FINALLY! After months of eating well and exercising, I've lost all the baby weight (and then some!) How did I do it? The slow carb diet.
[Disclaimer: I've done ZERO research on this diet. I simply tried it because a friend of mine was doing it and it was working well for him. At that point, I was desperate to try anything because it'd been months since I had Noah and I was actually gaining weight instead of losing it. So I don't claim to know the ins and outs of this diet, nor the science behind why it works. All I know is that it worked for me. For more detailed information on this diet, check here and here.]
Pre-pregnancy: 115 pounds
Highest weight during pregnancy: 150 pounds
Two weeks postpartum (no dieting, no exercise, just nursing): 125 pounds
Three months postpartum (no dieting, no exercise, no nursing): 130 pounds (yes, I actually gained weight)
Nine months postpartum: 116 pounds (almost my pre-pregnancy weight!)
13 months postpartum: 109 pounds (less than my pre-pregnancy weight!!!)
(In case you're wondering what that mark is near my belly button, it's actually a scar I got from ironing. A little bit of steam shot out of the iron and burned my skin. The scar has since faded quite a bit, and is pretty much unnoticeable in the last picture).
I didn't actually start the slow carb diet until June. I did start working out in January, about three months after Noah was born. However, I still wasn't eating well (I was pretty much eating as if I were still pregnant). As you can see in the photos above, from January through May, not much had changed. It wasn't until I started eating better that I began to notice a significant difference in my body.
Here are the basics of the slow carb diet: 6 days out of the week, eat three meals that consist only of lean proteins and veggies. Avoid any type of carb or sugar, even from fruit. On the 7th day, you get a cheat day, meaning you can eat whatever you want. Fill up on carbs and sugar on this day because, trust me, you'll need it for the rest of the week. Oftentimes, I felt weak because I was strictly eating meat and veggies - no sugar to help me feel energized. You are, however, allowed to drink diet sodas and diet teas, so I (very) occasionally drank those if I needed to taste something sweet. Here's what I typically ate during the week:
Egg Whites mixed with One Yolk and Spinach, and Two Slices of Turkey Bacon (for breakfast every morning)
Grilled Pork with Arugula Salad (recipe)
Chipotle Shrimp with Avocado Salsa (recipe)
Chicken Marsala with Asparagus (from Carrabbas)
Grilled Chicken with Asparagus
Barbecue Chicken with Oven Roasted Corn
Baked Lemon Chicken with Oven Roasted Corn and Black Beans
Grilled Steak with Broccoli and Black Beans
Baked Chicken with Guacamole and Black Beans
Grilled Chicken mixed with Pico De Gallo, Guacamole, and Black Beans
Baked Tilapia with Squash
Grilled Steak Salad (from Chipotle)
Grilled Tilapia with Pico De Gallo and Asparagus
Grilled Steak with Mixed Veggies
Chicken Lettuce Wraps (from Mama Fu's)
As you can see, a lot of what I ate was grilled or baked, accompanied with a side of veggies. Oftentimes, I simply bought frozen veggies in the steamer bags that you can quickly and easily microwave. So yes, this diet is BORING. I will not sit here and pretend that this was easy. It wasn't. I craved bad food every day, but I just kept reminding myself of the end goal.
I only did the slow carb diet for a solid month, but being on this diet taught me a lot about eating healthier. And I actually got used to eating better. To this day, I still eat egg whites and two slices of turkey bacon every single morning. Then for lunch I either eat baked tilapia or chicken with a side of veggies (every Sunday I prepare all my lunches for the week so I'm not tempted to eat anything else). I eat good during the day so I can eat bad at night. So dinnertime (and the weekends) are pretty much my "cheat" days, meaning I don't watch what I eat...that much. I don't completely indulge, but I do treat myself to some cookies or ice cream every now and then. I still try to eat healthy whenever possible, so I'll opt for a side of veggies with my meals, whereas before I used to eat potatoes, pasta, or rice. I drink water at every meal, with the occasional sweet tea. So is it hard? Absolutely. Do I wish I could eat cookies all day? Pretty much every single second of every day. So do I ever indulge? Of course. I'm only human, but everything in moderation.
In addition to eating better, I also worked out. A LOT. I was exercising about 4-5 days a week. Here's a breakdown of a typical workout week: Monday - cardio and pushing movements (bench press, military press, dips, push ups, etc), Tuesday - cardio and core (sit-ups, crunches, planks, etc), Wednesday - cardio and pulling movements (pull-ups, rows, curls, etc), Thursday - cardio and core, Friday - core and legs (squats, lunges, leg curls, leg extensions, etc), Saturday and Sunday - rest.
I think a huge part of my success didn't come from just eating well or exercising - it was the support I got. My husband was with me every step of the way and the absolute BEST support system. Honestly, I don't think I've ever done anything harder. Not that it was physically hard - it was just emotionally hard because it took SO much willpower, and oftentimes I felt discouraged because I never thought I would get my body back. But John was always there supporting me. Even when I felt like I didn't look my best, he ALWAYS told me I was beautiful. And that love and support really encouraged me and helped me stay motivated every step of the way.
Keep in mind that this is what worked for me. Tailor this diet and these exercises to fit your needs and your body type. And get a great support system! Close friends and family are the best. For whatever reason (jealousy, spite?) people will try to drag you down along the way. Acquaintances, coworkers, and strangers will scoff and roll their eyes at your efforts and what you're eating, but just ignore them! Do what's best for you and what makes you feel GREAT! Good luck!