Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Doctor, Heal Thyself!

Who here hasn’t needed to lose a few pounds? Well, I am a bit beyond needing to lose a “few”…

Babygirl is officially a month old, and I am officially a month postpartum. For two pregnancies now, my usually healthy diet slid into more of a “everything in moderation, and I mean EVERYTHING” diet. I don’t binge, and I don’t even like junk food or fast food… BUT I love me some dense whole wheat toast with tons of butter for breakfast, and high-quality dark chocolate for snacking, and a cup of premium ice cream after dinner, and… you get the picture. Two years of this kind of snacking, and I was bound to gain some weight.

Especially since I used to be very active. Like, distance-running, cross-country-skiing active. BUT for two years, that whole part of me has been on hold. During my pregnancies, I maybe did some prenatal yoga, and took some walks here and there, but basically, I became a slug. I did hire a trainer after Babyboy, and I did lose 15 pounds then… But as soon as I was pregnant with Babygirl, I slid right back into snacky-snacks and slugginess.

So, this week, I finally stepped on the scale to see what the damage was. Ouch!

I am a full 40 pounds above my normal healthy weight, with a BMI of 30. That means, I am obese.

And so, horrified, I decided to take action.

I have NEVER in my life been so fat. Sure, I gained a lot of weight during med school, and then residency, due to lack of sleep/ time/ stress/ poor diet. But never THIS much. Both of those times, I shed major pounds by eating low-carb and exercising.

Now, I am a huge fan of diet and lifestyle changes towards better health. I counsel all my patients over and over again on the merits of a diet high in fruits and veggies and lean protein, combined with regular vigorous exercise. I ask my obese patients to come back every 3 months for weigh-ins and blood pressure checks, and I spend a lot of time with them, describing what is a healthy diet and what is real exercise.

In our practice, we have a diabetes nurse who helps counsel patients, and I send her my pre-diabetic patients, as well. If I were my patient, I would probably send me to her. Diabetes runs in my family, and I did have a sort of high-normal glucose tolerance test in this second pregnancy.

And so, because I recognize that without some major changes, I may be headed towards a bad health outcome; and because I need to follow my own advice; and because I really don’t want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe (!) I got started right away.

As soon as hubby got home that day, I asked him to watch the kids so I could go running. Luckily, he is also really into fitness and eating healthy, and he was totally supportive. Shocked, but supportive.

I found and pulled on a (very tight) jog bra OVER my nursing bra, laced up some stiff sneakers, and headed out the door. There was about 4 inches of slush on the ground, and it was drizzling. YES! I love this. I imagined that drivers saw me as the intrepid warrior, determined to run in spite of the elements. Really, they probably saw a mooselike creature in ill-matching baggy pants and her husband’s rain jacket toodling up the hill like a manatee on land. BUT, I pulled down my baseball cap and ran harder.

I had not run in almost a year. I made it maybe a few blocks, then walked. Then ran, then walked. I did this for about a mile and half, total-- a laughable distance for me who has run three marathons. BUT, it is a start, and it’s better than nothing!

Hubby also dutifully went to the grocery and bought me my list of South-Beach-Diet-Style foods. (I don’t get any money from them, BTW, the diet just works for me is all). He came home with my veggie juice, Canadian bacon, eggs, cheddar, ricotta, almond butter, and tons and tons of veggies.

That was three days ago. Since then, I have been sticking to the diet, albeit with probably bigger portions and more snacking than is intended (I am breastfeeding, after all).

The late nights up breastfeeding are very tough. I HAVE to eat something when I am up feeding Babygirl at 3 am. Just, now, it’s less likely to be a huge bowl of Cheerios, and more likely to be a cup of plain ricotta sweetened with Truvia.

And that’s OK. The diet, plus exercise- with the goal of getting back to my previous level of active—WILL work.

The diet is meant to stabilize blood sugar swings and reduce craving for carbs. It’s amazing to me how I feel when I drop the carbs and go to this type of diet. At first, for a few days even, there’s a slight woozy feeling, and some intense carbs cravings. After a few days, the wooziness is gone, and there’s almost a buzz of energy as my body starts to burn fat. It feels really good, especially after exercising.

And so starts my effort to get healthy—and slim down.

Now that I’ve blogged about it, I really have to stick to it!


  1. In my experience, blogging that you're going to do something isn't enough to actually get you to do it :)

    Don't hate me, but I actually got down to my prepregnancy weight of 110 pounds at one month post-partum. That's my reward for being nauseated all through pregnancy and frightened into practically starvation by a GD scare.

    That said, I have been eating HORRIBLY since my baby came 6 months ago. I work with stroke patients, so it frightens me to think of my cholesterol going up, and I also worry about my husband, who IS overweight. I eat fast food twice a week and the rest of it isn't so great either. All I want is to find time to exercise a little and cook healthy meals, but I fail at both right now. I look healthy, but I really am not. I probably couldn't run more than a block.

    I don't even bother to make a promise I'm going to change things right now. But when the baby is a year or so and I stop breastfeeding, I'm really going to turn things around.

