Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Lose That Baby Weight

Since this is the time of year for resolutions, and many are weight loss, I thought I would share some ideas about what has helped me get that baby weight off, especially this last time when I was at my heaviest. I was above a weight where I said I would never go.

Well, I went and I had to come back fast. I had 50 pounds to lose.

I should also put in a disclaimer that I am not an expert, a nutritionist or a doctor, but I have gained and lost weight NINE times for NINE babies, so that does possibly give me a tiny bit of street cred.

Losing weight is not really easy for me. I do have a love for the chocolate baked good that is contrary to any weight loss effort, but I really just have to make up my mind that I want to lose this weight and that it will take some sacrifice. Losing weight and feeling better definitely at least compares to the satisfaction of eating a double chocolate brownie. And, I do indulge myself once in a while, because really who can give up a double chocolate brownie for good?

So, here are my top ten for losing that baby weight. Or whatever weight for that matter.

1. Count Calories

You HAVE to count calories. You can exercise out the wazoo, but if you are taking in more calories than you are burning you WON’T lose weight. Look online or get a calorie counting book and find out how many calories are in what you are eating. If you make recipes for dinner you can break it down and find out how many calories are in each ingredient, add it up and divide it by number of servings.

Then, write down EVERY calorie you eat in a day for a week. You may be surprised at the number of calories you are eating.

For ME, I can maintain my weight at about 2500 calories a day. But, if I want to lose weight, I need to keep it at 1800.

After you find out how many calories you are eating in a week, you know where you need to start. If you’ve been gaining, you need to cut by about 500 and try that for the next week. Keep experimenting until you get to your calorie burn. I wouldn’t go under 1500 though. Your body needs calories just to function properly.

2. Exercise and Weight Lifting

You can lose weight just by counting calories, but let’s face it. Not exercising will not make you any healthier. To be fit and to feel good you need to work out for 30 minutes at least three times a week. Also, muscle burns calories at rest. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn without doing any extra work! Lifting weights is important, but you don’t even have to go to a gym. Just go buy about six free weights-2, 5 and 10 pounds (2 of each) and you’re set.

This is the routine I try to do four times a week:

2-3 minutes stretching
10 minutes stair stepping (on the stair in front of my kitchen)
100 calf raises
100 side lying leg lifts
200 reps with arm weights (I do these in sets of 12’s and 20’s, bicep curls, forward punches, bench press etc.)
250 crunches (100 regular, 50 reverse, 100 laterals)
2 minutes stretching (I don’t really like stretching.)

This isn’t anything special, just what I came up with that works for me. I didn't start off with that many reps, but I started out slower and worked up.


Protein helped me so much this last weight loss. Protein is essential for muscle repair and long term energy. I like whey instead of soy and my favorite brand is Muscle Milk. I buy the chocolate powder so I can make bars and shakes. You really can add chocolate powder to anything you make that is chocolate, like pudding for instance.

In my experience you can go above your recommended 2-3 servings a day and still lose weight. I wouldn’t go crazy, but I certainly could have 4 a day and be fine- and feel full.

Chocolate Banana Smoothies

1 scoop protein powder
1 cup milk
½ cup plain vanilla non fat yogurt
2 T. peanut butter
3 T. ground flax seed
1 banana

Blend thoroughly in the blender. Enjoy! ( I love these for breakfast. You can add more or less of each ingredient or other fruit or whatever you prefer).

No Bake Chocolate Protein Bars
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups honey
2 1/4 cups chocolate protein powder
3 cups instant oatmeal
Microwave peanut butter and honey in a bowl for about a minute. Mix oatmeal and powder in a separate bowl. Fold peanut butter mixture into the oatmeal mixture until well blended. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Keep refrigerated. Makes 28 bars- 225 calories per serving.

I got this recipe from Arbonne, but Muscle Milk powder works well. Keep in mind that not all protein powder works well for this recipe. Also, you can use brown puffed rice in place of the oatmeal. I would have one of these as a late afternoon snack or for breakfast with some fruit and a cup of milk.

4. Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are good for you! Really, these should make up the bulk of your diet. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. You don’t always have to eat them raw, but don’t soak them in butter and salt either. Plain vegetables are fairly low in calories, so you can eat a lot of them.

5. Carbs

Carbs make me put on weight like nobody’s business. But….do not eliminate all carbs. Just make sure the ones you are eating are WHOLE GRAIN (whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc.) Do not (unless it is a once in a while treat) eat refined white flour and sugar. It will work against you.

Trust me.

My family will eat whole wheat bread, but not pasta. So, if we have spaghetti, I just boil a separate pot of water for my whole grain noodles. Easy.
Keep your carbs whole grain and no more than 3 servings a day. Actually aim for 2 servings.

6. Don't Eat After Dinner

If you have dinner at a fairly normal hour, like 6 pm, then don't eat after dinner. You really want to stop eating at least 4 hours before bedtime. I know it is a temptation to eat before bed, but you really just have to make a choice. Do you want to lose weight or eat? When you are losing weight a flat out fact is that sometime you will be hungry. You will. You just have to make up your mind that eating is going to set you back and you will have to work extra hard to make up for it.

7. Weigh Yourself Daily

Some people say not to weight yourself, but go by how you feel and how your clothes fit. Yeah, Yeah. I need to see results fast to keep myself motivated. And, if the weight is not decreasing then I need to remind myself not to have that extra serving of dinner, because I went over my calorie burn twice this week.

I also only weigh myself in the morning. That’s when you weigh the least.

8. Do Not Skip Any Meals

Some people suggest having 6 smaller meals a day than 3 larger ones. I don’t like to eat that frequently, so I do 3 larger meals. I’ve got 9 kids and a husband to feed, and I don’t want to be cooking or eating all day. Whatever is best for you, just do NOT skip any meals, especially breakfast. When you skip a meal, you are fasting and it changes the way your body metabolizes to a slower pace.

9. Be Realistic

Don’t think you are going to lose thirty pounds in a month. It probably will not happen. Make realistic goals and deadlines for yourself, so you can stick to it and adjust when necessary. Hang in there! If you give in and indulge one day, put it in the past and move on with a fresh start the next day. About twice a week, I just eat my “maintain” amount of calories to give myself a little break.

10. Reward Yourself

About twice a week I have a chocolate treat. It helps keep me motivated and allows me to resist temptation when I know that I can have a treat that week. It also helps to choose a lower calorie version like a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich instead of a regular one.

AND, an additional note that I forgot to mention...

Drink water. WATER, WATER, WATER. Not coffe, tea, juice or soda. WATER, and 64 ounces of it every day.


Amy Lynne said...

Great tips!

Dawn - One Faithful Mom said...

Okay, I feel that I have total permission as a fellow mom of 10 to say that it is completely hysterically hilarious that 10 days after you post this, you announce a pregnancy. I love that!!! So you totally have an excuse now to gain weight. That is such a mom of 10 thing to do. LOL!!
That was always my excuse I have none. And I need to lose 20 pounds. Bummer.

Little Bird said...

I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say that it is very encouraging to me so see a mom of many who didn't let herself go. We only have two so far, but plan on having a large family (5+) and probably the biggest thing I'm afraid of is becoming extremely overweight from not losing the weight between pregnancies. (Though maybe I should be more afraid of the laundry...)Our youngest is not quite 9 months old and I still have 10lbs to go and my husband is itching for another one already, so I need to get on the ball!

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