I need to lose the weight I gained while I was pregnant ASAP, any suggestions??
February 1, 2006 5:10 AM   Subscribe

I need to lose the weight I gained while I was pregnant ASAP, any suggestions??

I know the South Beach Diet was/is very popular… My baby is 8 months and I am not nursing her anymore so I can take on strict diets…. I am 25 pounds heavier than I was before I got pregnant and I would like to fit back into my jeans because the winter is getting colder. I have no help with my baby and can only count with our daily walks as a form of exercise, occasionally I can escape and go back to training (Karate & Kick Boxing), but since I had a C-section I need to be cautious with my workout.

I need a diet that tastes good and that has some good recipes. I have no patience for keeping counts of my calories ….. I just want a guide that is easy to follow…. I am home most of the time so I can cook, but I also have an 8 month old baby that consumes most of my time so I need something simple and easy…I have checked a couple of sites where you can monitor your food and weight online but it seems awfully complicated….

Thanks in advance!
posted by libelula to Health & Fitness (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you have access to Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating in your area? It's not really a diet plan per se, but they do have lower calorie meals that are pretty good. I think you can choose a meal plan that is either 1200 or 2000 calories per day, it includes 21 meals per week. All meals are freshly prepared and you pick up or get delivered 2x a week. Not too expensive for one person either. Good luck!
posted by Buck Eschaton at 5:31 AM on February 1, 2006


25 lbs won't come off overnight; I think that expecting to get into your old jeans before the end of the winter is setting an unrealistic expectation for yourself. And unrealistic expectations for diets usually lead to failure, more weight gain, and even more disappointment. Buy some new jeans, and dedicate yourself to a long-term healthy diet/excercise program. You'll start to see results within the first couple of weeks, and you can have those pounds off by the end of summer.
posted by junkbox at 6:07 AM on February 1, 2006


Always eat breakfast. Oatmeal is good, with a sliced banana or a few raisins.

Try making a big pot of vegetable soup (lots of recipes on the net and, provided they don't contain too much oil or starchy vegetables like potatoes, will be low in fat and calories).

Have a bowl of soup at lunchtime, followed by a sandwich and fruit, and another bowl in the evening, followed by dinner of meat or fish (a portion no bigger than the palm of your hand is considered to be a normal serving), plus salad, vegetables, plus one starch (baked potato, rice or pasta, a portion no bigger than your clenched fist - cooked size, not dry for rice/pasta).

If you don't already have one, get a crockpot/dutch oven, and make stews using any meat you like plus carrots, onions, stock and herbs. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables. The prep for a meal like this takes minutes. If you're not averse to using the microwave, buy a microwave steamer and rice-cooker. Then you won't feel you're slaving over a stove when you could be playing with your baby.

If you're feeling snacky during the day, have celery and carrot sticks, or raw snow peas. If you want something sweet, have a crunchy Fuji apple. Have a low-fat yoghurt every day for calcium.

Get your baby into these eating habits too when she is old enough to be eating 'proper' food. In the meantime, make your own baby food too, in a blender or with a hand-held stick blender.

Strict diets tend not to work. You'll lose weight, but once you go back to eating normal portions, the weight will go back on, plus more, because the body will be protecting itself against further 'starvation'.

I know from my own experience that if you eat the way I've outlined above (with the occasional treat, no more than once a week and then just one brownie/pizza slice/pie a la mode), you'll lose the weight and keep it off.
posted by essexjan at 6:07 AM on February 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


Be prepared for the possibility that even once you do lose the weight, you still might not fit into those jeans. Your hips spread and now your body fits together differently than it did before. I suggest buying new jeans - you'll feel better about yourself than if you keep wearing clothes that don't fit or get stuck in sweats all the time. You can make it a goal to fit back into the new jeans, but in the meantime don't deny yourself the chance to look and feel great.
posted by raedyn at 6:17 AM on February 1, 2006 [2 favorites]


If you can fit it into your workout, start weightlifting (nothing hardcore - add squats, lunges, and some arm lifting). Time spent weighlifting is more effective than time spent doing cardio, because muscle burns more calories than fat (even when resting). Also, it will make you feel and look better right away.
posted by elquien at 6:23 AM on February 1, 2006


I swear by Weight Watchers. With a tiny bit of planning the weight falls off. It's a great lifestyle change, not crash diet. Usually you lose about 1-2 lbs per week, more if you're exercising, and it stays off. Try to find a meeting in your area in the morning sometime and you'll probably meet other new moms who can be really supportive. You can do it!
posted by orangemiles at 6:26 AM on February 1, 2006


Eye on the prize. My spouse, post baby, was prescribed a viewing of "Supersize Me" by her doctor. We made a choice of a well-balanced, low-calorie diet. She dropped 50 pounds and I dropped 10.
Analyzing my plateau, I adopted a calorie counter and have found where my weaknesses are and adjusted.
What I do: I have a daily calorie budget. I eat whatever I want, excepting to stay within budget. Since I go under budget nearly every day, I let myself go over budget once a week. My budget was chosen to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Except for feeling a low grade hunger (which is what I'd expect), I'm exactly on par.
posted by plinth at 6:34 AM on February 1, 2006


I'll second essexjan's advice, it's pretty much what I've been doing since the middle of December and the weight is steadily falling off (22 pounds so far).

