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.
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:
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (both by Michael Pollan)
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Michael Pollan again)
- Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes (Mark Bittman)
- How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (cookbooks, both by Bittman)
- Jamie’s Food Revolution (cookbook by Jamie Oliver)
- Food, Inc. (documentary by Eric Schlosser)
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.