Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let's Talk About Weight

By Rochel (Bryski) Laber 

I weighed 140 when I got pregnant and was 220 lbs when I gave birth. I spent the next couple months depressed, angry, and pissed off that everyone told me it would come off with nursing. I nursed, and nursed, and nursed and gained even more weight...

I started going to the gym at nights when I put the baby to bed. I was
exhausted, but I told myself I needed this and as painful as it was,
being 200 lbs was even more painful! 

Let's talk about weight.

It's one of those things you chose not to think about, chose not to
talk about, would rather avoid. Yet, let’s be honest…it’s on our
minds. A lot. Whether we choose to embrace it, deal with it, avoid it,
lose it or love it - it’s ours. We’ve come to terms with it in our
teen and single-hood years. Then we get married, slowly start loving
our new found appreciation for cooking (or hate for cooking and love
of husbands cooking… even better - take out!). We wine and dine, enjoy
this new-found status as a married woman- learn four and a half days
later that we're pregnant (okay, maybe a little more than that) and -
viola! - nine months go by and you find yourself tipping the scale at
220 pounds.

This may not have happened to everyone - we all have our stories - but
the point is the same: we are women.  And as women we can and should
look good, feel good, and have an overall healthy and happy approach
to eating well and exercising regularly. My example used above
pretty much sums up the more recent part of my life. Got married, had
my first kid, put on 80 lbs, and was stuck with a new baby, a new
life, a new world, and a new body that was so scary and foreign to me.
My life from that moment has changed so drastically. It was a year
journey filled with ups and downs, but a journey that taught me so
much, and has completely changed the way I live and the daily
decisions I now make.

When thinking about weight, the first thing
that comes to mind is "diet." Naturally, losing weight or those last
"10 baby pounds" is something very common for all of us. It can get
overwhelming with all the options there are. Hundreds and thousands of
diets, fitness plans, cleanses, juices, lemonades, vitamins, pills -
it’s endless! I guarantee you that you"ll pick your method, you will
be super strict for a week or two, maybe even longer and weight will
come off. But you can only be so strong for so long. Then what
happens? You nibble, you cheat, you give up and say you will start
again tomorrow. Tomorrow turns into a few days, a week, and before you
know it you're back to where you started from. Its time for the next
diet. It happens over and over again. Eventually, we feel that there’s
just no hope and we're too tired to even be bothered with it. Screw
this, I'm having a brownie!

I had a very difficult couple of months after I gave birth to my first daughter.
I weighed 140 when I got pregnant and was 220 lbs when I gave birth. I spent the
next couple months depressed, angry, and pissed off that everyone told me it would
come off with nursing. I nursed, and nursed, and nursed and gained
even more weight. So, the diets started. From South Beach to Atkins,
Weight Watchers, The Zone, Suzanne Summers, Fat Flush, Fit for Life
and The Blood Type Diet. I tried them all. The first few weeks were
great, but there’s only so long you can go before you realize you need
to live a little bit. So, screw the diet. I'll try the Gym.

 I started
going to the gym at nights when I put the baby to bed. I was
exhausted, but I told myself I needed this and as painful as it was,
being 200 lbs was even more painful! The gym can be quite intimidating
when you have no idea what you’re doing. So, I was patient. I told
myself I wasn’t going to follow anyone else’s rules. I tried that with
dieting and it obviously didn’t work. I would learn on my own. I did
just that. Through the course of many months I studied (old school)
all the different fitness techniques out there and applied everything
to my own body. I learned what worked for me, and which things I just
wasn’t even going to bother with. Long story short - the weight came
off. And it's stayed off ever since.

Looking good and feeling good are ultimately synonymous with each
other. As women we need to take care of ourselves. We must make it a
priority to give ourselves the attention we need to ultimately enhance
our life. It is so much more than that quick diet or that two week fat
loss program; it’s a life-long commitment to the game. It's something
that has to affect your daily life, day in and day out. There will be
ups and downs, but when you make the commitment and change your
attitude about health and weight, you'll come to enjoy a newfound
appreciation for yourself, your body, and your life.

