Lose Weight, Feel Full: How I Lost My Baby Weight
The day my second baby turned six months, I stepped on the scale and had lost all 60 pounds I gained during my pregnancy. As I type this, about two months later, I've lost a couple more pounds and can now wear jeans I haven't fit into since before I was pregnant with my first (jeans pictured below with sneaky baby photobomb). The best part? I'm not starving at all. I'm as energetic as a sleep-deprived mom can be, I make lots of milk for my breastfed baby and I'm not constantly anticipating my next meal or snack. I eat what I want, when I want. Now, that may sound like a big claim, but it's true—with a catch. When you start eating the right foods, you no longer crave the sweet, not-so-good-for-you stuff. Instead, you actually get excited about natural peanut butter on crackers or veggies and hummus…or, let's be honest, your after-dinner dark chocolate treat.
So what are the right foods to eat to lose weight, feel healthy and full? That was my question last summer when I noticed that my mom, whose blood sugar level was creeping up to the point of needing medication (family history of diabetes) has managed to stay off meds and keep her blood sugar well within a normal range through diet, and my sister, a holistic nutritionist and the founder of So Fresh, were full before finishing their meals, while I could eat the same meal two or three more times. I knew that because I was breastfeeding, I needed a lot more calories than the average person, but I didn't think I should be voracious all the time. Plus, my weight loss had plateaued. I was eating what I thought was a healthy diet (I'm gluten-intolerant and avoid dairy already), chasing a preschooler, while taking care of a newborn and yet I wasn't losing weight.
Before, with my sister/So Fresh founder Lauren in June 2015, and after, with my almost eight-month-old, in January 2016 (toy explosion was cropped out. Baby was too fast and determined).
The answer is actually no secret and it's quite simple. It's the way that any nutritionist would tell you how to eat, diabetic or not. We've just given it our own spin and a catchy name: Lose Weight, Feel Full. (Trying it out? Use the hashtag #LoseWeightFeelFull!)
Here's the deal: Eat lots of vegetables, have protein at every meal, cut way back on sugar and minimize your carbohydrate intake. It's that simple.
But this isn't the Atkins diet—we certainly don't suggest high-fat sources of protein, like bacon at every meal and we're not going to tell you to count the carbs in the veggies you eat, because if you can't even binge on veggies, your diet is too strict!
Protein sources: Stick with fish, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu and chicken or turkey for your protein or have nuts (fewer than 10 at a time) as a snack.
Carbohydrates: Switch your bread for brown rice or whole grain wraps (please, never buy white bread again).
Sugar: The key to this way of eating is paying attention to your sugar intake, like a diabetic might. A spike in blood sugar levels means weight gain.
Avoid: Simple starches, like white bread and white rice, which are processed by your body like sugar.
Eat in moderation: You also need to watch how much fruit you eat—and that was a hard one for me. Fruit isn't called nature's candy for nothing! But there are ways to get your fruit fix while managing your sugar. Eat your fruit early in the day.
Tip: If you must have a sweet fix in the evening, follow it with a few nuts. Protein can help with that sugar spike, but keep in mind that you're adding calories to your day.
Snacks: Nuts (check our guide for nut serving sizes), raw veggies, bananas and popcorn are all great snacks.
Drink: Lots and lots of water and herbal tea.
Once you get the hang of it, it's really pretty simple. You won't drop 10 pounds in a week, like other diets may promise. But this isn't a diet. It's a way of life and the weight you lose will stay off.
Want more healthy eating tips that will help you lose weight?
Well, you're in luck! Lauren Spicer (a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and So Fresh founder) has created a meal plan and guide to help you Lose Weight and Feel Full. (#LoseWeightFeelFull)
You'll get a list of foods to stock your pantry with—don't worry, these aren't all pricey, trendy super foods, just regular, wholesome grocery store fare—a comprehensive meal plan that includes simple and delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas that you can mix and match each day, plus essential nutritional consulting, a workout plan, progress report templates and great extras, like which supplements are worth your money and how to change your relationship with food.