How I Lost 70 pounds After Two Babies
Updated: Feb 12, 2020
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Losing weight is damn hard. I gained 60 pounds with each of my babies. I was 32 when my son was born. I was able to lose the 60 pounds in 18 months, training for a sprint triathlon along the way.
With my second child at age 36, I gained 60 pounds yet again (I am not including the weight of the baby in this calculation). Both my pregnancies were miserable and eating was my way to stave off nausea and survive. With my second pregnancy, the added weight caused me physical pain that extended for months after I gave birth, making some forms of exercise difficult. Thankfully, I am recovered from that.
I don’t remember much about how I lost the weight after my first baby. I just remember it became easier after breast-feeding, and I was determined to lose the weight to prove to myself that I could do it. I was training for a triathlon so exercise was a major factor, and I ate healthy enough to eventually take the weight off. I remember tracking calories with my FitBit and being aware of calories in and calories out.
After my second child, I was determined to lose the weight much faster. I really didn’t want it to take 18 months and I was motivated by a strong desire to not feel embarrassed in a bikini. I was planning a trip to Nicaragua and I wanted to prance around on the beach feeling good about my body.
Through sheer grit and determination, and some concrete strategies I will share below, I was able to lose not just the 60 pounds, but 70 pounds in 9 months time! I was able to do this with the added stress and time-constraints of having two children, and going back to work full time only 7 weeks after giving birth.
Here’s how I did it with a newborn baby and 3 year old at home:
They say that losing weight is 80% what you put in your body and 20% exercise. I have found this to be 100% true, and I had to wrap my head around this concept in order to see that scale move. I dialed in my nutrition more than ever before.
1. Became a vegan: This is definitely not necessary, but I decided I needed to completely change my diet and give myself very concrete rules to follow if I wanted to be serious. Becoming a vegan fit the bill for doing something totally different. I am someone that needs clear boundaries because loose rules are an extremely slippery slope for me. I also have very little will-power and when I start eating something delicious, I have a hard time stopping. Moderation is almost impossible. If I eat 1 chip, I need 40. If I eat 1 cookie, I want 5. I straight up needed to cut things out so I didn’t fall into that overeating trap.
2. Cut out sugar, gluten, and processed foods: For the first 3 months, I took drastic measures, albeit healthy ones. I became vegan (something I had never done before and haven’t done since). Surprisingly, you can be vegan and still eat very unhealthy. So, I also became sugar free and gluten free. I ate organic and non-processed foods. I shopped exclusively at my local food co-op and invested in some cookbooks so that I could get creative in what I made. I combed through Pinterest and started a Vegan board. I made just about everything myself. I even bought a food dehydrator, although that kind of flopped and I ended up selling it later. I was very black and white about the rules and did not stray from them. My mindset was on lockdown. I experimented a lot with meals and discovered there was a lot of yummy stuff I could eat.
3. I cut back on the nuts. Nuts were one of the few, easy things I could eat on this plan, so I indulged on them a lot in the beginning. I am a huge fan of nuts and they satisfy my craving to snack. It wasn’t until I cut them out that I saw the scale move a little more quickly. They are very high in calories so moderation is key when it comes to these delicious treats.
4. I drank a gallon of water per day...almost every day. Some days, depending on what I had going on, this was very challenging. You need to make sure bathrooms are readily available throughout the day, and stop drinking early in the evening so you’re not up all night peeing. It’s difficult to do at first, but then your body adjusts.
5. Meal replacement shakes: After the first few months, my friend was selling Herbalife meal replacement drinks. She had me try some samples and I found them to be really delicious. I decided to stick to a sugar-free, gluten-free diet, loosened up on being vegan, but continued to eat lots of veggies and maintain a healthy balance of fats, protein, and occasional healthy carbs. The meal replacement shake once per day also freed up some time I had been spending on meal prep. As a busy mom, this was nice.
After a little while, I discovered Trainer Lindsey, an ambassador for another shake option, IdealFit. This one was more affordable and I didn’t need to go through a network marketing program to access the products. I stuck with this meal replacement shake until all the weight was lost, and beyond. I still enjoy these shakes years later because they are delicious and affordable.
6. Free meal plans: Trainer Lindsey also had some incredible free resources online. I started accessing her exercise program along with her meal plans. These meal plans were absolutely instrumental in my success. They were nicely laid out, and easy to implement. They helped me gain control, not just of my calorie intake, but they enlightened me to the whole concept of macro-nutrients. I still don’t really understand it, but I trusted the process. It turns out that it matters WHAT you eat and when; not just how many calories you take in. Cue exploding head. Her meals worked!
With two children, I knew exercise would be very hard to fit into my schedule. I also knew that exercise was important, but not as important as nutrition. I let go of my preconceived notions of how much exercise I needed to lose weight, and ascribed the mentality that some exercise was better than none. My time constraints would not allow me to work out as much as I used to, but I wasn’t going to let time be an excuse.
