Is anyone else’s Instagram story feed full of tiny ripped moms who post pics of themselves in their sports bras while drinking their protein shakes and looking for other moms who want to join them in their “health journey”? Like, I never looked like that before I had kids, and I sure as hell ain’t gonna come close to looking like that at almost 40 and three kids later. Not to put any of them down, because most of them are lovely people, but the fact of the matter is they probably never really struggled with their weight. They were skinny people before they had kids, and they will continue to be skinny people after they have kids. But what about the rest of us?
Well, I am here to say that I am not that skinny ripped mom trying to sell you the next miracle weight-loss program, and I have a real love/hate relationship with exercise. I’ve done everything in the book — from fad diets to good ol’ calorie-counting — and lost 50 pounds, so I thought I’d share some things that have worked for me.
Please keep in mind, these are things that have helped me, and again, I’m just a mom of normal weight who doesn’t have a medical or nutrition degree.
So many people say they want to lose weight or change their habits, but until you really want it and really commit, there is no easy way to lose weight. You have to put in the work and CHANGE. And when I say change, I mean permanently. It may seem hard, but I promise the feeling of looking and feeling better far outweighs the few weeks or months it takes to alter some unhealthy habits for good.
Consult your doctor and get blood work done
This might sound awful because I hate doctors and avoided going when I knew I would be weight shamed. But especially as we get older, it’s really important to develop a good relationship with your doctor. Schedule an appointment and get bloodwork done that screens for everything! I also suggest having them test your hormone levels. Female hormones can do some really crazy stuff as we get older and can make losing weight harder. It’s so much better to know what’s going on inside of your body before you commit to a weight-loss routine. Oftentimes, screwy hormones can prevent you from losing weight, so it’s best to get everything in check first before embarking on a weight loss journey.
Weigh yourself every day
Some people can’t believe I actually weigh myself every morning, but I do. I head to the scale first thing when I wake up and this really keeps me in check for the next few days. If I’m up a few pounds, I don’t sweat it, but I definitely keep it in mind when making food choices. Weight can creep up on you, so this lets me keep a close monitor of what’s going on and helps me maintain my weight loss.
Abs are made in the kitchen
Well, I kind of want to punch the person in the face who made this up, because I’ve lost a lot of weight, and my tummy is still like a soft pillowy squishmallow. But YES. Weight loss is allllllllll about the food and has very little to do with exercise. Don’t think you have to go get a gym membership to lose weight. Work on your food first. Then as you lose weight, decide when is best to introduce exercise. I lost 40 pounds over the span of about five months before I really committed to a strenuous workout routine.
I know I said it’s mostly about the food, but moving more will help keep those pounds off, and in my case, exercise has been my therapy. Where I used to be an emotional eater, now I’m an emotional “worker outer,” and OMG, does it make me feel so much better than any French fry or donut could. Not only will those endorphins give you a nice high, you’ll be burning calories and building muscle!
Log what you eat
Though calorie-counting doesn’t sound appealing to many, it works. Oftentimes we are not aware of all the hidden calories in the seemly healthy things we are eating. Use an app like MyFitnessPal and log everything you put in your mouth. I have loved this method because it doesn’t exclude anything from my diet. Wine? Yes! French fries? Sure! But you gotta count them. You’ll eventually find go-tos that allow you to feel like you are indulging, but aren’t sending you into caloric overload. (Hello, kids meals!?)
Drink tons of water
Not only will drinking water help you lose weight, but it will make your skin look great, too! Water helps you burn more calories and can even help suppress your appetite if you drink a big glass before meals. It is recommended you drink half your body weight in ounces every day. It seems like a lot, and yes, at first you do have to pee A LOT, but once your body gets used to the water intake, it adjusts.
Intermittent fasting is something I added to my routine every week and have really loved. It has helped me maintain my weight loss and get through stubborn plateaus. Intermittent fasting has been shown to stabilize blood-sugar levels and suppress inflammation, as well as improve brain health and memory (which this frazzled mom really needs.) I now do 24-48 hour fasts every week because I have found that’s what works best for me and makes me feel great!
Planning what your week will look like in terms of food and exercise is a great way to commit to eating better and exercising. Every Sunday I take out a weekly calendar and write down what I will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as what I will do for exercise. Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, but if I stick to it for the most part, I find I stay within my allotted calories and actually show up for workouts as I should! Planning is also key in grocery shopping and preparing so you have everything on hand to eat healthy.
What are some of your tips for losing weight and keeping it off?