Sounds fairly easy right?
Well, during my pregnancy it sort of was. I think most people would think that cutting out sugar would be the hardest part, but because I was feeling such adverse affects from sugar during my pregnancy, it was pretty easy for me to eliminate it. All in all I lost about 30 pounds during my pregnancy. It was both strange and beautiful, and I embraced the ease of my weight loss. and then the baby came and all hell broke loose.
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And Then Came Joyful Number Six
I’ve really got to commend our new sweet baby girl for really rolling with the punches, because she was born into a crazy circus of a family. Most babies probably wouldn’t choose to join a household with five other kids, two crazy New York Times bestselling workaholic parents, and 100 farm animals. Well. maybe they might. We do have some pretty cool mini-donkeys.
All joking aside, sweet Ree came into the world on June 30, 2015, right when she wanted to, the only one of my children to ever go past their due date. She came out smiling and hasn’t stopped since. She loves to eat and sleep, and smile and smile and smile. Sometimes I worry that her poor little face is going to crack because she is always smiling so big. Had all of my babies been like her, we would probably have a dozen.
We had about one hour of peace with her before all hell broke loose. First, someone hit our car in the parking lot of the hospital while I was giving birth, a hit and run. Then we got an email from our editor informing us that our edits needed to be turned in to Berkley, our new traditional publishing partner, within a week’s time, which was a lot sooner than we’d thought. And then we found out we were being audited by the IRS! Yay!
No kidding this was all within days of bringing our new baby home from the hospital.
Can you guess what happened? The stress of it all caused me to spiral downwards, and fast. I ended up depressed and comforting myself with food. Yep, my old friend was back. Within a few weeks I had put on ten pounds. Here I was with this beautiful, perfect, smiling baby and I was feeling like a bloated, stressed out bag of mommy poop.
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I spent a good week or so wallowing in my own self-pity and more than a few bottles of wine.
We got the car fixed, the edits done, a CPA dealing with the IRS, and I was looking forward to seeing some of my author friends who were coming into town for a signing. As good as it would be to see them, I was still feeling really crappy, and if you know my beautiful and amazing friends Tara Sivec and R.K. Lilley, you know they are as sweet as they are gorgeous. Well, hanging around those two beauties only ended up making me feel even angrier with myself. I was done with the way things were going.
Let me just say, as an aside, that post partum depression is no joke. Ladies, if you are feeling down for any reason after giving birth to your precious little baby PLEASE talk to someone, although it probably shouldn’t be your mother or your husband, but rather a friend or a medical professional who can be more objective, someone who can help you get perspective, or help, and/or medication. There is such a stigma regarding mental health in general and depression in particular in our country. Postpartum depression a very real thing, and left untreated it can ruin mothers, and fracture families. Please get help when you need it, because that new little life needs you happy and healthy.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, back to my story.
The Monday after my friends left, I took a picture of myself in the mirror, wearing only my bra and underwear. It was a “come to Jesus” moment for me, let me tell you. I realized I had only two choices: either I could continue on as I had been for the past 30 years, or I could fight back. For the second time in my life I knew I didn’t have much to lose; I was going to fight.
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My precious baby girl had been the key to weight loss during my pregnancy, and I was going to use her as my motivation again I wanted to live a long and healthy life with her. I didn’t want to feel sick anymore. There had to be a way to get this shit under control.
So I pulled up my good friend Google and got to work trying to figure out a plan I could manage long-term which would also be successful for my whole family. I knew that if I was going to be healthier we would all need to do this together, which meant that somehow I had to get everyone on board with it. All five of the older kids and my husband would need to see why these changes had to happen, and understand why I needed them to support my plan.
I had been blind for so long to many of the health issues in our family, and my research was telling me they were all being aggravated if not outright caused by the food we were eating. My family has ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, asthma, food allergy and sensitivity, and constipation, just to name a few. I came up with an action plan.
I sat down with my family and I laid it all out for them
We were going to eat as healthily as possible, and we were going to be more physically active. I wanted to teach them how to decide day by day, meal by meal, what the best foods were to put in their bodies, and I would teach them by example. I was doing it for them, but I was also doing it for myself and maybe even for future generations.
See, when I was a child I was fed a steaming load of bullshit about what I should be eating, which has negatively affected me my whole life. I believe now that what I had been told to eat were actually the things that made me so unhealthy. These same foods had actually caused the majority my heath problems, directly and indirectly. I’m not trying to shift blame I know my parents did the best they could to help me, I just think the so-called “experts” they had trusted were flat-out wrong. I think the diet and the food industry were wrong, and I believe that my desperation was fueled by those bad eating decisions. It had been a perfect storm and now I was determined to do everything I could to steer my kids away from that.
I was jumping on the bandwagon of parents who made family health a priority. Yeah, I admit it; I sometimes rolled my eyes at those moms who went around requesting “healthy snacks” for their kids at school. Those crazy, homemade-baby-food-making, grain-grinding mamas who got up early in the morning to prep meals. Yeah, those crazy mamas. I was turning into one of them
I just knew my family would love this idea.
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“I am a better person when I have less on my plate. ”
If you were to go a blogstore or do a search on Amazon right now, you’d find roughly three trillion blogs on diet, health, and fitness by a variety of so-called and self-proclaimed “experts”. As I pointed out in the foreword at the beginning of this blog, I’m not in any way, shape, or form an expert I just want to share with you the things that have worked fairly easily and quickly for my family and me. Now, “easily and quickly” is a relative term, and I certainly don’t want to market this blog as some sort of magical get-skinny-quick scheme. If anything, nothing could be further from the truth.
What I’m going to lay out for you is what worked for us. It might work for you, but it might not, or not in the same way it did our family. From my research, though, my guess is that our plan will help more people than I could even begin to estimate at this moment.
My plan is fairly straightforward, even allowing for the fact that our family has children from under one year of age to twelve years old, with very picky toddlers in the mix. I had to make sure the plan allowed every member of my family not just to survive and be healthy, but to thrive, enjoy life, and enjoy food.
As I mentioned, the first thing I did was call a big family meeting. I should point out before we go any further, however, that my biggest worry when calling this meeting was actually my husband. If you know Jack at all you know he is very vocal about his hatred of all vegetables. So much so, in fact, that if you ever get him drinking he’ll tell you about the time he held lima beans in his mouth for several hours rather than swallow them It was only after his mother discovered them still halfchewed inside his mouth three hours after he left the table that she sent him to go and spit them all out. Obviously, Jack hates lima beans, but he also shudders with disgust when I bring up nasty words like broccoli or cauliflower. The struggle is real just ask his mother.
Jack’s aversion to vegetables led to the crux of the problem: I knew for this plan to work, we needed to incorporate a lot more leafy greens and veggies into our diet. I can almost hear mothers everywhere laughing as they are reading this: yeah, right mothers have been trying to get their families to eat vegetables since the beginning of time. Well, I was going to give it my best shot. I had to either get them past Jack or hide them so he couldn’t figure out what he was eating.
But first I got everyone into the family huddle and talked to them about my health, and how I had decided now was the time to choose health, and that I was going to make as many healthy choices in my life as I could. My sweet little three year-old just kept nodding his little head, and my nine year-old daughter was rolling her eyes and thinking, “Oh boy, here we go. Mom’s lost her mind.”
I explained the basics of diabetes to them, and told them the disease ran on both my side of the family and Daddy’s, and that two of our family members were already struggling to manage it. I told them I felt it was my responsibility as their mother to help them be as healthy as they could be. I told them I loved them, and that I wanted them to live long and healthy lives.