How Much Food Do I Really Need?

Trying to lose weight post-partum has definitely been a struggle (as I’ve written about many times here). The fitness aspect hasn’t been the struggle for me. The food has.

I feel like part of the problem is that for nearly 10 years I was on a “plan” that worked. After losing 110 pounds, I kept the weight off by working out consistently and by counting my calories. I logged my food pretty diligently for almost a decade. With a few blips here and there, I kept the weight off. I could splurge on treats or go out to dinner and still maintain my weight with about a 5 pounds fluctuation up and down.

When I got pregnant I did not eat for two. I increased my daily calories per my doctor and I still worked out. And then after Logan was born, (after taking about a month off from counting calories) I was back to logging my food but I was still eating a lot of calories. Every time I tried to lower that daily number my milk supply was effected.

I am pretty proud of myself for staying “on track” while pregnant. But I admit, I did give in to foods I didn’t really eat. I had managed to mostly kick my candy habit while losing and maintaining my weight loss. Sure I had treats and dessert (homemade cookies or ice cream, or chocolate) but I stayed away from the candy bar type stuff that was always a trigger for me.

While I was pregnant I craved two things: orange juice–which I started drinking a glass of with breakfast every day (probably 150 calories worth–and I COULD have drank several glasses of juice, but controlled myself) AND Reese’s Pieces candies. I have NO idea why those were the two cravings I had while pregnant with Logan but they were. Once he arrived, I cut out the juice.

The candy? Not so much. I am still eating candy on occasion and I absolutely hate that it’s so hard for me to kick that habit. It’s no secret I’ve always struggled with sugar but…dammit, why is it so hard this time around to STOP the sugar??

Let’s get back to that.

So I am still hovering around the 13-pounds-left-to-lose-mark. Ideally I’d like to lose 20 but 13 is my goal. I talked to my doctor recently and she suggested I reduce my daily calorie base to 1400. (She also suggested I try going vegetarian, but that’s a whole other conversation. 🙁 )

I decided to give it a try and went from around 1600 calories a day to 1400. Sometimes I eat back some of the calories I burn in the gym but I am trying really hard not to eat all of it and try to stay around 1500 or 1600 total on work out days.

Reducing my calories to 1400 was a bit of an adjustment at first. The first week it felt really stressful because if you break it down, 1400 calories is NOT that much food. So 400 calories for breakfast, maybe 100 for a snack, 400 for lunch and 500 for dinner. Yikes! I’d see my number of left over calories getting smaller and smaller…and I’d feel discouraged and sometimes I’d beat myself up. But after the initial hunger and getting used to that number, it wasn’t that bad. And sometimes I even found that I’d bring snacks to work and I didn’t really need them.

Since going back to work full time, I’ve started working out a few days a week during my lunch break. The gym at work can be kind of crowded, especially on bad weather days and Mondays. So I’ve adjusted my lunch hour around in order to work out earlier. In the past I would have a snack before working out –fruit or Greek yogurt or a low carb protein shake–and then work out, shower, and eat lunch at the normal time. But shifting to an earlier lunch hour to workout, I noticed that I didn’t need my morning pre-workout snack anymore.

So I wondered, How much food do I really need?

I decided I could probably skip my morning snack on workout days and just workout. Then eat lunch later. And I’d be fine. And it helped me stay at my lower calorie range.

I have no idea how many calories are the “right” number. I mean, I workout a lot and pretty intensely. So how do you find the proper balance between how many calories you need to not completely crash and still get your good workout in? I pose that question because I honestly don’t know the answer.

Recently I decided to give it another shot. First, I decided to try doing the lower-carb diet again. I kind of gave up on it this summer. I lost about 7 or 8 pounds on it when I first tried it in the spring but I stalled out and just felt like I was torturing myself and not seeing any results–so I stopped and just counted my calories every day and didn’t care about limiting carbs.

Second, I decided to try and cut out the candy. Recently at the store I did not buy ANY treats! None. I am going to try going cold turkey on the dessert/candy/treats and see if that also helps.

