I was about to type the word “Disclaimer” and I noticed I’ve been doing a lot of those lately. Lol. Anyway, once you see the bold font you know I mean business so let’s get straight to it. This post, just like all my previous posts is about MY PERSONAL JOURNEY. Why do I feel the need to reiterate this? Well, the topic “Weight loss” is a very touchy one and many people have their own opinions about women trying to workout after giving birth. It seems vain to many and it gives the impression that the new mom may be focusing more on her physical appearance than her new born. From my experience, this is FALSE. You can do both without sacrificing one or the other. That is what I did and I’m here to show you how.
Let’s state the obvious.Losing weight is HARRRDDDDDD!!! For those who are thinking “Oh she must not have gained that much weight to begin with”. Shocker alert! I gained a total of 20 kilos throughout this pregnancy. After delivering my baby, I dropped 5 kilos. As I started breastfeeding, I naturally started to lose weight even though I wasn’t working out or dieting. I lost a total of 4 kilos in the first two weeks and I thought to myself “ Hmm…. this is going to be sooo easy. I’m sure by a month, I would’ve lost 10 kilos all on my own.” How wrong I was. The minute my breastmilk stopped,I begun packing on the kilos.
Let me rewind a bit. Some months before my wedding, I decided to seriously start working out so I could look my best on my wedding day. I took it wayyyy too far and on my wedding day, I was weighing an unhealthy 53 kilos and looking back at the pictures I looked sick! The funny thing was, as I was losing more and more weight , I had convinced myself I was still not there yet and I was refusing to listen to all the voices telling me to stop. Also, getting to your weight goal and maintaining it, is another hurdle. I have since resolved never to see that number on a scale again!
So anyway, I started my weight-loss journey at 70 kilos (I was 75 kilos right before I delivered).My goal was to lose 12kilos. Nothing more nothing less. It is important that you give yourself an exact figure NOT a range. Giving a range makes your goal a bit blur because you’re not clear on when exactly you’ve achieved it and I needed to be hard on myself. Lots of people told me, “ Eno don’t worry, with time you’ll lose the weight so don’t put too much pressure on yourself”. While this was true and good advice, no one knew what I was going through emotionally. This may sound a bit dramatic, but I felt trapped in a body that I felt wasn’t mine and I was tired of complaining about it. I couldn’t fit into any of my normal clothes, I still looked pregnant, my tummy was still very dark as compared to the rest of my body ( it was because it was still healing and the darkness is perfectly normal) , don’t get me started on my face; I couldn’t even recognize myself. Like I’ve mentioned over and over, I am not the most patient person, (those who know me can tell from how fast I talk) so waiting till my body naturally bounced back was out of the question. I will not pretend to be something I’m not.
On the 6th of January, right after my gyno had given me the go ahead to start working out, I did. I started by wearing my gym shorts that barely fit and a sports bra because I wanted to get a clear picture of what I was working with. I decided, I would take pictures throughout my journey to document my progress. This is a really helpful tip. Sometimes, the number on the scale might not necessarily reflect how we look. Seeing your body transform in the pictures will give you that boost you need on those low days and help you stay on track. I gave myself 90 days to achieve my goal. Again, it is important to have a deadline for your goal once you achieve it, you can concentrate on maintaining that weight. However, once I took that first picture, I immediately lost hope. I wondered, “ How is this body going to transform into what I have pictured in my mind?”. It seemed like such a daunting task and a huge leap to the finishing line. However, I decided it was now or never.
Tip: Day one is always tricky. Once you make up your mind to begin, just do it. Do not wait for a Monday, or the beginning of a month, or a year. That day will come, and guess what, you will postpone it to the next week or month. Start any day even if it’s a Sunday. The key is to START and then keep going.
- Weigh yourself
- Set a goal. What would you like to weigh?
- Set a deadline for this goal
- Take a picture of yourself
- START your workout
I pulled out the indoor trampoline I had bought months earlier from Orca. I had read a lot about the benefits of jumping and how quickly you can lose weight doing this. Skipping was out of the question because I can’t skip. I step on the rope every single time! It was also the best option at the moment because I could place it in any room DJ was in and I could bounce while watching him when he was up. I could also bounce while watching tv instead of sitting. It was just perfect. I decided to start slow. Instead of counting the bounces, I timed myself. So I did 10 minutes of bounce time and then switched to light weights. I had 1kg, 2kg and 3kg weights which I had purchased from Game at the Accra Mall. I used the 2kg for my arm exercises and then switched to planks. I did this every morning for the first week.
The second week, I did the same routine but added running in the evening. I would run a short distance of about 40 meters back and forth 20 times for one session, rest for a minute then repeat. The following weeks, I increased steadily to 5 sessions and also steadily increased the weights for my arm exercises from 2kg to 3kg as I got stronger. I also increased my bounce time on the trampoline from 10 minutes to 20 minutes and I combined the 1kg weight with sit-ups and then finished off with a one minute plank. I went on YouTube to watch other forms of exercises to help burn fat in my thighs, waist and arms. So I alternated from time to time. I stuck religiously to the sit-ups and planks to burn my belly fat.
To break it down,
- 20 minutes on the trampoline
- Rest for a few minutes
- Sit-ups with 1kg weight
- 1 minute plank
- Arm exercises with 2/3kg weight
- Sometimes do other exercises I see online if I can.
