Baby Weight


The Flu?

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On my porch at 29 Weeks Pregnant.

At the start of 2013 I was preparing for a year of maintaining my weight loss with continued physical activity and healthy eating.  I had no trouble losing 10lbs in the early part of the year and I was excited to stand on the scale and see the numbers continue to fall.  In March I came down with what I thought was a nasty flu that kept me from eating or keeping anything down for weeks.  I soon found out that my “flu” was actually morning sickness, 49% of pregnancies are unintended according to the CDC, and mine was definitely a part of that statistic.

Oh no!  I’m pregnant…

I was scared initially of losing the body I worked so hard for, and I was nervous that after the baby was born I wouldn’t be able to lose the weight again.  I looked up articles about how much weight you should gain during pregnancy and decided I’d stick to the goal of a 25-30lb weight gain over the 9 month period.  Around the third month of pregnancy I stopped feeling sick and started feeling hungry, for sweets specifically, from then on I gained about 10lbs each month.  I topped out at 196lbs on my due date of November 11th, but by this time I was so excited to meet my baby girl that I really didn’t care.  I did, however, start preparing myself mentally for a serious diet change in the coming months.

 

I Want Chocolate!

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In the nursery at 34 weeks pregnant.

After the morning sickness subsided I really enjoyed being pregnant.  I felt so connected to the baby inside me, and was extremely excited to feel her move and shake.     I was active throughout my pregnancy, I rode a bike up until I was 7 months pregnant, and walked most days for 10-15 minutes even up to my due date.  I also enjoyed the freedom of eating anything I wanted, even though I really should have made healthier choices.  Cravings are truly no joke, I felt like I NEEDED a coke every day, and I know that was related to my pregnancy because I don’t enjoy the taste of coke at all post pregnancy.  Not to mention I was extremely busy, rarely had time to visit a grocery store, and spent most of my time outside of my own house.  Eating out was a necessity for me, I usually chose a turkey sandwich from Jason’s or Dajio or a grilled chicken sandwich from Smacs, along with delicious dinners at Dr. Baker’s house and the Smith house which I always appreciated.  But I absolutely attribute my excessive weight gain to sweets, I ate a lot of them, every day, for about 6 months and even worried at one point that I’d cause the baby to be diabetic.  I just couldn’t control myself, I was emotional, exhausted, and apprehensive about being a parent.  Sweets were my coping mechanism.

Giving Myself a Break from the Scale

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Taken on my due date in November 2013.

After baby was born I lost about 25lbs immediately.  I haven’t dieted or limited any foods thus far because I am breastfeeding, but I have cut down on my sugar intake significantly (no pop <soda for you New Yorkers, drink for you Southerners>, fewer candy bars per week, no ice cream).  I was excited to continue my weight loss, but since November I’ve actually gained about 5lbs back.  After reading several articles and forums I found that the scale won’t reflect my work because it’s possible I’m carrying a significant amount of water weight due to breastfeeding.  As long as the numbers don’t increase I’ve decided I’m fine, and that numbers on a scale don’t matter until after I discontinue breastfeeding, instead I’m going to focus on eating a well rounded diet.

 

 

Me Time

I week after giving birth.

I week after giving birth.

Along with eating well, I’ll be exercising 5-7 times a week.  I’m realizing that I won’t be able to make it to every exercise class I want or have to time to hit the gym every day, but I can do a little cardio at home with the baby several times on days I don’t make it out, and I can eat fewer calories on days I’m sedentary.  So far I’ve been extremely lucky to receive a gift gym membership from the amazing Doctor, take kick-your-butt classes taught by the awesome Angie, and have support from a great man who loves me and respects me at any size.  The ‘me time’ I’m getting at the gym and on walks around this beautiful island have boosted my mood, made me more energetic, helped me maintain motivation to eat well, and make me stronger so I can carry around my bundle of joy that keeps getting heavier and heavier every day.

Next Steps

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Lisa! Taken circa 2010 before the weight loss.

To take things up a notch I’m planning to read a couple of books – The Paleo Answer and 21 Day Sugar Detox. Then it’s time to implement big changes in my diet.  For months I’ve watch a friend chronicle her success with weight loss and overall improvement in her well being by “eating clean”, and recently read her blog about the experience , this is the very friend that supported me through my initial weight loss while living in New York City, the friend that invited me over to consume delicious dinners with vegetables I had never eaten prepared by 417205_344725338892530_1434551039_nher amazing husband, and the friend who helped me transform myself into the woman I am today.  It’s the research phase at this point, but I’m excited to learn more and find a diet that works for me.  The goal is to fit my pre pregnancy clothes, and I expect this will take about a year, and I’m excited to begin the journey of weight loss again!

