There are a small percentage of women who return back to their Barbie-doll size clothing right after giving birth. Those same women never had to buy maternity jeans – they squeezed into those size zeros and cinched them up with a rubber band and a nine-month-pregnant belly. God blessed them.
I was not one of those women. I gained 38 pounds, and no matter how many times people told me that it was all in my belly, I knew they were lying. I was just short of a beached whale.
I was discouraged when mothers would tell me, “Your body will never be the same!” They were right, but to never be the same in a good way.
Whether you have a baby, teenagers or just a cat and still have “baby weight,” I’m here to tell you that you can get your old or even better, healthier body back without dieting. I’ve lost more than 45 pounds, putting me fifteen pounds lighter than before I got pregnant and nearly two sizes smaller than my wedding day, and I’m still going.
I started running again when Audrey was a few weeks old. Hoping the weight would just fall off, it didn’t. It isn’t cute anymore when you still have a baby bump, but the baby is in your arms. After I finished breastfeeding, I tried drastic diets like no-carbs, HCG and a number of other unhealthy and expensive diets that led to a fast drop in weight which came right back.
While I wanted a quick-fix, I realized from years of struggling with my weight that there is a reason why they call them “yo-yo diets.” I needed a lifestyle change, a real plan that allowed me to eat what I wanted, have a glass of wine and still lose weight. Was I dreaming?
I then picked up the book “Reshaping It All” by my favorite child star, Full House’s Candace Cameron Bure. She popped out three kiddos and is now smaller than her DJ days. Within the first few paragraphs into her book, it clicked. All this time I was desiring the wrong thing and using the wrong tools to get there.
Since then, the weight has been coming off and I will never have to Google search “celebrity diets” again. But mostly, these tools I’ve learned have changed my faith, attitude toward food, inner and outer strength and my ability to be the woman, mother and wife that I was meant to be.
Don’t go fast, go far
I never wanted to burden God with my weight issues. I thought it was incredibly selfish to ask God to be skinny when there are so many bigger problems in the world to pray about. But then it occurred to me that being skinny wasn’t going to make me happy, I wanted to be healthy and have confidence. God would be my trainer in my reshaping journey. You can let yourself down, but God will not.
That changed it all for me because no longer did I have fear that I would fail, gain weight or lose the confidence I was building. I have complete faith that I can accomplish whatever I set forth. However, no fancy pill or packaged diet space food was going to do it. I had to go old school: exercise, portion control, and an understanding of discipline and patience that I had never known before.
It seems easier said than done, and I’m not going to lie that my secret to a healthier post-baby body is hard. But, what it creates is a lifestyle change – not a temporary weight loss.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11, NIV)
Discipline: that was the tool I needed to succeed in exercising consistently, making wise food choices and eating smaller portions. As Bure says in her book, “We chose to sprint rather than train for the long run.”
I had been sprinting this whole time and it is the sprint that makes you tired fast. Sprinting is the diet that you go all out on for three weeks, but then give into that piece of pizza and before you know it, you tell yourself you’ll start again tomorrow and have a few more slices.
Training for the long run will keep you going and change your old ways. With training, your stomach will be full after half of what you normally would eat and you will actually listen when your mind tells you that you’re done.
Yes, it is painful in the beginning and requires control, but boy does it make it worth it since you can enjoy all the foods you love just with some moderation.
Training also means patience. You can’t just get up and go run a half marathon if you’ve never ran. It is a slow build relying on your perseverance to just push it a little farther each time to reach the ultimate goal. Put patience into your weight goals.
Setting goals are great and can really keep you motivated, but change them up. Instead of telling yourself you will lose ten pounds by the end of the month, try to run a mile farther, walk all the way up that hill or drink twice the amount of water.
Remember, this is a lifestyle change. You’ve got all the time you need to keep perfecting your choices and seeing what works for your body and schedule. Having patience allows for small slip-ups, which you know you’ll make, but the ability to get right back on track immediately, not in the morning.
This is the hardest part to a successful body change: a mind change. Having faith and giving your weight issue to God, learning discipline, and accepting the long run, time and patience will start not only reshaping your body, but your life.
Switch your soda or juice to water.
Make yourself your normal size dinner and then immediately wrap half of it and put it in the fridge. If you’re still hungry, go back and get the other half. Not having the warm, available, large portions or leftovers will keep you from eating more than you should.
Do an activity everyday even if it is a short walk, crunches, bouncing baby on your knee or a summer swim.
Remove, “I’ll start again tomorrow,” from your vocabulary. You’re allowed to indulge in small treats now and then, but one gorge forgoes all your discipline training.
Practice saying “no” to an unhealthy choice; training in that will make it quickly come naturally.
|I would be the whale in the middle. “Make room for me!” Engulfed by my skinny high school girls.|