How I Lost 60 Pounds in 60 Weeks (Post Baby)

posted by Andrea | 11/12/2018

As many of you know, I am a FIRM believer in “all things in moderation”… I also REALLY dislike all forms of traditional exercise. So, before we get any further into this post, I want to clarify a few things right from the start.

  • I did NOT go on a “diet”
  • I did NOT forbid myself from eating anything, even super unhealthy junk foods
  • I did NOT exercise at all, outside of playing with my kids, taking them for walks, etc.
  • I did NOT start this health journey with the intention of sharing it publicly
  • I did NOT think there was any possible way I would lose over 60 pounds in the same number of weeks

Now that we got that out of the way, let me share my first-ever post about my first-ever attempt to lose weight.

WAAAAAAY back in December of 2016 (almost 2 years ago), Dave and I officially decided we wanted to try for a 4th baby. At that time, my hope was for another Fall baby so I could coast through the holiday season snuggled up with my baby, wearing bulky sweaters and leggings to “hide” my extra baby weight, and enjoying yummy holiday treats.

Once January rolled around, I would finally get serious about losing any leftover baby weight, along with the 5+ pounds of extra weight that stuck around after my first 3 pregnancies.

When Clara was born on September 25, 2017, that “weight-loss plan” began!  

I wanted to lose the 35 pounds I gained with her pregnancy, plus the additional 5 pounds I mentioned above, for a grand total of 40 pounds.

However, since no one wants to worry about weight during the holidays, the first part of my “plan” was to coast through the holiday season without much concern for my weight. I never weighed myself, I just focused on eating nutritious foods while still enjoying plenty of holiday treats.

Once January hit, it was time to actually start working towards completing the rest of my 40-pound weight-loss (I still had about 20 pounds to go at that point).

I had NO idea where to start or what to do – this was completely uncharted waters for me!

I knew a fad diet or extreme eating plan would never work for me, I knew I would not be motivated to exercise with a 3 month old baby and 3 other children to care for, I knew I couldn’t drastically cut calories since I was nursing, I knew I wasn’t willing to spend any money, and I knew I wanted to complete my 20-pound weight loss by my birthday in June.

That left me with roughly 6 months and very few options to lose 20 pounds!

After a little research, I decided to download the Noom App and complete their 14-day free trial.

The Noom App focuses on logging food, counting calories, and eating “less dense foods” like tons of fruits and veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, etc.

I did not participate in the coaching or group sessions (hello, introvert here!) but I did really enjoy the health and nutrition information they provided every single day during the free trial. I learned a TON in just 2 weeks!

After the trial period was over, I continued using the free version of the App to log calories and make better food choices.

Fast-forward 6 months of eating smarter, and I woke up on my birthday 30 pounds lighter than in January (a 50-pound loss from Clara’s birth, and 10 pounds more than my goal!!)

Since my birthday in June, I’ve lost another 10 – 15 pounds — NOT because I’m actively trying to lose more weight, but because my new eating habits have stuck around, and I’m enjoying the extra energy, better sleep, clearer skin, and healthier lifestyle I have as a result.

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So… what did I do to lose the weight?

Honestly, I didn’t do anything super-special — no fad diets, no special drinks or pills, no fasting, no crazy exercising, nothing. Just good old fashioned eating smarter, eating cleaner, and a full year of slow-but-steady progress.

Here are a few more details for those of you have asked! 🙂

1. I gave myself plenty of TIME.

After 7 years of weight fluctuations due to my 4 pregnancies, I didn’t expect the extra weight to magically fall off in 30 days, 6 weeks, or even 3 months. It took me A YEAR to lose the weight, and I wasn’t even a large person to begin with. I also didn’t have horrible eating habits or a bad relationship with food.

If you are struggling to lose weight, or if you’re just beginning the process, know that it will take TIME, lots and lots of time.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results in a couple weeks. Slow and steady weight loss is MUCH more attainable (and maintainable) than a quick fad diet or cleanse.

2. I focused on eating as many vegetables as I could.

Instead of thinking about all the foods I probably shouldn’t be eating, my main goal was simply to eat as many vegetables as I possibly could at every single meal.

It was a slow process, but after 60 weeks, my diet is so full of vegetables now — I’m often not even hungry for other less healthy foods.

  • Our family now eats spaghetti squash or zoodles in place of traditional pasta almost all the time
  • We swap cauliflower rice for regular rice almost all the time
  • I swap sweet potatoes for white potatoes almost all the time
  • If we do eat white potatoes, I mix in turnips or rutabaga and no one ever knows the difference
  • I roast 2-3 sheet pans worth of vegetables every 2-3 days
  • We have a huge tub of ready-to-eat raw veggies in the fridge ALL THE TIME for snacks or quick side dishes
  • I add spinach to almost every “pasta” dish, every casserole, every egg dish, every smoothie, etc. etc.
  • I’ve experimented with so many delicious salads (and homemade dressings and vinaigrettes) for lunches or side dishes
  • I fill my plate almost 2/3rd full of vegetables at every single meal (even breakfast)

Putting my focus on eating as many veggies as I could turned my weight-loss into a fun challenge instead of a harsh punishment, so this was a great motivation for me.

3. I majorly cut back on snacking.

Keeping in line with my life-long commitment to all things in moderation, I truly did not eliminate anything from my diet (even candy!)

