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Part 3: Postpartum Weight Loss Journey

**Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. I am sharing my experience and what worked for me. Everyone and every body is different. What works for me, may not work for you. Always consult your doctor before starting a new diet & fitness regime.**

So we’ve finally reached part 3 of my postpartum weight loss journey. It wasn’t easy getting here. In fact, I’m still on my journey. I am 20 pounds away from being at my target weight of 125 pounds (pre-wedding weight!!). These last 20 pounds are taking FOREVER to come off. That’s why I wrote these blog posts to motivate MYSELF! 🙂 I will only work harder and smarter to achieve my goal. And I hope I’ve inspired some of you on the way too!

Snapshot of What I Eat in a Day

This is the most asked question I receive so let me give you a snapshot of what a day can look like:

MORNING HOT DRINK: I wake up in the morning, and the first thing I have is my warm apple cider vinegar and honey drink. I use boiled water. One tablespoon of ACV and a half teaspoon of honey. Mix it all together in the hot water and I drink this while I make breakfast. There are many benefits to this concoction. But thats another blog post 😉 BREAKFAST: Breakfast usually consists of eggs, usually scrambled. If I have vegetables on hand (which I normally do!) I will toss them in. This is a whole avocado, I don’t eat the entire thing. My son usually eats atleast half. Avocados are good fats so they’re ok to eat, in moderation.
MORNING SNACK: Usually right before the kids naptime I get a BIT exhausted and hungry so in order to keep myself from binging on food once the kids are asleep, I’ll eat a protein date bite I made previously. In all honesty though, if I haven’t prepared these ahead of time, I will just eat a medjool date (or two!) on it’s own. Busy mama here whatever works! We ALWAYS have dates stocked in our pantry. ALWAYS. A sweet treat without the guilt (unless you overdo it and eat a ton LOL) LUNCH: If I workout after breakfast, then I will have a smoothie for lunch. My favourite is a mango, spinach, almond butter, chia and flax seed smoothie. Simple yet filling.
AFTERNOON SNACK: Usually consists of coffee and a snack like my homemade granola squares. This gives me a boost of energy to get through the rest of the afternoon. DINNER: I always pair a protein with a salad. It keeps me full longer. I do still eat rice, roti, quinoa from time to time but I definitely do not have it everyday.

I will also drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. It doesn’t always happen but it’s one of the things on my list to improve!

Some more tips I can offer to you all:

  • Drink water before you reach for that snack you’re not supposed. Most of the time your body just needs to be hydrated!
  • Morning workouts set the stage for the rest of they day. They will give you a boost of energy and my day go so much better when my workout is out of the way!
  • Set daily, weekly and monthly goals, they will be less overwhelming to attain
  • Limit caffeine-this is on my TO DO list!
  • Change up what you eat on a daily basis. I can’t eat the same foods day in and day out. It gets boring and repetitive.
  • Use the app MyFitnessPal to track everything you eat
  • One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. This works out to 500 calories a day that you will need to burn or cut from your diet.
  • Exercise is so important to weight loss but more importantly your energy levels will increase
  • Nutritionally rich foods are the building blocks to a healthy lifestyle. I do not refer to the way I eat as a ‘diet’, to me it’s a lifestyle change.
  • Treat yourself once you reach a milestone. Have that one cookie. Or your favourite ice cream.  I never did cheat days the first few months of my lifestyle change because sweets are my weakness and if I had even one bite I would fall off of the workout regime wagon. I do have milestone treats now though. Just make sure it doesn’t become a daily obstacle for you!
  • Re-evaluate your workout plan and the foods you’re consuming if you’re not seeing results
  • Stress eating is real. I used to do it all the time. The “I had a rough day with the babies, I’ll have a brownie”, which ended up being 5 brownies. Don’t use food to feed your stress. I suggest doing some physical activity to combat the stress you feel! You’ll feel great afterwards and make a healthier choice if you need something to snack on afterwards.

I hope my postpartum blog posts have helped you out. I pray that everyone reaches their weight loss goals in a healthy manner. While I do still have some weight to lose, I can say that I feel so much better when I eat healthy and workout. It’s not really about the number on the scale, it’s about how you feel. And I feel good !! Healthy 🙂

I always tell moms that it took time to put the weight on (9 months to be exact!) so it will take time for it to come off! The majority of us will have to work very hard to get back into shape but with the right food choices, workout plans and dedication and determination, we can do this! Here’s to being happier, healthier and feeling great!

