How I Lose the Pregnancy Weight

 

BEFORE

BEFORE

What I look like, every single time, right after giving birth:  This was a few days after I had Caleb. I weighed about 170 pounds in this photo.

And this is what I normally look like:

cryingJDArlington

That’s a 35 pound difference.  (After all, a few pounds actually DO belong to the baby.)

  This is not my favorite topic:  weight loss.  I don’t like discussing it because it often makes us feel bad. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m going through a heavy phase, hearing skinny people talking about their weight really gets on my nerves.  It can be a sensitive issue, and I like to make people happy, not sad, so I’m going to address this just this one time.  After this, you’ll read no more weight loss posts from me.

Being the vain person that I am, I do eventually always buckle down and get the baby weight OFF.  That may be easy and happen naturally for some of you.  If you gain 20 pounds, then what work do you have to do?  This post is for the women like me:  the ones that gain 40+ pounds no matter how hard we try to eat right and exercise.

I always feel like people come and visit me right after I’ve given birth, expecting to see me looking thin already.  Instead, they meet a chubbier version of April, that still looks pregnant, but the fact is that WEIGHT LOSS TAKES MONTHS, NOT DAYS.

When I’m pregnant, my body handles food and exercise completely differently.  It clings on to every bite I eat.  I have gained 55 pounds every single time, save this last time.  This time I gained 40ish.

By the time the baby is 9 months old, I almost always have it whittled off.  I can’t tell you how to get stick-skinny because I’m not stick-skinny, but I can definitely tell you how I lost 40-55 pounds.  ; )

Oh!  And you have to give the tummy circumference extra time.  After giving birth more than once, it may take you up to two years to get your middle shrunk back all the way, and you may always have a little extra skin.

APRIL’S RULES FOR WEIGHT LOSS:

1.  Breastfeeding.  If you can, at least give it a try.  It takes a while to see results, but eventually you should.  I have friends that didn’t have to do anything more than breastfeed.  I have other friends that breastfeeding did not help at all with the weight loss.  It definitely helps me lose the weight faster because it burns so many calories.

2.  DO NOT SIGN UP FOR A DIET PLAN.  Boooooooooo diets!!!  Don’t do it.  Crash diets do not work, and any weight you lose from the one month you’re able to stick to your crazy diet plan will just come back when you wake up and realize that that Nutrisystem food tastes disgusting.  (It does.  I’ve tasted it.)

3.  DO make permanent changes in what you buy at the grocery store, and try to get your husband on board.  (That’s the tricky part.)  One year after having Daniel, I realized that I had actually gained a bunch of weight while my husband was in Afghanistan for 6 months.  This was not pregnancy weight.  This was sedentary lifestyle weight.  I knew I had to get it back in gear.  First I read this book:

  She will drill into your head great fundamentals of eating right.  For me, it was a great reminder that I do not have to have dessert every day.

Then I made these dietary changes:

a. I cut out soda.  (except for a treat once every couple of weeks)

b. I stopped buying any junk food at all.  Not even Oreos.  Since that time, Alan has added back in buying ice cream (ugh).  I guess I need to get back on his case.  If it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t eat it.  It’s really that simple.

c.  I replaced the junk food with these snacks:

-greek yogurt

-yogurt covered raisins

-popcorn  (Read the label.  It’s not bad.)

-almonds

-100 calorie granola bars

-blackberries

-cheese

-cheese and crackers

-cereal

Pssssst!  You know all those articles that tell you not to drink juice, etc.  Well, okay, fine, it’s worse than water, but it has HALF the sugar of soda.  Also, coffee is extremely beneficial to your health, and it fills you up too!

4.  Oatmeal makes a great meal, any day, any time.  That wasn’t really a change, as I’ve always eaten oatmeal, but I just wanted to put that out there. ; )  It doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming to be healthy.  These health magazines make it way too hard with all the complicated recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of.  Instant oatmeal is just fine.

5.  EXERCISE.  Every day!!!!   I’m not talking P90X or Insanity everyday.  That is not my style.  Who has time for that?  Not a mom of lots of little ones!  You work in exercise wherever you can.  Buy DVDs that are 30 minute programs, or sometimes I just cut the long ones off at 30 minutes.    Just make sure that at least once a week you’re doing some kind of strength training.  I also do stretching at least once/week to keep back pain away.  Ever since my yoga teacher moved, I am a wreck.

WALKING IS GREAT EXERCISE!  Plus, it can give you alone time.  Whenever possible, as many days a week as Alan gets home before dark, I leave all the kids with Alan and hit the sidewalk for a 2 mile walk. Sanity time!  Remember!!  Jesus always went off alone to pray!  We should too!

