Enter our current giveaway: Large Family Logistics
Since I announced last week that I wanted to lose a bit of extra baby weight, I have made 2 big changes.
First, I worked hard to change the way I eat. I haven’t made any substantial changes to what I eat, but the way I eat has undergone some extensive remodeling. I really hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew with these changes, but it felt easy so far and I feel great!
Inspired by my little sister’s recent loss of 30 lbs, I followed her lead and just quit eating so much. I eat when I’m hungry. When I’m not hungry, I stop. It’s about as groundbreaking as the classic SNL skit Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford, but it really works.
I stuck to my intention of drinking a glass of water whenever the urge to snack struck, and ended up drinking tons of water while hardly snacking at all. I have grazed and kept my stomach comfortably full for so long that for the first two days, I think my body had a little trouble remembering how to express real hunger: I got light-headed several times waiting for hunger signals that never appeared and I had to eat even though my stomach didn’t actually rumble. After that, my body and I seemed to communicate better.
Now when I eat, I’m shocked – flabbergasted at how little it takes to be “not hungry,” instead of eating til I’m full.
Basically I’m keeping my “gas tank” on 1/4 instead of 3/4.
Eating this way has a few perks I didn’t expect:
- Food tastes better when you’re hungry. Duh.
- Being hungry makes me just slightly fidgety. Fidgety = calories burned. This is in stark contrast to the bloated whale effect when I’m almost full all the time, which makes me want to lie around until I have digested a bit – then go see what else looks good since I have a bit of room in my belly.
- If I keep myself just on the edge of [genuine stomach] hunger, I’m always up for a treat if the opportunity comes along. It’s like gassing up at every station you pass, but only adding a gallon or two. Note: when I say “treat” I don’t necessarily mean a sweet: I mean a few bites of anything yummy and appealing.
Over the past 7 days, we had dinner at some friends’ home, where they served us burgers, hot dogs, beans, chips, soda, and lots of ice cream for dessert. We had our oldest daughter’s 18th birthday party, where we did another low country boil, a watermelon eating contest, marshmallow roasting, and ice cream with strawberries and lots of whipped cream for dessert. We had a church fellowship meal, followed by a birthday party for my mom with banana splits and the most delicious peanut butter cheesecake I have ever eaten.
Because I avoided the empty carbs I don’t care for at each of these meals and ate very moderate portions of the foods I did like, I was able to enjoy dessert each time. In fact, I think I enjoyed desserts more than usual because I wasn’t bloated from too much dinner, and the pleasure lasted longer because I also wasn’t uncomfortably full from too much dessert.
The second change I made was to increase my activity level.
I didn’t start a vigorous new exercise program. I did walk 2.5 miles once last week, but you probably do twice that every week, don’t you?
When I say I increased my activity level, I just mean I quit sitting around like a lump all day.
For one thing, I started running far more errands here at the house:
- When I needed my purse, I got it myself.
- When I needed a glass of water, I got it myself.
- When one of the little ones wanted a drink, I got it myself.
- And a hundred other examples…
I can’t say I took every single opportunity that arose, but I did get up and move around much more than usual. As often as not, while I was up getting a glass of water, I decided to do 2 or 3 or 10 other things while I was up, so the activity built upon itself.
The other way I changed my activity level was by incorporating some low-key exercises and isometrics into my day:
- I did quick set of kettle-bell swings now and then to ramp up my pulse and breathing (1-2 minutes)
- I did a set of triceps dips on a nearby chair once or twice/day (1 minute)
- I got down on the floor and held a low-plank position or a bridge while reading email on my phone.
- I leaned back slightly on a stool while reading aloud to the children. When sitting in a chair, I scooted forward just a little and leaned back slightly. Great ab workout!
- In the van, I leaned my seat back a little more than I wanted, then used my abs to sit more upright.
- I did squats while looking through my drawer for clothes each morning.
- I walked through the house in a goofy, bent-knee position for the entertainment of the children. “Look! I’m doing the exercise walk! I’m getting skinny!”
I didn’t do every one of the items above every day or at every opportunity, but I tried to make sure I was doing significantly more than I usually do. Obviously this level of activity is not going to make or break a diet, but I do want to tone the muscles in certain areas as I shed some of the insulation that’s covering them. I think it’s sufficient for that goal.
I’m down by 5 lbs. already.
Wait – don’t leave! Don’t hate me! It’s not like I actually lost 5 lbs. of body fat, or even 5 lbs. of body weight. It’s more like my stomach isn’t carrying around 5 lbs. of food.
After one week, I’m happy with my progress (who wouldn’t be?) and excited to see what the next week holds. I don’t expect to lose nearly so much over the next week, but if I can maintain my new habits and take off another pound or two I will be more than satisfied.
Parker is still nursing heavily, and I was surprised that my diet seemed to have only a minimal effect on my milk supply. Of course it’s not a big deal since he eats a lot of solid food already, but he enjoys nursing and I’m glad I won’t have to worry about milk supply issues.
Since I already made so many changes, this week I’d like to continue on same path: eating only when hungry, stopping when I’m not hungry (don’t just keep eating until I’m out of room!), doing quick exercises throughout the day and taking opportunities to get off my tail and walk to the other end of the house.
How did you do? Give an update in the comments or link to a post of your own!