After I had my twin girls, I waited patiently for the weight to just melt off over time. On their first birthday, I still had half the weight I’d put on during pregnancy. I shrugged it off and thought, “oh well, it comes with the territory when you have kids.” A couple of months later, I had a health scare. Many of the symptoms I was experiencing pointed to diabetes, and since my father’s diabetic, I was petrified that I might have it myself. At my post-pregnancy weight, I was considered borderline obese for my height. A visit to the doctor yielded perfectly normal results – no diabetes. But that scare was the push I needed to finally get back into shape.
The following methods have helped me get back into shape over the past year.
This is a challenging, fun, and quick way to achieve a good fitness level. Just five minutes of each exercise can make you stronger and allow your body to burn more calories. For every pound of muscle that you build, you burn 50 calories. An added advantage is that it is probably easier than cardio when you are feeling under the weather. It got me through a month of being sick where I couldn’t go to the gym – I still lost weight steadily even though the only “cardio” I did that month was light walking.
Cardio – circuit training
Varying the intensity of your workouts makes it more interesting, and as an added bonus, it burns more fat! This type of exercise can help boost metabolism and give you more energy; just make sure to exercise at least three hours before bed, because that extra boost can prevent you from going to bed on time.
Do some at-home exercises if you can’t get to the gym
ExerciseTV on Hulu.com has plenty of exercise programs that can target your entire body. I usually stick to the Pilates and Yoga videos. As easy and relaxing as they look, they can really get the heart pumping!
Keep a food journal
This is probably the most important part. On the first day that I decided to keep a food journal, I ate everything that I normally would, but at the end of the day I calculated my caloric intake for the day. I was appalled at myself for how much I was eating!
Having a journal allowed me to target my problem spots. I learned from my own journal that I often didn’t pay attention to portion size, and fruits and vegetables took up frighteningly little of my daily intake.
MyFitnessPal.com has been a great resource in keeping my diet on track. The nutrition information for just about any food imaginable is available in the site’s database. MyFitnessPal even has a free iPhone app for those who are constantly on the go.
3500 calories burned = 1 lb lost. This is the one major point to keep in mind. To lose 1 pound per week, you will need to take in 500 fewer calories than you burn. MyFitnessPal can provide a reasonable estimate of your caloric output based on weight, activity level, and other relevant factors.
An added benefit – and a major one at that – is that I truly feel like a different person. I’m happier, more energetic, and much more confident of myself. Before I lost weight, I had so few pictures of myself with my girls – I honestly didn’t want my daughters to remember me at my old weight. Now I enjoy every opportunity to take pictures with them. Weight loss can change your life, but the challenge at first is getting the motivation to do it. Take it from someone who’s been there: once you get started, the results you see will keep you on the right track.