Rachel's experience after gaining and losing weight from her first pregnancy encouraged her to become a certified Personal Trainer. She now helps others "commit to the game" and live a healthy lifestyle free of fad diets. She lives with her husband and two kids in Agoura Hills, CA. Read more about her health musings and personal experiences at www.proteinpancake.blogspot.com.
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16 LadyMama voices:

Struggling said... [Reply to comment]

Firstly, I have to commend you on a great achievement! You look fantastic and I know all too well the struggle to shed weight.

I do have to say though, that while on the one hand your story is inspiring, after checking out your blog - I actually feel more despair than ever.

It seems that through your journey you have turned your whole life around. You workout for a living and your whole life is about eating well.

Maybe its just becuase the topic of your blog is about diet/exercise - but it makes me feel like unless I devote my ENTIRE being to losing weight and being fit, I'm going to continue to struggle.

You eat the same few foods over and over and personally, that would make me crazy. I like eggs - not egg whites!! I like variety. I like chicken too, but couldnt eat it every day twice a day!

It kind of seems like you are still in that 'dieting' mode - eating the same very super healthy diet food and everything revolves around food preparation and exercise.

So as a regular person - who barely has time for 30 minutes of exercise a day, between work kids and life - how do we get the same results!?!?

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Why is that when people lose weight - its license to relax the laws of tznius? Its just interesting to note that in the 'before' pics, not a hair in sight and perfect tznius - and the after pics...well they speak for themselvess...

Skinny said... [Reply to comment]

To Anonymous:
She's actually very tznius in her after pics....I think maybe you're just jealous!

We need more women who look and dress like her! I don't know you, Rachel...but this was a much needed article!

Rachel Laber said... [Reply to comment]

@Struggling- I appreciate ur comment. I can understand where your frustration is coming from and why reading my blog can seem overwhelming. In response...
- I dont diet. I enjoy healthy food- I always have. I eat plenty of it- more than I need to be. I've always been a big portions kinda girl and therefor need to find foods that I can eat as much as I like of it. Believe me- I have my struggles just as anyone else- I can finish a box of cereal before dinner and still have an appetite for steak- fries-and dessert. I never get full- or stuffed- a lot of my family is the same way..I've tried many different diets with portion control- gave up. Tried eliminating carbs-gave up. Tried counting points- gave up- so I realized- this is the way I eat- its the way Im going to eat for the rest of my life so unless I make changes now I will always have this struggle..so I found foods that I like- and can continue to eat without worrying if I'm eating too much. This has worked for me.But it may not work for everyone. So when I say lifestyle changes I mean working working within your own eating habits and figuring out a way to make healthier changes that work for you
- I lost my weight not as a Personal Trainer but as any average girl trying to lose weight.
Yes- now I dedicate a lot of time and energy to health and fitness b/c its my job- I would never recommend a fitness regimen to a client that I have not tried and seen results- but in no way does it need to be like that AT ALL. If you can find time to squeeze in 30 minutes a day you're already doing a lot more than many people. Those 30 minutes will pay off in the long run just be patient and stay committed. Very very easy to give up but look at it as something that is part of your life- just like eating, drinking, getting dressed, and sleeping- and not as something you're forced to do to shed some weight.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I agree with you skinny. To anonomous-
Your comment outraged me. You're so quick to judge and critisize other people by their looks when you should really be focusing on your own Midos. Its coming from a very jealous place. At to Struggling I know Rochel personally and she eats like a horse! She's very passionate about exercise because its her job- its not her life.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

when uncovered hair, slits past the knee and low necklines become tznius......well...then yes...you could say its perfect tznius..until then...its not the worst tznius ive seen - but cant exactly say perfectly tznius can you?

Mimi Hecht said... [Reply to comment]

To Anonymous: Your most recent comment was not published because it was detracting from the conversation and was borderline rude. It's easy to make the foray into such a discussion under the guise of "Anonymous" but it's inappropriate. Please consider contributing in other ways.

Nina Safar said... [Reply to comment]

You look amazing! It's always encouraging to see that hard work and effort pays off.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

So inspiring! As a new mother with a one month old and feeling very fat, this is very inspiring. Its good to hear someone come right out and say IT TAKES HARD WORK...you won't just nurse the fat away!!!!

