I feel super lucky that I bounce back from pregnancy pretty quickly. But now that I’ve had three children and also now that I’m nearing 30, I’ve noticed that I’m starting to leave behind the days of “eat whatever I want, exercise not at all, and still weigh 95 pounds.”
We’d been eating really well up until Star was born, and then it sort of spiraled downhill immediately. I can’t even blame baby fatigue because she’s been a fantastic sleeper from the beginning. It was more like I just wanted to bake everything in sight after she was born and that really set my sugar cravings off and suddenly instead of two desserts a week, it was venturing dangerously near to two desserts before lunchtime. I could tell that it was all starting to take a toll on me, with frequent headaches, clothing that didn’t fit quite right, and way more photos of double-chins than I’d like to admit (I’ve always gained weight in my face the fastest which. . . is not my favorite).
My sister Merrick told me she’d pretty much given up eating sugar except for special occasions and then Ralphie gave up ALL sugar for a month and I picked up a copy of Slim by Design from the library which was completely fascinating and useful, so those thoughts were kind of rolling around in my head, usually as I ate one more cookie.
Then Bart came home from his trip to Philadelphia a few weekends ago and said, “I’m ready to start running again and eating better.”
So. . . .that was an easy sell.
what i’m doing to be more healthy
- Spend more money on healthy foods. As you probably know, I’m notoriously frugal at the grocery store, but I’ve come to realize that if I don’t buy any healthy foods that are fun for me to eat, then of course I’m going to be eating handfuls of chocolate chips or spoonfuls of ice cream straight from the carton. I’ve started buying quite a bit more produce, yogurt that I love (Noosa!), keeping the pantry stocked with more nuts and dried fruits, and making fun, healthy snacks every week or so to keep in the freezer.
- Wash and cut all the produce immediately. I was really great about this last summer when we were in Arizona, and then got out of the habit in London. Now I’m back to doing it and it’s made a huge difference. I wash all the produce and then put them in clear Tupperware (and then, thanks to the advice in Slim by Design, I keep them all on the eye-level shelf in the fridge). I cut the tops off the strawberries, snip the grapes into small bunches, take the baby carrots out of the bag (where they inevitably go to die), and slice up cucumbers.
- Keep water handy. I’m a huge water drinker in general and always have been, but when I’m nursing especially, I am SO thirsty all the time. A lot of the time, I’ll think I’m starving, but after I have a big drink of water, I realize that I’m not actually that hungry at all. I’ve started keeping a Nestlé Pure Life bottle both on my desk and in my bathroom so that I don’t have to go downstairs to get a drink (because inevitably when I go into the kitchen, I think “while I’m here. . .”). I also tend to get super thirty during the night if Star wakes up to nurse, so the one in my bathroom gets frequently used (and having a lid on it seems way more sanitary to me than having an open cup on my bathroom counter).
- Stop eating after dinner. I usually eat pretty well through lunch. And then once the girls go down for naps and quiet time, it’s like I suddenly fall apart. I’m super lucky that my office is upstairs because I’m lazy enough that I rarely am willing to go downstairs to get a snack, but if I have to go down for something else then all bets are off. And then as the afternoon wears on, I’ve suddenly spiraled into snack-mode. And then after dinner, I could easily eat another 1000 calories without batting an eye. So I’ve just called it quits on eating after dinner now. Also, I make a bigger effort to find interesting things to do once the girls are in bed because if I’m involved in a project or being productive, I don’t find myself thinking about food all night long.
- Find a time to exercise that works NOW. In the early days of our marriage, Bart was always talking about wanting to find habits or routines that he could maintain forever. But with kids and frequently changing schedules, I just don’t think that’s at all realistic. Instead, I try to figure out what will work for me THIS week or THIS month. If I have to change it after that, so be it. For now, I’m going running a few times a week in the evenings once the girls are in bed and starting up at Zumba again which has been one of my all-time favorite exercises. I’m also planning to give ClassPass a whirl once Bart is out of school and he’s more available to stay home with the girls. And then I do a little strength training a few mornings a week (which the girls love to do with me) – I like using the free Nike+ Training App. I don’t know what will work for me once we move this summer or when Bart goes back to work, but I can make something work RIGHT NOW.
I love that not only do my clothes fit better (a great excuse to make YET ANOTHER order from Twice), but I also have more energy and it’s easier to have the girls eat well too. It’s like fifty wins in one.
I love this. I'm doing a lot of the same these days – drinking tons of water, cutting back on sugar, finding time every day to exercise, and eating healthy. I always chop up my veggies in clear containers, too – it's the best tip! Now to work on cutting back on snacking in the evenings….
Kristin @ Going Country says
Oh yes, the middle-of-the-night nursing thirst is the worst. When we first moved into this house, there was no potable water. All the water came from an outdoor cistern in which could be anything from sticks and leaves to . . . worse things (I won't horrify anyone with the details), and there were no filters. So, no drinking the water. One of the first things we did, at great expense, was install a filtering system and new pipes. Voila! We moved the house into the first world.
And with each child, when I fill a glass from the upstairs bathroom faucet every time I get up to nurse a newborn, I am profoundly grateful for the amazing blessing of potable water in my house. Amen.
Paige Flamm says
I love this post. Mainly because all the negative things are things I always do, and all the positive things are things I should do. I've been thinking about running a lot lately, but have never made it happen… thinking burns the same amount of calories right?
I just started my grain and sugar free diet the other day with hopes to conceive and also lose the 10 pounds that never came off post baby and the couple I've put on trying to regulate my hormones. Unfortunately, the last time I weighed 95 pounds was in middle school! You're very lucky!
Stephanie Hartley says
I get the chin thing too, it's such a nightmare! I've found that yoga helps, as well as drinking lots of green tea to keep you going 🙂
Steph – http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com
Amy Johnson says
Do you remember the part in Better Than Before when Gretchen Rubin says that people don't actually mix up being hungry and thirsty? But I totally don't believe it because I'm the same as you…sometimes a big glass of water does the trick.
Spell check above ?
YES Nike + training app. I can't even express how much I love it/ it has helped me exercise!
Lins - Domesticated Working Woman says
Such a great post. I met you at the last TriFABB meet up (I had the Beachbody booth) and I thought you looked amazing, but I totally understand needing some help with getting the pre-baby body back especially as your near 30
Em and Trev Fam says
I haven't commented forever, but rest assured I still love, love (and always read!) your blog and Instagram feed! 🙂 I can so completely relate to number 5 on your list. When I was working and had only one child, I still had a very good, very consistent routine for exercise. I hate to admit that I was someone who would think, "How can you not have time? Just do it!" Almost 10 years later and three kids into this crazy life? This girl is HUMBLED. I have to squeeze in classes or treadmill time when I can, and like you said, sometimes take it week to week, day to day, or even hour to hour at a time.
Thanks for the great suggestions! You gave me some inspiration and motivation.
P.S. Your girls are as precious as ever! Beautiful family, indeed.
Lisa Torres says
Very good read, now too see if I can implement some of these ideas into my routine 🙂