'B' for Books Food Me

Twenty Pounds Lighter

Losing twenty pounds was number six on my 30 Before Thirty list. Following through with number five (stop drinking soda) certainly helped, so that’s two more off the list!

My BMI now officially puts me in the normal weight category, which is fantastic considering that I had edged into obese territory after pregnancy. I certainly didn’t feel obese, but medically, there I was. I gained 40 pounds while I was pregnant with Eleanor, and I’ve since lost 60, making me twenty pounds lighter than my pre-baby weight.

Line Diet

I did it very sensibly, losing two pounds per week. I followed the Steve Ward diet, which is not actually a diet but rather a way to keep yourself on track. You just draw a line on graph paper from your current weight to your goal, eat normally when you’re below the line and watch your meals when you’re above. I’m a visual person, so the graph was immensely helpful to me. It kept me motivated when I felt like nothing was happening because I could see my progress (even before I could see a difference in my waistline). I also liked being able to look ahead and see where I’d be by a certain date, assuming I kept on track.

* Edit: I didn’t do the broccoli only thing that the Steve Ward diet calls for — that’s too extreme. I just ate a little lighter overall when I went over the line.

I never followed a strict exercise plan or diet. I went on more walks and for longer distances, and I often used a baby carrier for Eleanor instead of a stroller. I had been reading a lot about opting not to partake in the Western Diet (all of the crap that Americans typically eat), and so I was mindful about making healthier choices. These are some of the books that helped me:

It’s hard to change a lifetime of eating habits so I still have some work to do, but I’m making good progress. I have hardly eaten any fast food, and in fact the times that I did revert to it I found that I didn’t like it as much. Still, I’m not one to deny myself an occasional cheeseburger or pizza, so I let myself indulge sometimes. The difference is that I really do think of it as an indulgence rather than a normal weeknight option.

So that’s how I did it. I lost weight the baby weight and then some with diet, exercise, and graph paper.

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  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Slow and steady is definitely the way to go with. It means you’re developing new behaviors, not just dieting and depriving yourself so that when you stop dieting you gain it all back plus more.
    I’ve lost 17lbs and my sister has dropped 65lbs using a graph and tracking system, but we use one that’s online, nutrimirror.com. Being able to see what’s going on (and being accountable to ourselves for our food choices) is what finally clicked for us.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Congratulations! And thank you so much for this post! I have never been into the dieting scene, but am currently reaching my “somethings got to give” weight. This is an answer to prayers. I made my graph yesterday afternoon and it’s now taped in my closet above the scales! I made my first mark this morning… below the line! YAY! And I plan to hit the library this evening for some reading on nutrition.

    If I stick to the plan, I’ll be at a ten year low in three months!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 11:13 am


    I was never in such good shape as when I carried my year-old daughter in the baby backpack. I developed more endurance, not to mention the way my core muscles were strengthened.

    Now my kids are way to big for packs (7 & 9 yos), but I’ve thought about loading a backpack with textbooks for my walks. A great way to work out AND a new use for old stuff!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Congrats Nicole! That is awesome and inspiring. I don’t like the scale so maybe I’ll take the same concept and think about doing it with inches overall?

    Keep up the new lifestyle :)

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Congrats! What a great post! My baby just turned 1 June 6th and although I am at my “pre-pregnancy” weight, I was never exactly happy with that number. I am at the higher end of “normal” and I am noticing the scale slowly creeping up. Like you, I am a visual person (graphic designer) and love the idea of charting it on graph paper. I’m starting today with a goal of 15lbs. We’ll see how it goes! Thanks for the motivation, already today I am doing better than usual!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Nicole. You look great. Congrats on losing the weight. It’s not easy at any time, but to do so while caring for your little one, running a business,and making it all lovely is an even bigger accomplishment. You’re an inspiration on many levels!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Congrats!! Keep up the good work!
    I’ve been doing weight watchers, which is helpful, but I like this method! It really helps you visualize where you are in terms of your weight loss goal. Perfect for someone visually oriented. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Really awesome, Nicole!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I think it is really great that you’ve met your goal and done it so sensibly. Losing weight certainly isn’t easy but slow and steady wins the race! Congrats!

