Thursday, August 02, 2012

the skinny on the "skinny rules" or how I finally started losing the last few (10) pounds of baby weight or 24 months post baby body

Disclaimer: I do not profess to have the perfect diet or body or anything... I just wanted to record for myself (and whoever else was interested) how I FINALLY was able to let go of those stubborn 8 pounds and am finally progressing toward my post baby body (with a little extra skin of course). Also so that I can hopefully look back on this post after each baby and remember how really simple it is to correct poor nutrition, and why didn't this click for me sooner?? I may never know. All of the following are really simple ideas that I have known most of my adult life, and for some reason reading Bob Harper's book really made them resonate to me.

First off, I have a confession to make: I am a food addict. I can never eat just one fruit snack, oreo, swiss roll, or Dorito, I have to eat them by the half-dozen (at least), and usually by the package (or 1/2 package if I am sharing with Mr. D). Or an entire pan of german pancakes (true story, as long as there's powdered sugar). From eating entire cartons of ice cream in middle school (and quickly re-purchasing new ones to replace the old so my parent's wouldn't know), I have always been a closet food addict. When I started running, coupled with my teenage metabolism, I got away with it for a few glorious years and no one knew any different.

Then I married a man a foot taller than I (AKA better metabolism luckyyy) and I would pretty much match what he ate. So I increased my workouts to sometimes two hours a day, six days a week and no one knew any different.

And then there was pregnancy. And I ate just as much and didn't work out, and BAM! 50 pounds later I officially had my own orbit and moons. Post-natal life was initially awesome (25 pound weightloss in 2 weeks? awesome! I love breast feeding!) but left me ravenous ALL THE TIME. Turns out it was mostly dehydration but of course you don't figure stuff like that out till after you're no longer burning an extra 300 calories a day.

Long story short, when I posted about my post baby body, I felt good about my 9 month progress and I figured that weight loss would just get easier and I would hit that magic number in no time. Well, I did (for about a day) and then started gaining again. By 18 months, I felt like something was amiss. I was putting in the work, at least a 60 minute workout, 5-6 days a week, I was strength training, cardioing, mixing up my workouts, doing everything I thought I could to lose that weight and the scale would only go in one direction...up.

What on earth was I doing wrong?

So I started logging my food on MyFitnessPal (not just once a month, but actually most days for a month) and I realized something... and "ah ha!" moment if you will. Not only was I consistently eating 3000-4500 calories a day (I wish I was kidding) but I was eating upwards of 150g of sugar A DAY (I should be eating around 30). But how could I possibly eat less?! I was hungry all the time (and not even pregnant!), I was tired all the time (which would cause me to eat more), and I was dumbfounded as to what to do about it. I went on a family trip to Utah and was so paranoid before leaving that everyone would think I was pregnant because of being a few pounds heavier than I was a year before.

After my Utah trip, I stumbled upon Bob Harper's Skinny Rules, and some of them really resonated with me.
Large glass of water before each meal? Easy enough.
Eat apples and berries every day? Awesome.
Get rid of those white potatoes? Gone.
Eat a real breakfast? You are preaching to the choir!

Of course there were some that I just thought, well that's a rediculous rule, never going to do that one, (no carbs after lunch?! Is he nuts?!) and I didn't think twice about some of the other rules till I bought the book two weeks later. I couldn't tell you why reading that book made all those rules make so much sense to me. As I continued to add rules to my life (there are only 20), and logging my food (Tyra wasn't lying!), I got VERY excited with the numbers I was seeing on the scale and overall the way that I felt. I felt good!

I remember feeling so devastated and discouraged at 18 months thinking that my goal to hit my pre-pregnancy weight before I got pregnant again was NEVER going to happen. That all the nay-sayers were right and it didn't matter how hard I worked I could never feel good about my body again.
18 months v. 24 months pp
When I started the "Skinny Rules" vs.  about one month later
They were wrong. I haven't felt this good about my body for three years. THREE YEARS! Not since before I got pregnant, and all it took was following a couple of silly little rules (which were more like guidelines anyways). I had this terrible mindset that only people who starved themselves or only drank detox drinks for meals were the ones who could lose the baby weight. But they're not!

I eat real food!!! BUT. In realizing my food addiction, I had to cut some things out of my daily eating, like a sleeve of oreos or 10 packs of scooby snacks. But that's not a terrible thing as long as you are replacing it with LOTS of good food. I don't miss it daily, but I will still have it once or twice a week. I found out that like any addiciton, the less I had of it, the less I craved it and my taste palette could actually enjoy other things even better.

