Gut and Buts : The truth behind PPD and Post Partum Weight-loss.
Here's the thing about living with Post Partum Depression and trying to achieve post partum weight-loss: It's nearly impossible. For me personally, it's a never-ending cycle of starting a diet and working out, then becoming depressed, losing my motivation to workout, taking my medications which are known to cause weight, eating my feelings, gaining more weight and then starting the cycle all over again. As mothers I feel we are already wired to be tired, anxious...stressed. And what does stress do? Two words : Cortisol and Metabolism. Stress triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol that increase abdominal fat and slows metabolism. Ahh! Now you see what I said Gut in the title, haha. Abdominal fat, which can be worrisome for more reasons than just appearance.
According to Popular Science "Fat cells in the abdomen seem to have a bigger impact on the metabolism because blood flow from that area drains straight to the liver. All cells excrete things, because all cells have waste and other byproducts that they need to get rid of, and adipocytes are no exception. As you gain weight in the abdomen, those visceral fat cells expand, and eventually they start leaking free fatty acids and other molecules into the liver. Since your liver helps control your blood sugar levels, these surplus chemical signals wreak havoc with your metabolism. Faulty blood sugar wiring leads to the massive post-meal insulin spikes that prompt your body to put on more weight, which eventually can cause diabetes."
That is some scary stuff right there and that's just from stress. Throw a little depression and anxiety into the mix and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
So, what do you do? How can we break the cycle? Baby steps. Small changes over time. That's the only thing currently working for me. Every single time I start something big or try to incorporate too many restrictions or changes at once, I fail. I tried Keto for 3 months and nothing. Nada. ZIP! My mom lost 60lbs after 6 months and here I am...even bigger than when I started. Life just isn't fair. And cue the start of the depression cycle again. Ugh, it's relentless!
But we can do this. I can do this. And here's how I'm breaking the cycling and losing the post partum weight.
Treat the Postpartum Depression first. - This is crucial. You have to get some help and support with PPD, depression, anxiety or whatever mental health issue you're struggling with before trying to commit to a big weight loss journey. It's taken me 2 years to get to a point where I finally feel stable enough to start trying to lose weight and workout. I see my psychiatrist monthly and psychologist weekly. I have gone from Zoloft to Prozac to now Venlafaxine XR (ie the cheaper version of Effexor XR). I know 2 years sounds like a long time, but if you would have met me right after giving birth to my twins you would completely understand why waiting until you mental health is stable before making any huge life changing decisions.
Start Small. -You're tired, you're depressed and you're a super mom! So, starting small and maintaining consistency is crucial. For me, it was eating out. Door Dash, Uber eats, Drive-thrus..they are my vice. Why? Because I'm freaking tired! I'm over here taking care of everyone, BUT myself. I just wanted easy and fast food is easy. So, I started getting prepared. Having food that was easy to grab, snacks that were in my purse for those mom moments of when you forget to eat breakfast or you get stuck running an extra errand and you're STARVING. Try setting small goals. "This week I'm drinking more water" "This week I am focusing on getting more sleep" - something like that. Simple, obtainable and totally doable. I kid you not, one of the things I started out with 2 years ago was " I will take a bath this week, I will find time for a shower". I've come a long way and so can you!
Let go of the soda. - Soda (diet or not) is a great way to slow your weight loss results. Try switching to carbonated water. The ICE brand has some good options for when you're realllly craving that carbonation. You can find them from Dollar tree to Walmart. We always pick some up at Aldis and they are cheap.
Get rid of the Buts - This it where the buts form the title come into play. I make so many excuses. I really do, I'll admit it. But, I'm tired, I have twins, I'm taking care of my mom who has stage 4 lung cancer, my parents are getting a divorce, I'm fighting with family, I'm depressed, I have anxiety and did I mention I'm freaking tired? I had to let all of that go. I realize now that eating garbage and treating my body poorly was setting myself up for failure. I had to stop looking at eating right and working out as some form of punishment. I feel good when I work out, mentally and physically. I feel better when I eat well. So, now I'm meal prepping when I can and when I can't I am buying food from a local place called Fit Flavors. Are they expensive? Well, yeah- kind of. I would never lie to you guys. It's $9.88-$13.99 a meal, but if you're unable to meal prep and need the support, it's a great option.
Find a workout that fits your life. - Everyone underestimates the power of walking. You don't have to do some crazy HIIT workout or Cross fit to lose weight. Walking burns calories too! For a long time before I had kids I would walk or ride my bike. I did Beachbody too, which worked. You can find free workouts here too https://www.fitnessblender.com/ I can't tell you how many times I workout in my moo-moo night gown, with no bra or shoes on to a fitness video. Hey, I was lapping everyone on the couch! Haha :)
Give yourself some grace. I can't stress this enough. Be patient with yourself. You are already doing so much. Try not to beat yourself down. Even if you are just starting out where I was and your goal is to just take a shower this week, then Mama, I see you! I see you trying and trying it half the battle! You CAN do this. You WILL do this. This is your temporary body. You are absolutely amazing inside and out. Never forget that. And if you need a little boost of support then shoot me a message. I'l help anyway I can. Just don't give up!
So, that's all I got today. I hope it helped in some kind of way. Here are my official DAY 1 photos.