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(**Disclaimer**: If you are nursing you will need more calories in your diet to sustain yourself and your baby. I was not nursing when I began my weight loss efforts. Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise or diet regime to be sure it’s right for you!)
Back in 2012 after the birth of my first child, i was under the false impression that the 50 pounds I had just gained over the last 9 months would magically just fall off. I had always been small so there was no doubt in my mind that I would easily bounce back to my pre-baby body. Boy, was I sadly mistaken. My clothes didn’t fit me anymore so I had to spring for a new wardrobe which I really couldn’t afford. I had never had to worry about my weight so this was a whole new world for me. However, It never actually occurred to me that I could or should do something about it. Was I dieting or at least trying to eat healthy? No. Was I exercising or engaging in any sort of physical activity? Hell no. So it’s no wonder it took me over a year to lose the weight.
Now here we are 5 years later and I have just had my second baby. This time I only gained 35 pounds but I knew I didn’t want to wait a year to lose it all. I didn’t want to do some sort of crash diet or extreme workout regime. I wanted to lose the weight in a healthy way. Ryan actually gained about 25 pounds of sympathy weight so we both had weight to lose! It was so helpful to have a partner to join me on this weight-loss mission! We encourage and support each other everyday and it has really kept me going!
So How Did We Lose the Weight?
Here’s what we did:
We Found a Workout Program and Stuck to It
I had purchased the Kayla Itsines BBG Guides (not an affiliate, just a fan!) a couple of years ago but was never able to fully commit to the 12 week program. Once I got the gren light from my doctor to start exercising, we decided to give it a try together. Not sure how many BBG users are males but he admits it was a lot harder than he thought it was going to be! The program consists of 28 minute workouts, 3 times per week. I can’t commit to an hour at the gym but I can definitely commit to 28 minutes in the comfort of my own home! I highly recommend this program as it is highly effective. You’ll be amazed how much stronger you are after the 12 weeks!
Note: I recommend using a Tabata timer app while doing these workouts. I personally use a paid app, Tabata Pro but there are many free ones out there.
Working out regularly was the initial kickstart to our weightloss journey but we also did other forms of light physical activity. I wear a FitBit everyday and set a 10,000 step goal to keep me active. We also purchased second hand cruiser bikes and cruised around our little town a few evenings a week. It’s great to burn calories and have fun at the same time!
We Stopped Eating Like I’m Still Pregnant
After a few weeks of working out with the BBG program, I could feel myself becoming firmer and stronger but the weight wasn’t just melting off my body. Sure I was only 8 weeks postpartum but I wanted to start seeing real results. (I know, I’m impatient). We talked about it and realized we were still eating as if I was pregnant. In our case this meant eating whatever we wanted whenever we wanted it and in large portions. Ryan was the first to change his eating habits but I wasn’t quite ready to give up snacking at random. I liked grazing on whatever was in the pantry throughout the day. Also, I like to counteract the saltiness of meals with something sweet afterwards so I usually like to have cookies or other treats on hand. Unfortunately as it turns out, these habits aren`t exactly bikini body friendly. (Duh.) By my 3rd month postpartum, Ryan had dropped several pounds and I I was finally ready to join him. So long cookies for breakfast. Hello hard boiled egg on toast. (Snore).
We Started Counting Calories
August 1st, 2017 I weighed myself on our digital bathroom scale and Googled `How many calories should I consume to lose weight?’. That brought me to www.calculator.net. I entered my information (age,height, weight, gender and level of activity) and the Calorie Calculator calculated how many calories I needed to lose 1 pound a week. I needed 1300 calories per day to lose one pound per week, which at first sounded drastic considering I was probably consuming at least double that amount daily up until then.
We then activated the Samsung Health App on our phones. I know there are countless fitness apps out there but this one came preinstalled on our phones so it was the easiest. Samsung Health monitors your health by allowing you to keep track of your weight, steps, food consumption, sleep, water intake and more. Once we started using it, we could easily enter what foods we ate and the app would count the calories for us.
Getting over the initial shock of the calorie content in our favourite foods may have been the hardest part. A bowl of spaghetti has how many calories? Wow. We certainly had to make some major adjustments to our portion sizes. The best tool for that was a digital food scale and measuring cups. The Samsung Health app told us exactly the measurement that equivocates to one serving size of any food so we would limit ourselves to exactly that. Once we got the hang of it, it was really easy to make meals.
Counting calories has also forced us to make healthier choices when it comes to food. We have reduced our sugar intake dramatically, we don’t drink alcohol during the week, we eat more vegetables, more protein and less fat. It’s not boring though! We still can eat all of our favourite foods in the right portion size and we have dessert after dinner (like this one here). We can even have healthy snacks between meals throughout the day, all while sticking to our daily limit.
Check out my post on the low-calorie recipe for Easy Thai Peanut Chicken Stir Fry Under 300 Calories here!
We Drank More Water
Drinking water is essential to weight loss and can even help your body burn calories. We knew we weren’t drinking enough water daily so we got ourselves The Big Bottle Co. (affiliate) Water bottles to carry around with us everywhere. I personally made myself a 10 Sip Rule: Every time I drink from the bottle I have to take 10 sips. This forces me to drink more water and stay hydrated throughout the day. I try to drink 1-2 litres everyday. Not only has it helped with weight loss, but I have noticed clearer skin as well. What a bonus! HELPFUL TIP: Try The Big Bottle Co.’s (affiliate) BPA & BPS Free 2.2 Litre water bottles! Helping you easily achieve your daily water intake in style! Use Code: ASPENMOON10 to receive 10% off your order!
We Have a Cheat Day
We are pretty strict with keeping to our calorie limits during the week but once Saturday rolls around, all bets are off. Saturday is Cheat Day in our house. It’s an all-out free for all. We eat and drink whatever we want, all day. Candy, cookies, pop, you name it. Anything goes. Having a Cheat Day can shock your metabolism and actually help you lose weight. It really gives us something to look forward to and it’s a lot of fun.
Where are We Now?
Today, 3 months later, I have lost 19 pounds since eating healthier and 44 pounds since giving birth (about 15 of which were from the baby itself). Ryan has lost 39 pounds total and we feel great. Both of us are still within the Normal BMI range for our height and weight. I’m proud of us for sticking to it and living a healthier lifestyle.
I believe that you should love your body no matter what size you are but if you are truly ready to make a change, this is a good way to start. I know you’re probably thinking, “so I read all of this to find that the key to weight loss is ‘Diet & Exercise?’ Meaghan, I want to hit you now!” but this really works and is much less drastic than some yo-yo diet or gimmicky shake program.
Do you have a weight loss success story? I’d love to hear about it! Questions? Comment below or email me at email@example.com.
With Love & Light,