So, really long story short to all my friends who have asked about how I boosted my nutrition, I think my Skinny Rules went a little like this:

1. Read Bob Harper's Skinny Rules (NOT a diet but a lifestyle... you will see!!)
2. Glass of water before each meal and snack, not too difficult since that is usually the only drink we have around here (cheap and calorie free). Sure you will be going to the bathroom a little more frequently if you have an itty bitty bladder like me, but at least you won't polish off the whole package of swiss rolls (much harder to do with a lot of water in your stomach).
3. Eat protein at every meal (animal or plant or dairy)
4. Track my food. My Fitness Pal is a fantastic tool to help you see just how much of each nutrient you should be eating. One day a week I would usually take "off" of tracking my food, but overall it was the best tool (other than the rules) that I felt I had. The numbers don't lie.
5. Eat my vegetables (Bob has some wonderful recipes that incorporate seriously yummy food combinations).
6. Remember to have a couple of staples. I have a go-to "no brainer" for breakfast of stuff you know you almost always have around (almond butter on english muffin, fruit on the side), snacks (cottage cheese and cucumber or almonds and fruit, or guac with pretzel thins), lunch (egg scrambles or Bob's lentil soup), and dinner (tilapia and veggies on the grill). If my brain is ever in a rut, I use one of these that I know I love.
7. I couldn't go no-carb after lunch, but I try to have most of it earlier in the day. I have found that the more water, veggies, protein I eat, the easier this is. And since I have stopped eating at least two hours before bedtime ("going to bed hungry"), I don't feel sick when I go to bed like I used to.
8. I ALWAYS read food labels for portion size. And (as anal as it may sound) I measure out my portions. Those little baseball caps we use so much? One level cup.
9. I make my own food and eat 10 meals a week (usually more) at home. I found that in doing this, I enjoy my meals more (usually I only really spend a significant amount of time to prep food one or two nights a week) and I am less likely to eat a ton of unnecessary calories. Something that really irked me was a few weeks ago, in going out to eat I got a cobb salad (that I can usually make at home for around 400 calories) and it was over 2000 calories?!?! SO not worth it to me.
10. Plan one splurge meal a week? Well, I usually plan a few little ones throughout the week. I never deprive myself or make myself feel hungry, I think because I focus on all the things I can eat versus the stuff I shouldn't be eating.

So there you have it. It may be a little more costly and time consuming than living off of top ramen and oreos to buy and have a variety (I usually have at least 3 different fruits and veggies available at all times) of produce and protein in my home, but I and my family are eating better because of it, and can you really put a price on health?

I spent something like 18 months stuck at a weight I was not happy with (8-10 pounds over my goal) to how I am now, only two months later, only 2 pounds away from it and healthier, more energized and happier (with my eating) than I have ever been! And I still eat my favorite cream filled oreo donut... just not every day!


Eric and Andrea said...

Awesome post girl! I love that you are always trying. You know what you want and you get there by not giving up. You are my hero (I mean that).

naomi said...

What. The. Devil. I can't believe you look like this. Your stomach is insane!!!!!!!! Well done!!!!!!!!!

naomi said...

I also laughed at your line about preaching to the choir. I also love a proper breakfast

Michal Sarah said...

I just ordered the book. PS YOU LOOK AMAZING!

Mama Enamorada said...

I'm gonna order the book!! You look amazing!!!

Melissa Kent said...

You are looking HAWT ruth! I loved his post. I'm so impressed by you and all of your working out. I feel like I can totally relate to the lack of self control when it comes to sweets... When I make cookies (which I don't know why I continue to do so) I eat half the dough by myself and then of course have to eat the cookies too! But the reason I work out is so I can do that haha. I am going to get that book though because I haven't been able to lose my 5 lbs of engagement/marriage weight. Wish me luck!

Jen Pilchak said...

Hi! Clicked on a link from Stef's "Run On" blog to this post. I'm currently 6 months pregnant so this post really hits home for me- cause as that scale keeps creeping up I find myself thinking more about post-natal. First let me say your 18m pp and 24m pp pics look great! I'm totally adding Bob's book to my Amazon wish list- I think it would be an interesting read. No carbs after lunch would be extremely hard seeing that I too can take on half a pan of brownies or box of Oreos in one sitting :) I find this post to be encouraging- and you look great! Thank you for sharing!

Missy said...

Hey Ruth! Thanks for sharing this! I have read Bob's rules but I really want to get his book to get all the details pertaining to the rules. I also was astounded at the "no carbs after lunch" rule, I couldn't imagine! Pasta is pratically a staple! lol

Missy said...

BTW you look AWESOME!!!!

Suz and Allan said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I've read some great reviews on this book and I'm convinced I need to go ahead and order it right now! Congrats on all the progress you've made in 2 months!

anna. said...

need to borrow that bookkk...

anna. said...

p.s. you are my hero. that is all.

Sarah Elizabeth Kron said...

i need that book. STAT. and you're my hero, as well. you are such a rockstar for finding what works and sticking to it!! even if all krondashians are doomed to be foodies for life (; congrats!!! and you'll be able to work off baby weight for #2, easy. now that you know what works!! bring it on!! (:

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