That said, I majorly cut back on snacking and focused instead on filling up on nutritious foods during each meal.

If I DO have a snack, it’s because I’m legitimately quite hungry, and I’ll opt for a nutritious snack instead of a cookie or brownie.

Some of my go-to snacks are: 

  • raw veggies and hummus or guacamole
  • plain yogurt with fresh berries or frozen cherries, and cinnamon
  • fresh fruit and nuts
  • a small bowl of broth-based soup

As I tracked my calories with the Noom app, it was astonishing to me how many calories were “wasted” on snacks throughout the day —  even healthier snacks. So I just decided that I’d focus on filling up at each meal, and then not worry about snacks throughout the day.

This saves me SO many calories, and I honestly enjoy my meals more because I’m usually quite hungry by the time the next meal is served.

4. I stopped drinking calories.

I’ve never been one to drink many non-nutritious beverages. However even drinks like milk, 100% juice, cider, and fresh lemonade have SO many calories — and I drank A LOT of milk (like 500-700 calories a day!)

Since I’ve never gotten into coffee, tea, alcohol, or any other flavored drinks, the decision to drink only water was fairly easy for me (outside of my milk obsession!)

I still have milk on occasion, but other than that, I drink water for every meal and any time I’m thirsty.

5. I stopped stressing over a little wasted food.

I absolutely HATE to waste food — even non-nutritious junk food. It just feels so wrong to me, and it’s not how I was raised.

I was the mom who regularly ate the stuff left on my kids plate, even if I wasn’t hungry, even if I didn’t like the food, even if it was cold — simply because I didn’t want to throw food away. I KNOW some of you can relate to this!

I also ate EVERY SINGLE BITE on my plate, even if I didn’t particularly care for the food and even if I was super full.

Now, I eat until I’m full, and then I stop (revolutionary… I know!) If this means throwing away a small amount of food from my plate, then so-be-it. If this means my kids have a little wasted food, oh well.

We’ve gotten into the habit of starting with smaller portions and having more if we’re still hungry. This cuts back on a lot of waste as we just save the untouched food for leftovers the next day… and I don’t walk away from the table overly-stuffed.

6. I spent tons more time in the kitchen.

I’ll be honest, eating healthier has meant TONS of extra time in the kitchen for me.

Not only do I wash, chop, and prepare SO many different fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, I’m also making mostly “from scratch” foods for our meals instead of relying on some of the processed convenience foods we used to enjoy a couple times a week.

Plus, I often end up making 2 variations of each dinner as I do not expect our kids to eat everything Dave and I have been eating. They have more carbs in their meals while we have more veggies in ours, I use spicier sauces on our meals, and aside from Tilapia (which they love), I don’t force them to eat fish.

On top of all this, we’ve eaten at home for the vast majority of all our meals these past 60 weeks. Aside from an occasional outing to Culver’s or Arby’s, or an invitation to Dave’s parents’ for dinner, we always eat at home — which means I’m always “in charge” of what I’m eating. This was great for losing weight, but definitely contributed to more time spent in the kitchen.

7. I waited until I was ready.

I think this might be the MOST important piece of my healthier-eating puzzle… especially since I’m so strong-willed!

Anyone could TELL me I should eat less sugar, anyone could EXPLAIN all the benefits of eating more nutritious foods, and anyone could SHOW me how fabulous they looked and felt after losing a few pounds or changing the way they ate. However, none of that would have mattered one bit until I was personally ready to try it for myself. 

For the past 7+ years, I’ve been pregnant, nursing, caring for multiple small children, working on house projects, growing a business, and trying to squeeze in a few extra minutes of sleep whenever I could.

Although I’m not proud to admit it, my own self care was one of my LAST priorities. As long as I was eating something, I couldn’t care less if it was good for me or not. I wasn’t in a position to devote mental or physical energy to caring for myself in this way, and honestly, I’m OK with that.

It was a season of life — a very draining season of life — but I’m through it now. 

  • Our house projects are basically finished (minus our laundry room!)
  • My business is in a good place where I no longer have to devote hours and hours every day to keep it running.
  • I’ve carried, birthed, and nursed 4 children and I’m SO CLOSE to moving out of this stage too.
  • Our kids all go to bed well and sleep all night long (the majority of the time).
  • Our kids are getting more self sufficient and don’t need me to do every single thing for them anymore.

Both Dave and I will agree that we feel like we’re finally turning a corner in our family life. We no longer feel like we’re running on fumes at the end of every day, we no longer feel overwhelmed with all the “extra” that comes with working, home projects, church and school commitments, raising children, etc. etc.

I can devote much more mental energy (planning meals), physical energy (preparing meals), and emotional energy (resisting food temptations) to my own health right now… all of which were essential to my success these past 60 weeks.

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Of course, it’s not always as simple as “giving it time”, eating the “right foods”, and waiting until you’re “ready” — I do have several other things working my favor.

