The next visit I sat with him and developed a plan that would help me fight off this gut inflammation and bacteria overgrowth. Little did I know that this would play a big factor in my weight loss journey. Even the 6 months leading up to my wedding, I couldn’t get rid of my bloated belly unless I ate next to nothing. I had no idea that I was “feeding” the bacteria that was inflaming my stomach and essentially leaving me looking 3-6 months pregnant at all times.
So what did this plan entail, you ask?
Well I will warn you, it is a lifestyle change, like any diet. But this one basically eliminated all sugar and starchy processed carbs from my diet. It’s very similar to the Whole diet, with a few modifications of what you can and cannot eat. When my functional practitioner laid it out for me, I almost cried. How am I not going to eat carbs?? Sugar — I think I can do that, but no chips, crackers, or bread?!!…all the stuff that I love to snack on!
Well like anything, you find substitutes to make the diet work. Going into it I told myself to just commit to 30 days and see how I feel. 30 days isn’t as daunting as 90. And once the diet starts working, you start to look and FEEL so much better! I also noticed a change in my skin, nails, and hair. My skin has a healthy glow and my hair has never looked healthier! That is what gave me the courage and confidence to keep going. Through research and support groups on Facebook, I found really good, healthy alternatives that I didn’t feel like I was giving up so much. I started shopping for crackers that were made with almond flour instead of processed bleached white flour. I buy a brand of tortilla shells and tortilla chips, called Siete, (made with almond + cassava flour) that I live off of! I eat RX bars like they’re going out of style. I basically just really DEEP cleaned my diet. And one thing I know for sure, if you reduce or eliminate the sugar and white processed flour in your diet, you WILL lose weight. Just becoming mindful was a big step in the right direction for me.
I’ll also note here that I had little time for exercise so what I did commit to was 1 hot yoga class per week (also to help manage the anxiety).
Here are some tricks and tips that helped me during the cleanup phase :
- Slowly eliminate the foods you crave
- Your body will crave sugar and white flour if that’s what you’ve been feeding it. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine (so I’ve read). Since having kids, I see how it affects their behavior first hand. If you slowly eliminate these foods, it becomes easier to take them out and you stop missing them. Eventually I didn’t even want that stuff because my body became acclimated to the new foods that I was eating.
- Start REALLY reading labels. Sugar is in EVERYTHING! I had no idea that there is sugar in crackers, ketchup, bread. Buy items that have little to no sugar in them. I kept a bag of dark chocolate chips in my pantry for when I needed that “fix” – it’s hard to overeat on those! (mix them with some peanut butter and yum!) Look for peanut butter that is low in sugar.
- Stay away from Low Fat anything. It is loaded with sugar to substitute the lack of flavor when the fat is pulled out.
- Focus on 1 day at a time, but keep 30 days in perspective. Don’t try to do 90 full days at a time because most likely you’ll give up. When I told myself that all I have to give myself is 30 days, it was really a game changing mindset for me.
2. Eat healthy high fat foods
- I ate a ton of guacamole and avocados with Siete chips. This is something I loved before I started the diet, so I didn’t feel like I was on a “diet” when I ate these items. I also swear by RX bars. It’s what I eat for breakfast almost every day. Makes my life simple and easy.
- One of the things I couldn’t give up was cheese. I’m a native cheesehead so it was just something I wasn’t willing to give up. I did find a few good nut cheeses and also converted from cows milk cheeses to goat and sheep milk. Goat milk is easier to digest and it contains less sugar. Overall it also has more nutrients without being so dense, which makes it easier to digest. Here is one of my favorite brands!
- Salmon + Chicken + salads became my go to meals. Once I accepted it, the weight came off.
3. Take a Probiotic + Appropriate Supplements
I take Dr. Axe SBO blend probiotic daily, but there are so many others out there than I’m sure are good. Just be sure to check the bacteria count. You want 20 billion or more. Also watch additives!
Another thing that can help is to get your blood tested. It turned out that I was Vitamin D and Iron deficient so incorporating those supplements into my routine gave me a lot more energy to get an activity in!
4. Find Clean Substitutes
Here are some of the substitutes that I still swear by today. I notice when I veer away from these items and start incorporating processed sugars and flours into my diet, I gain weight and the “pregnant belly” comes back. I also notice a shift in my energy.
- Breakfast (Every Day)
- Snacks Substitute
- Chips + Crackers
- LaClare Farms
- Stick to goat cheeses if you can’t give up cheese. They’re easier to digest and have more nutrition. I love this brand!
- Kite Hill Almond Cheese (I love their cream cheeses!)
- LaClare Farms
- Siete Tortilla Shells (instead of sandwich bread)
- Seaweed Wrap (instead of flour tortilla)
- Chickpea or Rice pasta.
- Still incredibly tasty, but slightly different texture if you’re an Italian. I personally like the Tinkyada brand the best. Trader Joe’s also has a good variety of quinoa and rice pasta, but I like Tinkyada better. I’ve also tried Chickpea pasta, which is a solid substitute. Chickpeas cause inflammation for some people so be careful not to eat too much!
- Cauliflower Rice – you can buy this in the frozen food section at most stores, even Aldi has it! We make burritos bowls with this once a week! So good and super healthy
- Stick to brown rice when you can
- Sugar (in moderation)
- Manuka Honey – also at Trader Joe’s
- Maple Syrup
5. Buy an Airfryer (seriously, you can thank me later!)
This was a lifesaver for us. I lived off of homemade sweet potato fries and “fried” chicken during the cleanse and we still do make this meal frequently because everyone in the house loves it and it’s quick and easy. We now air fry almost everything, including; seafood, veggies and even hard boil eggs. Use almond flour and season as your crust! Here’s the one we use and love!
So in summary (I’ll try to simplify this for you)
- Eliminate sugary foods (including artificial sugars)
- Eliminate starchy + processed white flour carbs
- Eat as natural and simple as possible (think lots of seasoning)
- Live off of proteins like chicken, salmon and some red meat.
- Incorporate a vegetable into every meal
- No pasta/gluten products unless they’re made with brown rice or quinoa.
- Research healthy substitutes for all the things you love so you don’t feel like you’re eliminating!
Here are books I read that really helped me change my mindset:
And cookbooks that I use weekly for inspiration to clean eating!
You can also find my own tweaked recipes for all sorts of kid friendly and healthy options here! I am slowly growing this portion of the blog as I discover meals I love, so be sure to check back!
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