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Losing Post Baby Fat

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Eating for Two

When I was a teenager, I remember my mom complaining about how having four kids made her gain so much weight. I never really appreciated the truth in that statement until I myself had kids. When you get pregnant, your doctor and books tell you to eat well, which includes lots of protein and fats. Because you are "eating for two!" When you are breastfeeding, they tell you to eat even more because your body uses so much energy to produce milk.

Eating More to Produce Milk

I hadn't gained too terribly much weight after the first child. But not long after I had our first child, we had a second one. I vowed not to pig out this time during pregnancy. And it worked, I didn't put on as much weight during the second pregnancy. But I started to eat a lot while breastfeeding, which when on for almost a year and a half for the second time.

By the time our second child was 4, I started to notice myself continuously packing on the pounds, and for no good reason really. Mostly it was out of habit and probably the fact that my stomach was all stretched out and could fit and demanded a lot more food than my body needed.

Eating Everyone's Leftovers

I had a bad habit of finishing my kids' leftovers. Not just one kid, but both. I didn't want to throw the food away, so I figured if I eat it, it won't go to waste. Well, little did I know that it still did. It went to lay waste to my body, stuffing it unnecessarily  in my adipose tissue.

At birthday parties, I would finish off both of their snack plates and then stake a claim on the cakes they didn't finish. And that was typical of every meal. I would eat my meal, the unfinished portions of their meals, my dessert, and the unfinished portions of their desserts.

Time to Cut Back

I realized that something needed to be done. At this rate, I was going to continue gaining weight indefinitely. I decided to cut back on desserts. I planned to avoid desserts at all costs. Well, the costs were too great. I just couldn't do it. I love dessert and would eat it first before every meal if I could.

So I decided to stop eating their leftovers. Well, it broke my heart to watch so much food go into the garbage. Most of the time, I just didn't have the heart to go through with it.

I remember long ago, before kids and marriage, I would always make it a point to leave some food left on my plate for my dog. The clean plate club shunned me. But I was thin then. I didn't force myself to eat everything on my plate, as I later learned to do.

I figured I would try that technique. And it was hard to see that small morsel of food sitting in the corner of my plate looking lonely and wanting to be eaten in just a couple of bites. Most days I would go for seconds, let alone not finish my first helping.

Trying to Burn Calories

I thought maybe more exercise would do the trick. I had heard that if you get muscular, your muscle tissue will use up so many calories that you will lose fatty tissue. Strangely, it seemed the reverse was true. It seemed the more I worked out, the heavier and fatter I looked. Didn't make logical sense to me, but I didn't like the way I was looking at all.

I remember telling my doctor long ago that it is when I go walking that I lose weight. So I tried that. Turned out that all that walking only made me hungrier. My caloric intake increased, and I got nowhere.

The Caloric Deficit

Last ditch attempt was to "starve" myself. Just allow myself to go hungry. Sounds bad, doesn't it? I didn't think it would work because I've heard that if you starve yourself, your body will kick into storage mode, storing as much fat as possible in case of starvation.

But lo and behold, that was what worked. The caloric deficit. The body cannot use the fat reserves unless it needs to. And it won't need to unless you eat less than what you need. Then the body will start cutting into "savings". It is simple math, and it works.

Now, when I say "starving" in this context, it is not literal, like you are in nutritional danger. It just means to eat less than you need. Easier said than done. There is a lot of crankiness involved in doing that. I'm talking about being HANGRY all the time. Not good for the people around you. But think of it like any other addiction. When people quit smoking, they go through that phase where they are grumpy and anxious. Well, I believe I've had a food addition. My body has gotten so use to consuming massive quantities of food that it needs it to be happy and calm.

It is so hard to eat less than you need. I workout or walk, I still have to eat small quantities. Otherwise, what was the point of the workout or the walk?

When I worked my first real job, I remember getting done with school and going straight to work. I was always so hungry because I didn't have time to get snack or a decent dinner. I was quite thin then. I decided that was the feeling I would have to have if I am to lose weight. I have to live with that feeling of being hungry.

What Has Worked For Me

Fast forward to today. I have lost about 10 pounds of extra fat over the past year. It has not been easy. I still have a bit of fat to lose and muscle to gain. But I have become more used to practicing all the weight-loss techniques that I experimented with.

  1. Don't eat your kids' leftovers. Throw their leftovers away or save it for later.
  2. Skip or skimp on dessert. Maybe eat some fruit instead? If you must dessert, then just eat a small amount.
  3. Don't finish everything on your plate. Start by leaving the last bite "for the dog". Eventually you will stop when you have had enough no matter how much food is on your plate.
  4. Eat less than you need. Do the math. Let your body reach into "savings".
  5. Get used to being hungry all the time. It will be hard at first, but eventually you will equate that feeling with losing weight.

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