Image by @haphotography.ca

 

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Part 2: Postpartum Weight Loss Journey: The Change

**Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. I am sharing my experience and what worked for me. Everyone and every body is different. What works for me, may not work for you. Always consult your doctor before starting a new fitness regime.**

30th Birthday-The realization

My 30th birthday rolled around in July 2017.  I met up with a group of my friends a week before my actual birthday to celebrate. It was wonderful and I had a great time catching up with everyone! We took the mandatory group photo and multiple selfies of course! This was the first time I had me time after having baby #2. I was feeling stress free for the first time in a really long time as this was a baby free get together!

 

 

 

 

My friends all shared the photos we took and I was literally in shock with what I saw. I didn’t even recognize myself! I looked like I was still expecting (I was NOT, in fact my baby was six months now!) and I had gained so much weight! This worried me because of my history with gestational diabetes during pregnancy which could easily turn into Type II diabetes later in life. And weight gain increases your chances.

 

 

 

 

 

On my actual 30th birthday we got professional photos done because we literally did not have one as a family. Just as a keepsake for us and so the kids would have photos to look back on.  I was exhausted by the end of the photoshoot and I just couldn’t keep up with my now 18 month old toddler. The lack of energy I was feeling was becoming an obstacle.

I came home mentally and physically exhausted. That was the night I decided to take control of my health and well-being.  I didn’t want to be this mom who had let herself go after having kids. I needed to get my energy back to keep up with my babies! Plus I wanted to be healthy and set a good example now that I had two kids watching my every move!

 

 

 

I received an Apple Watch as a gift on this milestone birthday and was told that this device had really helped them achieve their goals and they wanted the same for me too. I still wear it everyday because it helps me track my goals! I definitely recommend this (or a Fitbit or any watch that will track your daily activity). It’s also a reminder to me to get in my daily workout.

 

 

 

 

 

The Gym

I went to my gym a few days later to re-new my gym membership. That’s when I saw it. The strollers parked outside of a room in the gym!! They offered daycare service to mommies wanting to get in a workout. I signed up both babies RIGHT AWAY! This was the best thing I did for myself in July 2017. I started working out five to seven times a week for approximately two hours while the babies were in the daycare at the gym. It was HARD WORK getting the babies dressed, fed and out the door those days but over time it got easier and easier, plus it was summertime so that made it a lot easier!

This 2 hour window that I had at the gym also allowed me some baby free time every single day. This was great for my mental well-being! It gave me a chance to re-charge my batteries and be a better mom to my babies. The stress release I felt when working out everyday was the best. The boost of energy it gave to my mood was uplifting! Plus my toddler son was always ready for a nap after having played in daycare so both kids would nap right after our gym outting!

What I did at the gym:

  • Cardio:
    • Treadmill:
      • Warm-up 5 minutes
      • Alternating walk/light jog/sprint for 45 minutes OR
      • HIIT Training for 20 minutes
    • Elliptical:
      • Warm-up 5 minutes
      • Increase resistant and incline between 6 to 10
      • Workout time approximately 30 minutes
  • Strength Training:
    • Circuit Machines: I would do these twice a week for approximately 30 minutes
    • Dumbbell Exercises: This basically sums up my routine . I would do 3 sets of 10 for each
  • Ab workout: I would follow workouts using the Sworkit App

Workout with Saman

I also had the pleasure of working out with Saman from @sfm_fitness in October 2017.  My sister and I got together with her at the UFC gym in Mississauga and she gave us a one on one workout session with her! This session really pushed me to keep going towards my goals. I have known Saman for a few years now and she is just amazing mashAllah! She’s a mom of three, an entrepreneur and a fitness aficionado. Here are some photos from our workout session:

 

This is the first time I had ever tried this tire lifting exercise. It was empowering! Saman really pushed to us to try new things and was super supportive. I was surprised that I could do this to be honest!

 

Squat, lift, throw that tire down!

 

Battle Ropes. I had tried these previously a few years back when I did bootcamp (before I had kids). They look easy but they’re not!

