The before picture shows what I looked liked 3 months postpartum with my 3rd baby. I had 3 kids within 4.5 years and with each pregnancy the weight kept adding on. I watched my weight creep to a number I had never seen before. But I was exclusively breastfeeding and everyone kept telling me that when you breastfeed the weight just falls off (I now know that this is a LIE! This is not the case for everyone!). So I didn’t worry about what I ate and expected to get skinny. Well, between the Halloween candy, fast food drive thru’s, and frozen pizza dinners, my stretchy yoga pants weren’t fitting so well anymore. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I noticed I wasn’t squeezing into my pants, I was SHOVING myself into them. Nothing fit. I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I was now a busy mom of a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and a 3 month old and knew that if I was going to focus on losing weight, I was going to need help.
A couple of my mommy friends had joined Weight Watchers in the past so I knew their program had an option for breastfeeding moms. I looked online for the closest location to my house and went to my first meeting just days after Thanksgiving.
I was 162.8 pounds at my first weigh-in (for reference, I am just under 5’3 in height). That was 6lbs MORE than what I weighed at my 6-week postpardum appt. Yep, I had GAINED weight while exclusively breastfeeding. I knew my eating habits were out of control. But just by stepping into my first meeting, I knew I was headed in the right direction and there was no turning back. I was determined and my mind was set on losing weight. Those who know me well know that I have a lot of will power and when I truly set my mind to something, there is no stopping me. Just knowing I had to step on a scale in front of someone each week made me accountable and after sitting through the first meeting I had all the motivation I needed to start my weight loss journey!
My Weight Watchers leader Jeannine is amazing. She is always welcoming, personable and well spoken. She consistently has great answers to our questions, tons of tips, advice, encouragement and more. I go the “mommy and me” (kid friendly) meetings and feel really connected to the other moms who have kids the same age and who are going through the exact same struggles and temptations. Find yourself snacking on your kids goldfish crackers or eating the leftovers on their plate, or licking your plate clean just because you don’t want to waste food? Don’t feel guilty about throwing it away. Think of how much money you might need to spend down the road on doctors bills or hospital bills due to complications from being overweight. I know that may sound extreme, but it’s true! Especially since heart disease and diabetes runs in my family. Little bits of advice like this stuck with me and changed my way of thinking.
- How I did it:
I was consistent and went to my meeting every single week. No slacking! At the meetings we weigh-in and then our leader asks about how our week went and we swap food/recipe ideas, talk about our struggles, and celebrate our successes. Then our leader talks about the weekly topic. Weight Watchers uses a points system. Every food is assigned points based on its calories/protein/carb/fat. There is a really cool Weight Watchers app that lets me scan bar codes on packaged foods right from my iPhone so I can easily keep track of my daily points. The app also has point values for almost every chain restaurant you can think of so I was also able to eat out and keep on track. My first week was a real shock and I quickly realized how much I had been over-eating. I religiously tracked my points for the first 3 weeks until I was able to get comfortable knowing which foods I could eat. I cut out a lot of high fat snacks, juice, and cut down on carbs. After week two I gave up diet soda and started drinking only tea and water (and coffee from time to time). Fortunately most fruits and veggies are 0 points so you always have that option during the day. You will not go hungry on this program! Weight Watchers also has a new Simple Start program that helps you ease into weight loss. Armed with a list of simple start foods, you can eat as much of them as you want during the day without having to track your points. We purchased an elliptical machine off Craigslist after I had my second son. It was mostly being used as a coat rack until recently ? I made an effort to do about 10-15 minutes of cardio on the elliptical (set to level 3) about 5 times a week. I also tried to eat a lot of high fiber foods, never skipped breakfast, and never ate past 7pm (this means getting as far away from the kitchen as possible at night to avoid temptations).
What kept me motivated:
- I took a before picture. And I looked at it often. Not only was this a visual reminder of the weight I wanted to lose, but it made me excited to get that “after” shot!
- Knowing I had to step on a scale in front of someone every week at my meeting was a huge motivator. This is why the online version of Weight Watchers wouldn’t have worked for me.
- I went through my closet and purged all of my maternity clothes. Now I was forced to start fitting into my regular clothes.
- I pre-cut fruits and veggies and pre-portioned snacks. If I was having a hard day at least I still knew the points/calories of what I was eating/binging on instead of mindlessly plowing through an entire bag of chips.
- I “liked” Weight Watchers on Facebook and frequently read others success stories on weight watchers.com when I am feeling discouraged.
- I had the support of my weight watchers group and a close friend who is also trying to lose weight.
- I made workout mix of my favorite songs. Nothing like upbeat music to get you moving and motivated!
- I set mini goals, celebrate my successes, and rewarded myself with new clothes and pedicures instead of food.
- Don’t give up! Today is a new day. Forget about what you did or ate yesterday and start fresh right now. Baby steps!
This is what my Weight Watchers record book looks like! I am so proud of it and loved seeing the steady weight loss each week ?
I lost 41 pounds in only 16 weeks with a final weigh-in of 121.8 lbs!!!
Other benefits of losing weight:
- My family is eating healthier. My 2-year-old can be found eating carrot sticks for a snack and broccoli for dinner (he wants to eat what mommy is eating)! I’ve also been making more home cooked meals using lean meats and reduced sodium and low fat ingredients. And condiments like regular mayo has been swapped out for light mayo and 2% milk for fat free milk. My husband has lost weight without even trying!
- I have more energy. Kicking the soccer ball around with my oldest doesn’t seem like a chore anymore. And I can easily carry my baby up and down the stairs without huffing and puffing.
- My wedding ring isn’t cutting off my circulation. In fact, it’s loose! Same goes for my bra. It isn’t digging into my back anymore. No more back rolls! Yay!
- I feel better about myself. I used to hate getting dressed in the morning because nothing ever fit and I had low self esteem. Now I can’t wait to slip into my size 5 jeans!
- I got a great rate on my life insurance policy because I am healthy and at a healthy weight.
- I haven’t been sick since I started losing weight and eating healthier.
- My skin is clearer and I’m not a sweaty mess. I remember trying to help in my sons preschool classroom at the beginning of the year and I was so uncomfortable and sweaty the whole time.
Weight Watchers did not pay me nor did they ask me to write my story. I just wanted to share my journey and I hope that if you are also on the track to a healthier lifestyle, that I have given you a little inspiration! My work is not over. I will keep going to my meetings and learn how to maintain my weight. I would also like to continue to work on toning my body and then hopefully I will be ready for swimsuit season!