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College and the workplace – the disconnect


Last month I was driving through Swan Quarter after a prenatal appointment at the Hyde County Health Department.  I happened upon a radio show discussion, among the few stations to choose from, and the topic was the education system.  The host, Diane Rehm and guests all discussed the benefits versus the costs of a college education.  I was interested to happen upon this program after receiving a disconcerting letter from a company that will now be servicing my student loans in place of the Department of Education.  Not only did I notice that the terms of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program were changed (now requires 25 years of “qualifying payments” versus 10 years), I also realized I no longer qualified for an Income Based Repayment Program which would skyrocket the amount I owe monthly pushing me to default on my loans.  This all had me thinking about whether college was the right decision for me.

When I began my college education in 2004 I was encouraged by guidance counselors to choose any major I found interesting and move forward.  Unfortunately, there was no discussion about the economic situation of my family, the reality of repaying student loans without financial support for other expenses (rent, day to day expenses, bills, car payments), and absolutely no assistance understanding the terms of student loans.  Furthermore, there seemed to be a disconnect between educators and the workplace, including the realities of upcoming labor needs in the coming decade. It seemed many professors were professors for many years, and while some had experience in the workplace, they didn’t often share stories about the harsh realities of the workplace.  As a naive 18 year old, excited about college, with no understanding or family history of higher education, I decided to commit to a 3+2 program which would allow me to complete an undergraduate program in 3 years with a graduate program of 2 years to follow.  Nearly $70,000 later I realize this was an incredible mistake for me, and that many low income students must face the reality that education costs may paralyze them financially in the future.  College does not offer guaranteed employment, and often doesn’t prepare students for the workplace.  Spending 3 years in a classroom taught me nothing about interacting with coworkers and superiors, dealing with workplace conflicts, negotiating salary, or  adjusting to a rigorous work schedule of 10-12 hours a day.  My time working at Radio Shack, New York and Company, and Boston Market was more informational and instead of paying for this education I actually earned money.

I started this blog in 2011 when I was questioning my choices, and peering into a bleak financial future.  Today my finances haven’t improved and I’ve learned a new way of life.  As I embark on a new journey into parenthood I find myself questioning whether a college education is the best choice for my child.  Moving forward I’m going to have to get creative, this article offers some leads.  Although I’m not sure in which direction I’ll go, I do know that if I could go back in time I wouldn’t borrow any money in order to fund my education.  I recognize that decision might not have led me to where I am today, but I also fear the consequences of defaulting and live with constant worry about my (and now my child’s) future.

I end this post with a word of caution to those moving forward after high school; discuss the terms of any loan with a lawyer or do research on your own before you sign any document (but you still may find the terms very complicated and difficult to understand), weigh the benefits and costs of owing money, and choose a major based on the needs of the labor market not based on your personal interests (that’s what hobbies are for), be your own advocate and get the most out of your time (don’t take easy courses, take practical courses), work throughout your college years (not just as an intern or at a work study), and network, and don’t go to college just because you think you’re supposed to.  Good luck future college students, and future employees!

Inspirational Quote


I found this amazing poem at http://tipprblog.com/2013/03/08/how-to-build-yourself-from-scratch/.  This blog offers a plethora of topics, I love the variety!  As I was reading this today I felt inspired, and decided to share it with readers.  Since my weight loss I’ve lost my sense of self, looking different has changed me more than I thought it would, but this poem seems to simplify a complex process.  Thank you to the writer.

How To Build Yourself from Scratch

A good foundation- two feet planted firmly on the ground

Adequate strength- to carry the weight of yourself and others (others are optional)

A mind of your own- a brain that will lead you away from the hive

Emotion- a determining factor of a healthy soul

 

It might not seem like much,

But when you add them all together,

You’ve built yourself

A modest home.

Super foods?


I hear a lot about Superheroes at the daycare, but never have I heard about super foods.  I finally checked my e-mail today (104 unread messages!) and looked through the newsletters and articles from sparkpeople.com and livestrong.com.  I found this article http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=307 which reports super foods  “power your brain, and correctly and efficiently fuel your body…fight infection, enhance your immune system, and protect against diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and respiratory infections.”

WOW! What great reasons to make sure you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight!

None of this is news to me, changing my diet was how I lost weight, but lately I’ve been returning to old habits more and more.

What happened after I wrote this?  Why didn’t my motivation in January stick?

Well…because I’m human, and the cold windy weather and short days have taken a toll on my motivation to work out.  I wonder if changing my diet just this week will help me feel more energetic and really ready to stick to a workout routine at home or at the gym in the coming weeks. Eating healthy is a true lifestyle choice that takes commitment and some effort but it’s absolutely worth it!  I get picked on sometimes because of my eating choices but  those choices are ultimately the reason for my weight loss and overall health today.  