UPDATE

Last week in addition to cutting out candy and sweets (other than fruit and my coffee creamer), I decided to give the lower-carb diet a try again. So last week I went back on the bandwagon.

I stopped buying sweets and desserts and was surprisingly able to give up the candy without noticing too much of a hardship or craving. The carbs? I was somewhere between 50-75 grams of carbs for each day. I felt like crap all week, honestly. I felt run down and like I had the flu–but I didn’t. I just felt exhausted and burned out and my workouts suffered and my mood suffered….I’m sure it was cutting out carbs.

So no bread, pasta, rice, etc. No potatoes, reducing the fruit I eat (I had raspberries for dessert two nights). I’m eating more protein and fat. I’m hoping this second week will be better–and that I will feel less run down. I know that’s pretty common in the beginning when you go low carb….UGH.

The good news? I weighed myself over the weekend and was pretty happy to see a 2 pound loss. I have no idea if that’s the low carb diet or cutting out sugar or both. But if this trend continues, hopefully I can relax and just be in maintenance mode in a few months! I do not believe a low carb lifestyle is the right choice for my body type…but I’m willing to give it another try.

Playing Hooky

For an anniversary gift, Michael surprised me with suggesting we book a couple’s massage. I looked around for something in Portland and found a stellar place! But first, a lunch date!

We played hooky and took off half the day from work and went out to lunch. We went to Stella Taco on SE Division. There are a ton of cool new restaurants on SE Division that we’ve been wanting to check out but never have the opportunity.

Stella Taco was a cute, hip place with “street” tacos on the menu. It was a casual joint, with the order-at-the-bar and bus your own table model (which I’m not usually a huge fan of, but…it was ok). It was cheap, so that’s nice.

I got one of of the fish street tacos and one carnitas. There were small, like three or four bites worth.

Michael got the carnitas, beef and chorizo street tacos. Everything was really fresh. I liked my tacos a lot but they weren’t spicy. The carnitas was pretty flavorful but I wished that the fish taco had a little more flavor, it was a tad bland. But I think with some spice they could have been great!

Michael said the chorizo tacos were spicy. We had lunch and then went to a dive bar nearby for beers. We had about an hour and a half to kill after lunch before our massages. Boneyard RPM! Our favorite beer on tap! It was nice to just chill in the quiet bar, not rushed or anything.

Then we walked around SE Hawthorne for a bit. We had no destination, just wandering. We stopped in Red Light (a funky, hip consignment store) that had a ton of retro clothes and halloween costumes and we hung out a bit. I was super excited about the cheesy 70’s pantsuits! Sadly, I didn’t find anything that really spoke to me enough to buy for Halloween. 😉 There were some real gems, though!

On a whim we stopped in at Blue Star Donuts and Michael bought a blueberry bourbon basil donut–apparently Blue Star is something pretty amazing. I wasn’t all that impressed after a few bites.

Then it was time for our appointments. I had looked around and found a place called Laurelhurst Massage by Laurelhurst Park. It was SO great! We both agreed they were some of the best massages we’ve had. It was a really relaxing and wonderful experience.

Rick and Greg have a massage studio in a space behind their house. It’s a cute space among nice, old Portland craftsman houses. The studio downstairs had a bathroom and a decent sized spa that we got to use before our massages.

The sauna was so nice! We’ve been talking about wanting our own sauna at home someday…Anyways, the sauna was great and so relaxing. The door to the sauna had a really pretty glass etching, too, of Multnomah Falls. Very cool.

After about 10 or 15 minutes in the sauna, we used the double spa shower that had like 6 shower heads, dried off and then had our couple’s massage upstairs in the massage room. (They had big fluffy bathrobes and nice towels for us.)

They were fabulous massages! So good and relaxing. I fell asleep halfway through my massage. Michael got a pretty deep sports massage and was pretty happy with his. We had a great time and will most definitely go back to use them again. If you are in the Portland area and looking a luxurious afternoon spa getaway, I recommend it!

After our massages we melted outside to the car 😉 and then went to pick up our little dude from daycare and head home.

It was a good change from the routine!