In addition to that exercise, I walk my children home from school.  That adds in another mile, and when you add in pushing a double stroller, it is a significant work out.

If you really want to torch calories fast, RUN, or attend a strength training class.

My most successful weight loss was not related to pregnancy at all.  It was after that Afghanistan tour, when Daniel, my 3rd son, was a toddler.  I actually got to the point of no chubby middle section because I worked out really, really hard every single day.  I was doing a whole lot of running, and a little bit of weight lifting.

I will have to get my anemia under control before I can work out like that again!  I’m too tired to even think about all that stuff.  Meanwhile, I’ve still lost 45 pounds just breastfeeding, walking, doing yoga, and not buying cookies or soda!

6. DO NOT count calories.  Just eat somewhat healthy, and when you’re starting to feel full, you know, QUIT EATING.

7.  Sleep! Sometimes you might just be getting a late snack to stay awake.  Instead, assert your will power, and go to bed.

8.  EAT EVERY THREE HOURS, and duh, don’t skip breakfast.  Eating every three hours keeps you from getting that starving feeling that makes you pig out.  It also boosts your metabolism. Snacks should be small but nutritionally helpful.

9.  Oh yeah!  If you have a c-section OR even tearing from a natural birth, do NOT exercise until 6 weeks out.  Trust me.  I thought I could be all tough and carry around two babies at once, two weeks after giving birth, and there were busted stitches as a result.  Youch. You don’t want that. ALWAYS wait six weeks.

I wish I had more before/after pics to share, but I’m so vain that I always delete my ‘fat’ pictures…. However, I do not delete pregnancy photos, so here are a few of those:

baby1weight

baby2weight

baby3weight

See, I’m not one of those thin pregnant women….

As you can see, I never really posed for any ‘before’ or ‘after’ pictures, because the weight loss was always so gradual.  That’s the kind of change that lasts.  It doesn’t have to be complicated to live a healthy lifestyle.  Just get moving, and skip the non-nutritive foods at the grocery store!

 

 

Melancholy Christmas Cards and Dental Nightmares

Did you know that the more children a woman has, the more teeth she is likely to lose?
  I’ve been in a sort of melancholy place lately.  Nothing big or bad going on, just little things…
  Today is our third day of snow, it’s warmed up a lot, so everything is all wet and drippy.  I can’t find any moments to spend by myself to save my life.  Then just when I least expected it to today, I got hit with a whammy.  I went to the dentist for a cleaning, only to discover a mouth full of little cavities.  
   Aughhhhhhhhh!!!!!
  Women, what are you more afraid of, dentists or gynecologists?
   They both top my list of fears, but I think dentists scare me the most.  
  These last two times I have had a baby have required serious dental damage control afterward.  I didn’t have too much trouble with this after baby #1 or 2, but Daniel and John David have done me in.  I didn’t skip dental appointments this time either.  PLUS, I’m truly a flosser, so what gives???
  I did some research to see if this is normal and why.
  It turns out this is NOT just me.  There’s an old wives tale that says, “For every child she has, a mother loses a tooth.”
  Ha!  Well, you know how the medical community feels about old wives tales.
   However, studies show that there actually IS a correlation.
  I found THIS on 1800dentist.com:
In fact, out of the 2,635 women who participated, those with no children had lost one to two teeth, while women with children tended to lose more. Take, for example, women in the 35 to 49 age range: Those with just one child had lost an average of three teeth, while women with two children lost an average of four. This number of teeth increased to five for women with three children, and seven for those with four or more children.

  
  Isn’t that wild?
  That website maintained that the fault lies with the mothers.  Apparently, we are not brushing our teeth when we’re pregnant.  (Okay, sort of true when there’s morning sickness…)
  I’m not convinced that’s the only reason though.  I did find this on health.usnews.com:
  High levels of estrogen could promote cavities, according to this article.
  Hormones.  Go figure.

*****
  I got one of my cavities filled this morning, but I’m not done.  I have to go back later for the rest.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.
   Dentists scare the snot out of me!!!!!!!