For example: 

  • I’m still fairly young
  • I have a good metabolism
  • I’m very goal-oriented and self-motivated
  • I wasn’t hugely over-weight to start with
  • I’ve always had a healthy relationship with food
  • I’m home almost all the time so I have access to my kitchen and my own food
  • I enjoy cooking and coming up with new recipes
  • I’m not a picky eater
  • I’m not allergic or sensitive to any foods (that I know of)
  • I don’t have any medical conditions that would make weight loss more challenging
  • We have wiggle room in our grocery budget to accommodate the cost of healthier, more expensive foods
  • Dave is very supportive and never makes me feel silly or guilty for doing something for myself

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Looking back over the past 60 weeks, I’m proud of myself for sticking to my plan, for losing every single pound of baby weight (and more!), for incorporating many new healthier habits into my own life (and my family’s life), for trying new foods, for experimenting with new eating styles, for realizing my various “food triggers”, and resisting many of my unhealthy food temptations!

I’m also super proud of Dave and the kids! They have all been so adventurous and always tried my new (and sometimes crazy) recipe concoctions without too much complaining (the kids still won’t eat beets, most fish, or veggie omelettes, but they do pretty well).

Yes, we still eat grilled cheese, quesadillas, brats, hamburgers, baked beans, pizza, mac and cheese, scotcharoos, donuts, pumpkin pie, chocolate cheesecake, and more… BUT we eat so many other more nutritious options alongside of these occasional treats.

I can honestly say my entire outlook on food has changed over the past 60 weeks – which is so crazy for me to realize.

It’s not even about weight-loss or weight-management for me anymore (I’m no longer actively trying to lose weight)… it’s more about how much better I feel now that I’m eating healthier, more nutritious foods.

I’m still in favor of all things in moderation, and I’ll still have small portions of special treats, but I’m so much more aware of how food (nutritious or junk) affects my life… and I have a feeling my healthier cooking and eating habits will stick around for a long time!

If you’re starting your own weight-loss journey (or if you’re stuck in the middle, not seeing progress as quickly as you’d like to), I hope today’s post will offer a little motivation and encouragement.

Know that it WILL take time, it WILL be challenging, you WILL hate it at times, others WILL make rude and annoying comments, but the results WILL be worth it!

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And if you’re no where near a point in your life where you have enough mental, physical, or emotional energy to devote to eating more nutritiously… please don’t let yourself feel guilty. There are MANY worse things in life than eating less nutritious foods — I promise!

If eating more nutritiously and/or losing weight is important to you, you will find the right time eventually… don’t push it.

In the mean time, enjoy your holiday season and all those yummy treats… with a few raw veggies on the side!  

Professional family photos via Zander & Breck Photography

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82 comments

  1. Kim

    12/07/2018

    I am a little behind on my blog reading, so I’m just now reading this post, but I wanted to say I thought it was one of the most positive, realistic weight loss posts or articles I have ever read. I especially loved this line: “And if you’re no where near a point in your life where you have enough mental, physical, or emotional energy to devote to eating more nutritiously… please don’t let yourself feel guilty. There are MANY worse things in life than eating less nutritious foods — I promise!” So true, and a perspective that I almost never hear! Thanks for your always inspiring, relatable blog.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Kim! really, that means a lot to me!

    [Reply]

  2. Jen Ewing

    11/18/2018

    Hi Andrea,
    As a Health and Weight Loss Success Coach, I help people reset their body, reclaim their youthful MOJO and NEVER diet again! You have intuitively found that “magic pill” all of my clients are looking for. That is eating vegetables with every meal and prepping your food. If your food is prepped and waiting for you, you will eat it. Adding vegetables to each meal adds fiber and nutrients. It “volumizes” your meals. You are genuinely full! And giving yourself the year was genius!

    Kudos!

    You ROCK!!
    Jen

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Jen — glad to know an expert agrees with my approach!

    [Reply]

  3. Lisa

    11/18/2018

    I loved this post. I feel the same way you do about exercise, forced diets, etc.plus as a sometime introvert the thoughts of going to a gym were….ick.
    I lost 30 pounds last year doing pretty much all the same things you did. I no longer have kids at home, but living on a farm gives me all the at-home exercise I need.
    I downloaded Lose It! (Noom was not yet available) and it was a huge help.
    Thank you for writing this post and mentioning all the cool stuff you can do with veggies!
    This was a very inspirational read as I still have 30 pounds to go.
    Thanks, Andrea.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — 30 pounds, good for you!

    [Reply]

  4. Ginger

    11/17/2018

    Andrea,

    Loved this post. I have read your blog for years and enjoy it so much even though I am an empty nester. I have been trying to eat the way you described. I just finished the book “Food” by Dr. Hyman. So I have been thinking about food and what will make me feel better and lose some extra pounds. Thanks for the motivation! And you look great!

    Thank you, Ginger

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Ginger 🙂
    Glad to be motivating… and now I’m off to check out that book!

    [Reply]

  5. Heather

    11/16/2018

    That level of weight loss is absolutely commendable. No question. And yup, your blog, your prerogative in terms of sharing, but I gotta say… this post is almost comically off-putting. To include a list of common extenuating weight-loss factors that you *don’t* have to navigate, when almost everyone has to deal with at least one of these, is an odd choice from a reader-engagement standpoint. HOWEVER, I don’t come to your blog to be coddled (or for weight loss advice, frankly), so I’m not hurt or mad or outraged– just puzzled.

    I come here because I find your daily systems and efficiency fascinating and useful. I don’t necessarily aim to operate at your level of organization, but I am definitely motivated by it. I will continue to read here because I generally like your perspectives, your recipes, your tips and you; but I think it might be worth considering whether posts like this are really all that productive in the grand scheme of things.

