Mom Jeans

So I wrote this last week and apparently forgot to publish…

I was in such a rush this morning that I almost didn’t notice that for the first time in about 8-months, I was able to button my favorite black pre-pregnancy pants. No more stretchy hair band needed to fasten the button! I was also quite shocked yesterday to slip into some smallish size jeans at one of my favorite stores. Since I don’t have a single pair of jeans right now that fit well, it was finally time to invest in a new pair. My seemingly-tiny old jeans (funny they didn’t seem so tiny a year ago), tease me from the closet every day. Time to hide those away for a while!

That is definitely one thing that was not well communicated – you may not fit into your old clothes for a while! Somehow we all think we will have the baby and bounce back quickly. I think I’ve bounced back more than most (judging from the frequent comments I get), but I still have several extra inches in my waist and hips that just don’t work with most of my very fitted pre-baby wardrobe. Oh well – look at this little face!!! I think I fall more in love every day…

 

2 months

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Getting off my usual topic for this week (partly because I’m trying to break my obsession with my diet)… lately I have become fascinated by the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle movement, mostly as it relates to our stuff.  Several things have prompted these thoughts…

reduce-reuse-recycle

First, just look around.  We ALL have too much stuff.  When you walk or drive down any suburban street, you’ll notice most of the garages are packed full, sometimes meaning the cars do not fit.  I especially hated walking on garbage night because inevitably I would see perfectly good items tossed to the curb and for some reason my heart ached for these once-loved and now discarded items.  The one that still haunts me was a plant.  Yes, someone had put a nice, big, healthy-looking houseplant by the curb with the trash.  Had I not been in the process of moving, I think I would have gone back to save it.  Why not put a “curb-alert” on social media or Craigslist to get rid of unwanted stuff instead of just dumping it??

Second, when I walk into a traditional store, I am often overwhelmed by the amount of stuff crammed onto racks and shelves, mostly clothes.  Do we really need all of this!?  What’s more, all of this stuff usually feels very generic and common, like it’s the same thing that tons of other people are wearing.  I don’t want to be generic!  The last several times I have walked into one of these such stores, I walked out empty-handed.

Next there’s me and my own family.  Oh yeah, we are the classic example of too much stuff, some of which comes from other family members who have passed on or down-sized, and for some reason we hang on to, as if half their household is part of a special memory.  I have always been very stressed and uncomfortable around clutter, so I have faithfully purged my own home since I became an adult, frequently making drops at Goodwill or similar, feeling good about myself for helping the less fortunate.  Then one day I suddenly became aware that much of what I donated ended up in the garbage or shipped overseas.  (Sad but true, Google it.)  I had carefully cleaned and hung the clothing I was donating, and the associate tossed them onto the floor of a dirty trailer.  Needless to say, I took them back and have been mostly selling/trading/donating directly to those that want my used clothing ever since.  Don’t get me wrong, I think some of these stores do a great service to our community, but they are a business too and they get more than they can sell.

And then there’s the baby.  Good grief, they come with a lot of stuff!!!  I had several baby showers, and told everyone we welcomed pre-loved items, but nope, I got all new (plus a few awesome homemade things!).  Not that I wasn’t grateful, but there is so much great used kid’s stuff to be had!  I think there are generations of social stigma to get over – not being able to give a used gift.  While pregnant, I told my grandmother I was going to buy a few maternity outfits second-hand since I wouldn’t wear them long and she thought that was a terrible idea because I could afford better and would feel better about myself with something lovely and new from a nice store.  Um, I wouldn’t feel better about the cost of something I planned to only wear briefly.  I actually got quite a bit from my Mom from when I was a kid.  My mother-in-law used to give everyone in the family a “garage sale gift” at Christmas.  I have a new appreciation for this now!

These days, my husband and I go out o our way to find good homes for things versus just dumping at a thrift store, and never dumping for the trash, but we still have so much opportunity.  I’m actually thinking of challenging myself to see how long I can go without buying any new stuff, aside from basic household necessities (like tp and lightbulbs).