Rivki said... [Reply to comment]

Congrats on losing all that weight and being so fit! You must feel amazing. I also gained more weight than I wanted during my first pregnancy, and B"H, I lost all of it and a little more after I had my baby through walking EVERYWHERE (we only had one car) and eating smaller (and smarter) portions. I love to eat, so it was an adjustment, but I'm used to it now.

To Struggling: I think for most women, the way we live and eat is a big part of our lives. At least, it makes a big difference on how we feel and function. Making healthy food for myself and my family has been a great experience. It did take a lot of effort at first, but now I prefer these foods (though I still eat pizza and ice cream from time to time). Hang in there!

Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

I am a Shlucha who has moved into the city where there are amazing gyms every block - but not one that provides me with a tznius environment to exercise. For years prior to the move I've worked out faithfully, five days a week, at the women's-only gym in the two other cities where I lived. And yes, exercise was my way of controlling my weight. Fastward three years, and I have not yet lost the baby weight from my toddler, 20 months old.

But you know what? I was sick of giving myself excuses. I knew that if I COMMITTED, I could do exercise videos at home, and I can train SMART- so I DON'T have to spend an hour and half exercising every day.

Two workouts EVERYONE should do, and they cut your exercise time in half:
1. Lift weights - HEAVY and SLOW.
2. Do High Intensity Interval Training, 3Xa week.

I have discovered a wonderful trainer with series of videos: Chalene Johnson. I use her Chalean for the weightlifting 3x a week. The great news? It's only half an hour and I'm DONE.

I also use her turbofire series, which has workouts that range from 15 minutes to 55 minutes. the short ones are all HIIT, which makes your heart work harder than normal cardio, and you burn alot of calories in a short time. I do the turbofire 3x a week; if I have time, it's a 55 minute workout or if I don't, it's the HIIT 15. But it's something, and I am burning calories for hours afterwards.

The 3rd part of the puzzle - is sparkpeople.com.

Log on and start logging your food intake. I do it once a day, it takes me about 10 minutes.
You will see how many calories you are eating, and it will really help you lose weight.

Yes, when you are actively watching what you are eating, and you are exercising, you do need to think about it. But you can choose to let it rule your life, or you can choose to rule it.

I think Rochel looks incredible, and I am sure she can revisit and offer some good advice on how busy Mamas can adopt a healthier lifestle.

Rachel Laber said... [Reply to comment]

Hi! I glanced back at this page and read some comments I havent seen- so sorry I didnt reply sooner..
@ Nina and @Anonomous- thanks!
@ Rivki- walking is great- especially when its everywhere and instead of driving. Living in California its so hard to make the adjusted- ppl look at u like ur crazy-out of ur mind- or too poor to buy a car! I love to walk to markets, coffee, anywhere I need to but a lot of times fall back into the convenience of just hopping in the car and driving there- I definately feel that if the weather permits it- absolutely walk wherever u can and ur living proof it makes a great difference..
@Sarah- great on u! I am such a huge huge fan of at home workouts and especially workout videos. I am a fan of the gym and especially the comfort of an all womens gym- but I am against the notion that one feels they can only work out in a gym and if they cant get there they cant work out for that day. I wrote a whole blog on it once- I have never personally tried the videos u recommended but would love to- and yes muscle building-high energy- HIIT which is High Intensity Interval Training is what I do with my clients and myself- all the time. Its the most effective and challenging workouts- and u see great results from it. Keep it up.

Rikki said... [Reply to comment]

i am a mother of a 14 month old, who i am still breastfeeding and am expecting my second in a few weeks. Nursing is very important to me. But I was very upset when the weight didn't fall off like it did for a lot of my friends. I now know, with my experience, that i have to work a lot harder to get the weight off post baby, but I am still wondering why some people don't lose weight easily from breastfeeding. I actually put on weight while nursing. Do you know why this happens?

fat2fit said... [Reply to comment]

Rochel, you look incredible and your struggle and then success is a real inspiration. I have a 14 month old, my first, stopped breastfeeding already and no the weight has not 'peeled off', as 'they' said it would. And my subsequently being depressed about this new body status i'm dealing with, lack of clothes/desire to buy clothes, is likely causing me to eat my way further into this state, each day leaving me more and more depressed about it. I think reading this, seeing that you, someone real who looks great now struggled the same, is finally going to give me the push i need to get back into my healthy active lifestyle i had pre-baby and 'whip my ___ back into shape'! thank you!

one question: i used to be a bit of a gym rat, am now even too embarrassed (yes, and i'm rarely embarrassed about ANYthing) to workout at the gym amongst all the fit-bods, so i'm wondering if you have any suggestions for the initial workouts (can't really afford the luxury of a personal trainer right now or i would)... 30 minute walks? do i get more points/calories peeled for walking in frigid ny weather?!?!? any other things i can do? is yoga/pilates more efficient?

