Saturday, May 25, 2013

Losing the "Baby Weight", Part 1 - The Diet Plan That Helped Me Lose 64 Pounds Finally!

The Lord has given my body a little break from pregnancy since the last babies (twins) of our 9 children are now 2 1/2-year-old, and during this time I've been able to lose 64 pounds and six clothing sizes.  *beam* 

(After weight loss - weighing 120)
I've gone from a size 16 to a 4-6!  *smile*  I even went down a shoe size from an 8 1/2 to an 8 (and a watch size, and a ring size *laugh*).  And all without an extensive exercise plan (although I am very active with the kids) - just the diet alone.

(Before weight loss, and after carrying 9 babies - weighing 184)

Prior to this most all of our babies have been very closely spaced!  The Lord has given children to us 2 at once (twins), and also 10 1/2-months-apart, 12, and 13 months apart mostly.  And we submitted to the Lord's timing and spacing of our children and accepted years ago that "baby season" was not the time to try to lose weight, since I was adjusting with a newborn at first and then expecting again between 6 weeks and 3 months after delivery generally.  *laugh*  I'd not gained a ton of weight with each pregnancy, usually about 28 pounds each time by 9-months-gestation, but I did not have time to lose that bit of extra that was left after delivery until now.  So - I've been looking forward to losing that weight and getting trim again for 15 years!  And I've been asked so many times now how I lost the weight, so here in Part 1 my story of how the Lord has finally enabled the weight loss.  (In Part 2 I'll talk about what I've learned for weight maintenance!)
  • Losing the first 32 pounds, then the next 32
  • The Lord's faithfulness: The diet itself
  • How I easily prepared dual dinners for the family
  • Eating while out
  • Managing a wardrobe
  • Changing scales
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Losing the first 32 pounds, then the next 32

Over the course of the first 2 years after the twins were born I lost 32 pounds, about 1 pound per week (when I was trying; sometimes I quit for a while *chuckle*).  It felt very slow.  I did it mostly by not eating sugar, which then decreased my appetite and cravings for foods in general.  And I did not eat sugar-free things either or use fake sweeteners, because I desired to get the sweetness out of my pallet completely.  I needed to break a sugar addiction, but would never do so successfully if I was used to having sweets - even sugar-free ones.  We had always eaten pretty healthfully in our family, but we did learn to eat even better with green smoothies and whole foods eating.  

I also read a great little book for moms written by my friend Wendy Jeub, mother of 16.  It's called Love in a Diet ($14.95), and it's full of very practical strategies for moms to implement easily while being very busy with their families.  This was a great place for me to start learning a better way to eat. 
  But then suddenly the weight-loss stopped.  For about 4 months I hit a plateau and did not lose a thing despite my sacrificing and efforts.  And I didn't have hardly any clothes to wear having gone down a couple of sizes, but I didn't want to buy more clothes in that current size because I didn't want to stay in that size!  *aah!*  What to do?!  So I went to our chiropractor/naturopaths at the Country Clinic (in the Clear Lake area here in western Washington) and asked if they could please flip a switch in my body or something to get the weight loss going again?  Dr. Nathan smiled and said that yes, he would teach me to eat in a way that would jump start my body into letting go of that weight again, healthfully and in a way that is do-able for a busy mom of 9.  *cheer!*  I attended his 30 minute class, and jumped in the next day, and I lost 32 pounds in 2 1/2 months.

The Lord's faithfulness - the diet itself

I completely believe that this diet was from the Lord for me.  I surrendered my body in giving Lordship to Him in our family planning, trusting that one day there would be a pause in baby season and there would be a time to work on losing weight.  After 9 children, there was - and He was faithful to teach me how to do it through our 3 doctors.  *smile*

The diet plan is pretty much a meat and vegetable diet (but is not Atkins, which is not a healthy plan).  The Country Clinic completely promotes eating a whole foods (vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, little sugar, etc.) and very little animal products and has taught our family to eat this way with great health as a result.  However for the purpose of really dropping necessary weight quickly but safely and healthfully, they've found that this meat and vegetable diet enables a body to so.  There is almost no fat included except for the small amount in the lean meats, and no complex carbohydrates.  No grains, no dairy, no fruit, no sugar, no nuts...just meat and eggs and vegetables.  But I've learned to cook them in a very yummy way I think!  