Time to try again.

Spring is a great time to start a new eating plan and workout routine, I started my weight loss in January 2011 but it really jump-started in May 2011. It was a little easier to challenge myself during runs when the weather was more mild; when the view went from dreary and dark to lively and bright I found myself looking forward to my early morning runs.  I believe that exercising is the best way to take time for yourself, and to take care of yourself – in addition to eating foods with the nutrients your body needs.

So I’m going to start again, today.  This is what works for me:

1.  No more stocking up on junk food. (The boyfriend might not like this one, but too bad lol)

2. Prepare salads to eat on the go or for lunch instead of buying fried or sweet snacks.

3.  Eat balanced meals all day with the goal of getting the right amount of servings for each food group (for more info on serving sizes http://nutrition.about.com/od/fruitsandvegetables/f/servingfruit.htm).

4.  On evenings I have the energy, time, and am just sitting around watching TV and eating – take at least 30 minutes to do some type of physical activity (strength training or cardio) – try to do this at least 3 times a week.

I’m not interested in losing weight anymore, but I do notice a change in my mood since I’ve stopped watching what I eat and how much exercise I get each week.  Let’s see if I feel any different after doing this for a couple weeks.  Is anyone else out there having a tough time sticking to a goal or resolution, how did you or will you re-motivate to start again?  

I once mistook a head of cabbage for a head of lettuce!


Until I was 25 years old I felt intimidated by the produce section in the grocery store.  There were so many different types of vegetables and I knew nothing about how to prepare them.  New York City is where I learned how delicious vegetables could be, what they were, and how to prepare them – broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, squash, peppers.

At the Happy Dog in Cleveland with Emily

My love for veggies didn’t come naturally, it took exposure and consistency.  Once I opened my mind to trying new types of vegetables and started to brave the produce section discovered I actually liked some vegetables, and could make most others taste good with the right recipe

The Little Black Apron: A Single Girl's Guide to Cooking with Style and Grace

(this book helped me along, thanks for the gift Emily).

Continue reading

Old habits die hard…but it’s time to get back on track


It’s January 2011, I’m 200lbs at 24 years old and although I’ve wanted to lose weight for so long I still haven’t done it.  It was on my 25th birthday that I promised myself I’d start to live a healthier lifestyle.  I woke up one morning inspired – I decided that I’d begin to track my weight starting today, and wrote down a goal of losing 2lbs per week by exercising and eating less (detailed account of my weight loss plan).  After 7 months of dedication I stepped on the scale to find my goal was in reach and I only had a few more pounds to go before the numbers ONE FOUR ZERO displayed above my feet.

A Whole New World

Weight loss changed my life completely.  My daily routine was significantly different – physical activity and meal planning took up time that I used to spend watching television or eating out.  My old diet of McDonalds, frozen pizzas, and comfort food was gone…now I ate salads for sides instead of potatoes or macaroni and cheese, I chose turkey meat over pork and beef, my portions were based on physical activity instead of boredom, and I stopped drinking coca cola with every meal.  Not everyone in my life was supportive of my new eating habits, I received criticism from others and found that many felt I would now be judgmental of their eating habits, but I’ve only changed because I found what works for me.  In November 2011 I decided to start a blog about my weight loss success and never ending journey to maintain my health.  Until now I haven’t deviated from my healthy eating habits, December 2012 has been my first bump in the road, what do they say about old habits?

Old Habits Die Hard

Homemade sweets, lots of time on my hands, and bad weather all combined to create a month of laziness.  I don’t regret enjoying a hiatus from my new habits to enjoy holiday treats and dinners, but it’s time to get back on track.  Boredom eating in front of the television is my weakness, past lessons have taught me the best way to fight this habit is not to stock up on the foods I tend to overindulge in.  So now that the sweets have all been consumed, it’s time to move forward – fruit instead of fudge!

A New Years Resolution 

Campground Trail 1.5.13

Biking instead of couch potato-ing.

My resolution for 2013 is clear to me – maintain healthy habits.

My past has taught me that you have to start somewhere if you want to see any results.  Last night, as I sat there finishing off the last of the caramel popcorn, I decided it was time to put the sweets down and make a nutritious dinner.  I threw together a seasoned turkey burger (Italian seasonings) with vegetable rotini in tomato sauce with broccoli.  I continued the good habits by taking a bike ride at sunset from my house to the campground 4.6 miles away, and finished up my routine with a walk along the beach from the campground to the small island airport (2.6 miles).

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Sunset walk.