 

Nutrition

I love food. That should come as no surprise to anyone reading this….hello I’m Kashmiri Foodie!! But changing the way I ate was key to my lifestyle change. Here are some of the main things I started doing:

  • I started tracking the calories in everything that I ate in the app called MyFitnessPal . You will be surprised by how many calories are in some items that you’re consuming. I know I was!!! Here’s a snapshot of some of the foods my husband I were consuming and what we substituted them for:
Image from http://muscleandjoint.ca/lost-30lbs-4-months/

 

  • My daily caloric intake never exceeded 1800 calories (as recommended by Health Canada website)
  • I replaced any processed foods in my diet with whole foods
  • I eliminated 95% of refined sugars from my diet
  • I eliminated 95% of dairy from my diet (dairy would make me feel bloated!)
  • I stopped eating grain products on a daily basis. I would keep these to once a week or for a treat day

 

 

 

 

Getting Active and Staying Active

 

My husband had already made his lifestyle change many months before I started my journey. So I had an accountability partner right there. It was MUCH easier making this lifestyle change when we decided to get our whole family involved.  We started taking daily walks as a family around our neighbourhood. This evolved into hikes on the weekend! This was during summertime so the weather was wonderful and the fresh air lifted all of our moods! We put our baby in a baby carrier and our toddler son in the Deuter Kid Comfort 3 Child Carrier Backpack. We ended up purchasing the yearly pass to the local parks and it’s the best investment we have made! Below are some photos from our family hikes!

 

 

 

Wearing the Baby Bjorn carrier here with my daughter Safa on a family hiking trip.
Wearing the Infantino carrier here with my daughter Safa. Getting fresh air really helped me achieve my fitness goals.

 

This was during Autumn 2017. It was chilly but we still headed out for our weekly family hike.

 

“What do you eat on a daily basis?”

This is the question I get asked most. The simple answer is, everything that I post on my instagram is exactly what I eat. However, I implement portion control. The general rule of thumb is that if it’s bigger than my fist, I reduced the quantity. Not always. It depends on the calorie count of the food in question.

Also, there is no shortcut in losing weight in a healthy manner. There is no magic drink or magic food. It takes hard work, consistency and dedication!

 

 

 

I hope these simple lifestyle changes can help you achieve your goal too. Some advice I’d like to offer is that there is no point working out if the food you’re putting into your body has no nutritional value. So start with changing the QUALITY of food you eat and then focus on your workouts. This is how I truly believe change happens, as it did for me.

…I will be sharing my current weight loss, a sample meal guide for you and some more tips in Part 3, so make sure to scroll down and subscribe to my email list!

Left: July 2017; Middle: November 2017; Right: Beginning of January 2018

 

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Part 1: Postpartum Weight Loss Journey

Background of what led me on this journey

January 2017. Expecting baby #2 here. Weight: 190+ pounds.

My first baby was born on January 4, 2016. First baby’s are hard. Now that I look back at it, I understand why that is-I was used to 8-10 hours of sleep at night and I had the freedom to do anything at any given time without thinking about anyone else. I was inexperienced in this thing called motherhood. It took me a good four months to come to terms with the changes that motherhood brought. I was about 165 pounds after baby #1 was born. I never really weighed myself as the weight was coming off so I had no concerns at that time. I remember I would eat breakfast around noon. If even. As I said, like most new moms, I was inexperienced and had no idea why my baby only slept 1 hour intervals at night and only while sleeping on me. If I put him down he would wake up. It was a never ending cycle.

I’ll be honest and say I had JUST started losing my baby weight when….I found out I was expecting baby #2. Back to back pregnancies. Baby #1 was four months at this time. And all I could think was… SubhanAllah Alhumdullilah for Allah’s blessings 🙂 Granted I was sleep deprived and felt that all my energy was being drained by baby #1, I was happy alhumdullilah.

This news was the turning point in how I dealt with baby #1-I started sleep training him at 5 months old and I can say that he started sleeping through the night on his own by 7 months. It did not happen overnight, it was a process. But it did happen. (Maybe sleep training will be another blog post?!). Because I mean, how in the world would I deal with baby #1 nighttime wakings when baby #2 was on her way!? But in general, having to deal with a young baby while expecting another is hard. Really hard.

My Health

The weight gain showed on my face. I had never experienced this previously.

I was watching what I was consuming for the most part because during my pregnancy with baby #1, I had gestational diabetes and with each preceding pregnancy you’re more likely to develop it too. Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health. Alhumdullilah I didn’t experience any complications. I found out I had gestational diabetes again with baby #2. For both pregnancies, I was able to control it through diet (some people have to take insulin).

Finding out I had gestational diabetes, especially the first time around, was worrisome to me. Now that I look back at it, I think everyone in my family was worried too because they all ended up visiting me the same day I found out. Or they knew I was upset and came to comfort me. Actually I received some more bad news that exact same day about something I had been working really hard on, so it all just piled up and add pregnancy hormones to that mix and I was a mess. Alhumdillilah for family though, may Allah (SWT) grant them all endless blessings Ameen.

