Andrea Weigl, food reporter, writes: Before I left on maternity leave, I promised to chronicle losing my pregnancy weight on this blog.
Now I'm back at work and the real work of weight loss begins. I have to be honest. I didn't worry so much about losing the weight while I was on maternity leave. I didn't want to jeopardize breast milk production by limiting what I ate or drank. I wanted to enjoy the holidays and all the treats that come with them. When all you have to fit into is sweatpants, a creeping waistline or thighs can be ignored.
But my ignorance came to a screeching halt last week when I pondered what I was going to wear to work. Needless to say, my wardrobe options are limited. I hated having to spend money on clothes I hope I won't have to wear for long. It certainly gave me incentive - what I want to spend money on is new clothes for a slimmer me, not new clothes for my transitional weight.
I weighed 178 pounds before my daughter was born, a gain of 28 pregnancy pounds. I shed 20 pounds very quickly after her birth. But my weight has crept up to 161 pounds.
Here is my game plan: I plan to pay more attention to my diet. I hope to use the lessons I learned from my gestational diabetes: to eat more hunger-satiating protein and fewer carbs, to not waste calories on beverages (I can't tell you how much juice I used to drink) and avoid what I now know are food triggers (Diet Coke makes me want to eat sweets).
I also plan to try to get to the gym on a regular basis now that my life will have more structure. It's my job to take our daughter to day care in the morning. I hope to go to classes at the YMCA twice in the evenings during the week and then hit the gym twice in the mornings before work. I'm more hopeful about the evening routine than the morning routine based on what it took to get going this morning. But if motherhood doesn't teach me to manage time more efficiently, nothing will.
I'd love to hear from other moms about how they lost their pregnancy weight. Please share your suggestions in the comments section at blogs.newsobserver.com/turningthescales or send me an email at email@example.com.
Tips from TOPS
Carole Tanzer Miller, features editor, writes: The avalanche of email that awaited after a 10-day vacation included a gem from TOPS Club Inc. The group (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) shared tips from a Texas member, Loisann Dulaney, who suggests we all mind our "Ps" and "Qs" as 2012 begins. Here's some of her advice:
Plan: Create a plan for the new year. Will you eat fewer sweets or consume more whole grains? It's important to understand how you will reach your healthy goals.
Portions: A cup of food is about the size of a cupped hand, a half-cup is about the size of a fist, and a serving of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards.
Pitcher: Put a pitcher of water in the refrigerator and drink about eight glasses each day. The pitcher will indicate the amount of water you have already consumed.
Push and pass: Try to leave a small amount of food on your plate as you "push away" from the table at meal's end. Stand up, put the food in the trash and leave the table. Pass up potato chips, pastries, pies and more. Choose healthier snack foods, such as pretzels, unsalted peanuts, popcorn and diet juice popsicles.
Project: Start a project or take up a hobby that keeps you away from the kitchen and gets you moving, such as hiking, gardening, dancing, bicycling.
Public: Check out restaurants' menus online, so you can find a location with healthy options. If you're mulling an appetizer, consider a salad with low-fat dressing or oil and vinegar. Choose the fruit and vegetable option at a fast-food restaurant instead of fries. Eat smaller portions and bring half the meal home.
Pajamas: Get about seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Go to bed at a reasonable time for more energy the next day.
Practice: Start slowly and practice healthy habits each day to make lasting changes.
Quick: There is no quick fix when it comes to weight loss. Work slowly and make lifestyle changes as you go.
Quiz: Quiz yourself frequently. Am I exercising on a regular basis? Do I keep a food journal to track what I am eating? Do I encourage others as they try to make healthier lifestyle choices? This will keep you accountable and mindful of the choices you make.
Quit: Quit knocking yourself down. There are times when you may overindulge, but stay motivated and continue with your weight-loss plan.
Quiet: Make time for peace and quiet. Take a quick nap, listen to music or sneak off to a quiet room in the house to clear your mind and recharge.
Weight-conscious staffers share stories and tips at blogs.newsobserver.com/turningthescales.