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    Ouch. “Comically off-putting…”

    Interesting perspective though.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know… “ouch” is right!
    I’m guessing she sort of missed the point of that part of the post (or maybe just misread). The reason I chose to share that list of “common extenuating weight-loss factors that I *don’t* have to navigate” was to show that I have a lot of things working in my favor so I’m not all that amazing.
    The weight loss most likely came easier for me than it might for someone working around food allergies, medical issues, an unsupportive family, a negative history with food, etc.
    If that makes a post “comically off-putting” then I guess that’s what my post was… although my intention was to make it more real and understandable. Such is life. 😉

    [Reply]

  6. Chris

    11/15/2018

    Congratulations! Weight loss is hard work. I wanted to add something to your #5. I am a very frugal person but I have come to realize the last few months, that it doesn’t matter if I waste a little food. I know someone who is in poor health and has a lot of medical bills. I would rather “waste” a little food and have better health. In the long run, you are actually saving a lot of money. I’m also sorry that you have gotten some unkind comments. I absolutely love your blog. I love your “no-nonsense” approach to so many things – you seem wise beyond your years.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for this perspective Chris — you’re probably right!

    [Reply]

  7. Dondi

    11/14/2018

    Love all your posts❣️

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks so much Dondi! 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Amber Upton

    11/14/2018

    Dear Andrea,
    I’ve gone back and forth on a comment. I have followed you since around Nora’s birth. I had my first daughter a week before Clara was born. I guess because of reading your blog for years I felt I knew you a bit and loved your “semi-homemade” and all things in moderation style. It made me feel good about myself and not having to have perfection in feeding myself and family. You also motivated me in the spring to finally lose my last 10lbs of baby weight. I am 1lb lighter than when I started lol. This post made me feel downright bad about myself and I sort of feel like I lost a friend. We all need to grow and evolve. I will be 40 next month and am a very different woman than I was even at 30 and I’d like to think for the better. I am glad you have found a new way to eat, cook and live that works for you. I just feel like the Andrea I ‘know” would have dessert with her family and not care about putting a new semi-homemade casserole on the dinner table. I can’t relate to the new Andrea who is eating zoodles and cauliflower rice on the regular and never eats a cookie. You are ultra skinny…and I know from past experience that you are probably on a weight loss high. You most likely feel superior to those that eat unlike you (a bold statement…but goes back to the old adage “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”). I’ve been a size 0 and now a very fit (runner/gym goer) size 4. I can be a 0, but it definitely involves never eating a treat. Enjoy this time of walking by a mirror and thinking “damn, I look fantastic” People who get this skinny always say they have tons of energy, but I would hazard to say it’s because for the first time in 7 years you are getting proper sleep and not growing/birthing/feed babies 😉
    Enjoy your new you. I am sad that our lifestyles don’t match up anymore and I will take the recipes and posts I learned so much from and move on from this blog. I am sure you don’t care about losing one reader, but I am a little sad.
    Thank you for the past 7 years!
    Amber

    [Reply]

    Bridget Reply:

    This is kind of how I felt too and appreciate the honesty. Obviously we can only control how we feel and Andrea doesn’t have to answer to that or worry about how others react but she always seemed real and down to earth and would never stop eating a bun with her hamburger. 🙂 I do admire the will power to bake and eat treats and never eat them. I also have 5 girls and with a history with eating issues I have to be very careful with my example and making it too obvious what I am doing with my diet and giving them the idea that it’s wrong to eat a certain item.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    When did I ever mention that I stopped eating buns with my burgers?
    And when did I say I “never eat treats”? In fact, if you actually read the post, you would read that I did NOT completely eliminate anything from my diet — even candy, cookies, and buns. Yes, I curbed my sweet tooth, but I have at least one sweet every day.
    Please have pause before you openly criticize or belittle someone you’ve never met in a situation when you do not know even close to all the facts.

    [Reply]

    Bridget Reply:

    I was mostly going off the comments and the mention of no bun and less bread, rice and pasta and sweet breakfast foods. Sorry, I didn’t mean to criticize or belittle. I actually admire the will power and dedication.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Apology accepted and appreciated… Thanks Bridget 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh Amber, your comment makes me sad too… sad that you would make such bold (and VERY UNTRUE) assumptions about a “friend” you’ve never met, and sad that you would let a few written words allow you to feel badly about yourself.

    No where did I ever mention “never eating a cookie” or being a “size 0” — and we still eat semi-homemade casseroles and foods every week. My family and I enjoyed cheesy ham and potato soup last night with fresh bread and cookies… and Simon and I enjoyed HALF a donut for a special treat at school today. Everything in moderation is still how I live 100% of the time… just with more moderation on the junk food these days.

    If the fact that I’m trying to eat healthier causes you to feel badly about yourself, then you definitely should move on and stop reading my blog (or at least the food section)
    Thank you for your concern though.

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    Well said.
    I’m a little puzzled by some of these comments. This post to me was just as real and down to earth as all of your other ones since you started blogging.
    Hard to please everyone, I guess.

    [Reply]

    Patty Reply:

    Me too! This was a great post. I’m guessing there is a deeper issue there.