So 4 times a day - breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner - I had a large meal and it was delicious.  Plenty of food really with 8 ounces of meat and 2 cups of vegetables for lunch and dinner.  I did hugely miss snacking and carbohydrates, and it was a big sacrifice for me to adjust to - but worth it with the great success every week.  And between meals I did feel hungry due to not eating any fat which brings satiety - but can we really expect to lose weight perfectly comfortably without ever having to feel hungry?  After all, we are asking our bodies to use the calories it already has rather than giving it extra.  The hunger was partially psychological because I wanted to eat other things, and also physical because there were no carbohydrates or fat to add satiation.  However!  I lost 5 pounds in the first week!  (On this diet it's common to lose a lot the first week, and then lose between 1-4 pounds per week after that averaging out at 2 pounds per week.)  So the sacrifice was well worth it to me.

I did have a couple of strategies I learned to implement to stave off the hunger.  The first one was water.  Lots of it.  Did you know that when we think we're hungry we're actually needing water?  So I had two 32-oz. water bottles a day, plus additional glasses at meals.  Remembering to drink so much water has never been easy to this very busy mama, so I chose to drink one whole water bottle during my morning Bible time, and the next whole bottle during my shower and morning-prep time.  There.  Done for the day except that which I naturally drank with meals.  And when I felt particularly hungry in the afternoon then I'd add an additional water bottle.  It's harder to feel hungry when one's full of water. 

Another strategy I loved to implement, and still do just like the water, is hot tea or hot water.  I drink one or two large mugs full of decaffeinated tea in the morning and that helps me not feel so hungry.  I've also learned to drink hot water, which a dear friend turned me on to.  I never thought I would do it, but once she served me my first mug full and I experienced how much it instantly warmed me up and filled me up, I was sold.  

Here is the diet plan which I followed very strictly, and had great results with:

My personal typical menu (but yours may look different using the above lists):
Breakfast:  A 16 oz. green smoothie (Bob and our daughter, Karen, have also added 1-2 fried eggs).  And I had a large mug or two of hot tea through out the morning.

Lunch:  A huge chopped salad consisting of 2 cups of veggies (I like cucumber, red bell pepper, raw red onion, and celery) on a bed of romaine.  Plus a chopped up hard boiled egg or two.  (This photo is of Karen's salad and she doesn't like chopped onion or egg, so they're not chopped up in this photo like I always have them).  Then I added 1 tablespoon of my favorite Italian dressing (not more than 1g. carb or sugar), tossed it to get everything a little wet, then added liberal amounts of sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and some McCormick's "Perfect Pinch" seasonings (such as Roasted Bell Pepper and Garlic, or Garlic and Onion, Mexican, Cajun, or Asian flavorings!)
Another lunch idea is this taco salad - my very favorite lunch.  Romaine, raw yellow/sweet onion, red bell pepper, ground turkey browned in a pan and seasoned with Costco's Taco seasoning, topped with Pace chunky salsa and salt and pepper.  Bulky and yummy.
Snack:  8 oz. of meat (pork chop, fish, chicken, or steak...) - one of these items is a snack, or a protein powder drink if I was out of the house, or 6-8 slices of cooked turkey bacon or browned turkey sausage travels well and taste great cold I think.  Often times I do not have time to eat my full lunch salad during the lunch hour because I'm serving everyone else.  So I would often have my snack around 11:00 am, and then my salad around 3:00 pm, because that worked better for my timing.  If I was having an especially hungry moment and felt desperate for a snack in addition to my regular snack then I would have a dill pickle or two, which is one of the approved vegetables, or a bowl of romaine salad with some raw onion (and only 1 Tbl. italian dressing with not more than 1g carb. or 1g sugar).

Dinner8 oz. (max) of meat (pork chop, fish, chicken, steak...).  And 2 cups cooked vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, green beans...), sauteed in 1-2 tsp. olive oil.  Sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and/or McCormic's seasonings, or Soy sauce, or salsa. 

* I did cut portions of meat and cooked vegetables in half for snack and dinner the last few weeks (to 4 oz. meat and 1 cup vegetables), which was closer to my normal amount of food intake anyway, in an effort to get done faster.  This worked fine for me.  Again, the weight loss results were so rewarding! 
Here's another favorite dinner idea/example, Weight Watcher's Mexican Soup which has no carbs and no fat but is really spicy and flavorfull, and I have 2 cups of this.

