Put a Baby in Me: Part 2
When I was 13, a boy told me to “lose some weight and then call him” a couple of days after we had kissed at a party. You’d think that after 25 plus years I would have forgotten how painful that was and that as a grown woman I know that anything a teen boy or man says to make himself look cool by hurting someone else should be brushed off, but that comment has haunted me my entire life. I knew I needed to lose weight if I was serious about having a baby because I was well aware of the fact that any reproductive clinic could reject me because of it, just like that boy did a million years ago. There has also been extensive research done on how weight can affect pregnancy for both the mother and the baby so it was time to get serious about dropping pounds.
After I had firmly decided that this was the journey I wanted to take, I started coming up with a game plan as to how to make weight loss easy, tolerable, and something that is sustainable both before and after pregnancy. Typically, people that do cleanses, boot camps, and trend diets like Keto or South Beach do not succeed for a long period of time. Those methods have been proven to not work because you can’t maintain that sort of lifestyle for extended periods of time. The weight loss industry is designed to fail people because if these diets and boot camps worked, then the industry would collapse from lack of clients. Shows like The Biggest Loser have also set up unrealistic expectations and standards for people that are trying to lose weight. No average person can maintain that level of success for a long period of time unless they have an unlimited supply of money, free time, nutritionists, and personal trainers to keep them on track. I needed to figure out what would work for me long term.
It all started last July of 2020 when two of my friends coerced me into going on a hike with them. I was skeptical because I am not a big fan of hiking, but they told me that the hike was only going to be three miles. I thought it was doable and agreed to go. The hike was beautiful and overlooked the coast, but what was supposed to be a three mile hike turned into a six plus mile venture! They wanted to climb up to a lookout point over the ocean and I just kept on going with them. Even though I was worn out by the time we got back to our cars, I was really proud of myself because I kept going and it was proof that my body could handle that sort of physical exertion. Even though I cursed my friends at the time for duping me, I ended up thanking them later for sticking by my side when I needed breaks and encouraging me to keep going. This was the first step.
If a person who is just starting to lose weight or is thinking about losing weight asks me what I do on a daily and weekly basis, it might seem overwhelming. I started off slow with a couple of lifestyle changes. I started walking two miles three days a week and limiting the amount of takeout food I bought during the week. That’s how it began; very simply and not too extreme. Over the next couple of months from September to October of 2020, I started walking two and a half miles four to five days a week, limited ordering delivery to once a week, and it needed to be something decently healthy. I began to cut back on carbs and sugar, and increased my fiber and lean protein intake.
This leads to what I’m currently doing. I go walking six days a week for almost three miles and on those six days, I hit 10,000 steps or more. I’ve started incorporating light weight training because cardio can only get you so far. Eventually, your body plateaus and losing pounds is more difficult. I am sticking with the same rule for ordering food, cutting out as much sugar as possible, cutting way back on carbs, sticking with lean proteins, increasing vegetables and fruits, and mostly eating healthy snacks. This sounds like a lot and it is, but I’ve grown accustomed to it and it doesn’t feel difficult.
My biggest change has to do with my way of thinking and some small tricks along the way. My biggest hurdles are not the exercising or food changes, it’s my mentality. If I look at this like it’s something I HAVE to do, then it becomes a chore and I hate it. If I look at exercise and healthy eating as something that I don’t enjoy, I will stop and revert back to how I used to be. I like to say that the changes were 25% physical/lifestyle and 75% mental. This shift in my way of thinking has been a life changer.
This is not to say that I’m on the straight and narrow all the time because I still want to enjoy my life. On the weekends, I usually am more lax with what I eat but don’t go overboard. I am not beating myself up if I weigh in at the end of the work week and haven’t lost any weight. I’ve been pretty good about losing on average a pound a week starting from about September, but if it doesn’t happen, I assess how I can get myself back on track and keep moving forward. I don’t drink alcohol which is great because alcohol has a ton of calories, carbs, and sugars that can make it even more difficult to lose weight. I have a jar of mini cinnamon jawbreakers to help with sugar cravings, and if I’m really wanting something like French fries, I give myself about 20 minutes to think about going and getting some. If after 20 minutes I’m still willing to make the effort for fries, then I get them, but I usually talk myself out of it. All of these little things have been a big help.
Like I said, I don’t think that what I’ve been doing and what I am doing is really difficult. It really is mind over matter for me, which I know will not be the same for other people. This is just what has worked for me. Obviously, once I get pregnant, I will stop losing weight, but I’m hoping I can maintain my fitness level and better habits that I’ve worked so hard on over the past year. It’s a battle, but one that I feel is worthy because my health and myself are worth fighting for.