    [Reply]

  9. Debbie

    11/13/2018

    I forgot to ask if you had to buy a whole new wardrobe after your weight loss.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha yes! Twice actually!
    I get all my clothes from the thrift store when they have their $1 item sales or BOG2 free sales so I replaced pretty much ALL my shorts and capris in May, and then got all new pants and several new tops in September. I hardly spent anything and I actually consigned several of my too-big clothing items for cash! Score!

    [Reply]

  10. Debbie

    11/13/2018

    Great job Andrea! I think you look great, and look almost exactly the same as the picture when Dave proposed to you! I was hoping you would say you didn’t count calories through the process. I can’t stand counting calories. I’ve tried Autumn Calabrese’s colored containers and that works for me pretty well because there’s no need to count calories. I’m curious how often you weighed yourself during the process. Were you not tempted to eat the sweets that you baked for the rest of the family? I know that I can be pretty good if I don’t have sweets around, especially gooey chocolate chip cookies or brownies. Once it’s in our home, I have to be really strong to not have a bite of it every night. I do think that eating more veggies works. I’ve been doing just this the past 2-3 weeks, but like you said it’s not a quick fix and I get very impatient if I don’t see results right away.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Debbie!
    As for counting calories, I think that was a big part of the process for me because I needed something to track to make sure I was making daily progress. And yes, it definitely tests my strength having SOOOO many sweets, candies, cookies, bars, cakes, etc. around our house all the time — but I like to keep them around for lunches, desserts, if people come over, if we bring food to someone else, etc. etc. It got easier after 60 weeks of resisting, that’s for sure!

    [Reply]

  11. Bridget Swoger

    11/13/2018

    I would have to disagree about the diet part. Maybe you didn’t go on an “official” diet like Atkins, Paleo, Whole30, etc, but you were certainly dieting if you kept track, reduced calories and reduced (or took out) food groups. I think your point here is that anyone can achieve weight loss by doing some or all of these things and not doing a “fad” diet. The other thing is I’m assuming you were breastfeeding for all or part of the year and that also contributes a great deal to losing weight if you’re also cutting calories. I don’t think losing baby weight plus some while breastfeeding can be directly compared to someone starting off on a weight loss journey in a regular situation, though people can certainly see how doing these things can work for them too!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Bridget, my goal was not (and is not) to “compare” my journey with anyone else. I’m just sharing my story on my blog… and I feel I made it VERY CLEAR that this weight lost was “post baby” so it was obvious that baby weight was included in the number of pounds I lost.

    [Reply]

    Bridget Reply:

    I was just thinking back to my up and down baby weight loss and it was always easier for me in the first year while still nursing than it has been since. I know it’s much harder now since babies to jump back in to losing weight. 🙂

    [Reply]

  12. Siobhan

    11/12/2018

    You look great Andrea! Thank you for yet another motivational post 🙂

    [Reply]

  13. Monica

    11/12/2018

    Andrea, I admire your discipline! I’ve learned so much the last couple years from reading your blog. Thank you! My personal opinion is that you look a little too skinny with losing 60 Lbs. (I know, I’m being real honest) My favorite pic of the 3 you posted was the April pic. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Roberta Reply:

    I commend you on your journey and appreciate you sharing helpful tips. But I do I agree with the PP who said too skinny. 60 pounds is wonderful, but I’m wondering if you really needed to lose anymore after April? I believe you look the healthiest in the April picture.

    [Reply]

  14. Margaret

    11/12/2018

    Congratulations! That is indeed a major accomplishment.
    I have been on a similar journey since I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 2017. I had many more strikes against me (I’m a lot older, I have diagnosed eating disorders–a history of bulimia, and binge eating, I’m hypothyroid and I do have a very unhealthy relationship with food that originated in an abusive childhood). But I’ve lost 50 pounds and got my a1c down to 5.8. It can still be done; you just need a lot more support. I have been working with a dietitian 1-on-1 from the hospital’s Diabetes Education. My insurance pays for most of it, and they’re getting their money’s worth. I opted not to take the classes, since they seemed to be geared towards a fast-food, frozen-dinner lifestyle. I was already doing most of my own cooking, and I’m vegetarian and prefer to eat local and organic.
    It’s been almost entirely a matter of portion control. I can still have carbs, but half a cup of steamed potatoes, or pasta. A small piece of bread–I love baguette because it takes longer to chew. A giant salad for dinner every day–I prefer cold veggies to warm. Making the “special” food I have on my night off a veggie stir-fry or chili or black bean soup.
    Unlike Andrea I have had to eliminate some foods–the ones I used to binge on, like potato chips and store-bought baked goods–completely, because I’m incapable of moderation. With a couple of (planned) exceptions I only eat home-baked, and only one serving. My church small group (we always have a snack) has had to learn not to offer me seconds. A few things I have been able to moderate, like my pizza habit. Used to get a large every week, now I get a “personal pan” every two weeks. I have a free phone app that tracks my steps; I bike to work until it’s snowing, and then put the bike on a wind trainer and ride inside. I walk my dogs every night.
    It can be done, my friends.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — good for you Margaret!
    Thanks for sharing your story and a slightly different perspective!

