May 31st 2017, I was over two years postpartum and I weighed nearly as much as I did at the peak of my pregnancy. June 1st 2017, I decided that everything needed to change – but primarily, my diet, my daily activity, and my mindset. It’s been just over 10 weeks, and I’ve already lost 40 lbs (updated 08/14). I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight, 2/3 of the way to my weight loss goal, and I’m still losing pound after pound. Want to do the same? Then keep reading!
Ten Tips to lose Weight
1. Find a good reason. The best reason. A super concrete reason to change your lifestyle. You’re not going on a diet. That’s transient. You’re changing your every day life. And you’re not turning back. This is absolute. So, choose wisely. For me, it was a few things, and I’ll list them here:
I had a breast cancer scare. A very uncommon form of non-lactational mastitis flared up, and several professionals did not know what they were looking at. So, I had to go through super painful mammograms and a traumatic biopsy procedure just to find out, thankfully, that it was not cancer. But it scared the hell out of me and got me thinking… EVERYTHING THAT I WAS EATING FEEDS CANCER.
I realized that what I was eating the most was barely even food. Bleached grains, processed sugars, fried junk – a whole lot of empty calories and an all-you-can-eat feeding ground for cancer, diabetes, etc.
I couldn’t keep up with my son. I have a two and a half year old, and he’s so vibrant, fast moving, and happy. All he wants to do is play, explore, and learn, and I would get winded just walking up the stairs or doing one loop around the house trying to chase after him. It was awful and it got me thinking… DO I WANT MY SON TO THINK OF HIS MOM AS THIS UNHEALTHY SLOB WHO WON’T GET OFF THE COUCH TO PLAY WITH HIM?
My husband deserved to have his wife back. My family deserved to have their daughter/sibling back. I owed it to myself and to my loved ones to return back to them. Keeping this weight and mindset was a constant reminder to them of the Brittney I had turned into during the postpartum depression. I wasn’t her anymore, but I didn’t look like the Brittney I was before it all happened.
I was really inspired by something Whapio said at the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, and I’ll paraphrase it here: Billions of people pray every day to something, God, the Universe, Mother Earth, etc. You have trillions of cells in your body; what if, this entire time, they’ve been praying to you? When I heard this, I cried. On the spot. If you have witnessed the macrocosm/microcosm design of life, you know why this is such an amazing thing to ponder. But just the thought that my cells are praying to me and asking me to take care of them was enough to bring me the clarity to change.
2. Decide how you’re going to do it and set goals for yourself. For me, it was very simple. Remove everything inflammatory from my diet and move more. I weighed 199 lbs on June 1st and I wanted to get down to 140 lbs (19 lbs to go!!!) That translates as this:
No meat, no grains, no processed sugars, no dairy, severely limit starches. Note: I stopped eating meat in 12/2016. It was just a choice that I had been building up towards for a while. But there was no weight loss from that. The rest I took out 6/1.
Here’s how that looks: I eat eggs, cooked vegetables, nuts, fruit (fresh & dried – without sugar added to it), and beans, sparingly. I drink water and hot or iced unsweetened tea. I cook with olive oil, coconut oil, and lots of spices. Everything is organic and nonGMO when possible. And I don’t have wiggle room – so when I say no sugar, I mean no sugar of any kind, no honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc.
I don’t love to exercise, but I enjoy walking. So I’ve committed to 4-5 miles of walking per day. That doesn’t always happen, but I’m thankful with what I can do.
3. Hold onto your resolve from tip 1, because the first two-four weeks are brutal. I swear, our food is weaponized and designed to detonate horrible withdrawal symptoms when they begin to detox from your system. You could have any or all of the following: horrible armpit odor, acne, headaches, dizziness, heightened food cravings, nausea, and so forth. But get through it. Deal with the physical parts as best as you can. Take epson salt baths, use natural aluminum-free deodorant, bathe daily. Use caffeinated black tea for headaches or aspirin as needed. Eat fruit if you crave sugar. Eat garbanzo beans if you crave something thick and hearty like meat or bread. There are vegan cheeses you can buy, but I didn’t bother with that nonsense – fearing it would just make me want the real thing. Mix unsweetened coconut milk yogurt into smoothies – it’s awesome. You can do this. And after that first month, your weight loss results will be enough to keep you disciplined, because you’ll look and feel great! I lost 24 lbs in the first month alone.
4. Support your gut and your liver, especially in the first month. Take a refrigerated probiotic and eat fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Drink a liver supporting detox tea daily. You need to reset your gut flora and comfort your liver who’s likely been very congested for a very long time.
5. Don’t just exercise. Too many people make the mistake of focusing only on exercise and not their diet – because diet is truly harder to stay disciplined with. But if you want to lose the weight faster and with a more even distribution, focus on the diet first, then the exercise. Both are equally important for your physical and mental health, but I personally feel that the exercise will follow when your diet is controlled.
6. Find a motivator. For me, it is having a scale in the bathroom and a Fitbit on my wrist. I weigh myself naked every morning, after urinating. This helps me to see progress, and to also know if I’m backsliding. The Fitbit was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law in 2016 for my birthday. It helps me stay on track with my daily steps/miles. Neither of these are required – but they help me stay motivated and keep me focused on my goals. Also, be sure to have people around you who aren’t trying to sabotage what you’re striving towards.
7. Don’t cheat – you’ll notice it. I don’t have a cheat day. If I accidentally eat something that has dairy in it, I get a headache almost immediately. If I eat chips and rice, even the “healthier” kinds, or even corn, I’ll be up one-three pounds the next day. As much as we try to keep aspects of our prior lifestyle in this newly changed lifestyle, they don’t mesh. So stay disciplined. It’s worth it.
8. Don’t eat after 7PM. This one’s huge. You don’t digest food when you sleep, so you shouldn’t fill your stomach before bed. Drink water or tea if you’re feeling hungry, but after a few weeks of this, you won’t even want food at night.
9. Keep snacks with you at all times. I carry a bag of mixed nuts and raisins and a bottle of water in my purse every day. That way, if I get hungry and there aren’t any good food options in front of me, I can take care of myself without breaking my own rules. Nuts are great sources of protein, fiber, good fats, and crucial vitamins. These have been amazing for my health and keeping my blood sugar level. I like walnuts and pistachios especially.
10. Get creative with your cooking. You’re going to get bored. Really. Quickly. So, go find some Facebook pages to follow that post healthy meal options. In the first month, I ate a lot of Mexican style dishes (breakfast, lunch, and dinner variations) and hot spinach salads. I started branching out in the second month and made egg salad boats with romaine lettuce or fried kale, avocado & fruit smoothies, and pureed vegetables.
Bonus tip: Find other ways to comfort yourself that doesn’t involve food. I mean, there’s literally a category of food dishes called Comfort Foods. This is so foolish of us. Food is meant to fuel and sustain us, not to provide emotional comfort. Absolutely enjoy your food, but don’t rely on it to make you feel happy or comforted. Find other ways to get this need fulfilled instead. Go for walks. Ask people for hugs. Read a book. Play music. Dance. Pick out a favorite quilt and a special mug and drink your favorite tea – one that tastes good or helps you feel supported. Play with your child(ren) without any other distraction. Request alone time where you can veg out on video games, tv, music, wandering around Target – whatever is your happy place. Stop associating food with comfort and you’ll start noticing a world of difference.
I’m finally feeling like myself again. I’ll be updating very soon when I’ll be available to offer Reiki healing sessions again and what my hours will be. Thank you for letting me be open with this harrowing journey back to the light. I understand that I may lose some of my clients with such transparency, but we can all learn from each other, and I’m an open book. I love you.