For over a year, I have not only been allowed, but encouraged to eat as much as I want. When you're pregnant with triplets, there's no such thing as gaining too much weight. I had to force myself to drink protein shakes in attempts to get the babies to pack on the weight. Seventy pounds later, I delivered over 18 pounds worth of healthy, full term babies. After the babies were born, I found myself having to eat even more to be able to breastfeed all three. I began eating every 2-3 hours, even in the middle of the night.
The problem is that I made the wrong food choices. Instead of eating lots of lean meats, whole grains, and fruits and veggies, I ate lots of ice cream, grilled cheese, pasta, and chicken nuggets. Current daily staples of my diet include multiple lactation cookies, boxed mac-n-cheese, ice cream, chips/Ritz crackers, and chicken nuggets. I've lost every sense of portion control because everything has been in excess.
I decided around 4 months post partum that I would begin to diet and exercise when the babies turned 6 months old. I wanted to wait until I reached my long term pumping goal because diet and exercise completely sabotaged my milk supply when Jackson was an infant. I reached my goal yesterday, and also began a plan for healthier eating.
Prior to the six month mark, I had researched a lot of different diets. None of them seemed to fit my needs or lifestyle. I quickly dismissed any idea that would require money or time for meetings. I have neither time nor money to spare! I strongly considered following the Paleo Diet (aka "Caveman Diet") for 30 days. I was even willing to give up grains, but not dairy or beans. I'm still really intrigued by the concept and I've read A LOT about it. It makes sense to me. I just don't think I'd be a very happy person going from my current diet to Paleo.
I debated going on another 5 day juice fast, but decided that would completely jeopardize my milk supply. I even read that the toxins released in your body during a fast would enter your milk which could have a negative impact on the babies.
I contemplated joining SparkPeople again. This was the website I used while training for the half-marathon. It really helped me keep a good balance of fats, proteins, and carbs. I really don't want to have to track, measure, calculate, enter foods, etc right now.
I've lost weight on and off for many, many years. I've paid thousands of dollars in Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss, Nutrisystem, gym memberships, and personal trainers. They all worked temporarily, until life got in the way. Loved ones died, spiraling me into binge eating. Of course the biggest reason for weight gain has been pregnancy and breastfeeding. Now that my childbearing years are behind me, it's time to focus on a lifestyle I can sustain.
Here's what I know:
- My father died from a massive heart attack when he was 50
- My mother suffered with diabetes and kidney failure until she died at the age of 58.
- Jackson constantly begs for candy, fruit snacks, marshmallows, and ice cream.
- I will always enjoy baking and I will always have a sweet tooth.
- Our pantry and freezer are full of JUNK!
- Breastfeeding/pumping burns 20 calories per ounce. I currently pump around 85 ounces a day, which means I burn 1700 calories a day simply by pumping.
Here's what I want:
- I want to live into my 60's or 70's or maybe even 80's. If I die when I'm 50, I'll be leaving behind a 25 year old son and three 23 year olds.
- I want to set a positive example for my children. I want them to request healthy snacks and meals, because that's all they know.
- I want to create memories in the kitchen with my family while cooking and baking. BUT I want to be able to do so without "sampling" half of the batter or icing.
- I want to limit the junk and fill the pantry with healthy, satisfying options.
- I want to retrain my taste buds, stomach, and mind to crave different foods. (I remember after the juice fast thinking that a strawberry was the sweetest thing I had ever eaten.)
- I want to continue providing breastmilk as long as possible for James, Amelia, and Madeline.
Here's what I plan to do:
I stumbled upon this article on 100 Super Foods and read through the list. I sadly realized I rarely eat more than 3-4 of the items on the list per day. I wanted to come up with a way to incorporate more of the foods on the list. I copied the list into a word document, made some minor revisions, printed it on cardstock, laminated it with clear packing tape, and hung it on our pantry door. My current goal is to eat a serving of at least 10 different foods each day. I use a dry-erase marker to check off each food as I eat it. The next day I erase the marks and start over.
I like this idea because it gives me lots of flexibility and choice. There are plenty of delicious foods to choose from, and some that I've never even heard of. I also like having a constant visual reminder. I can't open the pantry door (aka "gateway to processed foods") without looking at the list. It forces me to be conscious of my food choices. I can eat pizza or ice cream if I want to, but I still have to consume ten super foods per day. I plan what foods I will eat the night before so that I'm not stuck trying to eat a stalk of broccoli and an orange at 8 pm. The best news is that because many of the listed foods are rather filling, I'm finding that even though I want cookies and ice cream, I'm not hungry. And surprisingly, a strawberry smoothie made with plain Greek yogurt and flaxseed tastes just as good, if not better, than ice cream.
I intend on increasing my daily number of foods goal until my diet consists of mostly (or only) these items. Of course, this list is not the end-all, be-all. I've already been disappointed to discover that pomegranate and zucchini are not on the list. (I'll probably add them anyway.) I don't want to restrict myself or ever feel like I'm not allowed to eat something that I want. It's completely irrational and unfeasible to expect myself to never eat desserts again. Though I should probably discontinue purchasing a gallon of neapolitan a week, eh?
At this time, I do not have any exercise goals set. We basically have a home gym upstairs with a spin bike, gazelle, and weights. Once I feel like healthy eating is becoming a habit, I'll introduce regular exercise into my daily routine. Until then, I need to focus on what will give me the most energy and feel my best.