Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Losing it...the post baby diaries...Sept 28

Losing the baby weight goes way beyond willpower. It requires the stubbornness to stick with it even though you are exhausted, interrupted multiple times by baby and facing a big pile of laundry in the bin. You also need to strike a fine balance between a dose of pragmatism and avoiding the justification trap. 

Last week, I did it...I made it to my 5-workout-a-week goal. I felt pretty damn good. And here is a ringing endorsement of the Tracy Anderson Method: after doing the video 5 times in a week, there is a significant change in my body. Gravity be damned! Talk about motivation. Still 17 pounds to go, but I am bolstered by this apparent progress.

There was a large amount of stick-to-it-ive-ness required to achieve this goal. The first tenet was, workout no matter what. Typically, I workout after I wake up and have fed my little one and then I set him to lay down near me while I put the DVD on. Early after birth, I would do this and then put him in the stroller and wheel him into the gym while I worked out. And to my delight, he would sleep through my workout. Now, not so much. No matter what I have tried, he refuses to just hang out through the 45 minute DVD. So to get through the workout, I have to stop an average of 3-5 times to pick him up, rock him, change his diaper etc. The first couple of times this happened, it was enough to make me not want to work out...now, I just accept it as part of the routine and allot 1 hour to my 45 minute DVD. 

I am already testing the strength of this first tenet this week: my little guy has taken to not sleeping well through the night and I have been so exhausted that I have gotten up "too late" to get my workout in before rushing to prior appointments. Two days in a row...but tomorrow it ends (and lucky for me, I will still have 5 days left to get my workouts in).

This weekend, I am even leaving for a week with family...and I am determined to keep going. I am bringing my laptop, yoga mat and weights so I can still get my workouts in. Actually, with both my mom and grandma around the house, I now have child care for a week straight and consequently, a lack of excuses. 

As for my eating regime...I have eaten very well for the last week but there have been a few hiccups. Six, to be exact. Let me explain: Sunday was my birthday. And throughout the week, I have had multiple celebrations (and of course, leftovers) which has meant 6 servings of birthday cakes. So much for my "no junk food plan". 

Now here is the balance between pragmatism and justification: the dietitian in me knows that I have eaten really well so I have had a "good" week in terms of nutrient density. And a birthday is once a year...it is easy to forgo treats made for others but pretty impossible to forgo treats made specially for you. However, this will not be a great weight loss week. This is one of the trade offs: if you approach a diet as a quick fix, any number of slip ups could be incredibly frustrating and lead you astray. A common diet mentality is "well, I am 'ruining' this week anyways....". Hold it right there! I did not give myself permission to eat loads of junk food because I knew each day wouldn't be "perfect". To be honest, I wasn't craving junk...but I still planned healthy meals to help "balance" the indulgences. And once we finally rid our fridge of the birthday treats (which my husband can thankfully help with), it is back to the original game plan. I am halfway through this 6 week "phase" of my eating plan...so 3 weeks from now, I am going to ramp up the diet efforts. My motivating deadline is that I would like to be close to my goal so I can wear something fun for New Year's Eve. A week with my grandmother's cooking should be interesting...stay tuned next week. 

In good health,

PS: do you have any diet disaster stories? Feel free to share them here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Losing it...the post baby diaries...Sept 21

This weekend was a disaster. Total. Disaster. Progress wise, at least. 

It started Saturday morning, as I was lying in bed. As I laid there in a dreamy waking state, I thought to myself, "Ah...I can work out without having to worry about my little one fussing because my husband will watch him. Hmm...it could be fun to have a Solly's cinnamon bun instead. But I need to get my 4th workout in and I am totally capable of doing it. But I haven't had a cinnamon bun in like 4 months..."