Rachel Laber said... [Reply to comment]

@ Rikki- I was in your exact same situation after my first kid. Granted- I put on a lot of weight but thought at least something would come off from nursing- nothing- nada! It's a concept that hasnt been studied well and no firm conlusions were drawn but there was a study that showed 22 percent of woman actually gain weight during breastfeeding!- every one has a different expirience with nursing and therefor needs to do whats right for their body. However- u are pregnant and expecting- while I would usually recommend switching up the way you eat a bit and adding some high energy workouts- I would not reccomend that while pregnant...if you have not been doing any type of exercise I would just take walks to keep you healthy until you deliver and make sure you're eating the right foods for you- your nursing baby- and unborn baby! Once you do give birth and are ready to exercise- just switching up your food intake and starting an exercise program will do great for you and getting rid of stubborn fat..
Good on you for committing yourself- at some times it can be harder than actually getting the workouts in but if you're ready to take that step you're already halfway there..
I would not suggest walks in NY weahther- does not burn the amount of calories you're looking to burn and in difficult weather you're more prone to finding excuses to get out of it..
As to the gym question- do they offer classes? Can you go at a time where its emptier there? I know exactly what you're going through..when I started out at the gym the only thing I wore that would fit me were mens XL pajama pants and XL Hanes undershirts..I kid you not...I think if you can try to get over the embarrasment- walk in- get right to the cardio machines- put in 45 minutes of high energy cardio- and walk right out. Throw on a pair of oversized sunglasses and have a "dont talk to me" attitude.
But again if thats not happening- try workout videos, classes, or maybe invest in a home treadmill or eliptical but I dont highly recommend that cuz we know it just turns into something that holds our clean laundry..
I hope this helps..sorry for all typos but I'm too lazy to re-read this :)

Rachel Laber said... [Reply to comment]

@Riki- I was in exact same situation- I did put on a lot but thought at least something would come off with nursing but no luck there. Not sure why this happens and no its a topic that hasnt been studied well== there is a study though that shows 22 percent of woman actually gain weight while nursing so hey were not alone..
I would usually suggest changing what you're eating and obvioulsy starting a fitness regimen- but b/c youre pregnant I dont reccomend that..Right now you need to be eating well for 3 people! Make sure you're getting in your good carbs, good proteins and veggies- and eating enough of each. Once you deliver and are ready to start exercising- I highly believe that changing a bit the way you eat and adding some high energy workout you will see big changes..Again- we all have to work with our own body- now what works for others and what other people promise can work for us..you know yourself that nursing doesnt peel the weight off you so its gonna take effort on your part- but that effort will go a long way not only for weight loss but in the future health and shape of your body..
You're halfway there. Sometimes committing yourself can be harder than even getting the workouts in..but if you're dedicated, drive,motivated, and will go the distance- thats all you need.
Now- that being said- u do need a place to workout. In NY weather- u do need a gym. I would not recommend the walks in that weather- youre more prone to finding excuses if theres a blizzard outside. I'd find classes elsewhere, or even classes being offered at your gym. Yoga- Pilates- yes great stuff but if youre talking major calorie burning you need to start sweating..
When I started working out the only things that fit me were mens xl pajama pants and men xl undershirts- and I understand whats it like walking in and thinking everyones looking at u...I can tell you firsthand- they're not. A lot of them are just as nervous as u- so heres what I suggest. Try it for a week. Walk in- go straight to the cardio machines- put in 45 minutes- and walk out. Throw on a big pair of oversized sunglasses if you need to and make as if its no ones business. Remember- ur on a mission here and if you act like nothing and no one can come in ur way- it'll be ten times easier for u to stick with anyone.
If the gym is really really not working out- try classes elsewhere- look for high energy kick boxing-dancing-etc classes...hope this helps..