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I am Rali with Styles ‘n Cream and I am so excited to be a guest blogger today and participate in this lovely series hosted by Taylor - Girls with Goals.
Before I got pregnant with my first child, I was in very good shape; going through the pregnancy itself was not that hard, I think I was one of the lucky girls to have a very easy pregnancy. I stayed active the whole time - running almost every day, doing prenatal yoga and even in my ninth month I was walking all the time. After my daughter was born, the pounds started melting very quickly until I reached a plateau and the last 10 pounds just couldn’t come off. 2 ½ years later I gave birth to my son and again I was stuck with another 10 stubborn pounds. So now I had about 20 pounds I knew I needed to loose to get back in my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans.
The Eating Plan
I knew I had to take some drastic measures because I was no longer in my early twenties and my metabolism was a tad bit slower. I have always followed a very healthy diet ( I am vegetarian and my husband and kids are vegan) and I have been active all the time but my life had changed - I was a busy working mom, handling a full-time job, 2 young kids and a household. I didn’t have that much time to go to the gym and often I was relying on quick snacks such as whole grain pita chips, pretzels, Kashi crackers. I thought my snacks were healthy and eating them was OK but my body wasn’t saying the same thing. I realized that it was so much harder to digest all these processed and packaged foods. So, one day just like that, I decided to see if I can go for 3 weeks without any packaged foods and I was amazed at how easy it was. And the best thing is, the scale just started moving down and the pounds were melting off.
During this period my motto was “Eat clean, lean, green and mean”. Clean is for all of the fruit and fresh salads that I ate. My diet was about 80% raw food. Lean was for all of the low-fat products such as low-fat greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese; green was for all fresh produce and mean was for all the spices I was using - I love adding black cracked pepper and cayenne pepper to many of my meals - you get flavor without increasing your sodium intake and these spices speed up metabolism.
Originally I thought I am going to stick to this plan for 3 weeks only, but I could not stop myself. I was feeling so much better and I wasn’t missing all the carbs and quick snacks I used to love. I ate five small meals a day and when I felt the need for a snack I would grab a non-fat greek yogurt drizzled with some honey, or celery sticks, or a handful of nuts. My day always started with a lemon water cocktail (a whole lemon squeezed in hot water, maple syrup and a dash of cayenne pepper), then I would have some fruit for breakfast, my mid-morning snack was usually greek yogurt, lunch was a fresh salad with tons of veggies and chick peas or lentils, and for dinner I would have again a salad (you can see I love salads) and steamed veggies. The best thing about this food plan was that I was never hungry. I love eating fruits and vegetables and they keep me full for a long time. Starting your meal with a green salad is key - you get many nutrients and vitamins and you tend to eat less of your entrée.
The Workout Plan
I also remained very active during this time. I would wake up at 5am to go for a 3 to 5 mile run before the kids wake up and in my lunch break I attended yoga or pilates classes at my gym. I did cardio about 4-5 times a week and the mind-body classes 3 times a week. The combination of cardio and yoga was the best workout for my body and I was seeing results pretty quickly. I have found out that in order to stick with working out, you need to do something you truly enjoy or if you see you are getting bored or you don’t see any results just switch things up a little bit. It is best for your motivation and beating boredom and your muscles will thank you as well- they like being challenged and pushed through various types of exercise.
Being active is very important to the overall health of every person but I truly believe that the key to successful weight loss is 80% eating healthy and 20% exercise. My focus was mostly on the eating habits and the workout was just an extra bonus. Plus, I loved the feeling after a long run or a vigorous yoga class.
In about 2 months I lost 20 pounds and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was in the best shape of my life and I was feeling the happiest I‘ve ever been. Now I maintain my healthy weight by continuing to eat mostly fresh vegetables and fruit, controlling my portions and staying active as much as I can.