1. Free workouts online: I found Trainer Lindsey’s free workout program online. She had a series of 20-25 minute workouts that were a mix of weight training and cardio. Just about every morning I would delicately and quietly sneak out of bed with my baby, careful not to wake her slumber. I would get up at 4:30 in the morning, no excuses. Although I exercised in the same room as my daughter, she rarely woke up through such a short workout. Her workouts were great for the novice who needs to start getting in shape.
2. Consistency: I was consistent. Exercising early in the morning was hard, but it worked for me because I didn’t have time to make excuses. I just got up and did it, and it became my routine. It also gave me a sense of accomplishment that started my day off on a positive note. I would look in the mirror as I trained, and gradually watched the weight come off. Seeing my progress motivated me to keep going until all 70 pounds were gone!
3. Occasional gym visits to keep things interesting: On weekends, I could occasionally get away to do a longer workout at my local gym. This gave me the variety I needed and got me out of the house free of distractions.
Keeping the Weight Off
Once you have some good muscle mass, keeping weight off becomes easier. However, if I don’t stay consistent with my food choices, my weight gradually starts to come back on. Over time, I fluctuate 10-20 pounds if I'm not on point. Here are some other programs I’ve used to take weight off when it starts to creep back on again.
1. Refreshers with Trainer Lindsey: I have done refreshers with Trainer Lindsey’s meal plan and exercise program. She has different challenge lengths and there are other IdealFit trainers in her network that have programs as well. I have experimented with some of the other meal plans but hers have always been my favorite.
2. Mix things up: After awhile I grow sick of the same program and the monotony makes it harder to stay motivated. BeachBody has been amazing for me. Their yearly membership is well-worth the price. There are hundreds of workouts for every preference so you are never bored. My schedule does not allow me to get to the gym very often, so it’s essential that I have workout programs I can do at home. I also live in Vermont, so between rain, snow, sub-zero temps or extreme heat, exercising outside is not always ideal. We have some die-hards who go out in all weather, but that’s not me!
3. 80 Day Obsession is a BeachBody program and can be accessed through a Beachbody coach or not. I met a woman at my gym who happens to be a coach, and I signed up for one of her 80 day Obsession challenges. These types of challenges can be extremely motivating for some people because you have a community and a coach helping to encourage you and hold you accountable. I don’t really love these, but they can be essential for some.
80 Day Obsession is a fantastic program. I was fully committed to it for a full month with no slip-ups. I saw incredible results in my body. The last 50 days of the program, I did a good job with it, but was not fully devoted. I would allow myself treats and I was not consistent. My weight stayed off for awhile but eventually started to creep back on. I find that 80 days is a long time to be fully committed to a program. The time commitment involved with this one in particular made it especially challenging. The workouts were an hour long, 6 days a week. The meal prepping took a ton of effort. The workouts are great for someone who is already in good shape. For the novice, you'd want to start with an easier program and work your way up to that.
The workouts were amazing. I loved them, but they were long. Autumn Calabrese does have a series of shorter workouts (21 Day Fix), that I like better. The 80 Day Obsession package comes with everything you need from the cookbooks, to the containers, to the resistance bands. It’s a highly organized program with nicely laid out worksheets and workbooks. I really like it a lot and it works very well. If you have the dedication, you will see tremendous results. Working with a coach is also free. They make their commision off of the BeachBody products.
4. Currently, I am following the Bulletproof Diet combined with intermittent fasting. This diet is fantastic in terms of its ease and high nutritional value. I am posting updates on how effective it is for me. It definitely has shown a lot of promise. It’s similar to Keto but with carb cycling. It basically centers around eating a ton of healthy fats and veggies while avoiding processed foods, complex carbs, and sugars.
As a woman who has just entered middle age, keeping weight off is an ongoing challenge. I am in constant turmoil between the free-spirited part of me that wants to indulge and let loose, and the part of me that wants to be healthy, live a long time, and look amazing in a bikini. There are no easy answers, or easy shortcuts to willpower.
Hopefully some of these strategies can help you on your journey. Each of them provide a healthy path to weight loss. They involve sacrifice and compromise but aren’t overly restrictive.
Sometimes making healthy choices involves an identity shift that isn’t received well by all. It helps to know your purpose and stay confident in your resolve. Keep the end goal in mind. Try to surround yourself with supportive people if you can. If you can’t, stay strong. Eat for your goals. Don’t make excuses. You do you. Don’t let the judgments of others shrink your power. Your partner might want you to enjoy a pizza and a beer, but then again, they will like what they see when you put your new butt in a pair of jeans and strut with confidence as you make your dreams a reality. Push on. You can do it!