It was almost exactly 3 years ago that I embarked on a new lifestyle to get healthy. My babies were about to turn 1 and 2, and I was tired of being overweight and unhealthy. You see, my kids are 12 months apart. Yep, I had a 3 month old son when we were surprised with the news that I was pregnant again. I gained about 40 pounds during my first pregnancy, only losing about 20 pounds before I packed on another 40 pounds with my second pregnancy. Sixty pounds later, I hit the scales at 230 pounds on the day my sweet girl was born.
I left the hospital with a 7 pound 8 ounce beautiful little girl. When I got home, the first morning, I decided to hop on the scale only to be met with huge disappointment to see the BIG numbers 227 literally flashing on the scale in front my eyes. At first, I thought there is no way; the scale is broken. I got off and got back on, but the 227 flashed again. Call me crazy, but 230 minus an almost 8 pound baby is not 227!
My Journey to Getting Healthy & Fit
Remember, I said it was almost 3 years ago that I got serious to get healthy and fit. The first 2 years as a mom was hard, just trying to figure out a routine. It took some time adjusting to the mommy life. If there was extra time, I honestly wanted to sleep, not break a sweat. I had successfully managed to lose about 50 pounds, just by eating what I thought was healthy foods and exercising when I could find the time. My body just looked so different than before I got pregnant. I started to ramp up the exercise. I would go run on the Tammany Trace 4-6 miles a day, at least 2 to 3 times a week. I was eating the same and I was beginning to exercise like a mad woman, but the scale wasn’t moving, not even a pound. For months, I tried to lose weight with ridiculous amounts of exercise and got nowhere but frustrated. I remember being so discouraged that I told my husband I might as well eat whatever I want because I am going to be this way forever since nothing was working.
Thank goodness, I didn’t throw in the towel. Luckily, I learned some valuable things that helped me shed the weight I needed to get healthy, feel better about myself, and maintain my weight loss. I realized I was putting way too much effort on exercise and not enough focus on nutrition or diet. When I finally started to connect the pieces and put into practice some easy and simple tips, the results started happening.
Tip Number 1 :: Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up.
They call it breakfast for a reason, because it is breaking the fast from the night before. Don’t do what I use to do and eat about 3-4 hours after I got up and took care of everyone else. Make time to eat something healthy. I usually do a meal replacement shake in the morning because it is quick and easy. The kind I drink has 24 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbohydrates.
Tip Number 2 :: Eat every 2-3 hours.
Wake up and put something healthy and nutritious into your body within an hour of rising out of bed and begin timing your meals. Every 2-3 hours fuel your body. Think of you body as a fireplace, you wouldn’t put a ton of wood in a fireplace and expect it to burn all day long, right? You have to constantly fuel your body to keep that metabolism going. You will feel better and have more energy if you keep fueling the fire.
Tip Number 3 :: Eat 5- 6 meals a day.
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between spaced 2 – 3 hours apart.
Tip Number 4 :: Eat lean and clean.
Stay away from processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles where all the packaged and processed unhealthy foods are located. Stick with fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, hearty complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Tip Number 5 :: Drink lots of water.
Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. Often times we don’t drink enough water or we mistake thirst with hunger. Water plays an important role in aiding in digestion, eliminating toxins and waste, and providing the body with energy. If you don’t like plain water, infuse it with fresh fruit, veggies, or herbs. Some of my favorites are adding lemon, cucumber and mint.
Typical day of what I eat
Breakfast: meal replacement shake OR egg and veggie omelet
Snack: 1/4 cup nuts and a piece of fruit OR raw veggies and 2 tablespoons hummus
Lunch: 5 oz of lean protein, 1/2 cup complex carb like quinoa, brown rice or sweet potato & 1 cup veggies
Snack: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter with an apple or banana OR 2 hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit
Dinner: 5 oz of lean protein and 1 cup veggies or 2 cups salad (for salad dressing, I mix olive oil and lemon juice with sea salt and pepper or olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
Applying these tips are what helped me to finally get healthy and maintain success. Of course, I cheat every now and then, but I know the next day I can jump right back on track. Having a healthy lifestyle is important to me, and it is something I want to pass down to my son and daughter so they learn lifelong healthy habits.
I’m nobody special. Just a mom that gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. I didn’t have personal trainers or personal chefs to help me along the way. I got discouraged and frustrated, but I never gave up on hitting my goal of getting healthy. Maybe you are just like me. Maybe you don’t know where to begin. Start small and just keep going. Small changes lead to big changes. If I can do it, you can too.