How I got back in shape after baby(Part 2 of 3)

Part 2:

My famous last words, “I can do it. I will do it. You have no idea what I am capable of.” (As told the trainer upon hearing him tell me I would be like the other hundreds of women he had come across that didn’t lose their baby weight).

I had said it out loud, now there was no turning back. I am a fighter, it’s in my blood. I do not ever give up on my goals without a fight. This was mind over matter. The matter being my big butt and belly. I reassessed my workout routine and eating habits and again proceeded to write down everything I ate in a typical week and then analyzed it. I also kicked up my jogs to runs and added in some light weights. With the holidays approaching, I felt more pressure to get my eating habits and exercise regimen under control. My goal for the new year was to be in my size 6 jeans.

October 2009-December 2009 I ran at the gym 3-5 miles per day for 4-5 days a week. I got down to 135 by the new year.

2010:My son’s 1st birthday was quickly approaching and I began to feel pangs of desperation to lose my last 20 pounds. I, of course, hit a major plateau. I would cry to my husband about never getting to my goal. I whined and complained for weeks on end and stopped seeing results in my body. I started to come to the realization that no women, other than supermodels, and those blessed with perfect genes, could ever get their pre-pregnancy bodies back. I was so upset, I preached this to anyone who would listen and most would agree with me that a woman’s pre-pregnancy body was unattainable. I was beginning to accept that I was going to be a few sizes larger than before having my son. A size 4 was below to average of the typical American woman. No one would blame me for not getting back to my size 0/2 pants.On one particularly loud whine fest, I actually heard myself. I listened to how annoying my whining sounded. I realized it wasn’t about size, it was about a goal that I had set for myself. A goal that I had set so high that even I was beginning to doubt myself. I realized it wasn’t about “them” it was about me and my goal. I then turned to my husband, who of course was at a loss of encouraging words, and said, ” I’m so over it.” He said, “What? Working out? Don’t quit.” I said to him, ” I am so over myself. Enough wallowing in the sea of my self-pity and time to just do it!” I vowed to stop talking negatively about myself, my body and to just do it! I stopped obsessing about what I was eating and just ate when I as hungry. I worked out when I said I would and took days off. I stopped having every conversation be about my body and my weight. I ate anything I wanted but in smaller portions. I would even set a 5 minutes timer when craving a snack after just having eaten to give myself time to think about if I really wanted to eat that snack or if I was perhaps just bored or thirsty.

By March 2010, two months before my son’s 1st birthday I was 125 pounds. I had roughly 7-10 pounds to go to attain my goal. I kicked it into high gear. A pound is 3,500 calories. Wow, that sounds like a lot right? Not if you look at it this way,

1. If you are eating 2,000 calories per day, shave off 250 a day and in 7 days that would equal 1,750 calories 1/2 a pound by not doing any extra exercise. 250 calories less a day means roughly 50 fewer calories per meal and snack. Easy huh?

2. The other 1,750 calories can be burned off at the gym and also through cardio because with cardio, when you are done with your activity, you can continually burn off more calories. You are also raising your metabolism by working out and eating snacks helps too. If you only worked out 5 days a week, then you would only need to burn 350 calories per day to lose the other half of that pound.

3. It is simple mathematics. What you put in (food), you must equal in exercise. Find out what your resting metabolic rate is, this is the rate at which your body burns calories without doing anything at all. That’s a good place to start to see how many calories you should be eating based on your height and weight. It’s science not magic to lose weight.

4. Most of us drink too many calories and forget to factor those in when adding up calories.

5. Most of us think we consume a LOT less calories than we really do; the only way to know for sure is to write it all down! You will be amazed!

Things to remember:

1. You WILL hit a plateau, this is inevitable, so plan for it.

2. Do not judge your “new” body against your old body right away, it is going to take time.

3. Be patient. If your original (or 2nd and 3rd) plan isn’t working, then create a new plan. This is a science not magic to losing weight.

4. If you go for a gimmick, you will have to most likely always be on that gimmick so old school diet and exercise is a gret place to start. And when I say diet , I mean look at your dietary intake and reduce.