  • Reply
    Julie @ shorts and longs
    June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Way to go, Nicole! And I love how you did it. Seriously, brilliant. Love your new eating path, and I’m right there with you in trying to change a lifetime of “western” eating habits. Love it!!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Awesome! Good for you!! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to try this. I’ve been trying to lose for some time now. Keep it up.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Your blog is a delight, and your weight-loss story inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    yes! i love this story almost more than your new bedroom! lol…i too have loss weight! i usually say “lost” because i never want to find it again! but this is an awesome story..i weigh in everyday just because im obsessed with the scale…i think im going to try this starting tomorrow morning! thanks sooo much for this inspiration :)

  • Reply
    June 23, 2010 at 4:41 am

    I love that you did this all sensibly. My sister is over weight and she is always on some ridiculous fad diet. I try to convince her to just move more and eat less in general but most people just want a quick fix. Bravo for you!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I made the graph yesterday. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply
    Amy Awesome
    June 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Great job, you are so inspiring!

  • Reply
    Jessica @ {Black.White.Yellow.}
    June 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Congrats! I’m really proud of you…I might have to try this too!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Congrats on such a wonderful acheivement!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    First off, great job! How impressive! I vote you celebrate by treating yourself to a new dress.

    This is fabulous insight and inspiration. I needed a spark to get serious about losing my baby weight. Making that happen before I turn 40 in October would rock.

    I’ll be giving this a try!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I am truly impressed and quite inspired. Good for you! And good for your life and for your family’s life.


  • Reply
    June 25, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Thanks for the post! I AM 30, and getting married next summer! I want to lose about 20 pounds and this seems like something that would help keep me on track. Now all I have to do is buy a scale. Thank you so much!

    Sabrina :)

  • Reply
    Amanda Joy
    June 25, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Oh congrats and thanks so much for the post! Radically changing diet is all the rage, and I just wasn’t sure how people actually do it. The list of resources will be super helpful to tweak my eating habits. It’s really hard when you just “don’t know” where to start. Thanks Nicole!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Congrats lady… I need to do something like this because I lose weight then put it back on. Thanks for sharing something so personal. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Congrats and **thank you** for posting the graph idea! I made a graph right after I read this post and it is working really well for me. So helpful to see a trend on paper even when you can’t feel anything otherwise. Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    To second on some of the others … how inspiring! I want to lose 20 lbs too, just haven’t really gotten my butt in gear to do it … what an interesting way to watch the progress, so simple!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    great, congratulations! and thank you for sharing something so personal

  • Reply
    June 28, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Congratulations on losing the weight the healthy way! Thanks for the book suggestions and the graph idea is a good suggestion as well. I’ve been trying to find a way to get back on track (moved out on my own and now gaining back the weight I lost freshman/sophomore year of college) but wasn’t sure what to do. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    NICOLE!!!! Congratulations on losing all the pregnancy weight PLUS 20 lbs! I love that you a) found what works for you and b) did it the healthy way!

    Do you feel like you have a whole new body? I felt like I was born again when I finally went back to my pre-pregnancy body. It’s a great feeling.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Love you’re website! I just want to say that I’ve always had problems “seeing” the weight I lose (because I have so much to lose) and the picture you posted here and the accompanying link are great! I’ve been using this for almost 2 weeks and it’s helping me a lot. Thank you so, so much! You’ve always been a design inspiration, but I guess you’re a life one now, too. Sorry for the long comment!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I joined WeightWatchers in April but they stopped their business in Finland couple of months later. I’ve been in a diet limbo not knowing what to do. Thanks to you, I’m going to print out some graph paper and get busy.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I am nursing my baby now who is 3 months old. I have not lost any weight. Its really frustrating. Did maintaining a diet reduce your milk flow?. I am worried that reduced food/excercise will decrease my milk flow.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2010 at 11:24 am

    There’s also an iphone app for the Steve Ward diet, in case the analog (paper) method is less convenient:

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    November 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    this inspired me to lose my last 10 lbs of baby weight. thank you!

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