Postpartum Eating Habits

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There are so many things I’ve noticed that have changed since before I had Evan. However, nothing is more drastically different than my eating habits.

Currently:

I LOVE honey. I used to be indifferent (crazy, right?) but my doula gave me a honey stick somewhere during labor and I have been obsessed ever since. It’s honestly the only sugar, aside from fruit (and Starbucks coffee), that truly tastes good.

Lactose bugs me. I’m good with greek yogurt, and it’s not like cheese, ice cream or sour cream makes me ill, but I can tell how much more bloated and yucky I feel when I have any of that stuff (so by consequence, I find myself skipping the cheese on many things I wouldn’t have dreamed before).

I’m not afraid of fat. We were giving E coconut oil in his oatmeal once a day to help keep him regular and I noticed that despite that being “fattening” he hasn’t gotten fat. Instead, his skin is amazing, he smells like the beach, and *I* want to eat his oatmeal. Healthy fats (avocado, EVOO, coconut oil, etc.) are YUMMMY and keep me full. And they’re impossible to overeat..thinking about gorging on avocado makes me *shudder*.

Boring meals are my jam. Before Evan I made elaborate (and pricey…) meals at home just for the fun of it. I still really enjoy cooking, but who has the time for all that?! Instead of stressing about dinners, I’ve been shopping, prepping and cooking once a week to give us breakfasts and lunches, as well as a few dinners (the rest which only need minimal effort), and the result is that I’m losing weight, saving money, and TRULY enjoying special food when we go out to eat.

Snacks have to last. As E gets more active I am learning that when I do have time to get a snack, it’s got to be a good one, balanced with fiber, protein and carbs to keep me going. My go-to’s recently have been Larabars (Peanut Butter Cookie, specifically), and Fage plain yogurt, homemade granola, berries and a bit of honey. Both choices, combined with a sensible lunch, keep me full and happy until dinner.

Water for the long haul. I wrote recently about how shocked I was to discover our bodies can’t tell us the difference between hunger and thirst. Good thing I learned about that as dinner seems to be getting later and later these days. After the dinner/bath/bed routine is done, we’ve been retiring to the patio for dinner somewhere between 8-9pm. As much as we try, E doesn’t seem to get sleepy until it’s almost dark, and lately that has meant sitting in the chair in the nursery dreaming about dinner. I’ve been making an effort to drink more water, especially when I feel what I think might be hunger, and it’s amazing how much it helps me manage cravings and hold off on meals when I have to.

I’m sure I am forgetting something, but these all feel like big changes in a short amount of time, and I am pretty darn pleased with all of them because they’ve been mostly effortless, and have all helped me on the road to better health postpartum.

#vdoesamileaday

 

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I made it through two months of my mile a day challenge! Sometimes with a stroller, sometimes in my work shoes on campus, sometimes running errands, and sometimes, running.

There were days when this challenging was more challenging than I expected. I skipped a few due to weather (and a sore knee – unrelated to walking), and sometimes I found I just NEEDED that #mileaday.

It’s been fun. Really.

But now I’m on to bigger and better things until I (maybe) pick this back up again on Thanksgiving.

Thanks to those of you who followed along and cheered me on via Instagram. I’m sure you were getting pretty tired of pictures of my shoes by the end, so I’m here to tell you that’s over. At least in this particular capacity. 😉

April Goals

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Keep going with #mileaday walks. 

While I know I need more exercise than this to melt off the baby weight, it’s what I can squeeze in right now, and that’s better than nothing. Going to keep these walks going for the rest of April until I can start at a gym (with childcare!) in May. If you’d like to join me in this continued #mileaday challenge, visit me over on Instagram for #vdoesmileaday.
Yoga. 
I’ve been feeling stiff and kind of achy the last few days and since this post has taken me a week into April to get to, I figure I can make a commitment to do a bit of mild yoga every day for the rest of the month. Nothing fancy, but my body is telling me I need to loosen up, and I’m listening.
Aaaannnnddddd…
That’s it for this month! Keeping it very simple as this is a super busy month at work, and parenting is sure picking up speed. Looking forward to this last concentrated push and then a nice “summer break.”
Happy spring!

