**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.
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:
- Warm-up 5 minutes
- Alternating walk/light jog/sprint for 45 minutes OR
- HIIT Training for 20 minutes
- 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:
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:
- 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!
“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!