Since we are all about mothers this week, I’d love to introduce you to a wonderful one, Vennesa. She’s a very busy mother of 5 and has managed to take her health by the horns and is not looking back! You can find her at I Eat Good Real Food as she chronicles her life as a Fit Momma.
Height: 5’ 4 1/2”
Total lbs lost: 31 I went from size 10 jeans to size 2.
How long did it take you to lose the weight? 15 months
How long have you kept it off? Still losing
The Weight Gain
I want to blame it on having 5 babies in 9 years, but really if I’d been eating a healthy diet, weight wouldn’t have been a problem. My problem with weight began way before that. In Jr. High I had a Coke and a KitKat every day for lunch. And I limited my ice cream to once a day. I joined Nutrisystem when I was 16 or 17 years old at about 125-130 lbs. They told me I should weigh 117. I tried SlimFast for a while in college. Then I lived on Diet Coke, Cup O’Noodles and Granny B cookies. (You know those big sugar cookies with the pink frosting.) I did aerobics in the evenings. I was tired and hungry all the time and got sick a lot. And (surprise!) I didn’t lose any weight. I weighed 135-140 lbs when I got married at age 25 and wore a size 8 wedding dress. I kept a few pounds with each pregnancy until I ended up at 156 lbs. I had no idea what a healthy meal looked like.
The Turning Point
Knowledge was the key for me. I read some books about nutrition that really made sense to me. I started to eat mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I quit drinking pop. I cut out processed and fast food. My focus changed from losing weight to nourishing my body with good real food and the weight just started coming off. It was weird. All those years of watching the scale go up and now it just seemed almost easy. Once I started feeding my body what it needed the pounds dropped. It wasn’t fast, but it was steady and I felt so good. Every time I saw the scale go down it motivated me even more. Not to starve my body, but to feed it. I eat a lot of food.
Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats with: cinnamon, a chopped apple, raisins, blueberries, honey and a small glass of OJ. I also like Baked Oatmeal.
Lunch: Usually leftovers from dinner. Today was Stir Fry over brown rice with at least ½ of my plate filled with veggies. In the summer, I’ll have something from my garden like a mushroom, sprout and tomato sandwich or a plate of tomatoes, squash, carrots and asparagus with scrambled eggs.
Snack: Fresh berries in yogurt, or a Spinach Peach Smoothie and maybe some hummus on whole grain crackers or a banana. I have a green smoothie almost every day.
I work out 5 or 6 days each week. I love to Zumba! My gym has a Zumba class every day. If I can’t make that work with my schedule, it’s running 2 miles on the treadmill. In the summer I run outside in the mornings because my older kids are home to babysit. So much nicer than the treadmill!! I also do free weights or the weight machines 4 times per week.
The hardest part for me is finding the time to work out. I work out while my youngest is in preschool, but that’s only twice a week, so I have to find time in the evenings. My husband and kids are very supportive of me, which really helps.
Something that is still tough is Meal Planning! It’s almost impossible to find a healthy dinner that everyone will eat without complaining. It would be so easy to just throw some corn dogs in the microwave for the kids. If I plan ahead though, I can usually make it so that there is something healthy on everyone’s plate that they’ll eat.
You don’t have to be perfect! I started out just making small changes like counting and increasing my fruits and vegetable servings in a day. Or only drinking a Coke every other day instead of daily. It could be adding more beans or salads to the menu that week. Small accomplishments that moved me in the right direction helped me stay positive and focused.
I gave myself rewards to motivate me. I told myself that for every 5 lbs lost, I could have a reward: A new play list on my Zune, new workout clothes, then new jeans.
I also had a private blog with my sisters where we’d post our successes, failures, ideas, recipes etc. It was very helpful to be accountable to someone.
It is definitely worth it. The best pay back is how good I feel. It was normal for me in the past to need a nap (not that I got one) every day. I felt crummy all the time and I thought that was normal!
I eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains because I know that’s what my body needs and because those are the foods I crave now. I exercise because I enjoy it. I love Zumba! I love that I can run 2 or 3 miles now easily. I love having defined biceps for the first time in my life. I love not feeling like I need a nap every day. I have never felt this good in my life.