A month ago, I made it my goal to start recording my food intake and exercise. I failed. I didn’t do it. I have no excuses. I just wasn’t ready to start that discipline. This week however, the pain of my current state was more than the pain of changing: I was frustrated at my lack of progress. So, I jumped back on myfitnesspal app and began recording. Every. Single. Meal. And! Every snack and beverage for that matter.
Let's back up a minute for a little context.
Over the past 6 weeks I have been writing about my postpartum weight loss journey (read the intro post here). These posts are not just for new mothers. They are for anyone who is interested in ideas and encouragement for your own weight loss journey (or getting healthier journey). Here’s what I’ve been up to the last two weeks:
Before I began tracking, I thought I might be a little high on my calorie intake, but I even surprised myself with how much food I was consuming. I wasn’t necessarily binging—the snacking was subtle. An extra cheese stick here. A handful of nuts there....and then another...and one more to make a nice set of three handfuls. A bed time snack so I could sleep better (after all, I’m nursing!). I was well over my recommended intake- even for a nursing mom. My habits reminded of the Berenstain Bear book Too much Junk Food! There is a picture in the book where the doctor grabs a handful of papas midsection and basically says, “this is the result of all that extra snacking!” That is me!
The first three days of tracking everything I ate and drank felt a little like torture—because of my unhealthy habits. I’m even a little embarrassed to write this given my 14 years as a fitness professional who has encouraged people to track calories millions of times. But, it’s the truth and it’s where I’m at.
After three days, the tracking got easier and reducing the unnecessary snacking was easier too. I say ‘unnecessary’ because some snacking for me is really important to keep my blood sugar stable and my milk supply healthy.
Here’s the kicker—I feel better when I eat less. I don’t mean starve myself. I mean, I feel better when I eat just what I need and no more. I feel lighter, more energized, and healthier than when I overdo it—regardless of how healthy the excess food is. Too much is just that—too much!
I’m extremely happy to report I have made significant progress in my weight loss journey this week. But more importantly, I am making better choices and healthier habits. This feels good. It feels like I’m honoring God with my choices and stewarding the gift of my body responsibly. It doesn’t feel restrictive or legalistic. Quite the opposite actually. Staying within my 'eating means' feels like freedom. I make my choices and enjoy the positive outcomes. When my choice is less than par, I’m ok with that too, but I know there will be consequences to own up to. It’s freeing to own my decisions rather than to live like an out-of-control driver—being pushed around by my emotions or short-term desires.
So here’s the bullet-point summary from the beginning of the journey:
- Being mindful and inviting God into my health journey (read more here)
- Exercising every single day-- even if it's just for a few minutes.
- Shop & Chop—washing and cutting produce immediately when I get home from the store AND prepping foods for the week (hard-boiled eggs, making a fresh batch of kombucha, putting something in the crockpot, etc). Check out some more ideas here!
- Start with veggies and fruits FIRST-- Before I grab the easy stuff (crackers), I’m going to grab the produce I cut up and put in baggies or glass containers in the fridge. Basically, I’m committed to the fridge before I hit the pantry.
- Make enough for leftovers—It’s as it sounds :)
What hasn’t worked:
- Weighing myself too often--I'm more focused and less stressed when I use the scale sparingly. Read more ideas here.
- Going clothes shopping prior to making significant progress (aka last week, aka bad idea, aka I'll wait until Thanksgiving)
- Thinking I can “eyeball” my calorie intake—In this season, I need to track my calories to get back to a healthy balance. Too much healthy food is still too much.
My goals for the next two weeks:
- Increase the intensity of my exercise. After 6 weeks, I need more than just walking daily and biking occasionally. I’m ready to start more intense cardio 3 times per week and strength training 2 times per week.
- NO SUGAR—My 11-year old is taking a break from sugar to help clean up her gut (and her complexion), so I’m going to join her. My goal is 2 weeks of absolutely no added sugar.
- Journal—I’m not just talking about food and exercise, but journaling about my day, my gratitude, and who I’m praying for is good for my soul. I plan to get out my journal at least once in the next two weeks.
As always, I look forward to hearing what’s working and what’s not working for you! Please COMMENT below or SHARE with us on social media.
Blessings on your journey friends!
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.