196? You mean I am almost 200lbs? That was my reaction after stepping on the scale at my six week postpartum appointment after the birth my second child. I was in disbelief over the number on the scale. How could that possibly be? To some, this number may not seem extremely high, but to me, only being about 5ft 3inches, I was considered obese based on my BMI.
The Good Years
I was someone who was in the best shape of my life in middle school and high school. I played soccer, at minimum, five days a week, for two hours a day. I could eat anything I wanted because I was exercising so much.
The Unhealthy Years
College changed things for me. I stopped playing soccer and exercising at all. Starting my sophomore year, I moved to a studio apartment above a pizza restaurant and all went downhill (or should I say my weight went uphill) from there. Late night pizza and wings, combined with drunken stops for chips and dip and a steady relationship sent my weight skyrocketing.
When I got pregnant with my daughter, my first child, I was already overweight. It being my first pregnancy, I literally took the “eating for two” to heart and gained close to 70 pounds with her. I never quite lost all that weight and then had my son and gained about 55 more pounds.
For me, for whatever reason, I never realized how overweight I looked. I did not truly see (or maybe I just didn’t want to believe) how out of shape I had gotten. Maybe it was a self-protection mechanism hiding that reality from me…until that check-up, when I went home, both shocked and embarrassed.
Change is on the Horizon
Entering the world of diet apps for your phone, I had heard about an app called Sparkpeople. After returning home from my postpartum check-up, I downloaded the app and set off on a weight loss journey. It took me almost one year and I lost somewhere from 65-70 lbs by only calorie counting.
With the weight off, clothes shopping became fun again. My style even changed some because I was so confident with my appearance. Let’s also just say that I got pregnant with my third child a couple months later.
Below I will provide some tips for what worked for me with the hopes that maybe some of it will work for you. It should also be noted that I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I also did not add an exercise plan to my weight loss journey, which is something probably everyone should do. My weight drop was solely due to calorie counting. To note, I was moving around a lot chasing two kids, but other than that I did not add any extra walks, runs,weights or exercises.
– Use Sparkpeople to diligently track your calories. I was eating between 1200 and 1500 calories a day. Sparkpeople will break down for you how much carbs, fat and protein should make up the calories.
– If you plan to go over your calories, overdose on protein.
– Limit your carbohydrates. At least for me, carbohydrates was, and still remains, a killer.
– Use protein bars to satisfy sweet cravings. I ate a lot of protien/fiber bars such as Quest bars and ONE bars. Looks for bars with low or no sugar, high protein and high fiber.
– If you eat carbs, make sure they also have some fiber. If I was going to eat carbohydrates, I tried to eat carbs that also had fiber, like flavored snap pea crisps and black bean crisps.
– Stay away from juice and soda and sugary alcoholic beverages. I really only drank coffee and water during the week and two glasses of wine on a weekend night.
– Budget for your “necessary” calories. I did a lot of planning out of meals. The night before, I would plan out some of my calories for the next day. For example, if I knew that I would no matter what want to have two Quest bars for dessert and a glass of wine, I would plug that in and work with the leftover calories to make it through the earlier part of the day.
I repeat, be sure to take into account that I am not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist. These are just some of the things that worked for me. Too much protein and/or too much fiber can be bad for you too, so remember — moderation.
To be truthful, after the birth of my third child in February of 2016, I still have yet to return to my pre- third pregnancy weight and it is just now coming up on a year. It is not easy and sometimes I get discouraged that I am still about 10-15 pounds away from that goal. I do feel that it is it is a lot harder to try to lose those “last few pounds” and diligently calorie count when you don’t feel like you look that “bad”. The weight just seems to fall off easier the heavier you are–again, at least in my case.
My plan is to keep at this weight loss thing until I reach my goal at which point I will simply maintain. I encourage any of you trying to tackle your weight issues to find what works for you, be it Sparkpeople or a similar app. You will come up with your own little tricks and tips and you will find out what your body and mind respond too and that will help you along your journey.
Now watch, I will finally get these last few pounds off and then get pregnant again and have to do it all over again! Just kidding Hubby!