What is strange is that in diet attempts past, I have always had such strong cravings that I routinely cave from the pressure. In the last couple weeks, I have not had cravings at all. I have felt kind of liberated from junk food and relieved not to be eating it anymore. So why my bedhead drove me to stay in my pajamas and send my husband to Solly's, I do not know. But one meal in two weeks would have been a forgivable non-issue. Then lunch with friends was a reasonable (if not ultra health conscious) mushroom omelet (the only veggie option with significant protein) and rye toast and dinner was a "we're running late" portion of leftover thin crust veggie pizza (whole grain crust and lots of veggies, but still pizza) and you now have a total write off day. 

Sunday I managed to claw back a little with a Jamba Juice protein smoothie and a gorgeous Kung Pao tofu and Kale salad dinner....but there was a significant amount of chips consumed in the car mid-road trip. Damn.

So a new week begins and I plan on skipping over the 4 workout week to the 5 workout week that this week should be. And as evidence as my return to the "no junk food plan", here is what I ate today:

Breakfast 2 slices Silver Hills sprouted grain toast with 2 tbsp natural peanut butter and 2 tsp honey. 2 kiwis. 1 cup tea with milk and honey.

Snack decaf Americano with 2 tbsp cream and 2 tsp sugar

Lunch leftover roasted veggies and chickpeas with some mozzarella broiled on top (yum!!). 1 apple

Snack tea with milk and sugar

Dinner Whole wheat macaroni with sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, lemon and feta

Snack Liberte apple pie yogurt with a sprinkle of trail mix and All Bran buds 

In good health,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Losing it...the post baby diaries...Sept 14

I am so tired...I want to go back to sleep.

You can't go back to sleep...if you do, you won't have time to work out and get showered before A arrives for a visit.

But I am exhausted! Not sleeping is worse for me than not working out...and I could probably fit it in in the afternoon...

You know you won't...you have work to do this afternoon. Besides, you are starting to wake up. It is time to wake up. Turn on the DVD, lazy bones.

Sound familiar? That was my internal dialogue this morning before finally deciding to work out while I put my little one back to sleep, instead of going back to sleep myself. Yes, I am tired...but I feel way better that I worked out. And I would still be tired even if I got that last hour of sleep. The dark circles under my eyes have been cemented by weeks, not hours, of lost sleep.

Last week, I only worked out three times so I set myself the challenge of at least 4 times for this week. As of today, I am 2 for 2 and already, things are feeling like they "work" a little better. This is probably because I was so drastically out of shape by the time I gave birth that any little increment of improvement is evident :)The 25 minute ab work is getting easier (well, the first 5 minutes is...) but my devotion to the method is intact because I can see subtle changes already. And, my weight is down 3 more pounds....just 20 more to go! I have to admit, that this is probably way more about breastfeeding than working out at this point, but it is still motivating!

So what about my diet strategy? Right now, my only rule is that I have cut out the junk food. No chips, cookies, cakes, candy....just real food. It's funny that before I got pregnant, junk food wasn't such a big part of my lifestyle. I saved room for the good quality stuff...a nice dessert from a good restaurant, the occasional chips (my nutritional crack) and liberal amounts of cheese. But regular junk food? Rarely! Not worth the calories, in my opinion.

However, when I got pregnant...I turned into a human vending machine. Sure, I still ate all the amazing healthy foods that I always do, like dark leafy greens, whole grains and beans but for dessert or snack time...I wanted garbage. I would eat almost anything put in front of me: from generic nasty cake to twizzlers to cheap pastries and chocolate I had to have junk every single day. Talk about maternal AND professional guilt! The dietitian was mainlining processed sugar and fats to her unborn on a daily basis. I comforted myself with the thought that all the nourishing food I ate on a daily basis was "insulating" the baby from damage. Do as I say, ladies...not as I do :) Stay away from the junk if you can! Your baby (and your butt) is better off for it.

So from the 6 week to the 12 week post partum mark, my only diet strategy is one of no junk food. I have three main lines of rationale for this decision (given my nature, I can't do anything, even something this simple, without creating theories to convince myself of the utility of a strategy or decision - professional hazard I guess!).

