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4 Underrated Habits That Helped Me Lose The Baby Weight Twice

by Katharine Chan 3 months ago in weight loss
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2. Unintentionally started intermittent fasting

4 Underrated Habits That Helped Me Lose The Baby Weight Twice
Photo by Ricardo Moura on Unsplash

I've tried every diet out there before finding something that worked for me

Trying to lose weight has been a recurring theme throughout my life. From liquid diets to starving myself then binging to overexercising, I've down it all. The common denominator with fad diets, gimmicks or extreme exercise programs isn't weight loss but weight gain after the novelty wears off and it becomes impossible to sustain.

It wasn't until my late twenties that I realized how horrible I was treating my body and found a system that gave me peace. I learned to love my body for the way it is, feeling confident with who I am where weight loss was a by-product, not the end goal.

Permanent weight loss required me to change my mindset about my body, create realistic habits and adopt them into my daily routine, and most importantly, prioritize my health above everything else.

I was scared I'd revert to bad habits after giving birth

Then I got pregnant, and as the scale went up every week, I was scared I wouldn't be able to find that peace again. Although I knew it was normal and healthy to put on the pounds (Duh, I'm making a human being), I hadn't gained weight in years and seeing my body change brought back painful memories of hating myself. I was worried I'd revert to bad habits to lose weight after giving birth.

However, slowly but surely, I found my rhythm. After my daughter was born, I was able to shed the 25 pounds that I had gained in about 8 months. Then when I was pregnant with my son, I had the confidence to do it again. When he was born, I adopted the same habits and steadily lost the baby weight.

I know breastfeeding helps mothers lose the baby weight but these habits worked for me whether I was breastfeeding or not. I exclusively breastfed my first for 6 months but for my second, I did it for a bit before switching to formula.

Before I go on, I need to disclose that this is what worked for me and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your medical and healthcare professional before taking action based on this information.

1. Paused for 10 seconds before I ate anything

As a busy mom, I don't have time to count calories but I do have time to count to 10. Before eating anything, I would pause for 10 seconds, close my eyes, take a deep breath and ask myself a series of questions,

Are you hungry?

If my answer was a yes, then I'd eat. Simple as that.

If my answer was a no, then I'd ask myself more questions.

Why do you want to eat?

How are you currently feeling?

How would that taste? Imagine eating it. How would you feel after?

Often, when I was itching to have a treat, I wasn't actually hungry; I was either feeling bored, overwhelmed, stressed or anxious and wanted a little pick me up. Giving myself 10 seconds helped me kick unnecessary snacking to the curb.

Learning to be mindful of my hunger and full cues was a significant part of recovering from my battle with emotional eating; it stops me from binging on snacks and prevents me from becoming ravenous and then overeating at mealtime.

I eat when I need to, not when I want to.

2. Unintentionally started intermittent fasting

Because I was paying attention to my hunger and full cues, I started eating within a dedicated time frame. This is also known as intermittent fasting.

In addition to helping with weight loss by improving metabolism, intermittent fasting has been shown to lower the risk for cancer and enhance brain function by clearing out toxins and damaged cells as well as improve arthritic pain and asthma by reducing inflammation.

I've never been a breakfast person because I'm not hungry when I wake up. I'm more thirsty than hungry. Therefore, my breakfast consists of 3 cups of each liquid, warm water, black coffee and green tea.

I sip these while the kids eat breakfast. By the time I've made my 2nd or 3rd trip to the bathroom, it's usually 11 am and it's time for my first meal of the day.

Our kids go to bed around 8 pm so we typically eat dinner at 5 pm. After cleaning up for dinner, I'll go upstairs to take a shower and since I'm in the bathroom already, to save time, I'll also brush my teeth.

I don't like eating after I've brushed my teeth because I like to have a clean mouth when I go to bed. If I ate something, I would want to brush my teeth again and I don't have time for that. I want to enjoy the precious couple of hours that my husband and I have alone.

Therefore, it's become a deterrent for late-night snacking on the treats we hide from the kids.

So I was unintentionally fasting for 16–18 hours, every day.

3. Ate most of my meals at home

When I was yo-yo dieting, I would create tons of food rules to follow. Whether it was no sugar, no fat, no processed, only protein, only salad, or only shakes, it was stressful and overwhelming to follow an overly restricted diet. Every time I broke a rule, I'd feel like a failure and self-hate consumed me. Then I'd drive to the nearest Tim Hortons to binge on donuts.

I learned to love food, appreciate ingredients and leaned into my cooking skills. I'm a foodie so I can't give up anything; however, moderation is key. I eat anything I want 100% of the time as long as 80% of my meals are at home. When you prepare your own meals, you get to control what goes into them. Eating home-cooked meals has been shown to improve diets, reduce caloric intake, and help us live healthier lives.

Since I was skipping breakfast and not snacking much, I only had to prepare 2 meals a day. And I could get away with cooking only one of them; my lunch is like fast food as in it's quick to prepare. Lunch is typically yogurt or cheese, nuts and seeds and fruit. Sometimes, if I'm extra ravenous, I'll have a spoonful of natural peanut butter or some liver pâté on a multi-grain cracker.

I'm very busy, juggling work, kids, a husband, writing and all the invisible stuff of being a mom; therefore, I do not have time to make fancy dinners like steak or halibut or anything that requires me to babysit the damn thing.

FYI: An egg and cheese sandwich with an apple can be dinner sometimes.

I make set it and forget it meals like soup, congee, stew, stir-fries, pasta, rice, noodles, roasted chicken, oven-baked ribs etc. Slow-cooking is not only low-maintenance but you can get away with putting a ton of vegetables in it without noticing. And I always make double the amount so that there are enough leftovers for dinner the following day.

4. Went for a walk almost every day

To lose weight, 80% of your effort needs to be focused on a sensible diet and 20% of your effort needs to be focused on regular exercise.

Once I got the go-ahead from my doctor, I started to exercise. Exercise is defined as moving your body to sustain or improve health and fitness. This can literally be anything where I'm moving my body, from dancing, doing yoga, lifting weights to going for a walk.

Walking is an underrated form of exercise. It's free, doesn't require any equipment or instruction and can be done at any time of the day, at any place, by yourself, with your baby or with the whole family.

So I did a lot of walking because it gets us out of the house, breaks the day up and helps the kids let off steam. Our stroller has probably accumulated enough mileage for a roundtrip to Italy. We walked to the park, to the playground, to the track, to the store for bread, to the library, to the ice cream shop, to get hot chocolate etc.

It's not called "bouncing back"

Ultimately, there is no such thing as a "pre-baby body" because it grew a tiny human, from a couple of cells to an entire heart, mind, body and soul. I learned to view the changes that my body went through as a badge of honour and started wearing my skin with pride. Instead of bouncing back, I bounced forward, learning to treat my body with kindness and positivity.

I don't care about the number on the scale anymore; I care about how I feel when I get up in the morning, whether I can keep up with my kids and how much energy I have left at the end of the day.

I love my body because they gave me my kids and I love my kids because they make me want to love my body.

So Readers, what habits have you tried to lose the baby weight? Which ones worked for you?

This was originally published on my website on February 24, 2021.

weight loss

About the author

Katharine Chan

Sum (心, ♡) on Sleeve | Author. Speaker. Wife. Mom of 2 | Embrace Culture. Love Yourself. Improve Relationships | Empowering you to talk about your feelings despite growing up in a culture that hid them | sumonsleeve.com/books

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