 A third favorite favorite idea is this Mexican Chicken Chili (minus the sour cream), which also has no carbs or fat (except for a trace of corn). And the family loves both of these soup recipes so it's nice to fix this for all of us together and I just add cheese and corn chips to the children's meal.

How I easily prepared dual dinners for the family

This is not a difficult diet to prepare food for, so preparing a dinner for the family and then one for those of us dieting in the family is not a big deal.  I simply kept some frozen meat thawed in the refrigerator ready to be used, or even marinating.  I prefer freshly cooking our meat every night rather than re-heating it, however I did cook snacks for us to have ready for the next afternoon so I wouldn't have to also cook meat mid-day.  And I kept hard boiled eggs (baked a dozen at a time) ready as well for our lunches and/or snack; I simply kept an eye on our hard boiled egg container and baked more when ever necessary. 

Tip:  Here's a great recipe I learned for baking hard boiled eggs rather than boiling them in water!  *smile*  These taste less "eggy" and better than boiled I think be cause they don't sit in their own water; and they also peal more easily than boiled ones do.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  • Fill a muffin tin with however many eggs you desire (time doesn't vary for 2 eggs or a dozen)
  • Bake them for 25-30 minutes
  • Remove from oven and place immediately into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.
  • Keep in the refrigerator.  Eggs in the shell will last up to a week; out of the shell a few days.
Shopping for our diet dinners was simply a matter of adding to our grocery list the meat we desired, and the vegetables.

For breakfast we all have the same green smoothie breakfast, and the non dieters also add bread rolls and fruit.  Us dieters had just a smoothie and/or a couple of fried eggs, or one egg and a couple of turkey sausage browned or cooked turkey bacon.

For lunch the oldest 5 children had salads, the youngest 4 kids had peanut butter sandwiches.  To mine and Karen's lunches we simply made the salads larger and with specific vegetables, and added chopped egg.  For my husband's lunches he likes to have vegetables but not in salad form as that is too difficult for him to eat on the go or in the car.  So we cut up finger foods for him in baggies.  He takes a red bell pepper cut up, half of a cucumber peeled and sliced, some celery stocks cut up, a baggie of romaine lettuce leaves broken in half as a finger food, 2 hard boiled eggs (peeled for him and in tupperware), and a protein powder drink for a snack later.

At dinner time I simply began cooking the meal for the family, and then while that was baking or cooking on the stove I cooked the dieter's meat in a pan.  When our meat was dine I set that aside (covered to keep warm), and then sauteed our vegetables as well.  Then I served the 3 dieters our meal and we ate it before the family's dinner was done cooking and needing to be served.  This helped me to feel full while feeding the rest of the family one of our regular meals.  Pretty easy.  *smile*

Eating while out

While out shopping I simply brought either a protein powder drink to eat between stores, or if I was going to my mom's house as part of the rout then I would bring some meat to be reheated at her house.  Other great snacks for me were 2-4 links of Jimmy Dean turkey sage browned in a pan and eaten cold later, or 6-8 slices of cooked turkey bacon also eaten cold.  The turkey bacon is especially nice I think as it's salty and crunchy.

If we went to a friend's house for dinner I simply brought my own dinner of meat and vegetables, already cooked and ready to be reheated there.  Or a taco salad (pictured above which can be eaten all cold.  Or, I would have my hot dinner type foods for lunch, and bring a chopped salad with egg to the friend's house which didn't need to be reheated.

Even after I cut my portion sizes down, when eating at a friend's house I would always bring the full 8 oz. and 2 cup portions to ensure that I would be completely full and less tempted, then, to eat additional foods at their house. 

I was also sure to drink enough water that day so that I would not feel additionally hungry in the afternoon.  Often times when we feel hungry we are actually thirsty, so drinking two to three 24-oz. water bottles a day really helped me to not feel too hungry.

