Whatever I do in life I usually try to do the best that I can. When it comes to teaching, feeding, and training my children I try and excel the best I know how. When it comes to being a wife, I have read many books and try to improve myself–but do fail occasionally mind you. When it came to my bodily appearance I have not put that as a priority in my life over the years. Using the excuse that I have all these babies who has time to get skinny? And thinking, “I don’t need to look good for my husband, he should love ALL of me”. Mind you my husband has loved me exactly the same through fat and thin—even though I think he prefers the thin—he would never tell me that. Good man.
After our first set of four children, I only weighed a bit passed what I weighed when we got married. Maybe 15 lbs over.
But after having 6 children right in a row and each time gaining 70 lbs, in between babies I didn’t lose enough weight. I was like a stuffed bag of chips:) Actually I think I ate numerous bags of chips:)
Finally the light went off one day. After reading numerous articles about moms of many being skinny, and seeing a mom with 10 children and she was wearing her wedding dress and it fit!! I knew I had to change. I thought if this woman who homeschools, has lots of little ones, can lose the weight, I surely can. It was time for no excuses. I was ready for some weight loss
After our 9th child was born I was determined.
I didn’t change much of my diet this first time around. I just cut back on my portion sizes. I still ate the same homemade foods that my family ate just about half of my normal serving. I eliminated eating out, if our family grabbed something like pizza or McDonalds, I waited untill I got home and made something healthier. I started drinking lots of water. I got a large 20 oz water cup and kept it filled constantly. I would tell myself okay drink one before you have a snack or 2 before lunch or the whole cup while nursing.
Then at night-time about 5 times a week, I headed outside to do a 30 minute walk/run in my driveway and yard. I would run around my house and then walk around my circle driveway. I listened to music and knew that I had 6 songs to listen to and then I would be finished. It was fun, a nice stress releaser for my day. That time in my life was extremely busy. I had 5 children under 5 so I didn’t get outside much at all. I looked forward to running outside under the stars. I would put the baby in a swing and while I ran past the window I would do a check to make sure she was sleeping. For the most part everyone stayed in bed. Then my husband saw that I was really determined to do this and bought me an elliptical machine. I kind of missed running outside but then it was springtime and we had lots of rain. The elliptical was wonderful on my joints–I got a full body workout. Plus I could do it every night no matter what the weather was.
My weight came off. In 7 months I had went from 215 lbs down to 145 lbs. Going from a size 18 down to a size 7 I was so excited, I wanted to keep going but the weight just wasn’t coming off as nicely as I wanted it to and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized ….I was pregnant with #10.
- I ate salads everyday, I prefer chopped vegetable ones with cukes, sweet peppers, carrots, tomatoes, onions etc.
- I drank lots of water, about 120 oz each day
- I cut out processed meals and eating out
- I tried to stay away from creamy “white” foods, casseroles with cream soups, salads, cream cheese type snacks.
- I was slowly moving to a whole foods approach
- I was doing the elliptical 3-5 times per week.
Then all day morning sickness started. I felt miserable most of the time, no sleep, sick, all around bad. I gave up the elliptical, ate whatever I could handle–which most of the time was canned soup. Then the pounds slowly piled back on. For the most part of the pregnancy I felt that the foods I ate were still healthy. I still was eating oatmeal, eggs, and homemade bread toast for breakfast. Salads with chicken and lots of veggies for lunch. Dinner was still a homemade complete meal. I didn’t snack on junk food, I ate lots of almonds, vegetable chips, air popped popcorn, and dried fruit. They were all crunchy satisfying foods. The problem was that I ate ALOT of it!! But it was okay. I felt great, was moving and grooving right up until delivery day. By the time he arrived #10 I weighed in at 210 lbs AGAIN! But as soon as he was born, I felt better than I had in years. My birth was by far the easiest out of all my babies. My post baby healing was quicker than any other child. I attributed that to the exercise I was doing beforehand and the diet changes.
Within 2 weeks of giving birth, I started out slowly on the elliptical. I would do a steady pace for about 20 minutes, more of stretching and moving my joints than powerhouse sweating to lose weight. About 3 times per week, my husband and I would load up the children and we would go for an hour walk down our bike path. We have a 4 person stroller which I love.
Each child gets a seat. The baby would be in my Moby Wrap, nice and warm, plus the walking kept him sleeping. The older children would ride bikes. It was a great time. I brought snacks for the little ones in the stroller, than I would not have to feed them when we got home and everyone enjoyed it.
Then it turned to winter time. It had been 5 months since #10 was born and I was down to 155 lbs. A 60 lb weight loss.
My daily diet was very consistent. I ate oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. I would have 2 cups of coffee and nonfat flavored creamer with that.
I then drank 2 big 20 oz glasses of water before lunch.
At lunch I would have a salad. My salad was lots of leafy greens, green onions, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, flax seed, 1 hardboiled egg, and homemade croutons. I admit I used ranch dressing most of the time. I did buy honey mustard and used that with leafy greens, cranberries, egg, monterary jack cheese, green onions, and chow mein noodles. But I ate more of the ranch salad.