5. Have fun and don’t obsess. Those around you are going to get tired and annoyed of you whining. (I know from experience)

6. Reward yourself with non-food items, like clothing in a smaller size. =)

Part 3: How I shed my last 5-7 pounds and how I’ve kept them off…

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How I got back in shape after baby (3 part series)Part 1

Part 1:

I was very physically active before having my baby. However, 6 months prior to getting pregnant I had not been working out or eating very healthy because of stress.  The bottom line is I was not fit, I was thin. I got pregnant and ate as if I had never had food before in my life. There is nothing like pregnancy to bring out the real food obsessions in a woman. I ate everything and was always eating. I found that those around me wanted to fatten me up and were also very happy to get me anything I craved at anytime of the day. It was heaven and hell at the same time. I felt my body changing and I noticed that I had gained more weight than the average woman in the various trimesters of pregnancy. I was always looked at as normal since I started my pregnancy at 118 pounds and 5’7″, the doctors always told me that I was normal, never pointing out that I was still gaining too much weight for the number of weeks I was in my pregnancy. I knew it was wrong, but it felt so right to eat my worries away. I didn’t work out much at the gym because I was very nervous about everything about the baby’s safety.I walked a lot during the middle to the end of my pregnancy which helped a lot with the delivery and weight gain. Overall, I ended my pregnancy around 180 pounds! That’s over 60 pounds of weight gain!

 I lost 8 pounds during birth, a few more pounds of water weight the weeks after the baby was born and was left with a lot of excess skin and cellulite on my arms and butt. Gross huh? This was a few weeks post pregnancy, if I had judged and given up on my body right there and then I wouldn’t have been making a fair assessment of my body. We all look kinda gross after having a baby. Maybe that’s because a human being was growing in our womb for 9-1/2 months!!! That’s right! It took your baby 9-1/2 months to grow inside you, stretch out your belly and make you hungrier than you’ve ever been for 9-1/2 months!! Clearly, we shouldn’t expect our bodies to return to normal in even a few months because it took us 9-1/2 months to get to where we are now!
A few things I did that help me were setting goals; lots of goals! I set my overall goal of losing my entire 60 pounds and fitting into my skinny jeans. I set a goal for each 3 months, since it took me 9 months to gain the weight I was giving myself 9 months to take it all off! I also set weekly and daily goals. I layed out my clothing in sizes from 10 down to 0/2 and only focused on the next size down as to not make myself feel worse. I also set goals to get to the next number on the scales e.i. get into the 150’s and then the 140’s.

My first step was allowing my body time to heal naturally. I won’t go into details, but I was comfortable to walk longer than a mile after about 6 weeks. I also wrote down everything I typically ate in a given day for a week and noticed a few simple corners I could cut, so that in turn I could cut out some unneeded calories. I did this whenever I hit a plateau, which all of will eventually hit when losing weight.

When you’re pregnant, people tell you how great you look and how you are “all belly”, then when the baby is born they are looking at you like an alien and wondering how long you will be “this way”. If they didn’t wonder, I sure did. Here’s a short roadmap on my trip back to my “normal” body. Luckily, I wrote down weekly what I did.

I started with walking and taking out a few calories in my diet. I did not diet. I became more mindful of what I was eating. From June -August, I walked outdoors with my baby in his stroller. I went from walking 1-2 miles 4 days a week to a light jog. When I felt more confident, I started back at the gym.

May 12, 2009- My son was born

June 2, 2009- we moved from the Bay Area to Southern California and I started walking outside with my son. I got to the 160’s.

July-August 2009- I was in a size 8 and in the 150’s

September I went back to the gym and started on the treadmill and the elliptical machine. My goal was to complete 30 minutes of rigorous exercise on these machines. Rigorous, not the “I-can-still-chat-with-you -while-working-out-at-the-same-time” type of energy level.

In October, I was stopped by a trainer for a free  training session. I took him up on the offer and while chatting with him he told me that his services would run me about $1,200 a month! I didn’t think I was that far away from my goal that I would have to literally pay such an excessively high price. I thanked him for his time and told him that I would be fine on my own since I only had 30 pounds left to go and had lost 35 pounds on my own. He told me something that I keep with me and think about whenever I am hitting a plateau, ” You know how many women I hear that from daily that never end up losing their pregnancy weight? You’ll be back once you see how hard it is and how you need a trainer to get back in shape.” I turned to him and said, ” I can do it. I will do it. You have no idea what I’m capable of.” With a smile I walked away…