This month I plan to resume walking or biking every day that the weather allows for it, and to take a 30 minute break from my evening television to complete a workout video at sparkpeople.com .  As far as food goes I’ll likely continue to indulge in some sweets and favorites, but I’ll be sure to include salads and vegetables in my daily meals and replace chocolate treats with fruits.

Now What?  Relationships and weight…

I keep revisiting the “Now What?” question – losing weight has only been the first step on a long road.  Maintaining my weight loss no matter what changes in life has become an ongoing challenge.  So now I begin to learn how to maintain my weight loss while in a relationship, how to resist pizza rolls and cookies, and instead make meals that I enjoy no matter what my partner chooses to eat.  I’m sure I’ll give in to the unhealthy options sometimes but as long as more often than not I stay true to healthy eating and exercise, I know I’ll continue to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

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Continuing the journey…

I’ll be taking it one day at a time like I always do, and I encourage all of my readers to do the same.

Remember – old habits may die hard but they’re only habits, replace them with new habits today and start your journey on the road to change.

Taking a break from technology…


Since my move to the beautiful and isolated Ocracoke Island I’ve become less interested in technology.  My iPhone used to be an item I used frequently throughout the day, now I find myself taking bike rides to the beach to settle into seclusion, away from both physical and virtual social contact.

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I’ve loved the abrupt change from living in a crowded city that required hours of commuting on a busy subway train daily to living in a small village where you don’t “commute” you spend less than 10 minutes riding a bike into the village and rarely come in contact with any people.  It’s nearly been 4 full months since my arrival and while my initial goal was to write more, I’m glad I took some time to simply “be” and enjoy a laid-back lifestyle after a hectic and difficult 2012.  Now that I’ve rested I’m ready to jump back into blogging, to be in touch with what so many of my fellow bloggers have been talking about these last couple of months, to comment and be a part of the community.  I’m excited to share with you all my island experiences from the beautiful images I capture of sunsets and the ever changing beach, to the comical stories of my reactions to large insects and biking accidents.  I hope readers will follow me into 2013 as I maintain my weight loss and learn more and more about the beauty of the island.

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When Facebook gets personal…


Facebook has become a site for everyone and is now the way people announce every significant and insignificant event in their life. Facebook statuses have become ways of communicating all types of messages to our friends, even the message that you are no longer considered a friend. Unfriending or changing a relationship status are examples of when Facebook gets personal and even painful. Alerting a once intimate friend that you no longer want them in your physical or virtual life via cyberspace while simultaneously announcing it to everyone else on your friends list can be done with a simple click of a button.

Humans are emotional creatures who can sometimes act on impulse, so my question is; can we really handle being able to convey messages so quickly and easily? Should we say the whole truth and nothing but the truth or should we all agree to follow some type of Facebook etiquette?

Facebook has completely changed social interaction as we knew it, and it’s changing all of us individually too.  We all have a responsibility to speak up (publicly or privately) when people get out of hand.  Let’s not forget the Stanford County Prison experiment What type of social order should there be on Facebook, and what will you do to keep or destroy it? One friend recently took a stand (http://mysophisticatedlife.com/2012/10/18/stop-the-madness/) and urged friends to research information gathered from the internet and television ads before posting comments that are confrontational and misinformed.  Generalized blogging and personal messages seem to be the best way to tell a Facebook friend that they may have gone too far.  Let’s see what social norms, if any, develop and how users will deem certain actions taboo and others appropriate.

My last thought is this:  Is the public arena of Facebook the place for gossip, confrontation, arguments, and important announcements? Would taking the time to call/skype/visit a person be a more appropriate way to communicate serious news/discuss frustrations?

Working out when you can’t go ‘out’


Since my move from New York City I’ve been spending more time than ever at home, and I’m realizing that maintaining my weight loss will require a home workout routine.  Not only are there fewer places to go here in Ocracoke when compared to New York City, there are also fewer reasons to go out as the town is mostly vacant and many businesses close earlier for the cold weather season. 

This weekend it was impossible to even walk outside the front door as hurricane Sandy made her way up the east coast and flooded many of the roads here on Ocracoke Island.  My Sunday plan to jog went out the window as a full stream of water flowed down my street just outside the front door.  I decided to prevent boredom eating, cabin fever, and laziness and started to search for a way to workout at home.  A few months ago my best friend Sonia visited me in New York City just before I relocated to Ocracoke Island, she told me about a website called Sparkpeople.com, I signed up in August 2012 but rarely checked the e-mails sent to me by the site daily.  Today I decided to read some of the past newsletters and found a great 10-minute Pilates Workout, I clicked and found a plethora of free workout videos to try

So while I wait for the rivers to return to streets I’ll be at home, in my living room, working out to a video found on Sparkpeople.com