The first theory is that research has shown humans actually have almost like a "bank" of willpower. Use it up in pursuit of, say, working on your MBA and have less left for cooking from scratch every night. This is one of the reasons why super drastic "become a vegan yogi master overnight detox" plans rarely work for more than a few days before they fail dramatically via the bottom of a bag of Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles. It is also why, in my practice, I always preach slow and accumulating changes to try and create habits that no longer require willpower to maintain. So, keeping the diet simple will allow me to focus my willpower on restarting and maintaining my workout regime.

My second theory is that the weight gain battle is won or lost by relatively small changes in calorie balance and simply taking the daily junk out of the diet should have a great effect, especially in light of the energy that breastfeeding consumes and how healthy my overall diet is.

My third theory revolves around supporting the breastfeeding process: drastic calorie restriction will impede breast milk production...that means a little bit of hell for a mom trying to feed her baby. In addition, I am sleep deprived and I need energy! It isn't the time to cut back too much or I may end up brushing my teeth with mascara or washing my hands with spaghetti sauce or something else related to zombie like behaviour!

The idea is that if by week 12, things aren't progressing fast enough...I will ramp up the diet efforts. But before you walk away thinking...just cut out the junk food! Full disclosure...my diet may or may not look like yours...and that matters!

5 healthy diet habits I live by....

1. Processed carbs don't live here! All my grains are whole...the only bread in my house 9.5 times out of 10 is Silver Hills sprouted grain bread and it lives in my freezer because it takes the two of us at least 10 days to go through a loaf. Many of my meals are based on beans and vegetables and intact grains like quinoa or barley instead of couscous or pasta.

2. I don't drink my calories...I drink water, sparkling mineral water, tea and the occasional glass of wine. No soda, no juice, no desserts masquerading as coffee drinks.

3. We eat fruits and vegetables...lots of them! If I don't have vegetables, I can't make a meal. Fruits and vegetables are essential for nourishing your body with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre in a low calorie package.

4. I love beans. I am not afraid to admit it...but the musical fruit has a starring role in our daily lives. I make a lot of one pot meals, focused on beans. I don't make salads without them and I often add them to soups, pastas and casseroles. Beans are super filling, feature lots of fibre and protein and are rich in trace minerals. A perfect food for maintaining a healthy weight.

5. I love fat...the right kind of fat. We stay away from trans fats and depend on anti-inflammatory extra virgin olive oil to cook our meals. We snack on raw, unsalted nuts and seeds and I get my dose of healthy omega 3 fats daily from Salba, hemp seeds and good quality fish oil. I would rather see a little extra fat in a dish than extra starch. Fat carries flavour, making foods satisfying and helps to fill you up and is essential for a healthy metabolism. Stay away from the cheap vegetable oils and try not to overdo the saturated fat.

Okay, I think my little one is tired of me ignoring him...play time!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Losing it...the post baby diaries...Sept 8

I didn't work out today.

I am three days into my new workout plan and I didn't work out! I have been here before...with variable outcomes. My son, who has been sleeping well, decided he wanted to party all night long and then would only spend his waking hours attached to me - making working out a bit of a challenge. Even now, this blog post has been interrupted a few times...

I am undeterred. And sore. In that good, you are working out, way. So I know that tomorrow I will get up and work out again. And if I only make it four days, that's not bad for a first week. And I did manage to go out for a walk today since the stroller is my little boy's zen zone...as long as I am moving :)

Being so exhausted today, I really wanted a treat. Something huge and filled with a guaranteed sugar rush (subsequent energy crash be damned!). I triumphed there at least! Walked past the gelato shop, the coffee shops, the grocery store...and came home and ate the good stuff. I said that the next post would be about my food strategy but I think I might beg for the raincheck and instead share what I have been eating today...and I can go into details as to the why another (more rested) time.

1 slice silver hills toast with 2 omega 3 eggs fried in extra virgin olive oil, served with about an ounce of shredded light cheddar and a couple of tablespoons of salsa plus a cup of green tea

Large glass of Gerolsteiner mineral water with 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice

1.5 cups of homemade vegetarian chili (fresh veggies, two kinds of beans plus veggie ground round) served with a tablespoon of light feta

1/2 cup of Naturesource Voyageur trail mix (unroasted, unsweetened, unsalted) and an organic apple (fresh from my SPUD box today!)