Managing a wardrobe

Shopping for used clothing at Goodwill and Value Village really makes keeping a few staples in the closet doable without breaking the bank (or freaking out my husband).  *smile*  I went down a clothing size about every 2-3 weeks or so!  As my waist dropped lower onto my hips and my skirts then were not the right length or the hips area of the skirt were to low onto my legs, and the skirt started turning around on my waist through out the day and not staying strait, then I would purchase a couple of skirts in the next-size-down.  When shirts looked too large in the chest, too wide, or baggy in the sides then I bought a few shirts in the next size down.  And as I moved down in a size then I would clean the larger size out of my closet and put it all in to kitchen garbage bags.

I kept the bags in the garage until I moved down yet another size, and then would give away the clothes that were 2 sizes too large.  For example, when the size XL/16's were too large then I put the size L/14's in my closet and moved the bags of 16's to the garage.  When the L/14's were then too large, I replace those with size M/12's and moved the bags of L/14's to the garage, then gave away the 16's.  So I always had the next-size-up available in case I needed them (which I never did).

I knew I would get down to about a size 4-6 because that is what I was at prior to having kids (actually I wore a size 8, but over the course of the last 15 years clothing manufacturers have started making clothes smaller so now I wear a 4-6).  So I kept my size 8 and 10 clothes in the garage and did not give those away right away.  When I landed on my final size then I went through the size 8's and 10's and kept only a few staples of each clothing type so that if the Lord ever gives us another baby some day I would be prepared with some larger clothing sizes.  I could wear a couple sizes larger for about 2-3 months before losing the weight again on this same diet plan.  So I only kept about 2-3 each of skirts (denim and tan which go with everything), short sleeved shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, a vest for warmth at home, and church outfits.  I figure I would only wear that size for 2-4 Sundays, so did not need very much and could wear my every-day skirts if necessary a time or two even to church.  With this strategy I was able to keep only a single large storage box for the garage containing both my size 8's and 10's.

One more thing to mention along the lines of clothing is that having lost so much weight and insulation for my body I found myself feeling really cold all the time and needing to bundle up more than usual.  *chuckle*  My doctor said that was very common and that it could take as much as 2 months for a person's body to acclimate to a new temperature and normalize out again.  Just a heads-up.  *smile*

Changing scales

When I first began the diet I had a non-digital (analog) scale, but this was extremely difficult to read with the tiny lines and moving needle, especially when desiring to know 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.  So I purchased a digital scale which was excellent, however the reading changed by 4 pounds for me!  It said I now weighed 4 pounds more than I did on the other scale.  My doctor said that this is common when switching types of scales as I did and to not let it worry me.  So I chose to consider myself 4 pounds heavier, and to lose those pounds according to the new scale, and shoot for my same, original goal weight. 

So 64 pounds and 6 clothing sizes smaller now, I then entered in to a new world of weight management for this new, trim me.  *smile*  I thought it would be easy since our family ate pretty healthfully initially already... but it's actually been a steep learning curve for me.  I've been off and on the diet this past month while trying to learn to maintain my goal weight... actually trying to not gorge on complex carbohydrates like whole wheat rolls, Wheat Thins crackers, or dessert because I've craved it having not had it in so long.  *sigh*  However I'm doing great research and learning a lot  of hopeful and encouraging information which will bring me success.  My trial and error hasn't been without reward.  I have an excellent and exciting book that a friend gave to me (which I'll tell you about in my Part 2 post for weight maintenance!), as well as talking with my doctor for advice, and planning soon to attend a mini-class he will be teaching on weight management.  *smile*  I will have easier victory soon.  

I hope this weight loss information has been an encouragement for you, that there is a way to lose weight that's not only healthy but practical, strait-forward, tastes good, and is actually very easy to implement even while raising a large family.  Weight loss, I am convinced, is one of the hardest things we can do in life!  And sacrificing this way has been hard for me.  *smile* Exciting!  But also hard to sacrifice for.  Just being honest.  I actually sometimes woke up in the middle of the night feeling an adrenalin rush at the excitement of being down another size in clothing and planning to enjoy going shopping for those new, smaller clothes every 2-3 weeks!  *laugh*  So I encourage you to pursue freedom from a bondage to food and access weight.  Take courage.  Lean on the Lord for your strength.  What a blessing it is.  And so freeing! 

Blessings on your efforts towards greater health,

Recommended resources:
Love in a Diet, by Wendy Jeub ($14.95)

You may also be interested in reading my related posts:
Freedom From a Sugar Addiction
Motherhood With Vitality!


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