I know it’s not exactly feminist to be talking about weight loss before the wedding, but it’s what I’m about to do. I feel like I need to lose between 30 and 40 pounds, and I would like to do it before the wedding. However, this is not just about vanity.
The number one reason why I want to lose this weight is so that next time I get pregnant I won’t get gestational diabetes.
I know, that might sound random and out there. I didn’t get GD last time I had a baby (despite gaining a whopping 80 lbs during the pregnancy), so what makes me think I could get it this time? Well, being over weight is a good sign that your pancreas might be working a little harder to produce enough insulin, and I am over weight. If my pancreas is already working extra hard, then when I get into the insulin intolerant condition of pregnancy, my pancreas might be too worn out this time around to keep up. That’s what causes GD.
Of course I know that sometimes people who are not overweight get GD, and people who are overweight do not. But if there’s a chance that I’m at all insulin resistant now, I want to nip it in the bud before I get pregnant again. And I do plan on having children with Jeremy some day.
I don’t want to get GD because it’s a big red flag that I’m on my way to type 2 diabetes, which I really don’t want. It just doesn’t sound like a fun way to live, and if I can do something to avoid it, I’m going to. And once you start thinking along those lines, you realize that there’s a lot of health issues that I don’t want to experience that is influenced by being overweight. I plan on spending the rest of my life with Jeremy, and I want it to be a long one.
So, will I be glad if I am a size 10 (which I understand is a 14 in bridal sizes) again when I walk down the aisle? Of course! But in reality, what I’m trying to do here is about a lot more than just dress size. It’s about my terrible phobia of gestational diabetes.
So, 30-40 lbs will put me between 150-160 lbs. That’s not a bad weight for someone who is 5’8, if I do say so myself. Here’s the plan:
I’ve lost large amounts of weight in the past (60 lbs in the Army – which, if you’ve ever eaten in an Army chow hall, you’ll know is no small feat) and what I’ve learned is that weight loss is 90% calories in, calories out, and 10% little tricks that help you along the way. The basic framework of my plan is to watch how many calories I eat and exercise.
- I’m shooting for between 1200 and 1400 calories a day. It’s best to set your goal here even though 1600 is sufficient for most people to lose weight, because most people tend to underestimate how much they are eating by 20%. So, if I think I ate 1200 calories, chances are I actually ate 1440. I record everything I eat on Fitday.com, a really cool free site that lets you record your diet, weight, exercise, mood, etc., and then prepares reports for you so you can see your progress.
- The best way, I’ve found, to keep your calories low and your tummy full is to gorge on veggies and fruits. No one in this world has ever gotten fat because they ate too many veggies and fruits. No one has ever gotten sick from eating too many veggies and fruits (people have gotten sick from not eating enough of other things, but it was the lack of nutrients that caused the sickness, not too much veggies). Plus, eating lots of veggies and fruits helps slow aging and prevent diseases and lots of other benefits. You just can’t go wrong.
- By typical American standards, I don’t eat much meat. The amount I eat is right in line with the food guide pyramid, but most Americans eat two or three servings of meat at each meal, where as I eat two or three servings a day. Today, actually, I only had one serving of meat. When I do eat meat, it’s always lean, and mostly grass finished. Grass finished, or pastured meat, has a higher proportion of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s, which helps weight loss. It also tastes better. Trust me. I also eat a lot of fish.
- I pretty much only eat whole grains. The only time I eat processed grains is if I’m at a restaurant or another person’s house and they don’t use whole grains. I don’t eat a ton of grains, I had maybe four servings of grains today. Between 2 and 5 servings is normal for me. And I’m talking food pyramid sized servings, ie, 1 piece of bread is a serving, 1/2 cup brown rice is a serving, etc. Most of my carbs come from fruits and veggies.
- I’m doing cardio 5 days a week. I just got done marathon training, and now I’m moving on to something a little less intense and more regular. I will continue running two days a week, no more than three or four miles. The other three days a week, I will walk (fast) on inclines or use the stair master at my gym, for at least half an hour, but I’m shooting for a full hour each day.
- Two days a week I do personal training sessions at my gym. This is all weight training, and it’s hard core. I have lousy motivation when it comes to weight training, that’s why I hire someone to force me to do it. If you can do it on your own, you should go for it. Personal training is expensive.
- Three days a week I take yoga classes at my school. One day a week I take pilates. At school, I park on the top level of the parking garage, so I have to climb stairs during the day. When I go to the grocery store, I park in the back of the lot. Every little bit helps.
- Whenever I think about it, I do kegels. Hey, it burns calories, maybe not much but every little bit helps. Plus, I read that the PC muscle is connected to your inner abdominals, so hey, it might help flatten my tummy too. At the very least, it will increase blood flow to my nether regions, improve sex, reduce the risk of urine incontinence later in life, and help me to push my next baby out.
I might add, here, that I have been following this program more days than not for a couple of months now, and I’ve already lost 20 lbs. However, I’m stepping up the game now, no more cheating on the weekends or after a stressful day.
I don’t know if these are really working, or if they just have a placebo effect. I tend to side with the belief that they really work, but I know more conservative people will tend to think it’s more the second idea. For what they are worth, here are the little tricks I employ that I find helpful.
- I take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before every meal. I think ACV tastes horrible! Like vomit! So I mix it with apple juice in a shot glass. Some people like it in water with honey. Some people like it plain. Some people (like John Travolta) sprinkle it straight on their food.
- I take a number of supplements – 5HTP, Hydroxycitric Acid, Vitamin D, Damiana, Chromium, CoQ10 and Cod Liver Oil. I also take probiotics and a daily multi vitamin.
- I do not use products with parabens, phthalates or other hormone disrupting chemicals in them, as the hormone disruption can cause weight problems (amongst many other health problems)
- I drink a lot of hot tea. Green tea is supposed to help with weight loss, and I drink that in the mornings, but more often, I drink herbal tea. It makes me feel like I’m indulging in something, and it helps me to hydrate.
- I meditate, do deep breathing exercises, use positive affirmations and visualization.
Here are some books on diet, weight loss, health, etc. that I highly recommend.
- In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan (really, anything by him is great, but for weight loss and health, start with this one)
- The Flat Belly Diet
- Anything on The Glycemic Index
- The Flexitarian Diet
- The Secret
- Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine
Also, if you’re looking for ways to add more veggies to your diet besides salad and steamed broccoli, check out the books The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious. Both of these are about sneaking veggies into food you don’t normally find them in. For example, I made a meat loaf the other night with several small zucchini and about a cup of spinach in it. It was delicious, and filled with veggies that you couldn’t even taste.
Also, look into checking out vegetarian cookbooks from the library. I really like Diet for a Small Planet.