Then I would drink 2 more glasses of water before I would have any kind of snack.
For snacks, I tried to have cut up carrots and celery everyday on the counter. Plus I would have fresh fruit out. To help avoid the munchies.
My downfall is that I am constantly in the kitchen making food for everyone else. I love to cook and I love my cooking. I just have to constantly remind myself that, “It is okay I will have this meal again next month, but this month I am losing the pounds so skip this dinner and have my alternative.” That was hard for me, its like I felt that I would never eat that meal again, so I had better have some. Another pitfall was eating food off of my children’s plate. I didn’t want to waste food, so I would just eat it. But in reality I was wasting myself by eating more than I should. I had to say, “Its okay to throw it away this time, but next time, give the children smaller portions.”
For dinner, I try and have a bowl of homemade vegetable soup, first before I decide to eat what I made for dinner for everyone else. I make a big pot of it. It consists of tomato juice, cabbage, and soup vegetables. I will do a recipe soon. I freeze it into 1 lb containers. Then I grab my plate for dinner, and make a huge pile of the vegetables we are having, a smaller pile of the rice or noodles, and then depending upon the meat an equal size, if we are having chicken, or beef. I try to avoid breads. I love homemade bread ALOT but during my weight loss I avoided it as it would bloat me right up. For the most part I was full, if not I would have seconds of the more simple foods, ;ike rice, vegetables, meats, not the ones soaked in a sauce. The plain and simple foods that God gives us.
I know I have read about so many different diets out there. There are diets for everything. But do they have a diet that was the way God intended?? If I could make one up I would call it the GOD DIET— Plain and simple. Choose foods that are as natural as the way they are grown– rice, beans, eggs, vegetables. Stay away from the ones that are made in a factory–noodles, jarred foods, frozen store meals. Anything processed is not good for us. If it is made in a factory, make it yourself. You will save so much on preservatives and lost nutrients. If I like something like cheese crackers, then I will make them and eat them. Then I don’t feel so bad that I ate it because the ingredients are very simple and good for me. Avoid the creamy white foods–cream soups, salads made with creamy dressings, cheese drenched foods, creamy casseroles. Opt for simpler pastas made with diced tomatoes, not thick rich sauces.
How to avoid the munchies because they will happen? It takes awhile for sugar to totally dissipate out of your system. You may crave sweet things, but it will only last for a few days. For myself I love to munch while I am sitting at the computer. Usually I would grab pretzels, but lately I have been making air popped popcorn. We use spray butter and a little bit of popcorn salt. It cures my need to eat anything and there are hardly any calories.
The weight has come off. In the last 4 months I have lost 15 more pounds putting me at 140. I went from a dress size of 18 down to a size 6! I have not exercised as much as I did in the beginning. My children have been more at a “I don’t want to sleep all night” stage and I find it hard to go do the elliptical at night, besides I am on here now:) for now my exercise is taking a back seat. But that is okay. I try and take them all for a walk at least 4-5 times a week, it might only be for 30 minutes but pushing a 4 person stroller with a combined weight of 100 lbs is a workout!!!!
I love the way physical exercise is making me feel. I used to have alot of back and sciatic leg nerve pain. But after losing the weight that has gone away. I have many responsibilities with so many babies but I still feel for the most part that I have enough energy to keep up with them. My sleep schedule is very low. Maybe 6-7 hours a night, but I still function quite well, especially when I exercise. I love the way this lifestyle change is making me feel and I would never want to go back to feeling fat and lazy. I don’t mean that disrespectful, I am just explaining how I feel.
Its exciting, we should WANT to lose this extra weight. It is going to do us no good in the future. I want to avoid all the pills that the “average ” person has to take when getting older to control their diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. I want to take charge of my lifestyle now so that in 15 years from now, when my baby will be a teenager I will be as young feeling as I am at almost 40. But it is going to take some dedication from myself maybe a little sacrifice at saying “No” to certain foods.
It hasn’t been too hard, just overcoming willpower is the key. I have my days of wanting to stuff my face with food and I have to stop and think, “Why did I just do that?” Then get back up the next day, and start again. It is all a mind set. We can do anything we want to do with our lives it is our choosing. Choosing to live a long, healthy lifestyle is what I want. Choosing to have ten children is what I wanted. Choosing to homeschool all my children I wanted. Sure they are hard some days. Life is all about choices, whether they are hard or easy. We can all do everything that we set our minds to. If we fail, we get back up again.
I live for my children. I want them to live a long and healthy life. I think I read that 1 out of 3 kids growing up now will have diabetes when older. That number is shocking, I don’t want to see my children go through those ordeals if all it takes is making better food decisions on my part.
**Wanted to note as I have been asked, yes I have nursed all of my babies. I used to use the excuse that I needed to eat more when I was nursing. But in reality I believe its like 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich and milk for the extra calories. No more excuses, take control of your eating.