Mom Guilt

If you have a kid, then you know exactly what I’m referring to. Mom guilt. It starts the day you find out you’re pregnant, because from that day forward you are constantly worried about doing the right thing for your baby.
It gets even worse once your baby is born. The second my child was born it sank in that I was responsible for another life. His life, as in whether or not he lived a healthy life. Talk about pressure. Lol. Well, not really funny. Less than 24 hours into my child’s life out of the womb, I was schooled on not knowing how to properly change a diaper and that I had too many blankets on him at one point and at another that he was too cold. Mom guilt.
His first year of life, I felt mom guilt when he got his first cold, cried for hunger and I had missed the cues and when he fell and hurt himself.
Mom guilt makes me work harder the next day or the next time a similar situation arises, but overall is a constant struggle I face.
Today’s struggle was taking my son to the pediatrician and finding out that he had the flu. Having the flu isn’t the worst part, the worst part was knowing that just two months prior me and my husband had opted out on giving him the flu vaccine. At the time we figured he had just had his 18 month immunization shots and one more shot that was not mandatory seemed unnecessary to us. We also were both raised without ever having had the flu shot.
I know there will be a plethora of events that will arise with our son where we will weigh options and hope the one we choose turns out to be the “right” one, so I will stay strong and hope for the best because mom guilt is a witch. ( well worse that a witch, but you know what I mean)
I could name 1,000 more cases of mom guilt but you catch my drift.
I know a few things for sure:
If I always give 100% and do what I believe is best for ny child at the time then I will be satisfied with myself.
I love my child and would never purposely harm him.
All bad feelings, even those of guilt will pass and sometimes a little guilt is good to keep me on my toes and better prepared for the next time a similar situations occurs.

*I just asked my husband if there’s such a thing as dad guilt and he said “I’m pretty sure there is”. Exactly what I was thinking, he has yet to feel the pangs of guilt. I debt mind taking the weight of guilt on ny shoulders for the both of us. I guess or of us has to be the optimist when the other (me) is breaking out.

Emotional Insurance

Here’s my theory: we have insurance on our apartments, our homes, our cars and even our lives, yet we don’t have any back up plans for when we are feeling really down. Emotional insurance seems to be the one things we are all lacking.

I am not talking about  the few times in life where an emotional tragedy hits and we don’t know what to do next. I am talking about the everyday obstacles that we sometimes face in our lives that leave us frustrated, angry, sad and detached from the world. For these instances, we need to have a formulated plan set up that will help us get out of our funk. I know people with full coverage on their cars but are careless with their emotional health.

What emotional insurance is:

We all know that despite out efforts, we are going to have a bad day every now and then. We all know that these bad days sometimes start from the second we get out of bed and realize our alarms didn’t go off, so now we are 30 minutes late; or maybe the bad day sneaks up on us out of a seemingly uneventful day. Now this being said, wouldn’t it be nice to know you have insurance for your emotional well-being?

How it works is very similar to your auto insurance. You would have to first write out your own emotional insurance policy by imagining a few things that always make you happy and relaxed. However big, small or superficial they may seem to other people, write them down. Now out of those things make Plan A your favorite go-to plan for feeling better. Plan B would be in the event that either plan A doesn’t help you or is somehow unattainable  at the moment, Plans C & D and how many other ones you come up with will be your back up plans.

You also need to have a list of go-to happy moments from your life. These moments can be drawn up when you are feeling yourself  getting into a bad mood. Use this list when you can’t seem to find your smile.

Example:  An instant way to make me realize how great life is, is the day I found out I was growing life within my belly.

Or I think of my late grandmother’s white rice and how we would tease her that it was so dry and so overcooked that we could eat it with a fork and knife. Which we would do just to tick her of. (part of me believes she continued to make the rice that way just to see us laugh).

Or I amile when I think about the day I graduated from college and the pride I felt in myself.

Or how I felt when I finished my first full marathon.

I’m sure we all have some moments. Think back to simpler times when you were a child and your mom let you have a treat before dinner or when you got a good grade in school. The simpler the better. All it takes is one smile to crack the feeling of a bad mood. These are not cures, but they sure help make life easier.

Have a plan for those bad days. Have a plan because without a plan you may be left feeling more anxious, sad, depressed, lonely etc.

Try it out. It may seem silly at first when you start writing out your plan, but don’t you think it’s sillier to NOT have a plan and be miserable? Most of the reasons we get upset and frustrated are silly when we look back at them. Why not have a good plan to get ourselves out of a funk or liven up our moods?

Laughter is the best medicine. We are still sick in my house and the other night me and my husband laughed so hard we both had a coughing fit! It was well worth it and even though I still have my cough, I can look back on that night and smile. =)