I do, however, include potatoes in many of my soups/stews because (a) it's winter here dammit! and (b) they make these dishes more filling and I then tend to eat smaller portions.

Oh and drink lots and lots and LOTS of water. Feeling peckish? Go drink a long, cold glass of water (apparently we often mistake thirst for hunger).
posted by ceri richard at 6:41 AM on February 1, 2006


I've been a fan of the No S Diet.
posted by nitsuj at 6:55 AM on February 1, 2006


There was a column in yesterday's Washington Post Health section about the Sonoma diet. It sounded pretty balanced to me; whole grains, good fats, lean protein and fruits and veggies. And instead of counting calories, you just watch your portions.
posted by amarynth at 7:19 AM on February 1, 2006


I do not eat Junk food. Never, ever do I crave for a McD, BK or other of the sort, and a slize of pizza is rare in our diets. Neither do I expect to loose 25 pounds in a week. I wonder how much of the weight is hormonal and will go away by itself, yet I am not countng on this and plan to start a diet as soon as I can asses which works for me best. Going to meetings and stuff is imposible as I am alone in the house with my daughter and have no one to leave her with, unless of course this meetings took place past 7pm when my husband comes back home.......
posted by libelula at 7:21 AM on February 1, 2006


FWIW, I understand that breast feeding helps a huge amount in losing post pregnancy weight. The extra fat is as much a preparation for breast feeding as it is for growing the baby (pre-birth, I mean). I don't know if it's feasible to continue, but I thought I'd mention it.
posted by crabintheocean at 7:35 AM on February 1, 2006


Paul McKenna has been on TV in the UK advocating an approach to eating based on four simple rules. Eat when you're hungry, eat what you want, eat consciously and enjoy each mouthful, and stop when you're full. The guy (necessarily!) has kind of a car-salesman personality but if you can get past that the rules make a lot of sense and there were some pretty good demonstrations on the show.

The part about eating consciously is really the cornerstone of the whole plan: if you eat more slowly and really chew your food you'll tend to feel full sooner. Chewing more also brings out the taste of fruit and veg while making fat and sugar soaked food feel too rich to eat a whole lot of.

I haven't been doing it long enough to testify to the weight-loss benefits but I have definitely found the bit about developing more of a taste for healthy food to be true. The only difficult part is remembering to eat consciously but that's just a matter of doing it when you remember until it becomes a habit.
posted by teleskiving at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2006


Don't just assume that because you've got a baby during the day that you can't go to a meeting. Many of the daytime Weight Watchers meetings are intended for moms with babies/preschoolers, and provide childcare (or at least a place to let them play) and a chance to interact with other moms.

And you may not ever fit back into those jeans. I know that I wouldn't be able to wear the jeans I wore before I had my first kid. Heck, I can't even wear the shoes.
posted by jlkr at 7:37 AM on February 1, 2006


libelula, sounds like your diet is pretty good already (maybe try strict portion control?) so exercise is especially important. Do you know any other new(ish) mothers? Every mom I know has struggled with post-baby weight and it helps to have some empathetic support -- and no need for child care! Your profile doesn't say where you are but try googling for new mothers' groups in your town/area. Check the YMCA and other health/fitness places, too. (A friend goes to a mom-baby yoga class and loves it.) The social contact helps enormously, too.

And do think about raedyn's suggestion re new clothes. Having even one pair of jeans that fits well will make you feel better immediately. (DO NOT compare the new size to the old. US sizing is randomized bullshit -- which I know you know. I'm just reminding you.)
posted by vetiver at 7:44 AM on February 1, 2006


Another vote for the No S diet. I've lost 5 lbs in 3 weeks, need to lose another 7 or so. I also plan to resume the highly enjoyable (if horribly named) Shovelglove from the same guy.
posted by Scoo at 7:52 AM on February 1, 2006


Please skip the "ASAP" part. It isn't really good for you. Taking about as much time to lose it as it took to gain it would be healthier and likely give you more lasting results. One other piece of advice - crunches. A toned tummy will help you look slimmer even if you are still in the process of shedding the last few pounds.
posted by caddis at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2006


Always keep this basic equation in mind: 1 pound of fat is 3,600 stored calories. No matter what anyone claims, the only way to lose a pound of fat (or 100 pounds) is to create a calorie defecit equal to the weight you want to lose.

The best advice you've recieved so far is to weight train/excercise. I know your question was about diet, but if you want real and lasting results you need to include some form of excercise. If you do nothing but modify your diet, by reducing calories you'll lose slowly and only keep it off if you always maintain a reduced calorie diet.