Expectations.

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I started this blog because I missed writing expressively, and because in the past, blogging in specific has made me really, really happy. I think in part I also needed (need) a place to sort of hold on to myself, and write through all of the crazy and magical changes parenthood has brought. And then on some other level, I was hoping that this blog would help me live with more intention and give John and I something to look back on as an account of our early months as parents. All of the above has been so true so far.

However, in 31 years of life I’ve learned that one of my best and also worst traits is that I tend to be a perfectionist. And when it comes to this blog, it didn’t take long for post ideas to make their way to my “to-do” list. That’s precisely NOT what I wanted from this creative project.

In the past I would have just sucked it up, and tried to be “perfect” at this. But all I have to do is read the title I chose for this blog and it’s so clear what a silly waste of time that is. I have so many things I enjoy doing, along with plenty of stuff I have to do, and I know that any creative project that becomes a chore is soon to die.

All this really just is a means is that I’m done doing “weekly” series posts. They’re annoying to write, and the content isn’t something I’m proud of anyway.

I don’t think anyone who reads this will care more than I do, but I just wanted to share this because I’m SO PROUD of myself for choosing to let this project be imperfect (and still love it anyway).  🙂

Weekend Wellness

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In honor of my health and fitness goals this month I decided to start a new weekly series of posts. I’ll be sharing four specific things each month that I’m trying along the way in my health and fitness journey. I love reading posts like these and I hope you do too!

First up: eating salads for lunch. 

I know, I know – snooze fest. This is the cornerstone of just about every diet plan known to man…but I think there’s a reason for that!

Pretty much since I had Evan, I’ve been eating some kind of a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Call it a rebound from not eating lunch meats while pregnant, or maybe I can attribute my newfound love for this American classic to it being my first post-birth meal, but I love me some ham and cheese as of late.

The problem? Even when slimmed down, they make me soooooo sleeeeeppppyyy.

After hearing about how Caroline lost over 150lbs by eating better and walking, I decided I’d revisit the old lunch salad.

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I’ve been prepping ahead so I don’t have to worry about taking the time to “make” lunch – preparing this salad midday is as easy as grabbing and handful of lettuce and veggies from this bowl, tossing in some cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds and whatever protein I have leftover from the night before. Satisfying, yummy, and best of all – I’ve said goodbye to the dreaded after lunch slump, which means I’ve got more energy for all the things I love about late afternoon, early evening: spending quality time with Evan and John!

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Tip: to keep washed salad greens crispy for about five days in the fridge, place a damp paper towel over the top of the salad. I find using my simple salad spinner makes a great tool for both cleaning and storing my weekly salads. 

Three cheers for more greens and more energy. Happy Healthy Weekend! 

March Goals

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Based on what I learned from last month, I’m scaling back this month and really trying to focus on rewiring my brain with regard to food and exercise. As a result, I only have three goals this month (all wellness related): eat less, move more and weigh myself weekly.

Eat Less

Everything needs to be tracked. I know this, and yet, I don’t. Why? Because it’s easier to not track calories, until I step on the scale. I’m going to REALLY aim for 3 meals around 400 calories and 2 snacks at 200 and under. And I’m going to try to keep all my meals as simple as possible, even while traveling 3 out of 4 weekends this month.

Move More 

My mom and my mother-in-law both had multiple children and managed to get back into shape and stay that way. It is any coincidence that they both made a point to take stroller walks as often as possible postpartum? Probably not.

In trying to get back into exercising I’ve skipped over the simple stuff, like just getting outside on a daily basis, and that overzealousness has cost me. This month I’m focusing on scaling back and building a consistent habit.