Seeing through the fog

It has been a sick month for my household. I don’t  mean sick in a slang term for cool, but literally sick. My infant son has been sick since around January 8th and then I have been sick since around January 14 and my husband this past weekend came down with our illness as well. The only difference is my husband had a really high fever. These are the moments in life that I feel helpless because I cannot cure everyone’s ailments. I have had other issues trying to get through to people emotionally this month and I am feeling a bit drained. I haven’t been able to workout at my normal level but I have gone back to the gym starting Monday and it made me feel mentally better.
All things in life are usually easier said than done. The reason is sometimes physical but mostly mental. It’s hard to be enthusiastic and happy when all I want to do is run away and hide from my problems. I can’t do that though. I am not only a wife, but I am a mother and I have to be strong and put on my big girl shoes and get things done despite my lack of sleep, pounding headache and physical ailments. For every short bout of frustration I have let come through to those around me, I have tripled my positively in turn to them. I am not perfect. I yell. I cry. I get frustrated. I get over it. I love harder each time I catch myself falling apart at the seams. I write. I sing my lungs out until tears fall down my face, somehow releasing me from my problems. I keep smiling.
January has been a long moth for me thus far. I always make it a point to learn something new about myself and I’ve learned that I have good instincts when it comes to the needs of my loved ones. All my baby needs sometimes to feel better is to be held in my arms. That’s pretty amazing to be able to say. My husband, though resistant to being babied, needs my loving motherly touch just as much as my baby. I may not be able to cure their ailments but I can help heal them.
So if you’re feeling down, I say let it out. Then go get happy. Even if it’s a temporary happiness. Do it. Do something for you even if it’s just a long bath and a glass of wine. There’s always tomorrow to look forward to but why not make the most of today?

How I found my happiness

Those who know me would think the answer is that I found my happiness when I met my husband and again when I had my baby. They would be right and wrong because they contributed to my happiness but are not the sole reason for my happiness.

On the long road to getting to where I am today, which is happy, I traveled down a lot of different roads each making me unhappy. As a child I was always fearful of being alone. As a pre-teen I felt awkward and unlovable. As a teen I was fearful of failure and never taking risks, I missed out on a lot of opportunities. In college, I was afraid of failure and was so headstrong that I never asked for help from anyone even when I was in dire need of it. At 20 I married the most amazing person I have ever known and I felt happy.

I had bouts of happy feelings and bouts of depressed feelings. I never felt a steady happy. In retrospect, I felt that my husband should make me happy. I was constantly blaming other people for my problems. I was not taking ownership. I constantly wrote in my journal the typical questions one might ask when they’re feeling down. “Why me?” etc and never asked the correct questions as to why I was always feeling like I was not enough.

The more I wrote when I was sad, happy, confused and angry led me to a better understanding of myself. I would write until the negative feelings passed and then later, when i was feeling much better, I would read these journal entries back to myself. I found that by doing this I was able to read it as an outsider. Since I have always been fairly good at giving other people advice I figured that I could write out all my feelings and read it as if I was reading someone else’s journal entry. I would study these and give advice. Throughout the years I found that my biggest fear was the unknown and failure. I also realized that by not doing those things I was fearful of I would always spend my life wondering. I learned to let go of the past and stop blaming other people for my life. There comes a time in everyone’s life where we must stop blaming other people. If you had a rough childhood and you find yourself constantly saying “It’s all I know because that’s how I was raised,” yet you don’t like that aspect of your upbringing then you are admitting that you know the source of the problem. Therefore, by knowing the source of your particular problem you have the power to change your actions.

Another example: Let’s say you have gained 10 pounds. You can’t figure out why you have gained these 10 pounds until you analyze your eating habits and realize you have been eating extra food after dinner. Now, with this knowledge you can continue complaining about those 10 pounds or you can stop eating the extra food after dinner and lose those 10 pounds.

It’s really that simple. Figure out the source. Eliminate the source or let it go and fix the problem.

I also set goals for myself. I started with small goals like vowing to wake up everyday and complete 5 miles. After completing 5 miles was easy, I set a goal to run those same 5 miles. I set goals to become a manager at the property I was a leasing agent at, even though i was only 22 years old. I got that promotion. I found out how to get it. What they were looking for. I also let the district manager know I was interested in being promoted.

I also decided to go back to school. I had dropped out when I was 19 because it was overwhelming me and I was a retail manager at a major company and didn’t think I needed to go to school to make money. I was right. Getting a degree doesn’t automatically equal higher pay. It is a skill you are learning. I discovered that personally I wanted to get my Bachelor. I didn’t do it for anyone else but myself. I wanted to quit many times. I did not allow myself to quit. I learned that although my husband was a great motivator, he was not my number 1 fan. I was, because at the end of the day, the degree would have my name imprinted on it, not his.

By 26, I was running everyday, lifting weights and teaching spin classes. I was envious of the marathon runners. I looked into training for a full marathon (26.2 miles), entered into a marathon, and 3 months later ran my first marathon. That day, after I was home from running and I was soaking in a hot tub, I cried my eyes out. The pride I felt was indescribable. It wasn’t the miles, it wasn’t my time on the race or that fact that I was 1 of only 25 females amongst a race with 300 men, it wasn’t that my first marathon was an advanced course; it was because I had set what I had thought to be an unattainable goal and I had exceeded it.