On the other hand, if you excercise you build/tone muscle. Toned muscle supports your body better. Your skin will look better, the fat you have will be supported better, etc. On top of that the muscle itself will consume calories just by being there. Muscle is also denser than fat, so a pound of muscle gained adds to a sleek and atheletic body, replacing an inert and larger glob of fat.

One final tip which I'll give you on behalf of my wife. As a male with a fairly high metabolism most of my personal advice isn't very helpful. She however used a program called Slim in 6 to lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks. I didn't think it would work honestly, but I could see that the idea and the program really motivated her. She got up an hour earlier every day for 6 weeks to do the program and looked amazing. The program is produced by a company called Beach Body. They recently released a program called Turbo Jam which my wife is currently using to lose her baby weight (we just had a baby girl in November.) While excercise dvds aren't really my thing they have worked incredibly well for my wife. She has fun with them, they keep her motivated, and she gets great results. You just need to commit yourself to it.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 8:25 AM on February 1, 2006


Eat to Live is succesful at fast weight loss. (See here for a quick overview). It is quite a radical diet, though. There is a friendly support mailinglist. It works, because you eat tons and tons of fiber, and you eat a huge amount of low calorie food, so even if you are not going to follow the program: just eat lots and lots of vegetables. Try bean soups for lunch. And of course: exercise.
posted by davar at 8:31 AM on February 1, 2006


Eat less. If you haven't lost any weight in a couple weeks, eat even less. It's that simple. You can tweak this a bit if you're willing to count calories, but you're not, so tough luck.

Also, there's always ECA.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:34 AM on February 1, 2006


Body for Life works wonders. Alternatively:

Split your meals into 6 meals per day
Eat more protien, less junk food
Drink a lot of water
Get 30-45 minutes of exercise everyday

Be realistic, 1-2 pounds/week is realistic. Remember, the ONLY way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. It's that simple. So eat less, or exercise more. While you're at it, eat better, and get fit. The Hackers Diet is a good start if you don't want to get too involved in fitness.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:27 AM on February 1, 2006


JFitzpatrick: (slight correction) there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:30 AM on February 1, 2006


Hussman Fitness (he's written some great articles on the basics of weight loss)
posted by blue_beetle at 9:31 AM on February 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thanks Blue :)
posted by JFitzpatrick at 9:45 AM on February 1, 2006


I second thhe suggestion of always eating breakfast. And I also second the idea of ratcheting back your expectations of losing 25 pounds quickly. Here's what I did to lose 10lbs over six months. Take a long (30 plus minutes) walk with the kid each day. Make the walk strenuous (walk fast, include hills). You can eat what you want as long as you include two pieces of fruit and three servings of vegetables each day. Good luck and congrats on the kid.
posted by firstdrop at 11:13 AM on February 1, 2006


25 lbs. in two or three weeks isn't unrealistic, at least as measured by the relatively consistent anecdotal experiences of the women I've known who have used it.
posted by cribcage at 12:10 PM on February 1, 2006


...Whoops. I accidentally dragged and deleted the first line, which was, "Another vote for the South Beach Diet."
posted by cribcage at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2006


I'm another new mom with a 3-month-old. I lost 15 lbs in 8 weeks a couple of years ago, and am about to start up a program this month to shed the same amount of babyweight. Here's what worked for me then:

A big bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and dried cherries sprinkled on top for breakfast, and some skim milk -- really tasty and filling, especially if you toast the nuts first. Lunch was usually takeout since I had a rough job and needed to get out for a break, but I'd get thai or try to make it spicy, with added veggies. I'd snack on carrots or an apple or a banana in the early afternoon. Dinner was a salad with either salmon, roast chicken, or a piece of steak on top.

I love my sweets, so I'd make myself a cup of hot cocoa every night with Valhrona cocoa, a bit of sugar, and skim milk. If you get good cocoa, you really hardly need sugar (at least if you love dark chocolate). A pinch of salt is good in cocoa, as it brings out the flavor. Yummy!

Exercise: take as many walks as you can with your baby and stroller. I live near lots of SAHMs, so we walk whenever possible in our neighborhood. But what really worked for me was the twice-weekly Masters Swimming program at the YMCA -- I swam hard for an hour those evenings. It really toned me up and helped me stretch out my back as well. I dropped weight really fast and felt fantastic to boot. All this from only twice a week -- could you do this?

Good luck!! I'm about to start all this up again, and may add a baby/mom fitness class (i.e., pilates where you can bring your baby). Maybe you can find something similar near you.
posted by mdiskin at 1:45 PM on February 1, 2006


You gained it over 9 months, you need to expect it will take a good amount of time to take it off, or it'll just come right back. Your body will fight you to the end if you try to drop it too quickly. Wonderful thing, that homeostasis.
posted by gramcracker at 3:01 PM on February 1, 2006


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