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!