- 5 sessions of back and forth 40 meter run with one minute break between sessions
- Sit-ups with 1kg weight
- 1 minute plank
- Arm exercises with 2/3kg weight
Diet is one of the most important things to pay attention to while on this journey. You could work out for hours and then eat the wrong thing and you’re back to square one. I had to mentally and physically prepare for this change. During the first 6 weeks of healing, I ate everything in my way. All the things I knew I would crave while on a diet. I got that out of the way to prepare for what was ahead. What made dieting even more difficult for me was the fact that I had to cook for someone who was wasn’t on a diet. Kobby was on a life long fattening course and the last thing he wanted was to lose weight. So, I was cooking rice, spaghetti, yam and all the fattening carbs you can think of for him and I couldn’t have any of that. I cut all forms of carbs and red meat from my diet. I was mainly eating salads in different forms (chicken salad, fish, mushrooms, etc) . This wasn’t your typical Ghanaian salad with salad cream. No. It was the usual veggies; lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, onions, beetroot, spinach, with the protein of my choice garnished with olive oil. I would also steam carrots and cabbage and combine that with some form of protein. I also drunk lots of soups, smoothies and juices which I bought from my fave ( @thejuiceguy on IG). I usually bought pineapple which I blended with carrots to make carrot juice, I bought watermelon which I blended with grated beetroot to get very delicious beetroot juice and I also blended pineapple juice with spinach and ginger and this last one got me so pumped for the day. I drunk lots of green tea as well for energy.
In a nutshell, this was how my day looked like
- I wake up at 6am ,read my devotional and listen to some motivational messages (this usually puts me in a positive space to start my day),have a cup of Green Tea, make breakfast, bath DJ and feed him.
- Put him to bed, then work out ( if he doesn’t sleep I workout in front of him as he curiously watches. It’s the funniest thing lol)
- I bath and then make a salad or a smoothie or one of the above mentioned items to eat.
- I do his laundry, rest for a while and it’s feeding time again
- I feed him, play with him for a while and put him back to bed
- I work on invoices for my rental, fold the baby laundry , make dinner and we eat
- I feed him again, leave him with Kobby or my mum if she’s back, then go out for a run , do sit-ups, planks and arms.
- I bath and then rest for a while, feed him. After a while I put him to bed , sometimes he sleeps, sometimes he doesn’t. If he stays up for a couple of hours, I read, then I feed him one more time before bedtime which is usually around midnight and then finally he sleeps and I sleep.
Yes, it is very intense. This leads me to why I kept doing it.
I can’t overemphasize how important it is to stick to your routine as much as possible and to maintain your baby’s sleep pattern no matter what. Granted, some days I have more to do, like grocery shopping, hospital appointments ( vaccinations and weighing) and I have to tweak my routine a bit to fit these into it but I never sacrifice my workout. If I have to wake up earlier to fit it in, I do. Once you have a deadline for your weight-loss goal, you HAVE to make sure you achieve it at all cost. Another reason I never missed a work out session was that, it had a positive impact on my mood. I was quite moody pre workout especially because I felt overwhelmed and sick of how I looked. However, with all the cardio I was getting in, I was starting to see a difference in my mood. I was more upbeat and I also had way more energy as I lost the weight and got stronger. I was less tired when carrying DJ and Kobby didn’t seem so annoying to me anymore. Lol. I felt like I was getting my old self back gradually.
As I progressed and as DJ begun to sleep longer I could go to the gym a couple of times a week. I could only go late morning after I had put him to bed. Unfortunately there were no trainers around this time but fortunately I had gotten to a point where I didn’t need one because I had built that discipline of doing it all on my own at home anyway . I got on the treadmill and did 30 minutes (5 minutes brisk walk, 10 minutes running, 5 minutes brisk walk again and then end with 10 minutes run). This severely sped up my weight-loss. I did 10 minutes on the elliptical and then weights and planks. By Day 78 I had already reached my goal of 58 kilos and as tempting as it was to continue to try to lose more, I decided against looking like a stick. For my frame and height, this was a healthy figure. I decided to slowly reduce my cardio. I could fit into my old sized clothes and it was SUCH AN AMAZING FEELING!
This time around, maintaining my new weight became a lot easier. Once I got to my desired goal, I switched up my routine a bit. I reduced my cardio to once a day and I could now eat carbs. The good thing was, I couldn’t eat as much as I used to because the size of my stomach had obviously shrunk but I was careful not to let it get out of hand. Eating and then working out what I had eaten, helped maintain my weight. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. The trick to weight-loss is that you have to be mentally ready to put in the work. We can have all the excuses in the world not to work out. “I’m too busy, I’m too tired, I just don’t think I can lose weight on my own, etc”. What you need to understand is that, the brain naturally protects us from exerting any form of pain on ourselves . If we have a task that seems hard or “impossible”, our brain will promptly tell us not to go ahead with it. It happens all the time on this journey. Every single day your brain will tell you, “this is too hard ,you can’t possibly do this, rest instead”. It is a constant battle, but I promise you that, every time you overcome it and build on your willpower to fight laziness or negative thoughts you will start to see progress. It starts really slow. It took me 13 days to lose 2kg but then eventually I started to drop the kilos every few days and I begun to see significant changes in my body which was the BEST feeling ever! After going through this process, I know it is achievable. I can’t sugarcoat this; just like what you’ve already been told, it will require DISCIPLINE, extreme DETERMINATION, HARD WORK and a very POSITIVE MINDSET constantly but you’ll get there.