    [Reply]

    Karen Jerread Reply:

    Every person is unique and can, if they so choose, to find what works for them. As for being too skinny, if you are healthy, feel good and your doctor is not worried, you are not too skinny. I appreciate you sharing what works for you because I am picking up tips and tricks that may work for me also. I have followed you since before Nora was born and will continue to do so. I consider you a “friend” via your blog and FB and admire the journey you have been on. You have discussed honestly about your concerns of being a new mother with a new infant that had sensory issues. You are a beautiful, strong intelligent woman. Let no one steal your power. We need to build each other up, not cause unnecessary pain.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you so much Karen!

    [Reply]

  15. Julia

    11/12/2018

    This is fantastic! So excited for you! My mother did a similar thing when I was young (motivated to stay alive after both of her sisters died from cancer at young ages and leaving young children). She lost a ton of weight, gained a ton of energy, and has never looked back. I was raised on these food habits, and I really can feel the difference when I go “off my diet” (er, lifestyle?), even for a day or two. Your kids will benefit from these changes just as much as you do!

    The next step is to start baking with home ground flour. I know carbs are the bad guys these days, and you probably lost a lot of weight by replacing carbs with vegetables, but cutting out carbs for the long haul is not sustainable, and there are so many health benefits from whole grains! I could get on my soapbox here, but I wont. What you’ve already done is amazing! 60 pounds is crazy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Julia!
    I don’t think I’ll be grinding my own flour any time soon — but I’m curious, what are the main benefits from home ground flour? Couldn’t I get the same thing if I bought whole wheat flour and made my own bread?
    Also, I do eat a far amount of carbs — but mostly in the forms of squash, sweet potatoes, corn, quinoa, etc. not nearly as much bread, pasta, or rice these days!

    [Reply]

    Margaret Reply:

    The freshness is wonderful, but it is a lot more work. I would suggest buying flour from a food co-op or online, so you can get either hard or soft whole wheat flour. All-purpose–I call it “no-purpose” is a blend of the two. Hard (bread) flour, from winter wheat, has a lot more gluten, which is what makes yeast bread rise. Soft (pastry) flour is from spring wheat, and works much better for quick breads, pancakes, cookies, cakes, and pie crust–basically any product whose leavening agent is not yeast. I can get very tender cookies, etc., using 100% whole wheat pastry flour, without any other modifications to recipes.
    The King Arthur company is very good if you can’t find locally milled. And if you buy more than you’ll use in a month or so, keep it in the freezer. The oils may turn a bit rancid. It’s still edible, but it will give foods the off taste that a lot of people associate with 100% whole wheat. Or we could just copy Julia and grind it fresh!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks for this Margaret! Very informative.
    I do currently buy King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour for most of our pancakes, waffles, etc. No one seems to mind it at all.

    [Reply]

    Julia Reply:

    There is actually a big difference nutrition-wise between store bought whole wheat flour and freshly milled flour. Whole grains contain an astonishing amount of vital nutrients and vitamins. As soon as the grain is cracked, oxidation begins and most of the nutrients are lost within a few days. Then the flour goes rancid. Shelf-stable flour has been stripped of its nutrients and fiber, and has been enriched to add a very few of the nutrients back in. Whole wheat flour also adds some of the fiber, but it has lost its delicious fresh flavor and makes whole wheat products heavy and stale. Most whole grain products that you buy pre-cooked in the store have had extra gluten added in to make them taste okay. My family loves the flavor of fresh flour, to the point where we can hardly eat store-bought baked goods anymore. The fiber content alone is worth the price of admission for us, but we have experienced health benefits from other parts of the flower as well. For instance, wheat is very high in vitamin e. My mother-in-law also uses fresh flour, and she and I individually noticed that we heal from cuts and bruises much faster now, probably because of the vitamin E. It also clears up warts. (Weird but true!) My cousin got rid of her tonsil stones, not from cutting out enriched flour, but from adding fresh flour. There are just lots of little things that make us love it!

    I have not found it hard to put milling into my routine. I have an electric grain Mill which sits on my counter, and it literally takes thirty seconds to Mill a cup of flour. I put it in to grind while I gather the other ingredients, and in 15 minutes I have the most delicious, healthy pancakes! (Love your pancake recipes, btw.) There is a slight learning curve with baking because of the moisture content, but once you get the hang of it it’s just like baking with all purpose. The only hard part is tracking down the grains. I order mine from a co-op and have to pick up 50 lbs of grains every couple of months.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    WOW — such goo information. I’ve honestly NEVER even considered grinding my own flour but you do make it sound easy and appealing. I’m assuming a grinder takes up loads of space and costs a fortune? I really don’t like anything sitting out on my counter — so that could be an issue 🙂
    I’m making my pancakes tomorrow as well!!
    Thanks for taking the time to write this all down — very interesting, that’s for sure!

    [Reply]

  16. JJ

    11/12/2018

    You’ve always struck me as the, “I can do anything I put my mind to!” kind of person. Congratulations!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I would have to agree with your comment! I’m very strong-willed, so if I put my mind to something, it’s very likely I will accomplish it (no matter how long it takes me!)

    [Reply]

  17. Melissa

    11/12/2018

    Great job Andrea!

    During that time, did you still eat dessert with your family at the end of every meal?

    -Melissa

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    not usually… mainly because my goal was to only eat if I was hungry, and by the time dessert rolled around, I truly wasn’t hungry but rather just eating because the food was there.
    I still baked and offered dessert to everyone else, but didn’t always eat it. Sometimes, I had it later in the evening when I was actually somewhat hungry.

