What I Didn’t Expect While Expecting: My 4-Year Journey To Losing The Baby Weight

Where were you four years ago?
March 2009

My husband and I were preparing ourselves for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe.

7 countries in 18 days

It was an amazing trip and we were fortunate to meet some awesome people during those two weeks.  We even stay in touch with a couple we met from Australia.

Hi Peter and Natalie!

It was something we had saved for… something we wanted to experience before we had kids.  We experienced cities like Amsterdam, Venice, Assisi, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Lugano, Lake Lucerne, and Paris…just to name a few.

Oh and did we eat!!!  I actually gained about 5-10 pounds while we were over there!  Whoops!  Not what I wanted to bring home with me…

The best souvenir we brought home though?

5240_533701686859_147801674_31535627_5494626_n

Yep, that’s right!
We found out in Paris that we were pregnant with our first child!
We were so excited!!!

Four years later and I have a beautiful daughter who has brought so much fun and joy into my life.
She has also brought the realization that I have a big task on my shoulders.
SHE is going to value HERSELF as much as she sees ME valuing MYSELF.
Let that one sink in!

Whether I like it or not, she watches me…
All.The.Time.

She watches what I do…
what I eat…
what I say…
how I talk about my body…

This is a HUGE deal people!!!!  I am teaching my daughter how to view her own body whether I like it or not.  This realization was one of the big factors in changing the way I view and take care of myself.

My lovely daughter is also responsible for another thing…the start of my adult weight gain problems.  I love her with everything, but carrying her for nine months did quite the toll on my body.  And for someone who was already struggling with weight issues, pregnancy was not friendly nor nice to me.  I carried my pregnancy weight all over my body…all 35/40 pounds of it.  I know that there are some of you out there who gained more, but an extra 40 pounds on my 5’3 frame was not easy!

Seriously…

18055_540813719289_6103122_n

I recently started looking back at pictures from that time and I cannot believe I was “ok” with where I was at!  Sure, I complained…blamed it on my daughter…said it was too hard to find time…said it was too expensive to join a gym…claimed I didn’t have anyone to watch my daughter so I could exercise…said I was too tired…Man, the list goes on and on!  So many excuses!!!!

Since 2009, I have also had another child (June 2012) and although I was a bit healthier, I still gained weight and he totally took over my body!!!

540454_649629386819_1939644759_n

I know what you are thinking and yes…it was uncomfortable as it looks!!!!

Anyway, it’s been nine months since giving birth to my son and almost four years since getting pregnant with our daughter.  After those numbers were put out there, I no longer felt the “it’s just baby weight” excuse was useful or accurate anymore.  I know, right?  It’s the easiest excuse in the book!!!

It was time to wake up!!!!

So four years later, I am very excited to say that I have now lost ALL my baby weight!!!!

I still have a long road ahead of me.  There’s still at least another 10-15 pounds of unwanted weight on my body, but I choose to focus on the small victories.
And this is a huge small victory!!!

So what have I done?
I’m continuing to monitor what I eat…choosing healthier options even for snacking.  I also recently started working out.  I do not have a lot of time nor do I have the money to join a gym, so I put out a call on Facebook for any suggestions for at-home workout DVDs.  My good friend, Rachel, said I could borrow one of hers.  I am loving it!  It’s three different workouts plus a core stretch/yoga section.  You alternate what you are doing during the week.  And the best part?  Each segment is only 24 minutes long!  Y’all…I can exercise AND shower all while my youngest is napping!!!  I know you mommies out there understand how important getting both of those done during a week is!!!!!  Click HERE for the link if you would like to know more about the DVD.

Once I establish better workout habits, I plan on adding other things to the mix like Zumba and kickboxing!

Another good thing about doing something like this…my daughter is watching me work on my body and appreciating it.  She is doing them with me and it’s so much fun for us!  She asks every day when she and Mommy can exercise.  Isn’t that great?  What a thing to start teaching her early!

I do not have an after picture ready right now, but I’m hoping to in the next couple of weeks and don’t worry…I will TOTALLY share it with you when I get the chance!

Until then, thank you again for your never-ending support and I hope to continue my road to health all while being an example to my children.

~Jess Elaine

30 by 30

Well, the time has come.  In approximate 9 1/2 weeks, I will be 30.
Yes, I realize that some of you don’t think this is a big deal,
but for me it is.

I’ve never cared about age before, but for some reason I have struggled with this one.
So, as I reflected on what I would like to accomplish by then, one thing really stood out to me…
my weight.

I’ve never been considered the “skinny girl.”  I had curves which was not always accepted.
I’m also Italian, so it kind of came with the territory.  As did eating things like pasta, bread, etc…
Of course, more recently my body has gone through two pregnancies
and that takes its own toll on the body.

Now hear me when I say that I’m JUST FINE with this!!!
I mean, sure, has it been hard?
Yes.
But it’s not something that has controlled my life.

All that being said, I’ve decided to do something about it.
I’ve challenged myself to my very own “30 by 30” challenge.
Lose 30 pounds by the time I turn 30.

I realized that there are some of you out there who know me and you’re saying to yourself,
“You don’t need to lose 30 pounds!”
And to you, I say thank you.  I appreciate you thinking that, but the reality of the situation is…
yes I do.

In order to be in the “healthy range” for my height and build, I need to lose between 18-32 pounds.  I’ve chosen to go for the bigger goal.
Plus, I mean “18 by 30” just doesn’t sound as cool!

So how am I doing it?

About a month ago, I called a dear friend who, although not a registered dietician, is a very healthy and active woman who also raises five children.  So, I figured she could help me with figuring out how to balance diet and exercise with my busy life as a mom of two under three.  She and I talked about what I wanted to accomplish.  Not only did I want to lose the weight, but I also wanted to establish a more healthy lifestyle for my family.  If you’ve kept up with this blog at all, then you know I’m not much of a homemaker.  Therefore, learning to cook healthy food was important to me.  I needed to learn it for myself and my husband, but more importantly…
I needed to learn it for my children.

She presented me with an option called “Transition Lifestyle,” which I’ll refer to as TLS from now on.  It’s not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle change.  This is exactly what I had been thinking.  I’ve tried many diets in the past: Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins.  But none of them had worked.  Mostly because I didn’t have accountability and also because I didn’t understand what I was doing.  My friend and her husband had been a part of this program several years ago as part of his work,
so she still had all of her information.
It was going to be hard, but I was willing to try.

The first week of TLS is a detox.  There were only about 40 fruits and vegetables I was allowed to eat and I could really only drink water.  I was only allowed three servings of fruit a day.  The rest had to be vegetables.  I didn’t think this was going to be that difficult, but after the first day…

I wanted to eat everything!!!!

It was amazing how much my body was craving certain things.  After the longest week of my life, I realized that my detox was more mental than physical.  I had to reboot my mind into thinking about healthier options for things.  It was amazing how much my thoughts changed after this week.  I didn’t want to snack on my regular food and I was craving more healthy options.  I made it through the week because of the accountability with my friends doing the same thing.
Without them, I wouldn’t have survived.

I’m now in Phase One and am feeling great!  I have more energy than I’ve had in a long time and my family has been eating healthier than ever!  I still have a long way to go, but I’m confident that I’ll hit my goal.  Maybe it won’t be in nine weeks, but it will be by this summer.
I plan on rockin an awesome Mom-kini by summertime!

Oh, and in case  you’re wondering…
I started on January 21st and
I’ve only got 23 pounds to go!

~ Jess Elaine

PS: want to leave a comment?  Just click on the “horseshoe shape” (with a number in it) located at the top right corner of this blog!