One Pound Per Week

I lost weight for the first two weeks after giving birth, but then I started to gain weight back. This depressed me, I thought I'd have at least four weeks of natural weight loss.

But after pondering the situation for a little while, I decided I'd better start dieting to lose the baby weight. Sure, the weight comes off naturally if you're in your 20s, but I didn't luck into that now that I'm, ahem, no longer in my 20s. And since I'm not on a calorie-restriced diet, but rather a healthy-foods-specific diet, it should be just fine for nursing. I've been monitoring my food choices for four weeks now, and M is gaining weight just fine.

And I seem to be losing weight just fine, too. I'm not setting any get-fit-quick records by losing one pound per week, but it's been consistent, and I haven't had to go crazy with the food restrictions. I'm still drinking whatever I want in the evenings, and for the most part I do eat whenever I'm hungry. But instead of eating a high-calorie snack (like an egg and sausage biscuit), I try to eat a salad or some raw veggies or some fruit to stave off the hunger until the next meal. I don't worry about quantity, so I just eat enough crudites until I'm no longer hungry. And I do have them with dip, too, not just plain.

I fell off the wagon a little this week, since we've been eating leftovers from the baptism party all week, and that included some daily banana bread and chocolate cake. But once the sweets ran out, I got back with the program, and was heartened that even this week I lost my expected pound.

This bit of luck made me even more motivated to stick with the healthier choices. My rough guideline is the Dr. Phil diet-- I say rough since I haven't read the book in years, so I only vaguely recall his food directives. But I do recall something about easing into the diet anyway. If you make radical changes to your eating habits, chances are good that they won't "stick", and you'll revert to your old ways at some point. But if you make gradual changes, then each little change gets incorporated into your psyche as a new (better) habit, and once a certain level of healthier eating has "set" then you can bit by bit advance until you are always making healthy choices.

One good thing about being as overweight as I am is that the initial weight loss is turning out to be relatively painless. If I was all gung-ho I could probably be knocking off more than one pound per week, but I prefer the slow and steady approach at this point.

I still have 11 pounds to go to get rid of the baby weight I'm still carrying from Max. That's my first goal. Then I've got 22 more pounds to lose the baby weight I never lost from when I was pregnant with W. That's my second goal. My third goal is to lose the last 20 pounds that I gained while living it up on the Sungard expense account when I traveled with T. That was back in 2008. Although it took three years and two pregnancies to pack all these extra pounds on, if I stick to one pound per week of weight loss, I'll be able to get back to my ideal weight in one year. If I hit a plateau, that might set my timeline back. Or it might inspire me to make my diet even healthier. Hard to say at this point.

It was my experience with the Dr. Phil diet the first time around (I lost over 35 pounds back in 2004-2005) that if you just make the changes gradually, it really is pretty painless. My appetite changed, too, so that over time I didn't even crave the unhealthy foods anymore, I was pretty content with the good stuff. I like snacking on nuts and cheese and fruit and the like, I really don't crave sugar that often. And when I do want a little something sweet, I'm lucky that I can just have a few bites and give the rest of the serving to T instead of finishing it myself. At 41 years old, he still has the body of an 18-year-old boy, and is nearly impervious to extra calories. I say "nearly" because when we were feasting on Sungard's dime, even he put on a few pounds and got this hilarious little pot belly and love handles while the rest of him stayed skinny. Fortunately those went away quickly once he started working on the farm.

So that's the update. I've now lost 32 of 43 pounds I gained from being pregnant with M, with 11 to go to meet my first goal. That will hopefully happen by Halloween. At which point I should be able to fit back into the fall clothes I bought during my between-pregnancies shopping trip to NYC. And I will hopefully be able to wear my rings again, too (the cooler weather should also help with that. . .).

If I stick to one pound per week, I should be back to pre-William weight by April 2012. I will hold onto my fancy shoes until then at least. I might be delusional, but I am still holding out a little bit of hope that there is some excess weight lurking in my feet and if I just lose the weight then I'll fit back into my old shoes. But if I lose the weight and feet remain at their expanded size, then I'm putting those puppies on ebay. Even if I only get $50 per pair for them (and some were only worn a few times since I bought them shortly before I got pregnant with W, so if I'm lucky I'll get more), then that's still going to be a decent amount of cash to put toward buying new giant-sized monster shoes to fit my postpartum feet.