Hey mamas! You’re probably here because you’ve seen something about how I lost 70 pounds (32kg) after having my first son, Tanner, and you’re wondering what kind of diet I followed to get such awesome results. In my last post about Body Back Transformation, I shared how it’s been the old standbys of clean eating and regular exercise which have helped me lose weight, gain strength, and feel confident again after giving birth.
Honestly, if I had to say whether I think it’s diet or exercise which is most effective in weight loss, I’d have to say diet. BUT it’s not what you think! It’s not starving yourself, eliminating whole food groups (i.e. no carbs), or some wacky fad diet. The word diet totally sucks anyway, so let’s eliminate it from our vocabulary and start talking instead about changing the way we eat overall.
Here’s the main things I’ve changed in HOW I am eating which helped me shed weight and change the shape of my body.
Eat real food.
Food should be perishable and unprocessed. Ideally, it doesn’t have an ingredient list: like apples. There are no ingredients. It’s just an apple. Same goes for oats, chicken, broccoli, nuts, quinoa, sweet potatoes, grapes, lettuce, and the list goes on and on. It’s WHOLE food, REAL food, and it goes bad if you don’t eat it in a week. Guess what? Food is supposed to perish! The easiest way to follow this guideline is stick to the perimeter of your supermarket, shop farmer’s markets, or join a local CSA (community agriculture) so that your kitchen is stocked with real food.
Eat more often.
Aim to eat within 30 minutes of waking, and eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day. Keep the meals small and balanced between macros (carbs-protein-fat). Eating frequently will help keep your metabolism revved up and working throughout the day!
Drink more water.
I can’t emphasize enough how much proper hydration has helped me identify hunger and curb mindless snacking. I think at least half of the time when I start to head for a snack, what I really need is water. On this same point, drinking other stuff is usually not helpful – especially if those things are alcohol, soda pop, or excess caffeine. I say excess because let’s get real: I am not quitting coffee. It’s BAE. So, I keep it to 2 bulletproof coffees per day and the rest of my bevvies are strictly water. To make it easy for myself, I got a big pretty Tervis tumbler and my favorite Polar Bottle Thermaluxe. Having large water containers (20 oz+) keeps me guzzling. I also set a water alarm on my phone for every hour, and when it goes off I have a chugging contest which myself. I always win.
Stop counting calories.
Let me rephrase that: STOP COUNTING CALORIES!!!!! For most of my life, every single time I’ve tried to lose weight or gain fitness, I’ve counted calories. And every single time, I’ve felt deprived and restricted as I’ve tried to hold myself to a number like 1200 calories per day. Especially for new mamas, as you’re recovering from birth and dealing with sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, and hormonal changes, YOU DO NOT NEED TO RESTRICT YOUR CALORIC INTAKE. Sorry for shouting, but I have to make sure this is received! Yes, there is truth to calories in/calories out science. But, when we focus on a number, we often deprive ourselves of the nutrients we need to maintain optimal function, and send our bodies into starvation mode. Start thinking more about eating MORE good quality food and think less about eating less overall. I found it really helpful to use the MyFitnessPal app and instead of tracking the calories (which it still does) I keep an eye on my nutrient intake and macros. I am for 40/30/20 – carbs/fats/protein and try to stay below 25g of sugar for the whole day. Which brings me to my next point…
Stop eating sugar.
(And this is where you say “go eff yourself” and walk off.) I know, I know. I used to think people were CRAZY when they would say they just lost weight after cutting out sugar and white flour. Like, it seemed easier to me to cut off my arm than cut out sugar. For one, it’s in everything. And two, it’s delicious. It’s tasty white goodness is just so damn alluring… why? BECAUSE IT IS AN ADDICTIVE DRUG ON PAR WITH COCAINE. Are you hearing me? Sugar = Cocaine. It acts on the same receptors in the brain and stimulates the same neurotransmitter release (dopamine) which is the feel good chemical, the same one we get a little rush of when someone likes your facebook post. Just hear me out: Quitting sugar is not easy, because there are added sugars in everything. I know that. But it’s also not as hard as I made it out to be for years. Now, in all honesty, I am not meeting the goal of less than 25g per day. I want sweets because they make me feel like I’m treating myself. So, instead of eliminating all sugar, I instead have cut way down and selectively have sugar earlier in the day (before 3PM) and make sure it’s from natural sources like fruit, honey, or maple syrup. I limit the honey and syrup (and make sure they are organic and no added corn syrup, etc) to no more than 2 tsp a day. I also have figs and dates in my pantry which help a ton for when I just want a little sweetness. My go to is a smoothie with frozen banana, dates, vanilla, fresh strawberries, coconut water, and coconut milk. The healthy fats in the coconut milk combined with the sweetness of dates and banana make it taste like a strawberry milkshake. Try it. You’ll thank me later.
Meal Plan & Prep.
Plan to succeed by giving yourself a realistic game plan for your food, and then make it easy on yourself by prepping fruit, veggies, meats (if you eat them) and sides one or two days per week, so that you don’t come home hangry and end up ordering takeout. If you don’t have a plan, you will give in to the easiest option available. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human (and hungry). Meal planning and meal prep have been total game changers for me in setting myself up for success. In my next post, I’ll share my list of go-to meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and snacks, along with some meal prep tips.
Find or create a community of people who have your best interests at heart and will help you stay focused on your goals. My husband is my biggest cheerleader, and was happy to change his eating habits along with me to give me the best chance for success. But he’s the easiest one to bully if I decide to go off the rails! So, I also committed to an eight week transformation session through Fit4Mom called Body Back Transformation. Along with twelve other women, I made a goal and plan to stick to these principles for 8 weeks and see what happened. I’m on my third 8 week session now, and it’s been so helpful for me to have other women struggling alongside me as I work towards my goals. When I want to cheat, I think of them. We have a Facebook group where we post our meals, encourage each other, and swap recipes. If you can’t find a support group, join mine! I made a private Facebook group for clean eating accountability and would love to welcome you to join. Find it here. You can also check out the program I am part of by visiting Fit4Mom on the web or checking out the Oceanside Body Back or Stroller Strides Facebook !
Tags: diet, weight loss