Check out this very interesting article on this subject.  I especially enjoyed the comments.

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2011/04/should-only-poor-people-shop-at-thrift-stores/

apparel diet

Green Smoothies

Anybody that knows me, or is friends with me on MyFitnessPal, knows that I am slightly obsessed with drinking my meals, and lately that means lots of green smoothies ! They are the perfect breakfast-on-the-go, packed with most of my daily fruit and vegetable needs and if made right, taste great!

These days I mostly just make up my own recipes based on what I have on-hand.  Once you master the art of the perfect smoothie (see picture below), you no longer need a recipe.  However, even I like a little inspiration every once in a while.  My inspiration for this week is coconut butter… I never thought to add that to my smoothies!  So today I whipped up frozen strawberries and peaches with spinach, kale and coconut butter.  Yummy!

vitamix-smoothie-list

So while researching for this blog, I came across the below article and am dumbfounded.  It seems like every time we turn around we’re being told something we thought was good for us is now bad for us.  How in the world can eating leafy greens now be bad for us?  I, for one, am not giving up my green smoothies anytime soon.  I still eat a well-balanced diet the rest of the day!

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-green-smoothies-can-devastate-your-health/

One of the comments to this article was on-target with my own personal assessment, and I often rotate my greens.  I tend to believe that a healthy rotating of many different foods, not just greens, is best anyway.

“… In summary, I wouldn’t entirely dismiss the possibility that eating too much spinach too frequently may not be ideal, since every type of vegetable may have some potentially toxic component. In my own green smoothies or salads I strive for variety, rotating among spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, collard greens, or mixed lettuces on different days. Each type of green has a different nutrient profile, so it just makes sense not to stick with only one type. And if there’s any harmful substance in a particular leafy green, the rotation strategy minimizes exposure to it and gives the body more time to eliminate the toxin. In my opinion, the great benefits of dark, leafy greens for health and longevity far outweigh the potential risks, for people who haven’t received specific medical advice to avoid greens (and even that advice is sometimes not based on the best science).”

 

As always, I’d love to hear from you!

Paleo Postpartum

I had an epiphany this week.  Several times I heard/saw/read references to people cutting back on carbs to assist with postpartum weight loss.  Hmm, I’ve done the Atkins diet before – definitely not my thing with my love of fruit – but they were not preaching drastic low-carb, just eliminating unnatural sugar and reducing starchy foods like bread, corn, and white potatoes.  I also just started reading “Eat Right for your Type“, a book about eating foods that are ideal for your blood type, and it listed grains and corn products as the biggest hindrance to weight loss for my B+ blood type.  Really?  Interestingly, I ate very little of these foods before I got pregnant.  I was on a mostly pescatarian diet (lots of fish and veggies), but during the nauseating first trimester, simple carbs (hello Fruit Loops!) were the only thing that appealed to me, and I’ve been eating more of them ever since.  Even though I’ve been counting calories, I have noticed recently that a whole lot of my calories are coming from simple carbs, mostly because they are easy and having a baby doesn’t leave me a lot of free time.  After my weekend popcorn binge, I was feeling incredibly bloated Monday.  Since then, I’ve drastically reduced my carbohydrate intake, getting it mostly from the fruit in my daily smoothies.  Even with little time for workouts, I feel much better after just a few days of carb-cutting!