    [Reply]

  18. Liane

    11/12/2018

    Good job! I’ve never understood the gym rat philosophy. Even though I was at one time a step aerobics instructor, I did it because I loved the activity. It was fun and stress reducing. I can’t do much of that on my old knees now and I do think that forced exercise results in arthritis and other problems in the future. So your exercise “plan” is perfect.

    People pay big bucks to join a gym to do exactly what you do on a daily basis:
    Stairclimber — just how many times do you go up your stairs every day!?! To the upstairs. To the basement. Repeat.
    Weights — other than Nora who probably doesn’t want or need to be picked up, how much kid weights do you lift every day.
    Treadmill — walking with the kids pushing a stroller to errands and around town – lots of walking.

    You probably get more exercise than half the office women who go to the gym after work.

    And eating. You probably discovered the best kept secret of not overeating or binging — not setting yourself up for defeat by placing restrictions on yourself. Deprivation leads to stress eating.

    Eliminating liquid calories, great plan. You probably don’t miss them at all. For me I have milk in my coffee but it’s the only milk I have and I limit caloric beverages like beer and wine to social events.

    Finally, stopping membership in the clean plate club. I was always doing that too. Even with my husband, eating out, I’d ask “you gonna eat that?” Sheesh you’d think I was calorie deprived.

    I need to eat more veggies myself. Problem I have is I don’t like cold food — like an apple for example. It has to be room temp. So eating carrots and celery and raw peppers won’t work for me. It’s just so much easier to grab something warm. I think I’m going to try to stockpile some cooked veggies I can reheat in a jiffy. Like steamed broccoli or cauliflower or carrots.

    I’m so happy for you. I don’t need to lose 50 pounds but I sure wish I could lose 50 years! Then the 20 I could spare would not be clinging so tenaciously.

    [Reply]

    M Reply:

    The important thing to realize is that everyone does what works for them. “You probably get more exercise than half the office women that go to the gym.” Why bash the women that go to the gym? Gyms are full of weights and you can get in an amazing shape by going there. Unless you’re there with them, and know for sure what they do in there, I wouldn’t go assuming things.
    “I never underatood the gym rat philosophy.”
    If you don’t understand it, my suggestion is to refrain from judging it or having such a strong opinion about it.
    Everyone does life differently

    [Reply]

    Eileen Reply:

    Everyone is different, if the Gym works for someone, good for them?

    I’m re-entering a weightloss journey. I lost (a necessary 40 lbs) in 2013 but have gained about 30 back. My physical and blood work indicate that I should focus on lowering my cholesterol (for the first time in my life. It’s not super high, not even considered clinically high, but it’s quite a bit higher than when I was in my best health/shape).

    When I lost my weight, I used both a program to help me log my food AND I used a combo of walking/running + a boot camp. I have a desk job that keeps me at a desk for 8+ hours a day. My daily activity would NEVER rival Andrea’s.

    I was never a gym rat, but I’m aware of what worked for me in the past and that included group classes. I say whatever works for you and where you are in life!

    [Reply]

  19. Audrey

    11/12/2018

    Thanks for this! I’m 6 months postpartum and ready to lose some weight from my two pregnancies, but I need to be careful as I’m still breastfeeding. Eating more veggies is a great idea! What do you eat for breakfast? I know how to eat more veggies at every meal except breakfast. The only way I can think of is with eggs and I don’t have time for that in the morning. (And reheated eggs don’t taste good to me.)

    [Reply]

    Cathy Reply:

    You can sneak in veggies into a smoothie. Or throw out the idea of “breakfast foods” and have a sandwich, soup, dinner leftovers, etc. After all, I eat “breakfast food” for lunch and dinner – what not eat lunch or dinner food for breakfast??

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly! Just throw out the idea of breakfast food and have grilled chicken and veggies!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — Keep in mind, Dave and I wake up at 4 every day (5 on weekends) so I have all the time in the world to make breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day because no children are “bothering” me while I cook!
    That said, I don’t eat any traditional breakfast foods besides eggs and bacon. I eat leftovers from dinner, a salad, roasted veggies, spaghetti squash (with sauce), burger (no bun for breakfast) etc. etc. All with a fried egg or 2 on the side. Just think of it like any other meal and skip the donuts, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles, and sugary yogurts!

    [Reply]

  20. Ashley

    11/12/2018

    I totally get the wasted food thing! I got over it by getting chickens: they get all the food scraps!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I JUST told Dave last week that I still sort of want chickens, but I don’t know where we’d put them. Plus, they’d eat all our flowers!

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    We have chickens and my husband is a huge gardener. The chickens have never eaten our flowers! I don’t think you need to worry about that!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know!

    [Reply]

    Bonnie'sMama Reply:

    Andrea, you could get a chicken tractor! My husband used to help manufacture the Egg Cart’n (check YouTube for videos about it).

    It’s not warm enough for a Michigan winter, but it’s sure fun to keep chickens in an Egg Cart’n in the warmer months. Your kids would love to get the eggs from the little door in the back.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    so cool! Our friends actually have something like this for their chickens (they live just down the road from us). They have a tiny heat lamp that they use in the winter and apparently it keeps things warm enough. I’d still feel bad for the chickens during the cold MI winters though — I’d want to build them a nice cozy warm coop!

