Last May I sent an email to my brother-in-law asking for his help. I had tried and tried to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy, and I kept getting so.close, yet never could quite reach my goal. I felt that I was eating “clean,” and yet was struggling with what I affectionately called the “mom pouch.” I would wake up with a flat stomach, but the minute I ate breakfast I felt like it kept growing all day long. I tried a detox diet, but quickly became discouraged with how limited the foods offerings were. I quit after 2 weeks (I hate restriction). I tried upping my workout game by adding more mileage. I even tried taking hydrochloric acid pills after each meal to try and reduce the bloat. I saw some improvement, but was still frustrated.
My brother-in-law first asked me to send him a list of my regular meals. He then sent me a meal plan that included a specific ratio of carbs, fat, and protein. He added in a 14 hour fasting window each day, and he set me up with 3 larger meals instead of 3 meals plus snacks. He also gave me the freedom to cheat for one meal each week. I started Memorial Day of last year, and immediately saw results. By September I was down 5 pounds and 3.7% body fat. All of my clothes fit again. No more bloated feeling throughout the day. I had lots of energy and my confidence was high.
Once my race was over I stopped running completely. I was tired, burned out, and needed a break. I fully expected my stats to change, and was okay with that. Right after Christmas I was still down 3 pounds and 2% body fat from when I started (and maintaining on just 2 workouts per week). I still felt good.
Then something changed – I started to feel my pants fit a bit tighter again. Since I don’t weigh myself anymore (except when I do my Body Composition measurements) I had no idea if I was gaining weight. But I assumed I was. I did my Body Comp last month and was shocked at the results. My weight and body fat percentage were now back up where they were when I started this journey last May. To say I was discouraged is quite the understatement. I had a long talk with my brother-in-law, and he tried to refocus me. How important are those numbers? Am I letting them define me? What are my real goals (ie: being fit and strong when I am a grandparent)? All of my numbers are within a healthy range, so why was I letting this get to me? I internalized that and decided I was happy where I was at. For a little while at least.
But I would be lying if I said I was 100% confident with my body right now. The “mom pouch” is back. My shorts and pants are feeling tighter. I’m experiencing that bloated feeling again, and I’m not happy about it. I have come up with a million excuses why, and have tried SO HARD to be okay with this. But I’m not. I don’t want to have to go out and buy new shorts for the summer. I want to feel confident in a bathing suit during our family vacation in August. So I’ve decided to recommit to the goal.
I’m taking a closer look at my diet. What’s changed? Have I started snacking more? I will admit I can’t be trusted around chips or pretzels, so I’m not going to buy them anymore. If I need something salty and crunchy, I will reach for pistachios or cashews. I’m going to get back to eating fruit with my lunch instead of a bowl of veggie straws (which I convinced myself are healthy…) I’m going to add more fat into my meals, especially post workout. With the garden in full swing, I’m going to focus on getting tons of fresh veggies.
And on the workout front, I’m starting to ramp things up a bit. Adding in 2 runs each week. Embracing our basement gym and doing some Beachbody workouts. Getting back to my plank challenge to try and achieve the 5-minute hold. The weather’s been really nice lately (not too hot) so I can go out for a run on Tuesday or Thursday evening when Nathan gets home from the gym. Nothing crazy – I don’t want to burn myself out right now, especially because I’m not officially “in training” yet. But I am craving more sweat sessions.
I’m also going to focus on other things not related to diet and exercise. I am committing to drinking a gallon of water each day. Getting more sleep (which is so hard because my only time with Nathan during the week is at night). Trying to better manage my stress. NOT eating my meals like someone is going to steal it from me (why do we feel we need to inhale our food?)
So I am starting today. I’ll post a progress update in a few weeks to let you know how things are going. But I’m excited to be “recommitted” and focusing on a goal. And the goal isn’t weight or body fat based (although these are definitely positive outcomes). My goal is to fit into my shorts and no longer experience the stomach bloat. Anyone else out there want to recommit to a goal (it doesn’t have to be fitness or health-related)? Let’s do this together!