A decade ago, the diet buzzword was “Atkins”, now it seems to be transitioning to “Paleo“.   They are very similar in that they promote more protein and low-carb, but Atkins (at least the modern version) allows for processed foods as long as they are low-carb, while Paleo is all about eating naturally.  Seems to me that was Dr. Atkins’ intent as well before commercialization took over and the company needed to sell more than just books, but I digress.  So is eating a “caveman cuisine” safe while pregnant or breastfeeding?  I found an interesting blog (click here) that explores this topic.  To summarize, yes, and it could actually be very beneficial.

paleo-food-paleolithic-nutrition-foodpyramid-1

 

I am not, and will never be, a lover of meat.  I could go the rest of my life without another piece of steak or chicken and be totally fine.  In fact, I spent a couple of years eating almost exclusively vegetarian and the only thing I really missed was fish, and the occasional cheeseburger.  Plus, after sampling just about every diet out there over the past decade, I’ve learned to just eat things in moderation and still get in the best shape of my life leading up to my pregnancy.  That being said, I DO think it’s time for some diet tweaking.  Just counting calories isn’t enough; it’s time to return to nature and re-adopt a more Paleo-friendly approach.  Only time will tell if I helps heal my body while still nourishing my baby!

My Love/Hate Relationship… with JUNK FOOD!

keep-calm-and-ignore-junk-food

 

When you think about eating healthy, it really doesn’t seem all that difficult.  We just have to put the right things in our mouths.  Somehow though, in our modern society of endless junk food surrounding us at all times, either literally or in advertising, it’s just plain HARD.  I don’t beat myself over splurging on a thoroughly enjoyed cheeseburger or ice cream cone every now and then, but I cannot stand when I mindlessly eat junk.  And worst of all, often that moment of weakness spirals into several days of junk.  This is all thanks to the chemicals in processed food that trigger us to crave more.  Lovely.

junk food

 

That being said, I had one of these such moment Saturday night.  After an awesome week and a great 6-mile run that morning, I was enjoying a rare, late-night movie and suddenly felt famished.  Was I really hungry or did my mind just tell me I was because I was watching a movie?  Cruel but true, our brains can trigger hunger cues when it recognizes a scenario where we often eat.  That’s why if you often eat in the car or when you first get home from work, you’ll find that you will usually be “hungry” when you’re in that scenario, even if you shouldn’t be.  So back to the movie (a scenario where I often snack)… It started innocently enough with a bag of Smart Pop popcorn, then I remembered the sinful and very stale chocolate-covered popcorn I had recently discovered in the back of my pantry, long forgotten and missed in the last pantry purge.  So knowing my husband and I both have issues with portion control, I put some in a small bowl and returned to the movie.  We quickly devoured that and suddenly I was even more hungry.  Next thing I know we’ve got the entire huge (and I mean HUGE) bucket of chocolate covered popcorn between us and I’ve made a major dent.  Feeling a little sick by the end of the movie, I put it away and vowed to work it off the next morning.

 

After a good bike ride climbing crazy Tennessee hills the next morning, I was worn out and felt redeemed, but within an hour I was once again craving that chocolate covered popcorn.  Oh well, I earned a few pieces right?  After a hearty serving, we went out for huge, delicious cheeseburgers, tater tots, and milkshakes, and then did a little shopping where I got to feel very guilty looking at my bloated self in the dressing room mirror.  Oh my goodness, stop the madness!  Moral of the story, even a little bit of junk food is too much, not because that little bit will make you fat (it won’t) but because it will probably make you crave much more.  And when I talk about junk, I’m mostly talking about sugar and processed foods.  It’s interesting to me that if you do an Internet search for “junk food”, most of the pictures will be of a cheeseburger and fries, but I would argue that the sugar is far, far worse for our health than the burger.  At least it has some redeeming qualities like protein, iron and calcium.  That’s a heck of a lot more than my popcorn!  Now that I think about it, the rest of that popcorn is going in the trash as soon as I get home!

popcorn

 

Back to Work!

I went back to work this week with mixed emotions – sad to leave my baby girl (in wonderful hands), but excited to get back to work and transition into my new adventure as a working mom.  I have a whole new respect for stay-at-home moms!  Good gracious, that is hard work, and I’ve only got one kid!  I personally think I’ll be a better mother by maintaining my career, and there have been lots of studies about the benefits to children if their moms work outside the home, but I won’t get into that highly controversial, and highly personal debate.  Even better, I cherish our mornings and evenings together so much more.  Bottom line – it’s good to be back!  And judging from the pictures our nanny sends daily, she seems to be adjusting just fine!

