My doctor recommended that I lose some weight so that I'd be at a healthier weight once I get pregnant. So, one of my goals during this waiting period has been to lose 20 pounds. My methods thus far have been schizophrenic at best, but there has been gradual progress. I started at about 185 with a body mass index (BMI) of 26.2. That officially classifies me as "overweight." I am proud to say I am now 177.5 with a BMI of 25.1, just two tenths of a point away from "normal" weight! My goal is 165, which BMI-wise is still well above the low end of normal. I have not been that low since Sophomore year of high school. I played basketball back then, now I play on the computer all day, so we'll see how feasible this is.
Now, I technically started consciously making an effort for weight-loss back in November. At that rate, I'm on average about 3 pounds a month (though, technically, I lost most of the weight in November and have just kept it off the last month and a half). If I keep that up, we're looking at goal weight sometime in May. I'm hoping I can speed it up a little more than that. But, I'm not just looking for a quick fix, I'm looking for a lifestyle change. Working 40+ hours a week doesn't lend itself to lots of free time or energy. Plus, the lazy in me is very easily convinced. Mind over matter.
How does one lose 7.5 pounds over the holiday season? I don't really know, but I'll tell you what I've been dabbling in that seems to have worked at least a little. Per doctor's orders, I read The Mayo Clinic Diet. Considering I work at Mayo and was treated there, I figured Mayo has a pretty good track record in my life, so it was worth a try. Now, obviously I have not been following this religiously or I would have lost a lot more weight by now. But, I have been using some of its principles as a guideline, which have proven to be at least somewhat successful. In some studies, molar pregnancy has been linked to diet, so it has been a bigger motivator for me to be better at what I put in my body.
A lot of my maintained success I believe is due to the first suggestion in the book:
Add 5 Habits
1. Eat a healthy breakfast (but not too much) - This one I have tried very hard to do consistently, but is still a challenge for me. What it comes down to is if I can't eat before I leave for work, I have to eat it as soon as I get there, otherwise I lose track of time and run around in meetings and it never happens. My favorite breakfast which I eat almost every morning is Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bake. My sister introduced this recipe to me and I love it! It is healthy (whole grains/fiber/fruit), easy to pack up in the morning, and I can bake a batch that lasts all week. I actually made up a dry ingredient gift jar of this stuff for some gals at work because I love it so much and wanted to share it. I add 1/8 cup of whole flax seed in addition to 1/8 cup wheat germ (one of the best sources of folic acid which helps prevent neural-tube birth defects) to be even healthier. I also use honey crisp apples. They really have the best flavor I've found.
2. Eat vegetables and fruits (4+ servings veg, 3+ servings fruit) - I can master the fruit one of this easy. I love fruit. My favorites to pack with me for work are bananas and those Cuties (I finally broke and started buying them even though I think they're too expensive. They are great for snacks). Vegetables are not so easy. Sometimes it's just the veggies on my frozen pizza. But I have started stocking some fresh veggies like carrots, celery, and cucumbers in the fridge since those are easy to snack on. I've also stopped buying so many canned vegetables and switched to frozen and we'll eat those as sides every once in awhile. Otherwise, Voila has been my dinner saver many a night, taking the place of hamburger helper. They have lots of veggies, so in my mind it is a quick and healthy option.
3. Eat whole grains - In addition to the oatmeal bake, I've started buying whole grain sandwich bread. My husband has been surprisingly supportive in this and has started eating it too. My favorite bread right now is Health Nut. I also received a rice cooker for Christmas, so I plan on making more dishes with brown rice as a side. Before, my rice never turned out, but ever since getting a rice cooker, it's been perfect every time. It's super easy and easy cleanup. I love my rice cooker!
4. Eat healthy fats - I'm not good at this one. We don't keep a lot of nuts in the house (I would be the only one eating them). And when I'm cooking I switch between the healthy olive oil and the condemned butter. Sometimes you just need the flavor of butter.
5. Move! (30+ min of exercise every day) - Ok, I go back and forth with this one. I hate throwing out the "I work full time" card, but I really think this contributes to my lack of success. My schedule has a lot to do with it. Two months ago, I was working 2-11. That is the best shift in the whole world when it comes to getting things done in the day. I woke up, ate breakfast, worked out, cleaned the house, went to work, and then went to sleep. It was amazing! Now, I'm back on my regular schedule which is: Wake up, go to work, eat breakfast right before lunch, work all day, come home tired, and don't do anything for the rest of the night. I do enjoy exercising once I actually do it. My first go-to is Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred DVD. I love the 3-2-1 interval training system. There are 3 workouts on the video which help add variety, but you have to work up to them. I also jump rope in my garage. Jump roping is hard, but I've finally worked up a little more endurance. I picked jump roping because of the different benefits. I also like pilates for the benefits to the core and flexibility. I figured these would be good things to have in shape before having a baby. I'm not sure how easily I will bounce back, so if I can help give myself better chances, I'm willing to try.
A lot of my delayed success I believe is due to failure to heed the second suggestion in the book:
Break 5 Habits
1. No TV while eating (and only as much TV as you spend exercising) - According to this rule, I have at least 2 hours of exercising to do each day. My husband and I watch a lot of Netflix, so I'm not ready to let this one go yet, but I do believe it would make a difference.
2. No sugar - I can't realistically make this work without being rude to people. At least once a week I go to a Bible study where someone makes a sweet treat, so this rule gets broken because I'm not going to not eat something someone made. I also have a weakness for Starburst, sour Skittles, and sour gummies. I believe the sugar should be in moderation and I tried extra hard over the holidays to be mindful of this, which is why I didn't over-do it this year.
3. No snacks (except fruits & veggies) - I've been succumbing to this one lately, though I do try to be good and just eat the fruits & veggies. Sometimes I just can't resist the Cheezits.
4. Moderate meat & low-fat dairy - I'm pretty good with meat moderation but the dairy is harder for me. I love cheese. I try to buy 1% (my husband doesn't like water...I mean skim) and I get low-fat sour cream. Otherwise, my dairy is as pure as it comes.
5. No eating at restaurants - I've been trying to do this one more anyway because it is good for the budget. but there are nights where we have to be somewhere and it's just easier to grab something fast food. We also try to do at least one date night a month, which typically ends up being a sit-down restaurant. I can't be a purist with this one at this point.