When you have gestational diabetes, you’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later on in life. Diabetes also runs in my family. Which puts me at a higher risk too.

My Fitness

Five months postpartum with baby #1. Expecting baby #2 here.

Before I had kids, I would workout inconsistently, 2-3 times a week, mostly cardio and weights. I was between 125-130 pounds before I had my kids. My height is 5’2″.

With both pregnancies, I was lightly working out. By that I mean I was walking approximately 30 minutes a day. When the weather was nice, I would put baby #1 in his stroller and we would walk to our local grocery store and get some items we needed (approximately a 20 minute walk both ways-so 40 minutes in total). Most of my pregnancy was during the winter months, so I would workout/walk in the comfort of my own home. I had to keep active during my pregnancies in order to control my gestational diabetes. Walking was suggested to me by my doctors. I got in a workout and I got a boost of energy (which we know is hard to come by when expecting!!!).

 

 

 

 

Two Babies, One Mama

Postpartum three months with baby #2. Enjoying the fresh air and going for a walk.

Baby #2 was born on February 17, 2017. Thirteen months after my first baby. Crazy right?! I still laugh at this myself. Anyways, the first six months with having two babies to manage was difficult to say the least. I had some help for a first week or two on and off.

But I was determined early on to be able to manage it all and not rely on others because I realized that everyone has their own lives to get back too and I really wasn’t comfortable hiring outside help. I mean, my mom managed/raised FIVE kids mashAllah tabarkAllah without any of her family around and did it with such grace subhanAllah.  We had good days and bad days. More bad days in the beginning but as I got a routine in place it became somewhat easier. Baby #1 was definitely feeling the attention shift now that Baby #2 was here. Dealing with that was difficult. I loved them both equally but I had to breastfeed baby #2 OR pump a lot the first three months so I was spending a lot of time with her and my son was spending a lot of time watching the iPad and the Wiggles.

I would also snack when I was pumping (every three hours for the first three months to increase my supply). At first it was healthy snacks-dates, fruit etc. Then as the months went on and the sleep deprivation hit, this snacking turned into lots of nuts, cookies, chocolate and mostly all that processed junk. I would also wait until the babies were sleeping (it did happen LATE at night for a few hours) when I would finally eat dinner. This would be around 10 or 11pm. This would be ME time. To enjoy my food.

I was not working out at all by this point. I was always hungry from breastfeeding and always tired from the lack of sleep I was getting. I was making horrible food choices. I was in this downward spiral that I just couldn’t seem to break free from. My weight was at a whopping 188 pounds. The most I had ever weighed in my entire life, when not pregnant. I was cranky and moody. My clothes didn’t fit. I was just overall unhappy mentally, spiritually and health wise.

Have you also been feeling this way lately?

…stay tuned for how I took control of my life and health and make sure to subscribe to my mailing list to be the first to get access to Part 2 of my postpartum weight loss journey.

xoxo

Tabassum

 

 

 

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Then and Now

Hi guys!

As you are all aware, since my 30th birthday I made a commitment to myself to lose all of my baby weight (total of 60 lbs). That was in July 2017. It is now November 2017 and I have lost 30lbs so far (down to 157lbs-the photo below was done last week!!) #progress

The first photo was taken in 2014-when I was my fittest ever. Pre-babies obviously. I had given up sugar completely and started working out 5-7 times a week. I was doing intense cardio mainly with some weights. Reason: I wanted to lose the weight I’d gained after marriage and ended up being the skinniest I’d ever been at 120lbs.

Fast forward three years to the middle photo: 188lbs after having my second baby. This was, I believe a month or two after baby #2 was born. I had two back to back pregnancies, so I gave myself some time to not even think about losing weight. Plus I was breastfeeding baby #2. Which made me soooooo hungry and in turn I ate really unhealthy. Donuts donuts donuts!!! And pasta-yep hello that was my comfort food!

The last photo (right) is me currently at 157lbs-I lost another pound since this photo was taken! I feel great! I am eating so much healthier now, working out every chance that I get (3-4 times a week) and overall happier, alhumdullilah. My pre-baby clothes are still not fitting BUT I will keep going until I reach my goal! For now, I have treated myself to a few new pieces of clothes to fit my body as the winter is coming 🙂

A word of advice to mama’s/anyone wanting to lose weight-all of our weight loss journey’s are different, it takes hard work and time to lose the weight so don’t be hard too hard on yourself!!! Work hard and be consistent with it, that’s the only way to see results!

Good luck, you’ve got this!