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!

Bundle of Baby Joy

A day after my last post, baby Caroline finally arrived, all 8 pounds, 9 ounces & 20 inches of her!

She’s our little miracle baby.

Mommy at birth

1-week

2-weeks

3-weeks turtle

 

So you can do the math, that was a month ago!  My how life has changed and been crazy busy ever since!  Coming in the next post, adventures in post-partum weight loss… or lack thereof.

 

 

The Final Countdown

Is the cheesy 80’s song by Europe playing in your head? It is mine!  It’s hard to believe I’ve survived 9+ whole months and her due date is finally here! Of course, she’s stubborn and making us wait a bit longer. Aside from being super excited to meet the crazy baby girl that’s been blowing up my stomach for so long, I’m also excited to get my body back and feel like myself again!!  There’s a lot of chatter on the baby boards about mother’s putting too much pressure on ourselves to look good quickly after baby, and possibly not getting enough calories to breast-feed.  I certainly plan to increase my calorie intake to allot plenty for milk production, but i’m most excited for the exhilaration that comes from exercise that I’ve been missing terribly for 9 months.   And that feeling of just being myself, and my body belonging to me again.

 

Anyway, so let’s see where we’re at…

 

weekly-weigh-in

Pre-pregnancy weight: 125 pounds (October, 2013)

Full-term pregnancy weight: 164 pounds (August, 2013)

 

And here’s what that looks like!   I feel a little crazy for posting pictures online in a bathing suit, but it’s so much more impactful so see the amazing transformation in our bodies as we grow another human being!

Weight gain collage

That’s a gain of 39-pounds, which is just slightly more than the 25-35 pound weight gain I was told to expect.  They say we can reasonable expect to lose 15-20 in the first week between the baby, placenta, and de-bloating.  So basically I’ll be right back where I started when I began my blog adventure 3 years ago.  I’m cool with that – if I can do it once, I can do it again!  So what’s my strategy?  First, I plan to breast-feed, and that means I need at least 500-calories a day just for that, on top of the 1,500 calories a day I’d need just to sustain myself.  It’s important I not let my calorie intake get too low or it could affect my milk supply.  So… my goal will be about 1,800 – 2,000 healthy calories per day, plus whatever extra I earn with exercise.  There are tons of great calculators and other articles online that can help you figure out what you need.  They key there was “healthy” calories.  Not calories that come from processed foods and sugar.  Lots of veggies, fruits, and proteins.  The baby needs those healthy choices as much as I do!

 

Next, I definitely plan to incorporate my beloved vegetable juices and nut milks, which I grew so fond of last Summer and helped me reach my all-time goal weight of 125 and I never felt or looked better in my life!  I truly believe that fruits and vegetables will heal you from the inside out, and juice (or smoothies) are a quick way to pack in lots of servings.  I saw another cool documentary recently that touched on this subject, called “Hungry for Change“.  Check it out if you need some motivation to kick the crap out of your diet!

 

Have an awesome weekend, and please touch base if you’d like to join in the post-pregnancy getting healthy again challenge!

Baby Turtle

Halfway to Baby!

At almost 23 weeks, I’m a few weeks past the half-way point with our baby GIRL!  Caroline Diane is due at the end of July…

It's a GIRL!

It’s a GIRL!

 

On the health and weight front, I’m up nearly 20 pounds, matching my heaviest weight ever.  For good reason of course, but I can’t help but be a little freaked out by seeing the scale go up.  I’m sure those of you who’ve struggled with weight your whole lives can relate to this!  Obviously dieting is out of the question, but I’m only supposed to gain 25-35 pounds, so I do need to pay attention and slow down the gain.  What’s more, I’ve read that what you eat during pregnancy can influence the what your baby will like.  Well I certainly don’t want this kid liking chocolate and candy more than veggies!  Time to get back on juice and veggie smoothies, which I’ve neglected since getting pregnant.

Exercise is much more challenging these days.  It was usually out of the question during my first trimester, as I spent much of it sick and feeling accomplished just to get out of bed and go to work for 12 hours a day.  I’m feeling better in my second trimester and have resumed daily walks, and occasionally a light jog or the elliptical machine.  Back and belly pain has slowed me down quite a bit, which is quite aggravating being a lifetime athlete to feel so limited!  It helps push me forward to think of keeping myself and my baby healthy, and selfishly, to shed the baby weight quickly post-baby.  I found a selfie that I took just before getting pregnant, when I was in the best shape of my life!  I will post it later and use it as my motivation to get my body back.  Meanwhile, I’ll continue the daily grind.

 

Ladies, for those that have been through pregnancy, I’d love to hear about your healthy journey, before and after!

Healthy & Fit… Pregnancy?

Life throws some crazy curveballs.  After 11 years of marriage and multiple reproductive issues that I won’t go into, we had assumed and accepted that kids were just not in the cards for us, and had even planned to start the adoption process soon.  Then one day, life just happens.

Do you beleive in divine intervention?  I’m not a very religious person, but do beleive in a higher power, and lately it really feels like He’s working through me.  First, there’s the move home to Nashville, and the crazy work events that led up to that point.  Our families both live in the area and were ecstatic.  Then my mother-in-law got very sick during the transition, and sadly, passed away just a week before we moved home.  She wanted so badly for her baby son to be a father, and I can’t help but think back to the bible verse that “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away” (Job 1:21).  Then my mother says she had a vision during my mother-in-laws funeral that we would have a baby within a year.  Within a month I was pregnant.

OH MY GOSH!  So… it seems my blog is shifting to healthy pregnancy!

Fit Pregnancy