I’ll be walking a mile a day, and taking pictures on Instagram (#vdoesamileaday) to document. John and I did this from Thanksgiving to NYE in 2012 and it was a really nice way to stay active. And it’s way harder than it sounds!

I’d also like to add some yoga in here and there. Not sure how much of this is going to be possible with E, but even if I can get 10 minutes of stretching in a few mornings a week, I think it’ll help me feel more in control of my own body.

Weekly Weigh-Ins

The last three months I’ve only weighed myself at the end of the month, which was a decision I made because I didn’t want to stress out too much about losing tons of weight while juggling sleep deprivation, going back to work and the chaos that is those early months of parenting. Now feels like the time is right to step it up. I know the scale doesn’t give the whole picture of health and wellness, but I do think weighing in more regularly may help keep me mindful and on track.

Ready for a great month of life and weather!

What are your goals for March?

30 Days of 30 Day Shred

As with most things in life, 30 Days of 30 Day Shred didn’t go as planned…but I did learn some good lessons, and do feel physically stronger, even if I didn’t lose any weight.

Week 1

Minutes into workout one, I realized just how badly out of shape I had gotten. I literally felt like I was going to throw up! But I kept going and it did get easier as the week wore on. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold and stubbornly didn’t rest so I ended up with an even worse cold, which landed me at the doctor’s office without a voice.

Antibiotics, steroids and two days without exercise (and a big serving of PASTA later), I learned that exercise doesn’t just work to get and keep me in shape, it also motivates me to eat differently. On days when I know I’m going to work out, I eat to fuel my body. On days when I know I don’t need to push myself, it’s harder to make good choices.

Week 2

I stepped it up to level 2 on my 2nd week because the last workout on level one felt comfortable. Not easy, mind you, but difficult in a comfortable way. Level two was more fun, but that could have also been because I was feeling stronger (and decidedly not like I was going to throw up). Week two was great all around because I also managed to get a good walk in on the days I wasn’t doing 30 Day Shred.

Week 3 

I tanked. I missed a whole week of workouts. I have excuses, none of which are really valid. At the end of the day, if I really wanted to do these workouts, I would have. End of story. If I’m being honest with myself I got lazy because I couldn’t do it perfectly so I stopped doing it altogether. It’s interesting to me to be back in this headspace with exercise because a year ago I’d overcome all of this kind of thinking, and was in a place where I only had 15lbs left to lose to meet my goal. Now I feel like I’m back at the bottom of a giant mountain, looking up and kicking myself.

Getting Real

I’m caught in a cycle I swore I’d never be in: being overweight is exhausting, parenting is exhausting, eating poorly robs me of needed energy, and I need energy to workout… working out helps me make better eating choices and gives me energy…but (repeat). I’m also totally guilty of mindless eating and using food as comfort at the end of the day. All of which makes me irritated because I KNOW BETTER.

It seems clear to me now that I don’t just need to make the scale move, but I also need to rewire my mind. I gained weight and a lot of bad eating habits between getting pregnant and quitting smoking. I think this means I need to focus on making changes wherever I can at this point with my new body and my new life.

Lessons

Despite the disappointment, this month has taught me…

  • It is way harder than I expected to get exercise in when it means I need uninterrupted time and a shower afterward.
  • I have nearly nothing left energy-wise after 4pm, which means if it does’t happen in the morning, it’s probably not going to happen.
  • Working out with a baby needs to be a “get it when/where you can” sport.
  • New shoes are a must.
  • I stopped counting calories a week in because we had takeout. And as a result, I ended up gaining 1 1/2 pounds this past month. Ugh. I MUST count my calories. MUST, MUST, MUST. And directly connected to that…
  • I have to make better choices with takeout. Ordering out is going to happen, but it doesn’t need to be an excuse to eat poorly. There are always good choices to be made if I am disciplined. And
  • Keeping a DVD on rotation each month so I don’t get bored with strength training  seems like a good idea as a whole. Next up: Ripped in 30.