    [Reply]

    Heidi Reply:

    We LOVE our chickens! It’s been so good for my kids- they love their little egg business! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Alison Reply:

    Andrea, chickens do MUCH better in the winter than the summer. After all, they have a down coat. They just require a little more food in the winter because of the calorie-burn staying warm.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know… I’ll keep this in mind for the future. Dave will take more convincing though — he’s currently not “on board” with getting chickens! 😉

    [Reply]

  21. Ronnie

    11/12/2018

    Wow!! You look amazing and I’m so glad you are feeling better too! I have quite a lot of weight to lose. I have tried the fad diets and always lose a significant amount of weight, but I’m always very quick to gain it back, once I lose the weight and slip into my old ways. I am dedicated to losing weight the right way, slowly and without deprivation of any kind. Your post has inspired me!

    Thank you 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I definiteliy wouldn’t recommend a fad diet for any significant amount of weight loss. It’s one thing if you just want to lose 5 pounds for a class reunion or wedding, but nothing that’s sustainable!

    [Reply]

  22. Jamie

    11/12/2018

    Congratulations, Andrea! You look terrific! I have been mentally preparing myself to implement some healthier choices into my day after the holidays. After this post though, I think I will start small and begin adding in a few small healthier choices even during the holidays. I have quite a bit to lose and get overwhelmed when I think about how long it will take. Your progress is encouraging. Thank you for sharing your journey and reminding me that it takes time and that is OK. I love the picture above of you and Dave where is looking down at you. So cute!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes… don’t wait until after the holidays just because that’s what the advertisements do. Start now — who knows you might lose 5 pounds BEFORE the new year! And even if you don’t lose any weight, you’ll be moving forward with healthier habits (like prepping lots of fruits and veggies) so it will be easier to stick to your goals after the New Year.
    And yes, I LOVE that picture of Dave and me too!

    [Reply]

  23. Debra Martin

    11/12/2018

    You look great, very motivating! I am been eating a lot more vegetables by following your ‘prepare’ ahead methods. You must have had to buy all new clothes!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you MUST prepare ahead if you’re planning to eat lots of fresh foods — it’s key! Good for you!
    And yes, I bought all new pants/skirts and a few shirts in April and then again in September. Thankfully, they were ALL from the thrift store when they had special sales (5 items for $5 or buy 1 get 2 free, etc.) so I hardly spent any money and got a brand new spring/summer wardrobe and now a brand new fall/winter wardrobe! It has been fun to wear so many new-to-me things, and I’m super lucky we have such fantastic thrift stores in our area!

    [Reply]

  24. Summer

    11/12/2018

    You do look fabulous! I wouldn’t have guessed you HAD 60 pounds to lose. I was wondering if Dave lost any weight too?! Not that he looks like he needs to either. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks!! and remember, 35 pounds was baby weight, including the baby inside of me! so it was truly more like a 25 pound loss after you factor that in… but still exciting!

    [Reply]

  25. Barbara

    11/12/2018

    I have been trying to implement some of these changes for a while now but thought I would try NOOM to see if it would be the encouragement I needed. I followed the link above and answered the questions and the price they quoted was $120.00. Like you, I wanted the free version to track calories, etc. Did I do something wrong? Should I just download the app?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmm… not sure — it’s been a year since I downloaded the App. I’d say just download the App and see if it lets you log calories. I’d be shocked if they didn’t have their free trial anymore

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    just wanted to let you know I went to the Noom website, filled out the questions (just to see what would happen) and at the end of the questions, it popped up for the 14 day free trial and then $49.50 after that… so maybe you didn’t actually make it to the end of the questions??

    [Reply]

  26. Abra

    11/12/2018

    Good job! I think I just came to a place where I am ready to start a similar journey. Thanks for sharing. I hope you will continue to share some of your new recipes or favorite foods, even if it’s as simply as the combo of veggies you roast.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Abra! it’s kind of fun (and scary) to get to that place. You know you’re ready… but it’s still all the unknown of: Will I be able to do this? How long will it take? Will I hate it? Will I gain the weight all back again?
    I have already shared quite a bit about roasting veggies (I linked to it in the post, but here’s that link again)

    [Reply]

    Abra Reply:

    Indeed, it can be scary. I am just finally fed up with the status quo. It’s not really working for me! Thanks for the link, I will check it out!

    [Reply]

  27. Leslie

    11/12/2018

    And I forgot to say you look GREAT! And you look like you feel great.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks 🙂
    And yes, it takes a lot of mental, physical, and emotional energy to work towards any goal, but especially food-related goals.

    [Reply]

    Drew Reply:

    Now that you’ve lost the weight, do you still track your calories daily with the app or is it mostly habit at this point?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I am still using the App — but I’m also really good at mentally calculating now too 🙂

    [Reply]

  28. Leslie

    11/12/2018

    I really appreciate your separating and detailing the mental, physical, and emotional energies involved in healthy eating. It DOES take a lot of all three energies to plan, shop, prepare, and consume nutritious food. This gives me a new way to think about and approach the 60 lbs of weight that I’ve allowed to accumulate since my last child was born (32 years ago!
    And THANKS for identifying that strong-willed aspect of being ready to start. Very insightful!
    Leslie

    [Reply]