I hadn’t even thought of writing about this on the blog because losing 50 pounds in 6 months was not something I ever meant to do. I did not do it by counting calories, exercising more, or even really paying attention to what I ate necessarily.
Don’t get me wrong, after my third pregnancy and birth I was desperate to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Before I had children I fluctuated between 125-130 pounds, but 4 months after giving birth to my last baby I had only managed to get my weight down to 180 lbs. Over the 3 births in 4 years I had gradually gained quite a bit of weight. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never get there, that after women have children they just have a few extra pounds and that is okay. My few extra pounds was about 50, and I did want to lose some weight, but I never dreamed I would lose what I did in the time that I did.
I blame my youngest child, he is now 10 months old and has been hands down my most difficult baby. He came out screaming and crying like nothing I had experienced with my other children. Even my mom later told me she thought something was wrong with him, but she thought it was something more serious. When he was about 4 months old, I was going crazy–he didn’t sleep, he screamed most of the day, my husband and I walked around like zombies rocking and swinging him trying to soothe him in any way we could. Nothing really worked.
I decided it might be food allergies, I did some research, asked a friend whose children had allergies and decided to cut out dairy first. It seemed the logical choice as it is one of the most common allergies. It got a little better, he screamed a little bit less. I did more research and found that many babies who are dairy intolerant also struggle with soy, so I cut that out too. Luckily, I don’t live in the US so cutting out soy it so much easier here in the UK. Now I was off dairy and soy, that meant no more cheese. I love cheese so much, so that was tough. No soy meant no more edamame, no more soy sauce, and no more dark chocolate. That was even tougher!
The days were better when I was off soy and dairy, he was much happier and stopped screaming most of the day, but every now and then he still kept us up screaming all night long. Finally, my husband figured it out. I had already been eating a diet very low in sugar, eating maybe a pack of haribo sweets (my biggest weakness) a week when I went grocery shopping. My husband realized it was those nights that my son kept us up screaming. I didn’t want to believe him, but I cut it out mostly. But then my husband could guess the times I cheated and ate sugar, just by the way our son acted that night.
I couldn’t avoid it anymore, I needed to add sugar to the list of foods I could no longer eat. I’d tried to give up sugar numerous times before, but I am an addict and could never last very long. The longest I had ever gone without sugar was a summer, but as soon as I started eating it again I binged and binged and have never been the same.
Fast forward 6 months and here I am 50 pounds lighter. Not only that but my whole life I have hated my non existant ankles. I always had a smaller waist and top half, but my legs looked permanently swollen. Now I have ankles!! It is so exciting! Who knew cutting out these foods would make such a difference in my life? I have to admit that it was my son that gave me the motivation to make these changes, none of it was for me.
Now I know that a healthier body is possible for me after pregnancy. I don’t have to settle for a different body. Everyone always asks what I will do once my son is weaned off breast milk. Will I stay off these foods? Will I go back to eating how I did before? How could I go back to the way before? I like my ankles and that I fit into all of my old nice clothes from when I could afford to shop at the nicer stores.
As you will see as I continue to post on this blog, I don’t advise cutting out dairy from everyone’s diet. There are some great health benefits from organic full fat dairy products from grass fed cows. Some people don’t do well with dairy, but others do. I plan to bring butter back into my diet and other dairy products in moderation. I may not down a block of cheese as quickly as I did before, but a few slices with some oatcakes or on with a meal is fine.
I haven’t quite decided what I will do about soy yet, there is lots of evidence of the harm soy does to your hormone levels. I will be doing more research and thinking more about that one. But sugar is definitely going to stay out of my diet. In these past 6 months I have learned how to curb my cravings, fill up on vegetables, balance my meals so I don’t need to snack as much and indulge every now and then in treats sweetened with fruits, honey, or maple syrup instead of sugar.
This journey has cemented my belief that it is sugar and other processed foods that are causing the obesity, infertility, mental health, and other medical problems in our society. Cutting out sugar can do wonders for not only weight loss, but a host of other things. Join me here to continue to learn and participate in the conversation about how we can get our health and bodies back by focusing on eating real food and keeping sugar and other processed foods out of our diets.