One year later I graduated with my bachelor degree.

The most important things that lead to my happiest:

1. Taking ownership. Not apologizing for my accomplishments, things I have worked for, my opinions.

2. Letting go and forgiving the past and people who have harmed me. Whether or not you tell them they have been forgiven is irrelevant because forgiveness is  a gift you give to yourself not to others. Whether or not they have asked for forgiveness doesn’t matter either. Those who have hurt me most I have never mentioned to them that they have affected me so immensely. Unless I feel I need to hear it from them, I have let go of that naiive hope that they will change. I have accepted that things are as they should be and I can not change anyone. People have to change for themselves.

3. Setting big goals and the small goals that help to achieve that big goal.

4. Living with no regrets. By connecting the dots, even th bad things that have happened to me, to get me to where I am today (happy), I can see why each of those sometimes terrible things had to happen to me.

5. Not listening to the nay-sayers. Who cares what the haters say, the negative people, all that matters in the end is what I think because it’s my life.

6. Being confident. Even when I do not feel confident I fake it until I feel it.

7. Never saying “can’t”, “won’t” and “unworthy” when talking about myself and my abilities.

8. Smiling. Being positive. Acting positive. Being positive. Knowing that a bad day is just that, a bad day. That’s why they made tomorrow afterall. =)

9. Taking” me” time.

10. Exercising and taking care of my health. Nothing feels better than a good run and the accomplished feeling and rush of endorphins I feel after leaving the gym. Nothing.

11. Making other people happy. Being a positive influence on other people around me.

12. Making sure my husband, my baby and all my loved ones know just how loved they are- always, because life is such a gift. I know that now.

I am now 29 years old. I struggle now with everyday life with a toddler. Some days I wonder if I am doing everything I can to make my baby happy, healthy and that he is developing efficiently. I set goals that may seem silly to others, but little goals here and there make me happy. In the end that’s what matters. That I am happy. Because if I feel happy, I will act happy and those around me with catch my contagious infection known as happiness. =)

Some nonsense-People that annoy me…

Types of people that annoy me:

1.Loud people- They are loud at the movies. Loud on their cell phones. ( No I did not need to know that about you, thanks for sharing with me at the rest of the people in checkout lane 9). Loud at the gym. Loud at restaurants. Loud. Please use your inside voice and stop yelling because I can hear you just fine!

2. Weird Pet People-People who use strollers for their dogs. Unless no wait, that’s just weird.

3. Blood Orange people. Stop overtanning! You look silly and make other people uncomfortable. They usually also wear too much makeup.

4. Bad Drivers- There are so many bad drivers in the world. What’s worse is that they are not just annoying, they can be very dangerous, too. Remember that driving is not a right; it is a privilege. That’s why whenever you break road rules, you get a ticket. Even worse, is they rarely admit to being a bad driver. Instead they blame other drivers for all of their accidents.

5. Bad Listeners– When people pretend to be listening to me and really they are only hearing what I am saying, not listening to the words.

6. 15 minutes of fame that lasts longer. AKA Jersey Shore, The Kardashians, Kendra, Paris Hilton, basically anyone on the E! network or an MTV reality show. There’s a reason it’s called 15 minuets. I wish the public would stop treating them like icons.

7. Bluetooth People– People who are on their bluetooth in public. I don’t know if they’re talking to me, themselves or have turrets.

8. Know it alls- I get that some people are just knowledgeable and are bound to know something wherever you lead the conversation to. What is annoying is when these people start to act like they know everything — as in EVERYTHING.

9. Conformist poser: like anything their friends like. For example, they would go telling people that they like a certain band that all their friends love even though they don’t even know any of their records. In the process, they would try to love that band just because other people adore them. Or they would love anything that is popular. If everyone likes a certain movie, they would like it, too. They do this just so they could look cool and that they belong. If you are under 25 years old than that’s ok, you’re probably still finding yourself.

10. Nonconformist posers would do just about anything just to look different. They would set up a facade that they do not like certain people or things to steer away from being a conformist even when deep inside they have always been in love with Brad Pitt or has been watching Glee all this time. They would buy things that could make them establish an I’m-so-not-like-everyone image.

11. Snobs: The type of person who deems themselves of higher status than others because of their fashion sense, wealth, or intelligence. These types are just mean people who are out of touch with the world. But without them, there would not be a need for wisdom. =)