So I'm reading another article about dropping the most stubborn pounds. It talks about 4 stages of life when your body clings to fat: Post-pregnancy, hitting the big 3-5, extreme stress, and perimenopause. Oh great! That's not encouraging. I fall into ALL 3 of those. What's a body to do about that? Who hasn't hit the weight rut: after a few weeks or months of the pounds flying off -bam- up against a scale that won't budge?? Ugh. That's been my story for the last year or two. So what's going on?
Well, the article goes on to explain that all dieters reach a plateau at some point. Could be a few weeks or a few months. A clinical professor of medicine at Cornell writes, "After you've lost a certain amount, your body thinks it's starving and sets up roadblocks that make it harder for those last pounds to come off." Here's something encouraging (NOT), "To make matters worse, the more weight you lose, the less effective your once successful diet plan is likely to be." Why??? The reason: As you lose weight, you may also lose muscle, leading to a slower metabolism. Here's the kicker - but it makes sense: So even though you're still eating the same amount of calories as when you started dieting, but because you weigh less, the nasty truth is you need to consume even less. Are you hungry yet? Unfortunately, these plateaus get even tougher over time. "Age-related influences - a decreased metabolism, shifting hormones, and lifestyle changes - contribute to weight plateaus." Okay, I'm depressed now. Is there hope when it seems that every calorie I eat has a straight-to-my-thighs attraction? YES! This article suggests that there's plenty I can do at these different life stages (which seem to be one big life stage for me right now) with diet, exercise, and behavior (huh?) to lose even the most stubborn pounds for good! Alright! Bring it!
Weight Plateau #1: Post-Pregnancy Pounds
Most women carry up to 5 unwanted pounds into their next pregnancy, according to most doctors. Most women are still trying to shake off those last ten pounds a year after giving birth. (I'm still trying 9 years later) In my case, take those 10 pounds and multiply it by 3 kids and that's where I find myself today. Losing 30 pounds will get me back to where I was when I started having children. So, why does pregnancy weight stick like glue? Biology. My OB/GYN says that after a woman gives birth, there's a dip in her levels of progesterone, the hormone that increases metabolism and allows you to burn more calories.
What to do with the excess baby weight?
*Check my calories. Am I still eating for two? Get my calories down to pre-pregnancy levels and make sure that I'm taking a multivitamin with iron and get plenty of fluids (8-12 glasses of water a day). Ugh! There's the water thing again! I have a friend that is on weight watchers right now and she tells me that you are supposed to drink water, in ounces, equivalent to half of your body weight. So that means for me: I have to drink 10 8-oz. glasses of water a day!!! "Dislike!!" It's hard to drink that much water - maybe I should get one of those hats that has the cup holders on the sides and the straws to your mouth.
*Don't eat my kids' food. Uh-oh. I like to think I'm eating well, but at the end of the day I always seem to 'forget' the chocolate chip cookies I grabbed in the kitchen or the extra macaroni I snuck off the kids' plates from lunch.
*Resume a daily exercise routine. Fitness? When am I supposed to squeeze THAT in around the 10 glasses of water. Move it on up the priority list and make it happen. Research from Cornell shows that overweight moms who exercised daily in the year after the birth of their first child were, on average, 12 pounds lighter than mothers who didn't work out. (oh...oops. Hope it's not too late) It also mentioned that these moms have a can-do attitude! Hmmm...sound familiar? See my January 1 post, "A Can-Do Attitude." The study said, "Instead of beating themselves up about not being able to get to the gym daily and then getting discouraged, they simply squeezed in a half-hour walk with their baby." A trainer I once worked with also said that you don't need a LOT of activity to take off the weight. Just activity...like walking. Which brings me to the last point.
*Buy a pedometer. I've been thinking about getting one of these. A pedometer is one way to help ensure that I'm taking 10,000 steps a day (that's equal to 5 miles of walking) which is needed to help promote and maintain weight loss.
3 out of 4 checks is not bad. There is hope for losing baby fat. YAY! I am going to check into pedometers...just one more check to keep myself on track! Do you have one and if you do, has it helped you?