50 pounds. Yup, just typing the number is terrifying. This time around, I gained 50 pounds while pregnant with Luigi, meaning my scale hovered around the 200 mark during the last few weeks of pregnancy. I don’t remember exactly how much I gained when I was pregnant with the Trikester, but I think it was around 38 pounds.
Why such a difference? With my first pregnancy, I had tons of time to walk daily, do workout DVDs at home, and take prenatal yoga classes. I could also fix healthy snacks with lots of vegetables and fruit. With the second pregnancy, I was so busy taking care of a toddler (and selling one house and buying another) that I didn’t really have time to take care of myself. No exercise, and the most convenient pre-packaged carb on hand was my go-to snack, rather than anything nutritious. I also used pregnancy as an excuse to over-eat. Donuts in the faculty room? Sign me up. Ice cream sundaes after dinner? Yes, please!
As the pounds packed on during the third trimester, and the scale continued sliding upwards, I started to panic. I have a wedding photo hanging at the entrance to our bedroom, and every time I walked by it it was a depressing reminder of just how poorly I was treating my body. It’s not the thinnest I’ve ever been, but I was really fit and practicing lots of healthy habits. Mr. Tricycle has also lost almost 50 pounds since this photo was taken, so it’s a good reminder that hard work does pay off!
My crappy self-esteem demanded that I find a plan of action to get the extra weight off once the baby arrived. I was going to breastfeed, so I was a little concerned about dieting at the same time. I knew I’d need more calories, but I wasn’t sure how to calculate that need. My typical go-to weight loss plan is counting calories with My Fitness Pal – it’s free and straightforward, but that wouldn’t work this time, as I wasn’t sure how many calories to allow myself.
After some research, I settled on Weight Watchers. I’ve never used it before, but it takes into account nursing when calculating your daily calorie intake (or points, in this case), so it addressed my one big concern. I paid the $19.99 monthly fee, and signed myself up for Weight Watchers.
Doctors recommend that you wait until the six week mark to start dieting, and then only attempt to lose one pound per week, which the Weight Watchers site reiterated when I registered as a new user. Weight Watchers doesn’t track calories, but rather points. Every food has a point value based on its mix of fat, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. Things higher in fiber and protein tend to have lower point values. Weight Watchers also has a “new” program called Points+, in which all fruits and vegetables have a zero point value – so you can eat as many as you want, guilt-free.
I lost about 20 pounds in the first six weeks postpartum, so I had about 30 pounds left to go when I started Weight Watchers 3 and half weeks ago. Based on my height, weight, and the fact that I was nursing, Weight Watchers allotted me 41 points per day, which should set me up to lose 1 pound per week. In addition to my daily point allotment, I have 49 “anytime points” which I could also consume at any time during the week – I typically save these for the weekends when I know we were going to be eating out. I can also earn more points by exercising.
Here’s an example of what I might eat on a daily basis to stay at or under my point allotment (I ate 39 points on this day):
- Banana – 0
- Apple – 0
- Coffee with cream and sugar – 2
- Romaine lettuce (3 cups) – 0
- Hummus (2 Tbsp) – 1
- Deli ham (2 oz) – 2
- Cherry tomatoes (1 cup) – 0
- Guacamole (4 Tbsp) – 2
- Burrito bowl at Chipotle with the following: Guacamole, pinto beans, chicken, cilantro-lime rice, salsa, and fajita vegetables – 16
- Chocolate chips (1/4 cup) – 6
- Cheddar and sunflower crispbreads (2) – 7
- Animal crackers ( 10) – 3
I’ve been following Weight Watchers for a month now. What’s my verdict? Here’s the good and the bad:
- It’s working! I’ve lost 9 pounds so far this month, and hope to make it an even 10 before I return to work on April 1st. This is obviously more than the 1 pound a week suggested by Weight Watchers, but I haven’t noticed a dip in my milk supply, so I think it’s okay.
- I’m never really hungry. Because I can eat as many fruits and vegetables as I want, I don’t feel like I’m starving. I might occasionally feel like I’m depriving myself, as I might have to pass on dessert if I’m out of points for the day, but I can have grapes, or an apple, or something healthy if I’m truly hungry.
- It’s encouraging a healthier lifestyle rather than just weight loss. I know Weight Watchers gets props for this all the time, but it’s true. I find myself returning to healthier habits, and eating so many more fruits and vegetables — I easily meet the “strive for five” recommendation every day.
- I’m a little annoyed that I have to pay $19.99 a month to lose weight, when in the past I’ve been able to do it with a free app. I don’t take advantage of the meetings, online chat, or real-person support features, so I wish I could have paid a one time fee to buy the app, rather than a monthly fee.
- The app is missing a lot of foods. I really liked My Fitness Pal because the food database has everything — it allows users to add items, which means it has almost everything imaginable. Weight Watchers has some things, but it is missing lots of items, especially homemade meals.
- It puts a big emphasis on low-fat and light foods. I don’t typically buy or eat foods labeled “low-fat” or “light” as they often have a lot of added extra stuff – it’s just not as clean as eating their regular counterparts. For example — I’d rather make my own salad dressing using olive oil than buy a “light” bottled salad dressing. To get around this, I just use vinegar – which is low calorie, but not full of a bunch of other junk.
Overall, I’d say Weight Watchers has been a great solution to reclaiming my body. Here’s a mirror selfie from last week – I’ve got another 20 pounds to go, but at least I’m headed in the right direction!
Above: I had to dress up to chaperone the 9th grade dance – so I squeezed myself into a stretchy dress thanks to a pair of Spanx and control top pantyhose. I felt pretty good, but my date was less than impressed
Have you used Weight Watchers to lose weight after having a baby? What’s your take?