Hi Mommy!  Don't worry about me, I'm doing fine!

Hi Mommy, don’t worry about me, I’m doing fine!

 

One of the other big advantages of being back at work – I apparently eat better at work!  At home, I often found myself drawn to the pantry or refrigerator, staring at all the options and convincing myself I was hungry.  Case in point, I worked from home yesterday and went way over my calorie budget, on mostly healthy stuff, but still.  At work, I tend to be very busy with very little time to think about food.  I almost always pack my lunch, often in the form of beverages like a big Vitamix smoothie loaded with vegetables, fruit, and nut milks.  This week I’m doing a lot of these juices and smoothies, hoping the vast quantity of produce will help jumpstart my postpartum weight loss!

 

So I was super excited to do my month-end weigh in and finally see the scale budge after 5 long weeks!  I’m sure the lunch workouts helped, along with an abundance of vegetables via lots of juices and smoothies.  Most people tell me I’m so lucky that I lost the baby weight so fast.  Ha!  To me, it feels excruciatingly slow!!  I guess it all depends on your perspective.  But more important than my weight, I finally feel like myself again, like my body is all mine and I can do most of what I could do prior to my pregnancy.  It feels sooooo good to get out and jog, alone, without a stroller, just losing myself in my thoughts and enjoying this gorgeous Fall weather.

 

weekly-weigh-in

Pre-pregnancy weight125 pounds (October, 2013)

Full-term pregnancy weight164 pounds (August, 2013)

Goal: 128 pounds … giving myself an extra 3 pounds for the baby-food machines  ;)

Current weight138 pounds (6-weeks post-partum)

 

10 more pounds… I can do it!!! 

 

Family pic

Adventures in Post-Partum Weight Loss

Every mother’s least favorite subject — getting back your pre-baby body.  I wouldn’t trade my darling baby girl for all the fat rolls in the world, but yeah, I’d totally love to get my body back!

My pre-baby body, and my ultimate goal!

My pre-baby body, and my ultimate goal!

The first 20 pounds melted away in the first 10 days, it was great!  The baby, placenta, and all that water weight; every day I got on the scale, I was down another pound or more.   So naturally I thought it would magically keep going, right?  Not.  It came to a screeching halt 15-pounds from my pre-baby weight, and that’s where it’s been for the past 20 days.  Ignoring the advice of so many, I quickly started working out, lightly at first, and counting calories, careful to budget an extra 500 for breast-feeding.  Every few days I’d weigh in to see if it was budging yet – nope.  In fact it rebounded back up a pound.  Hmm, week 3, let’s cut a little more calories and increase my exercise intensity.  Back on the scale, and back up a pound.  Dangit!  Okay, so this is going to be harder than I thought.

So one month in and I suddenly understand what everyone was talking about.  I’m in the dreaded weight-loss plateau, probably due to trying to cut calories too early while my body was adjusting and burning like crazy for seemingly round-the-clock breastfeeding.  Taking a deep breath now, and cuddling my baby girl to remind me that it was all totally worth it.  I think I’m ready now to heed the professionals’ advice and not try to lose weight so soon.  Let my body adjust and heal.  So, I am going to give myself a 1-month vacation… a vacation from the scale and obsessing over calories.  I’ll keep eating healthy and doing increasingly intense workouts once given the green-light by my doctor this week, but let my body do it’s thing and stop obsessing.  Sigh, easier said than done.

 

Pictures are worth a thousand words so I’ll use those cute little stickers to track my own progress as well as my baby’s!

 

Oh my, is that really what I look like?

Oh my, is that really what I look like?

Note to self, be grateful for no stretch marks.

Note to self, you can lose the extra inches, but be grateful for no stretch marks!

 

I’d love to hear from more ladies who have been through the post-partum challenge!