Post-pregnancy fitness

Fitness, diet, blah blah blah. Here is your disclaimer that if you’re only interested in dressing like you work out, you’ll want to skip to the bottom for the apparel sale info.

We love our babies, but it’s sometimes difficult to love what our babies do to our bodies.pic-1 My body is forever changed from having my three kids, and I wouldn’t erase nature’s tattoos for anything. But even though I embrace my body after babies (and am fortunate to have a husband who makes me feel beautiful and confident even when I may feel self conscious in this new skin), I still have been working hard to shed the pounds to get back to a place where I feel more like myself.

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I have a long way to go, so this is by no means an “I lost all the baby weight” post! I shared on Instagram that we are headed for Florida next week, so I’m definitely watching the post-holiday calories right now, and it generated quite a bit of interest and texts/messages as to what I’m doing, so here’s the breakdown (plus some athleisure sale items from Nordstrom, so whether you work out or not, we all enjoy stretchy pants and sweatshirts, amiright?).

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Cold shoulder top from Anthropologie here

Calorie counting & macronutrient calculation

This is the biggest piece of my puzzle for measuring and progressing with weight loss. I am by no means an expert on it, but hopefully if you are interested in trying out the concept, this will be enough of an intro that you can get the ball rolling. The concept is called IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and to summarize, you get a certain allowance of calories broken down by macronutrient (carb/fat/protein) in a day. How you use that allowance is basically up to you. You can fulfill your sugar allowance with lots of fruit, OR you can eat a donut. As long as it fits within your macro goals for the day, it’s relatively acceptable. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend a diet that consists of donuts on a regular basis if weight loss is your goal, but it’s very liberating for a person like me to know that no foods are off limits, I simply have to budget for them.

I used the website iifym.com to measure my allowance. When you’re on their home page, go to “Calculators” in the top tool bar and then choose the IIFYM Calculator. You enter your stats including weight, height, age, blah blah blah and then you select your goal (using the total body weight formula, in my case). My goal was weight loss, but let’s say you’re into body building and your goal is bulking; they have a setting for that, too. Just choose what works best for you. Click “calculate” once you’ve entered all your info. It will prompt you to leave a name and email address, but you’re not signing up for anything except some infrequent emails from the site which you can later unsubscribe from. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR ANY OF THIS, so DO NOT get sucked in by any offers.

Once you calculate, it will tell you your MACRONUTRIENT breakdown. For me, I am allowed a 1600 calorie per day intake and my breakdown is 43% carbs (173 grams), 28% fat (50 grams) and 28% protein (113 grams).

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Now. If you just look at my breakdown and go start eating exactly as it instructed me, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. This is a calculation based on MY caloric needs and goals. In fact, this breakdown changes regularly and I would recommend re-calculating every 2-4 weeks to stay as current as possible given your progress. This isn’t one size fits all, so make sure you’re getting your own accurate breakdown.

After getting my macronutrient goals all squared away, I input all of that data into my My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone. I can enter how many calories a day I intend to eat, and it allows me to divide that by macronutrients (round numbers only, so I rounded my allowance to 40%c/30%f/30%p). This tool is so helpful because it is my food journal throughout the day and holds me accountable without requiring me to do any of the math myself. It scans barcodes of packaged food, so let’s say I eat a crackers and tuna salad for lunch. I enter how much tuna I ate (let’s say it was 1/4 cup), how much mayo I added (I simply scan the barcode on my mayo and enter the serving size I used), how much cheese I added, and then I scan the cracker box and eat exactly the serving size or modify the intake in the app (let’s say I had 1.5 servings – honesty is critical!). VOILA! It’s all generated exactly by what I ate. It even has Starbucks info in it, and using the app has helped me to get really creative with how to order delicious Starbucks drinks without breaking the calorie bank (today I got a venti half-caff Americano with 2 pumps of sugar free peppermint and 2 pumps of sugar free mocha; low calorie and still very satisfying and delicious).

Here are some screen shots of how the app works for me:

The more familiar you become with it, the more it can do for you and the more successful you will be. It even has saved recipes and menu items from popular restaurants so if you go out, just look up what you’re ordering in the app and chances are you’ll find it! We went to Ruth’s Chris for Stockton’s work party and I was able to enter every item I ate including the type of wine I drank! So convenient to have close to exact data instead of rough estimates.

OK, whew. That was a lot of talk about nutrition. Now I want a cookie.

 

Fitness

I have always been a very amateur runner. I’ve run a few half marathons and incorporated running into my fitness routine since college. Currently a girlfriend and I are loosely training for a half marathon together, which technically started a week ago, but I’ve been running now since Brighton was 5 weeks old, hitting the treadmill for a minimum of 3 miles each time. I am not fast, nor is my form or endurance impressive whatsoever. But I’m striving for consistency. I’m not sure if our half marathon will happen (though I sincerely hope we can complete our training so I can get another half under my belt!) but if nothing else, it’s a great schedule to keep me accountable.

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In addition to the half marathon training, I’d like to incorporate some traditional pilates into my routine on rest days. I did one class at the gym last week and loved it (I took pilates in college for credit and really loved the slow and meticulous movements, plus the way it shaped my body at the time which, mind you, was pre-baby and full of glorious youthfulness).

I’m a naturally movement-oriented person who, in spite of being high energy, has to force myself to exercise. However, I will say that for the first time in my life, I finally see how working out is a bit of “me time” and it is, in fact, a total luxury. Lots of people post-baby have neither the time nor energy to go to the gym, and I GET THAT. Give yourself that free pass. You do you.

Photos

I am a visual person. Seeing progress in the flesh helps to motivate me and keep me focused, so I take photos every two weeks. I wear the same undergarments each time and I stand in front of the mirror for a frontal, side and back photo. Trust me, it ain’t pretty. It’s humbling. It’s a bit embarrassing. But seeing those photos helps me to target what I want to work on. Then two weeks later, the goal is that the photos get a little better. I make collages with my phone to make easy to see side-by-side comparisons from the last photos and so far, it’s been helpful. I would really only recommend this if you’re truly in a weight-loss stage of your journey, which I obviously was. This is a great way to become obsessed with your body and I’m in no way interested in checking out every crevice of my body once I get back to my normal shape. Do it only as long as you’re working on a specific goal, and then cut it out. It’s a temporary tool. Got it?

 

I gained right around 30 pounds with Brighton. She is 8 weeks old and I’m still working to lose the weight, and if she were 8 MONTHS old and I was still working on it, that would be OK. Guys, this is MY journey. It was different for each kid. But for those of you who are looking for a plan or a little inspiration to get your journey back on track, I hope you find this helpful. It’s what happens to be working for me right at this moment.

And for those of you who are only here for a little shopping, your moment has arrived! Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly sale is going strong through January 2 and my sweatshirt and shoes are both included in the sale.

My exact pair of shoes are almost sold out but I’m also linking another adorable pair that I love, whether you’re running on the treadmill or just on a Starbucks run. 😉

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