  2. Thanks for this post! Med school, residency, motherhood, all this stuff makes healthy living so hard!!! I actually essentially lost weight while pregnant (I was WAY over my normal weight before I got pregnant) partially because I was in the lab for the bulk of the pregnancy and thus able to exercise and eat well, and also because once I was eating for two, I felt worse about the late night call food binges of greasy food in the crappy cafeteria and I started trying a lot harder to eat better in the hospital. I was loosing a lot post baby but now I've sort of plateaued (yeah, I can't spell this word). The thing that helps me the most is getting hubby on board - who is not very health conscious! You may have just inspired me to go carb free - its definitely by nemesis!

    Its really frustrating though. I USED to be really athletic and fit and I actually feel its harder to do my job with all this extra weight! (I also feel guilty trying to counsel patients!)

    All this rambling is basically to say, good luck to you and thanks for sharing your goal- you've re-energized me too!

  3. Good luck. I had the same EUREKA moment last July. It has been hard but I am down 32 pounds and back to my college weight. Exercising has been tough but I feel so much better it has been worth it. You can do it...

  4. congrats on taking the first steps. how many of your patients aren't even willing to do that? and good luck with the plan. we all know that diet and exercise are the easiest thing for us to "prescribe" and the most difficult thing for a patient to hear.

  5. You are doing awesome by taking your first steps out the door 4 weeks post-partum! Mr. Whoo had to talk me into storing the maternity jeans about 6 months post-partum (so comfy!) I vomited every day until 37 weeks with my first pregnancy and until 24 weeks with my second and still managed to gain weight during pregnancy (lucky me). It isn't easy, for certain, I often tell patients if there was a magic pill or trick that I would be svelte as Cindy Crawford. All of us cannot be as genetically blessed, unfortunately. Just keep going one day at a time! :)

  6. You've inspired me!! I also used to run distance but am embarrassingly out of shape at 10 weeks post partum. I also weigh 17 pounds more than my wedding weight and 9 more than my pre-pregnancy weight. I need to start somewhere!!

  7. Thanks for this post ! Inspirational ! After consuming my bagel with cream cheese and two croassants for breakfast while reading, I am ready to do some exercise later today. It is so easy to slide off of your exercise curve. I used to do it daily pre pregnancy, and after first pregnancy. But after second child it is a good week with 2 or 3 sessions. I admire people who can loose 30 lbs over a year. I still keep my 5 lbs after both pregnancies. I never eat fast food, my husbund cooks as he comes home earlier. I stopped chocolate months ago. But need to do a bit more now after reading your post.

  8. how ironic...I'm an endocrinologist and this morning I was browsing through some "carb-counting" guides in preparation for talking to my diabetes patients and horrified by how much carbs/junk I consume in my own diet. Physicians are the worst patients after all! I'm 5 months postpartum with baby #2 and I've definitely blamed breastfeeding as an excuse for binging. Thanks for this inspirational post!

  9. Oh man. I am three months post partum and still sporting the maternity pants on weekends. They are so comfy. Thanks for the inspiration to get out there and move my body more!

  10. Thanks for the input and support! So far, 4 days in, thescale registers 4 pounds lost. Seems like alot, but I really feel great. More energy, less hunger. We'll see how it goes...

  11. Yay! four pounds in four days! I have started to get serious about loosing my extra 25 at the beginning of the year and I am 4 lbs down as well today :) (I'm more of the slow and steady, taking stairs for excercise variety).

    Although I managed to get within 2 lbs of my pre pregnancy weight after a year of breastfeeding, it has been the two pregnancies afterwards that did not end well that were my downfall. It's so much harder to loose weight when I'm not breastfeeding!

    But I've given myself a whole year to reach my target, and at the rate I am going, I should be able to.

  12. Congratulations on starting to exercise more and eat healthy! While I have not had any babies yet, I found that I gained too much weight last year and have started exercising (if you call walking briskly exercising) and eating much healthier and it has really paid off. Stick with it!

  13. Good for you! I love the South Beach Diet - those first couple days are tough because you have to remind yourself what you are doing, but then it's zen. I lost 35 pounds last year doing Phase One followed by a quasi Phase 1 over 3 months. Everyone loves the recipes. You're lucky to have your husband's help and support - hang in there.

  14. Thanks for this post! I too am about 35 lbs over my weight prior to marriage and 2 babies. This past Christmas I went to my parents' house and looked through my old albums and saw me looking very skinny and used this as my inspiration. There is no excuse for keeping this weight on!! But during both pregnancies, all I did was SNACK. I loved to snack. And because everything from veggies to water grossed me out during my pregnancies, I had to make do with chocolate granola bars, ice cream...tasty morsels of food that wouldn't make me nauseous. I was a health nut before my pregnancies and for some reason the hormones took over and I was a mess in the diet realm. I felt out of control with my body and I honestly don't think I could have controlled this (because I tried). One month ago I joined Weight Watchers and started jogging 5 times a week (10-20 minutes). And mind you, probably because I'm exclusively breastfeeding, I haven't been strictly following the WW points and I've still lost 7lbs. I've got about 25 more to go, but I know it's possible :) Good luck to you!!


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.