I have been experiencing a most welcome sort of loss these days. The only time one loves to lose I guess. Yes, I am finally starting to shed some of my post-pregnancy flab. And everyone who’s seen me lately knows there’s a lot to lose!
I was really careful with my weight throughout my pregnancy. Trying to eat right, continuing with some light exercise till the last day and all that jazz. Result – I was pretty happy with my post-delivery figure a couple of days after I came back from the hospital.
And then my lactation issues started. Baby refused to latch on at first. Once the latch on problem was sorted out, he seemed to be ever hungry. Picture this.
A harassed-looking mom handing over a wailing Baby M to me: Here, take him, he seems to be hungry. Nothing else is working.
Me: But I fed him less than an hour ago. For half an hour no less!
Mom: But he is crying now, isn’t he?
Me: Yes mom, the neighbors across the street would also agree – he is crying! Okay, let me try again.
Feeding session over, a ready-to-gobble-up-anything ravenous me: Now I am hungry Aai, get me something to eat, quick!
Picture this cycle, on endless repeat, for the next few months. No wonder I piled on the kilos! From a comfortable pre-pregnancy 60 kilos to a manageable post-delivery 70 kilos, I reached a staggering 80 kilos by the time I came back to India. My parents could not recognize the strange woman walking besides their son-in-law out of the airport. Oh, look, she’s carrying our precious grandson in her arms, could she be our daughter after all?
Back in India, the ‘Oh my God, you have put on weight!’ comments from friends and family started. Most well-intentioned but thoughtless, a few downright malicious and gloating. Yes, thank you for pointing it out, I’d never have noticed otherwise, I wanted to reply. Instead, I’d give them a weak smile and agree. Yes, I had put on weight. I’d just given birth to their grandson/nephew/cousin in case they had not noticed.
But the last straw was when the husband, during a rare private moment we got to ourselves in our first few months in India, said something like – if you don’t get back in to some sort of shape soon, you’ll start to look older than you really are in a few years time. To give the guy some credit, he tried to put it as gently as possible, peppering his lines with ‘if’, ‘a few years down the line’ and saying ‘older’, not ‘old and ugly’. When what he probably meant (to my mind at least) was – hey, you look old and fat and ugly already!
That was it! I had been meaning to start working on my weight loss in any case, the husband’s comment only made me more determined than ever. That was October. Two months down the line, I am now at 72. I was 77 when I started keeping track of my weight. Pretty good, if I say so myself. My target is 60 but I am in no hurry to get there. Slow, steady and sustainable loss is what I am aiming for. So what am I doing to get there?
- Portion control and eating small, sensible but frequent meals to increase my metabolic rate. (This is something I learned from Rijuta Diwekar’s book, it seemed to make good sense and has worked for me so far.) I try to eat fresh homemade stuff as far as possible, and indulge in my favorite chaats, whole wheat pasta or maggi once a week but no more. No cakes, biscuits and other processed foods at all.
- I bought myself an elliptical for home use. (Going to the gym with Baby M around did not seem feasible at that time.) I have been using it for 25-30 minutes each day whenever I cannot go for my morning walk.
- Which brings me to the favorite part of my exercise regimen – my morning walk. I started out walking around our building alone, but that got boring pretty soon. Then I was lucky enough to meet another new mum in the neighborhood who was looking to lose weight as well. Exercise has never seemed like work ever since! I actually find myself looking forward to our walk each day. It’s a great way to begin the day, taking in the fresh air and chatting with a like-minded soul my age. And it’s been doing wonders for my weight loss as well.
- Maintaining a journal of my weight, food intake and exercise each day. A great way to keep track of things and find where you are going wrong. For example, I have been indulging in some potato papads for the last few days. Roasted, not fried. Wouldn’t make much of a difference one would think. But my weight increased for the first time in two months today. Ergo, I know I need to avoid the papads from now on.
As you can see, I am not doing anything drastic, no crash diets for me anymore. I went that route a few years ago, shedding oodles of weight to look great for my wedding, only to gain back all the weight and more just six months after my wedding. This time, I am trying to actually apply all the gyaan fitness experts keep talking about – trying to keep things simple and making small lifestyle changes that I can keep up with even after I attain my target weight. Will let you know how it goes.
Have any of you succeeded in losing and keeping off the flab the simple way? Any tips for me?