These past 9 months have given me a great opportunity to step away from my weight loss efforts and to take a closer look at my eating and workout habits. This pregnancy has opened my eyes to a few things. First, it made me realize that I’m way too hard on myself! I look back on pictures from last November now and think, “why the heck did I think I was so much bigger than I actually was?”. Granted I’m looking at my past self through pregnant eyes, but it was good for me to realize that in the moment I’m way too hard on myself. Stepping back made me see that I must applaud myself for all of the great things I’m doing and must assess my achievements in ways beyond the scale. Though I still plan to weigh myself on a scale as a form of assessment, the scale is just one tool!
The second thing pregnancy made me realize is that I’ve hit a major weight loss plateau these past few years. It wasn’t until I stepped away and looked at the big picture that I realized it. I lost 50+ pounds in 2006 and kept it off until 2009. Since then my weight has fluctuated between 210 and 235 pounds, which is a lot of fluctuation. I didn’t plateau in the sense that my weight loss stalled, as I was gaining and losing, but instead I was on a rollercoaster of trying to find something that would work for me the way that Weight Watchers CORE worked for me back in 2006. Really since starting this blog in 2011 I’ve been trying to get back on the weight loss train but this pregnancy has shown me that I’ve really been the one sabotaging my own efforts. There are LOTS of plans or programs to follow out there, which I’ll talk about tomorrow, but no matter the program, I have to really work on changing my unhealthy habits in order to be successful! A plan just provides structure and although it takes work to follow a plan, it takes a lot more work to consciously go against the urges or habits you’ve had your entire life.
I know what my struggles are…
- I guesstimate my portion sizes all the time and guess what, what I’m eating is almost always more than I think I’m eating. That extra tablespoon or extra 1/4 cup of food equals calories and over the course of a day or week, those calories can make the difference between losing a pound and losing 3 pounds.
- If I eat based solely on my cravings or what is convenient I will almost always turn to carbohydrates (breads, tortillas, crackers), dairy (cheese), and/or sweets (ice cream).
- When I eat intuitively now, I overeat. I am not really listening for hunger cues. I tend to eat 3 meals a day, no matter what, and often allow myself to get too hungry before deciding to eat. I then overeat because I’m so hungry.
- I do eat fairly healthy foods most of the time but when I track those foods (whether on Weight Watchers or in My Fitness Pal) I am always shocked by the nutrition breakdown. I am eating far less protein than I should be and am eating too many carbohydrates and/or fat)!
On the flip side of my second realization, I also realized that while I may have plateaued on the weight loss front these past few years my fitness has never been better! Since 2010, I have trained for many road races, I’ve lifted a lot of weight, I’ve taken a lot of spin classes, and I’ve played full contact football for the DC Divas. This pregnancy reminded me how much I love fitness and how great it makes me feel. While the verdict is still out on whether or not I’ll play football next spring, I know that I at least want to get back to the fitness level I was at before I got pregnant.
The last thing this pregnancy has made me realize is that I really want to figure this out! I really want to conquer the unhealthy habits that have afforded me something in my past. Jillian Michaels often talks about how weight affords people something. For me, my weight affords me comfort and pleasure. As much as I hate struggling with my weight it doesn’t keep me from having that extra piece of cake at a birthday party. I allow the pleasure I get from that piece of cake to outweigh the joy that can come from reaching my health and fitness goals.
I am excited to become a mom and to see how that changes my mindset around food. My desire is to teach my daughter healthy eating habits and not to push my unhealthy habits onto her. I want to learn from her ability to eat only when she’s hungry and I hope to be aware of how I might be affecting the healthy habits she is born with. I’ve read many times that the goal for us as adults is to return back to the habits that we were born with. To eat when we’re hungry, to stop when we’re full, and to listen to what our bodies needs.
My weight loss plan for after pregnancy is actually quite simple when you look at it on paper, but I know that each piece must come together in order to reach my goals. I am going to dive into my plan tomorrow, but these realizations made me realize that in order to be successful with weight loss after pregnancy I’m going to need the following…
- To be kind to myself and my body
- To be held accountable
- To follow a structured plan
- To remain dedicated to my plan, even when I feel like my body and/or habits aren’t changing
- To enjoy my workouts and any fitness goals I may be working on
- To not be scared of the unknown!
I’m excited and scared about this next chapter! I’ve had a lot of time to think about everything and now that it’s right around the corner I’m getting nervous. I love being able to share my story and journey here on Coffee Cake and Cardio but I’ve got to admit, I’m tired of not being a success story. While it’s extremely important for me to be able to share the full spectrum of weight loss, highs, lows, and everything in-between, I am just ready to break through this 3 year rut I’ve been in!
Yes I’ve been in this position before, creating a plan, setting goals, and throwing them out into the world, but I know that now is the time and I’ve got to get this figured out. I want to reach the happy and healthy place this blog was built upon and to share my journey along the way!
To be continued tomorrow…