1/2 box of Annie's whole wheat macaroni served with sauteed mushrooms and Parmesan

Cup of orange pekoe tea with milk and sugar and an organic pear

Here's hoping for a good night's sleep!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ask me...

Have a question about something you see on the blog? Or have some burning nutrition question you would like me to answer? Feel free to write a comment...or send me an email!

My email address is askdesireerd@yahoo.ca !

Monday, September 6, 2010

Losing it...the post baby diaries...Sept 6

"Ouch...welcome to the new you," I thought to myself this morning as I struggled through my workout. I gave birth to my son 6 weeks ago and today is the first day of my post-baby weight loss life. My wrists are sore, I feel like like my body is broken and I will never, ever have abs again. All of this awakening comes courtesy of the woman staring at me, gorgeous and strong, from my television screen: Tracy Anderson. 

I purchased the Tracy Anderson Post-Pregnancy Workout DVD online and just got it this weekend. Tracy Anderson is the ubertrainer to the long, lean and gorgeous set that I am hoping to rejoin (well, long and lean anyways...). She whipped Gwyneth Paltrow back into shape post-baby and Tracy herself gained 60lbs with her own son and look at her now. Seriously...look at her! She is proof that a mother in her 30s can look amazing and I found her totally inspiring. Tracy has created a unique workout program which she calls her "method". What I love is that the exercises are unlike anything you have ever seen before and they are tough. Super tough. My first experience with the "method" was a 10 minute leg workout webisode I purchased that literally kicked my ass. I was hooked.

Now that I am six weeks past giving birth, I have the all clear from my midwives to start working out seriously. I am devoting myself to the "method": she recommends doing the DVD 4-6 times a weeks so I am going to go ahead and make the full 6 day commitment. The workout contains a full 25 minutes of ab work, which I am considering more of a goal than anything :) A few crunches here...pause...stare at TV...try the next exercise...collapse in heap...wait for the next exercise. I bought her Dance Cardio DVD too but after going cross-eyed trying to figure it out, I decided to just focus on mastering one DVD at a time. Tracy also has a new book out this month...which I have in my Amazon shop here or on the side bar.

Image from www.amazon.com 

Am I ready for this? I think so...I am physically a bit weak but recovered. I was lucky enough to have a very positive birth experience and healed quickly (which I attribute to my lovely Hypnomammas class). I actually got into the gym, very gingerly, at 2 weeks postpartum. I did 15 minutes of no-impact cardio and some basic leg and arm exercises just to wake things up a bit. But now....it is time to get going again. The biggest challenge will be mental. I have a hard time really pushing myself when it comes to exercise and giving it the ol' "110%" instead of my typical 65% will take some willpower.

Given that I already have a blog, I thought I might share this experience with all of you. There are a couple of reasons for this: first, it will keep me honest. Nothing like making your goals and commitments public to keep you accountable. Second, because I am a dietitian. I counsel people on healthy eating and (sometimes) weight loss for a living. And being slim, no one believes that I know how hard it is to lose weight (Believe me, I do). So I am also doing this to earn a little "street cred" :) 

Even though I gave birth a full month early, I had already gained 36 pounds...the dietitian in me "knows" that a healthy pregnancy weight gain is 25-35 pounds. (This photo is me only a couple weeks before birth.) But the pregnant lady in me was hungry...really hungry. Since the weight loss was slow and steady, I assumed that my body needed the weight...so I didn't fight it. Six weeks postpartum, birth and breast feeding has helped me lose 18 pounds. Since my weight had crept up a bit before I got pregnant, my weight loss goal is another 23 pounds. So you are all my witness...I will eat and workout my way to a 23 pound weight loss and I am hoping to do so in about 6 months (which is a safe ~1lb a week weight loss). 

I will talk about food next time... until then I will be nursing my aching muscles.