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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How to Lose Weight After Pregnancy and Beyond

It's January, the month of the diet. Resolutions are made and broken this time of year, and I'll dare say most of them revolve around the waistline. There is so much I could share on this topic that I know it will never fit in one posting.  But I'll give you my very best advice in a condensed form, and in later posts I'll expound on some things. If you have weight to lose after your pregnancy, or if you just plain want to get healthier, the most important thing to remember is that what you eat while you're trying to lose weight needs to be something you can comfortably eat for the rest of your life.

I have known people to attempt to lose weight through all sorts of extreme eating measures - rice and chicken broth for 6 weeks, cabbage soup at every sitting, or meals made up of nothing more than grapefruit and bacon! While these may work temporarily, who wants to eat only grapefruit and bacon for the rest of your life? The big factor for weight loss is not cutting back on food take - it's increasing the food! Increase the high-nutrient stuff you were meant to eat in the first place. If you can focus as much of your eating attention on fresh fruits and vegetables, you'll be amazed at not only how much weight you lose (and fast!) but at how much better you'll feel.

When I found out I was pregnant, I started eating healthier and healthier, including as much large salads, fresh fruit, and raw vegetables as I could. I managed to gain only the needed amount of pregnancy weight. After pregnancy, I continued my healthy eating because I was nursing. Combining nursing with my new eating habits knocked off that post-pregnancy weight in record time.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman gives lots of science-based advice in his books, one of which I have reviewed here. (Disease-Proof Your Child.) His books, including Eat to Live (look for an up-and-coming review on that one), totally changed the way I look at food. I'm not a vegetarian - not completely - and I still eat things I used to, but I eat a lot less of them. In fact, the more I add fresh fruits and vegetables to my meals, the more I crave the healthy stuff!

The most fun part of eating like this is you can stuff yourself silly on the days you feel like you want to eat all day. And you can stuff yourself silly on all the other days too. In fact, you should. Keep a big container of cleaned fresh veggies onhand, and grab those first if you feel like reaching for the Ding Dongs. Make big elaborate salads to go with every meal, and eat until your heart's content. Keep big bowls of fruit, with a large variety, cleaned and ready to eat. You'll find the more easily accessible the fresh food is, the more you'll reach for it. And pick up a copy of Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman if you really mean business! (For the record, Dr. Fuhrman isn't paying for or aware of any of my blogging about him - this is strictly based on my own experiences with what I've learned from his books and website.)

Whew! This is my "How to Lose Weight" information in a nutshell. I'll cover more over the coming days, so check back! In the meantime, whether you have weight to lose or not, have yourself a salad feast in the coming days. Experiment adding all the goodies you can to it, and eat till your heart's content.

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Jill said...

Diane--great information. In the past years, I've always had a certain number of pounds I wanted to lose in mind and tried all of these fad diets. The weight always came back and then some. This year, my goal is to eat healthier and exercise more. I'm not attaching a specific number to it, so your post was extremely helpful. I'm looking forward to reading your review of Eat to Live.

Laura said...

Great post Diane! I believe you have posted about the China Study too.. can't remember if that was you or not. :) I too eat the way you do and had no problem losing baby weight and then some. (though I am vegan and mostly raw... :) ) Other health ailments will slowly (or maybe quickly) start to fade and/or disappear as you increase you fruit and veggie intake.... it really is that simple!

In health! Laura

Diane said...

I did post on the China Study - a fantastic book! Leaves no doubt in one's mind as to the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, and how meat isn't all it's been advertised to be. One thing I noticed about eating the way I do is that my asthma is much improved, as long as I'm staying away from meat and dairy. I too weigh less than I do before I got pregnant! I weigh what I did in high school, and I have for about a year and a half now!

Vivian said...

Thanks for the great pointers, Diane! I far too often get caught up with work and coffee/scone binging and neglect my fruit/vegetable intake. In turn, I've still got one or two sizes, ten pounds, of weight that has taken up house on my mid-section since my pregnancy, and I just don't want to give up my vices bad enough! Isn't it crazy, I'll eat only organic foods and then go a whole day on coffee, wine, cheese... just bizarro! I'll need to get some of those books you mentioned and keep healthy eating at the FOREFRONT of my day instead of the-thing-I-do-to-keep-from-fainting!

Karen said...

Diane, thanks for the timely post! I just had my 3rd baby, and although I didn't gain that much weight, I am looking to get back to my pre-baby shape with a good healthy eating plan and exercise. I will definitely keep checking your blog for more info!

Diane said...

Hmm. Vivian, coffee, wine, and cheese get me too. That and of course chocolate! The important thing is, you're eating the healthy stuff too!

And Karen, congratulations! I peeked in on your blog, and what a little darling you have there. He's gorgeous!

Diane said...

Hmm. Vivian, coffee, wine, and cheese get me too. That and of course chocolate! The important thing is, you're eating the healthy stuff too!

And Karen, congratulations! I peeked in on your blog, and what a little darling you have there. He's gorgeous!

JHS said...

Thanks for participating in this week's Carnival of Family Life, hosted at Diary of 1!!

CindyPTN said...

Excellent points. When I make a large salad at the beginning of the week and place it in a container, we always get our fill of veggies in. If I don't, then we tend to put it off. The bowl of fresh cut veggies and fruits work wonders for our family's snacking habit!

Thank you for participating in Fitness for Mom's Carnival.

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