Losing the Baby Weight : How to do it (Part 3 of 4)

Gaining weight from pregnancy is perfectly normal.  When you are pregnant, you need the extra weight to nourish and physically carry a growing baby.

The amount of weight you gained during those nine months will dictate how much weight you will probably want to lose. Or if you were overweight to begin with, this is a great time to set new goals.

How to Eat

If you are nursing, know that nursing burns extra calories so even if you feel like you are not doing very much, your body is working extra hard. This does not mean you should overeat. On the contrary, use this time to burn those calories so you shrink down to your normal self naturally.

Start by eating as healthfully as possible. In order to lose weight, you will also need to cut your calorie consumption, unless you are breastfeeding.   If you are thinking you can’t do this because you don’t want to give up your favorite foods, it is not a problem. You won’t have to. Just eat smaller portions of everything you normally consume. But if you want to make a more significant nutritional change, our book Change Your Mind: Lose Weight can coach you through the transition.

 How to Exercise

Your body has changed and it is your core that has mostly been affected. You want that flat stomach back, but targeting only one body part never works.  We touched on this in a previous post titled “Attaining the “Perfect” Body is All About Changing Your Mind.” Basically, you need a holistic approach in order to get to your new healthy normal, and getting your pre-pregnancy shape back will require more than a walk in the park.

So you will need to do an all around good workout that includes stretching, aerobics and strength training.

There is No Hurry

If you just had your baby a few days ago, you are not ready to implement anything. Relax. Read Part 1 of this series where we talk about the necessity to nurture the self.

When will you be ready to get back to it? There is no magic formula.  Listen to your body, and follow your health care provider’s recommendations. You will soon be at a place where you can start to get your body back.

What We Think About Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has a special place in our hearts. Sandrine’s mother joined Weight Watchers several times and Rhonda’s grandmother was most proud of her WW pin denoting her 25 pound weight loss.

Our book Change Your Mind: Lose Weight takes a different approach from Weight Watchers, but what we have in common with the program is attention to weight loss and healthy living. The bottom line is that our program differs largely on one thing, which is that we want you to pay attention to your inner journey, as opposed to deriving motivation from anything outside of yourself.

The points system developed by Weight Watchers has received much acclaim, and many people who follow the system lose weight. Yet, just like any diet you try, you will only be as successful as your inner motivation allows. In other words, Weight Watchers or any other program will “work” because you are working the program. It is you who are doing it. You are losing the weight! You will be successful if you have done the inner work, which is what we help you do in our book.

Bottom line is that losing weight is a calories in/calories out equation. No matter how you lose weight—by counting calories, by counting points, or by not counting at all—you will only maintain that weight loss if you do the inner work. How do you know if you have done that work? You will make food choices most of the time that are based on sound nutrition. You stop thinking points and calories and begin to think about how to nourish your body.

Another sign that you are there is that you are not obsessed with food. You live your life and then your stomach grumbles and you realize you are hungry. You are likely not planning your lunch while you are eating breakfast. You are just enjoying your breakfast. The idea of overeating makes you sick. Once you are almost full, you feel good, and you do not want to take another bite. It is this kind of success that we see as life-changing. There is no longer a fear of gaining weight because overeating does not appeal to you. You go to a party and taste this or that. You never binge. Why would you? Eating too much is uncomfortable and you know this at your core so overeating is just something you would never want to do. And you exercise because you want to, and not only to avoid gaining weight.

Getting to that place requires doing more than counting calories or points, or using behavioral methods of compliance. You can lose weight by following WW guidelines, but maintaining a weight loss requires more than just following the rules and it requires more than learning about nutrition.

Getting there means you must take that inner journey. You have to know yourself and love yourself. When you are at that point, you will make generally healthy choices and that is what we see as success. Success is not how many pounds you lose. Success is how you live.

RIP Twinkie

The death of the Twinkie is not definite yet, but it is a possibility. While it saddens many who love this snack cake, what is perhaps more alarming than its retirement is the degree to which we are attached to our favorite treats. What is this attachment all about?

Very often, this desire goes back to the first time you experienced the food, but you can develop new favorites that are much healthier, and so eventually, even if the Twinkie is no longer on supermarket shelves, you will never miss it.

So why not bake a cake? There are many healthy recipes you can try, and so you don’t eat the whole cake, freeze portions for the future. Not only will they be healthier, but they will probably taste better than the processed foods you may be eating now. Just think, if you bake a cake, cut it into pieces and wrap them individually, it will  be just like having a snack cake, only better!

The Food Culture in France

Last week we wrote about Sandrine’s experiences growing up in France and how school lunch differs from American cafeteria fare. Of course, school lunch is just the tip of the iceberg.

In France, there is no commerce on Sunday so most people are at home and eat a leisurely meal that can last for hours. It is like a holiday every week. The meal is served in courses, where each might take thirty minutes or longer. That said, as a rule, the French do not graze. A meal is a meal and is aligned with family time and socialization and sitting for a while. During the week, dinner is eaten late in the day to accommodate work and school schedules, and of course, the weekday meals do not last for hours. But even in an hour or so, both lunch and dinner are consumed slowly.

On some level, eating the French way is not so different but their portions are generally half the size of what Americans are used to and wine is served with lunch and dinner. There is little in terms of fast food or prepared foods on the table and breakfast is small. It may be equivalent to a small piece of toast with coffee or hot chocolate.

There is a sense of relaxation and completeness and enjoyment aligned with food. Good, fresh, home-cooked food is desirable. Eating at a slow pace, consuming healthy fare, and socializing seem to characterize the French manner of taking meals.

Can you say La Cantine?

The American cafeteria style school lunch is going through a transition right now as people are becoming more health conscious. We touched on this last week. Rhonda thought it would be interesting to relay a little bit about the culture in which Sandrine grew up to give our American readers a different perspective.

In France, elementary school lunch is served in courses in La Cantine. The children sit down and eat at a leisurely pace. There is about a half an hour of play before lunch, and lunch lasts about thirty minutes. Then, before returning to their desks, the children play for about an hour. The school day is longer so there is ample time for the midday break.
As children age into middle school and high school, they serve themselves cafeteria style. There is a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert. The entrée would consist of chicken or fish or another protein along with a starch like pasta or mashed potatoes, and vegetables. Appetizers might be soup or salad. Dessert would also be something on the healthy side like cheese and a piece of fruit. Sometimes, flan or yogurt with a couple of cookies would be available. What do the children drink at La Cantine? Water is the only beverage served.

The school day, and the cafeteria experience, is different in France than it is in America. Next week, we will talk about the overall food culture in France.