A few years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful daughter. I gained 52 pounds during my pregnancy, and guess what: the baby didn’t even weigh 7 pounds. During pregnancy, my priority was the health of my baby. A few months postpartum, however, I was ready to get back in shape! Three months after the birth of my daughter, I still had over 30 pounds to lose.
So how did I do it? I didn’t lose the weight through a fad diet or magical meal plan. I didn’t use diet pills or other gimmicks. I used (brace yourselves) a sensible diet and plenty of exercise.
The diet I consumed was a moderate one, focusing on well-balanced meals and snacks. That’s right. There is nothing wrong with snacks. In fact, for me they were essential. Snacks keep one’s metabolism going, prevent getting overly hungry, and maintain blood sugar levels. I have always been a “grazer,” much preferring to snack here and there to eating 3 larger meals a day. I didn’t forbid any particular food or food group from my diet, and therefore, I didn’t feel deprived and I didn’t obsess over said food. I knew I could lose weight for summer (and life) if I maintained this moderate diet, and once the weight was lost, it would be much easier to maintain.
One of the most common reasons that dieters fail at losing weight is that they set unrealistic expectations; they rely on fad diets or gimmicks, and deprive themselves. This deprivation is only setting yourself up for failure. Most people can only go so long with no carbs before they break down and eat a dozen donuts or a large pizza (possibly both). By allowing myself the occasional doughnut and reasonable portions of pizza, it didn’t become an obsession.
While losing weight, I consumed 1700-2000 calories per day. This is much higher than some of the more formal weight loss plans. By calculating caloric needs at The Mayo Clinic’s website, and subtracting around 250-500 calories from that number, I arrived at my ideal caloric goal for the weight loss I desired. I also took into account the second part of my spring weight loss plan: exercise. If I burned more calories through exercise, I allowed for more food intake.
Exercise. Fitness/exercise played a large role in my weight loss success. I did Pilates 2 times per week for 30-60 minutes, some assorted strength training, and cardio 3 times per week. This cardio exercise consisted of walking, aerobic routines, and stationary bike riding. The Pilates and strength work was essential to reducing flabbiness from the pregnancy, as well as ensuring that I was as toned as possible when the weight finally came off.
And the weight did come off. I started my spring weight loss plan/post-baby weight loss plan in mid-February. By the end of May, I had lost the 30 pounds that I had set out to lose. This comes out to about 1.5-2 pounds per week. I achieved the weight loss through sensible eating and exercise. I have been able to maintain my weight loss by doing so in such a healthy, maintainable way. Can I keep eating sensibly (which does include treats)? Yes. Can I work out a few times a week? Sure. I can and do… at least most of the time.
The Mayo Clinic. Calorie Calculator. http://www.mayoclinic.org/calorie-calculator/itt-20084939>.