****
  As I mentioned before, I’m trying to join the Christmas spirit and not be a Scrooge this year.  I’m already doing better than last year.  Last year I was all nauseous, and Alan did most of the shopping for me!  This year at least I am out shopping!
  I figured I’d better go ahead and get my Christmas card done, so I went online where Snapfish had cards 50% off, which equalled out to around 50 cents a card.  SCORE!  
  I worked and slaved to upload just the right pictures and write what to say on it.
  I went with one of those collage cards since we don’t have one good, recent, family one.  The pictures turned out well, but there was also a section that read “What we’ve been up to this year” or something like that, that I had to fill out.  
  Obviously, this year was all about the new baby.  Plus, Alan changed jobs like three times, but that’s kind of hard to explain, so I left that part out.
  I wrote something like this:
  1.  We had a new baby.  2.  We’re really tired now.  3…..Oh, I don’t remember the rest, but you get the idea.
  I kind of just thought it would be funny, and really, who wants to read a brag-ish Christmas card?  
  Alan said it wasn’t upbeat enough, and I should change it.  Maybe I’ll get that done tonight.  I promise to sound Merry on my Christmas card.  ; )
****
   Okay, so in an effort to be all happy and upbeat:  We do have a TON to be thankful for.  Really, I should be smacked for ever complaining.  Here are a few photos of some of our blessings:
 thankful for a husband who is such a great daddy
He was drawing Dan a picture of a train.
 thankful for an oldest son who loves his baby brothers and HELPS with them
 thankful that Joshua and Caleb are such good buddies
 SUPER thankful the boys are finally old enough to do some significant chores!!!  They did a great job bagging leaves this year, and it provided them an excellent lesson in the value of hard work.   For example:
Joshua:  I just want a 2DS so bad!!!
Me:  Save your money then.
Joshua:  I can’t save $130!!  That’s like 130 bags of leaves!!!!
Yes!  Earning money is WORK!  He gets it!!  Job well done, pat on the back for Alan and me!!

 thankful Alan is handsome…..No complaining, Alan!  I am not taking that off.  

 thankful for weekends where we can be slobs in our own living room, while playing with our cute little baby

Merry Christmas, y’all!!!

J.D.’s Nursery

No baby yet….but we put the finishing touches on the nursery this week!  Mom gave us the bedding and monkey wall circles.  The store was out of bumper pads, so those are still to come….
 The bedroom is so super tiny, so I couldn’t get it all in one shot.  This is the nursing/rocking corner of the room.

Best benefit of having a fourth baby:  I purchased zero pieces of furniture for this room.  That was Dan’s crib, the guest room’s chest of drawers, and Caleb and Dan’s old rocker/recliner.  They may not be perfect LOOKING, but they are PERFECT functionally.  ; )
I LOVE this 31 brand diaper bag from my friend Abby!

And I LOVE how this boppy from Yoga Monica perfectly matches John David’s room!  (side note:  I have two good friends named Monica.  In order to quickly distinguish the two I refer to them as Yoga Monica (my yoga trainer) and blonde Monica.  : )  I just love both Monicas!  
*************
  Of course, I pulled a whole lot of the nursery stuff straight from Dan’s room to J.D.’s room, so I figured he deserved a room makeover as well!  We went with a sports ball theme for Dan, because he is our most sports oriented child ever.  I’ve never had a two year old that likes to bat with no tee, throw, catch, and watch the Nats play!
You won’t believe who arranged those wall stickers:  Caleb!  I thought he did a great job.
Nonna painted the ball painting and the name letters.  Thank you, Nonna.  By the way, in redecorating, Daniel insisted on keeping the Pooh Bear painting Nonna did in HIS room, not the basement (which is where I sent the other Pooh decor).
Joshua has started asking for the desk to be moved to his room instead of Dan’s, so that will probably happen soon.  My little artist wants his own desk, and I think that’s fair.
Before I could get a picture of the whole room, my battery died.  BUT I took more with my actual camera.  It just takes longer for those to make it to the blog, so those are coming soon.  ; )  (My uploader is downstairs, and April the Pregnant gets tired of stairs…..)
  It’s amazing that we have left Dan baby powder in his room, considering the day of the “snowing in his room” incident…….(who knew baby powder made such great pretend snow).  What a mess.  Nice bonus:  my vacuum cleaner smelled like baby powder for weeks!
**********
  Ya’ll, in less than 15 hours our new baby will be out of my belly and in his daddy’s arms.  
  YES!  NOW I’m excited!!!  
The first day of a c-section is hard, so give me a couple days to get the photos/info uploaded to the blog.  For those of you who are friends with Alan on facebook, an update there should be up fairly quickly tomorrow.  Maybe I can talk Alan into posting a pic to my blog as well.  : )
Oh!  And school is officially out for the summer!!!  The kids are so happy.  My accomplishment of the day is that I took the sparsely decorated, furniture-pushed-to-the-wall (from where we pulled up the carpet…..you remember the flood?) basement, and I turned it into a REAL playroom for the boys to use and abuse this summer to their hearts content.  
  I am happy to report that it is a riotous mess down there:  train tracks built, battery checks complete, cars everywhere, Batcave in place, and the floor is covered in TOYS.  It’s a blessed sight!!  : )
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