Written by our regular writer (and now mom), Kimberly Studdard
I gained 65 pounds during my pregnancy. Sure, eight of those pounds were my daughter, but most of my weight came from Chinese food and hot fudge sundaes.
My wake up call came the day of my company’s 2015 Christmas party. I went to Target hoping to find a last minute party dress, only to find that nothing fit me. I knew I hadn’t lost all of the baby weight. In fact, I knew I had only lost about 15 pounds since giving birth to my daughter. But I wasn’t expecting to feel as sad as I did about not being able to fit in the cute clothes on the rack.
On that day I decided that I was tired of feeling bad about not being able to fit into the cute clothes I used to wear. It may sound shallow, but it was what kicked my butt into gear. It was time to lose the pregnancy weight…
I promised I would tone up, and be healthy and happy for my daughter. I wanted to teach her good habits and I also want to show her how to be happy in your own skin. I realized I couldn’t teach her what I wasn’t doing myself. So I started to work on making myself healthier, and I will tell you how.
This is where I would suggest you start. As the old saying goes, you can’t out exercise a bad diet. It’s true. I can’t eat a bunch of junk food and expect a 6-pack to show up just because I do a bunch of crunches. If you want to lose the pregnancy weight, you’re going to have to eat better.
I am not saying you have to eat all organic food. I’m also not saying you have to spend a fortune to eat better. What I AM saying is to invest in your health. There are so many ways to cut costs on foods, and I have found quite a few of them.
First, I only shop for what’s on sale. Every Wednesday, I go through the ads for three of my favorite stores (Hyvee, Aldi, and Target) and I find the deals for fruits, vegetables, and anything else that sounds appealing. From there I decide if it is worth it to go to the store based on what’s available. As much as I love these stores, sometimes they aren’t advertising the foods that I’m looking for. Instead of being disappointed, I just don’t go. It also helps me from making impulse buys. I normally spend about $75-$100 for our family of three, and that includes household items, diapers, and also items for our three pets.
I also stock up when something I use often goes on sale. For example, since it’s summer, watermelon and strawberries are available and inexpensive. Last week watermelons were $3 each, and strawberries were 99 cents a pack. I bought about three of each, and whatever we don’t eat gets put right in the freezer (Fun fact: You can freeze watermelon. It will change the texture a bit, but frozen watermelon is terrific in smoothies and slushies!)
Another good way to save money at the grocery store is to shop the outside perimeters first. Most pre-made expensive food is in the middle aisles, and if it isn’t expensive it is most likely not healthy. This is where most of your whole foods are going to be anyways, so you shouldn’t miss out on much in the middle.
I think the biggest money saver for me has been cutting out a lot of meat consumption. I was never a big meat eater to begin with, but after having a baby, I went for convenience in the form of chicken nuggets and pre-made burgers. Now, we eat meat 2-3 times a week (if that), and when we do it’s normally chicken or fish.
A typical grocery trip looks a little like this:
- Protein: tempeh, shrimp, eggs, chicken breasts, and a bag of beans (switches week to week)
- Grains: rice, whole wheat pasta, flax tortillas, and potatoes
- Fruits & Veggies: mainly anything on sale. Recently it’s been watermelon, strawberries, grapes, bananas, green beans, tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers
- Misc: milk, almond milk (for my daughter), plain greek yogurt, nuts and seeds, and oatmeal
This may seem like a boring shopping trip, but I can always make incredible meals out of these staples. Just this week we had chickpea and kale soup, loaded veggie burritos, and garlic shrimp and spinach pasta.
I get it. You’re tired. I am too. Not only do I work full time, but I go to school, have a toddler, and still have to manage growing my own business. However, I had to realize that while the weight may fall off from eating healthy, I wouldn’t lose the mommy pooch or get back my butt if I didn’t put in some time at the gym.
So in order to lose the pregnancy weight, I started working out. Most days, I would strap my daughter to my chest or in her stroller, and we would go for a nice long walk. I started small, only working out 2-3 days a week. Then, as time went on, I added different exercises and upped my days.
Now, I workout 5-6 days a week. I try to go on a walk with my daughter at least twice a week, and the other 3-4 days are normally spent attending Zumba classes, lifting weights, or working out to YouTube videos.
Working out doesn’t have to expensive. Walking outside is free. As far as weights, I use my complex’s gym, but you can certainly find a decently priced gym membership (look into your local community center, Planet Fitness, or even just take a la carte fitness classes). Also, YouTube is your best friend. I follow so many great fitness instructors. My workouts range from dancing, to kickboxing, and even yoga.
Involve Your Family
This is my favorite tip, because I love spending time with my family. I think a big part of losing weight is having a great support system. We just bought my daughter a bike, so now we can bike ride as a family. My fiance and I now have a running bet on who can get the most steps in, or who can eat the most servings of fruits and veggies.
Having a support system can keep you from binge-ing, slacking off, or worse….giving up. Being healthy is so much fun for me now, because I get to keep my family involved, and I am showing them how to lead healthy happy lives.
Get Regular Check Ups
After I had Gabi, I was told that I was anemic. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but it made me extremely tired and lethargic. Granted, I took iron supplements, but I also wasn’t providing my body with the nutrition it wanted and needed.
Had I not gone to the doctor for my check up, I would have let the tiredness stay in my life, because I thought it was normal. Getting healthy on a budget may make you think that you can’t afford a doctor (trust me, I know how expensive they can be), but you really want to make sure that you are finding out what goes on with your body before any problems arise. You may not only save money in the long run, but your body will thank you for it.
I know I only listed four tips, and there is a reason behind that. Losing weight isn’t a miracle, and it’s certainly not going to happen by taking some magic pill. However, it’s incredibly easy to make things simple and lose weight naturally and gradually. These are the only four tips I’ve used, and so far I’ve been seeing major changes in my body (and mind!).
Are you trying to lose the pregnancy weight? How are you doing?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.