10 Takeaways from My First Month on WW Freestyle

This past weekend marked one month since starting WW Freestyle, and it’s been quite a successful month for me, both on and off the scale. I feel much more in control with my eating, already feel healthier, and have several pounds and inches, which makes me want to stick with it. Here are my weekly weigh in results from the past month:

  • Week 1: – 5.4 lbs
  • Week 2: – 1.4 lbs
  • Week 3: – 2.4 lbs
  • Week 4: – 2.0 lbs
  • Total: – 11.2 lbs

And in terms of measurements, I’ve lost 9.5 inches total, which includes measurements of my neck, bust, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves and arms. (Though I’ve found it’s pretty hard to be very accurate with measurements because I can’t remember the exact place I took the measurements, but the trend is in the right direction!) Overall, I’m really thrilled with my progress and am pretty obsessed with the WW Freestyle program in case you can’t tell.

Here are my top 10 takeaways after being back on the program for a month:

1.) I don’t have to be perfect to be successful. Over the past month, I’ve gone out to eat a bunch of times, drank wine, ate french fries, and have overdone it a few times. But, I’ve really focused on tracking almost everything, even when I’ve been “bad”, and on getting back on track right away after I’ve gone overboard. And it seems to be working!

2.) I do best when nothing is off limits. I’ve dabbled in toooooons of diets over the years, and while I know low-carb does work to shed the pounds, for me it’s just not sustainable. Whatever food it off limits seems to call my name the loudest and I always end up giving in big time. When I can have anything I want, just not everything I want, I find that I tend to have an easier time looking at treats as treats, and choosing nourishing foods because they satisfy me more, not just because they’re all I can have.

3.) Getting my eating under control is much more important for weight loss than exercise. I’ve been dabbling in exercise this past month while getting back on track with WW, but I’ve mostly focused on my eating and have been really pleased with the results. Exercise obviously has tons of benefits, including keeping my mind in check, but it’s nice to know that I can focus just on my eating for success.

4.) I really don’t have to track or measure zero point foods (for now). I have tons of zero point foods — usually 3 eggs, 2-3 servings of fruit, 3+ servings of veggies, chicken and/or fish, and nonfat greek yogurt almost every single day. Not measuring or counting these foods makes it easier to track everything else and makes the program more liveable for me. I know at some point if I run into a plateau I’ll likely have to start measuring these to make sure I’m eating a serving, but for now it’s nice to have that freedom.

5.) I do better with portion control when I leave the food scale out on my counter. For the foods I do have to track, it’s much easier for me when it doesn’t add extra steps. Bonus points that using a food scale also means less dirty dishes, but for the past month I’ve left the food scale out on my counter and use it far more often than I would if it was put away. I am super Type A so actually enjoy weighing food somewhat, but if I had to get out the scale and/or measuring cups every time I went to eat, I know that I’d do it less often.

6.) Embracing the zero point foods list helps me not feel deprived. As mentioned above, I eat a ton of zero point foods every day, and having so many foods that I like on this list makes the program very livable for me. Since I’m exclusively breastfeeding my daughter, I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been in my life. I find that knowing that there’s a lot of foods I can eat that are actually satiating even if I’m out of points for the day makes me feel like I can do this for the longterm. Though, not going to lie, I’ll miss those extra points when I’m no longer nursing!

7.) Always weigh your avocado. This one I learned a while ago, but it still rings true with WW Freestyle. You get sooo much more avocado for your points if you weigh it than if you go by portion (ie. 1/4 of a medium avocado) so if there’s one thing worth weighing, it’s this.

8.) I’m always happier when I look up food values before I eat them. I’ve made this mistake too many times, but this is especially true with WW Freestyle since “treats” are sooo many points. Even if I decide to have the 14 SP cupcake (which I had two of on SuperBowl Sunday…) it’s always better when I know I’m making that choice rather than find out after the fact how point-y it is and feeling blindsighted.

9.) The WW app is awesome and makes tracking super easy. There used to be a separate barcode app for WW several years ago and it was always so annoying to have to open it to scan things at the grocery store. Now, the barcode is built into the app and works really fast even when I don’t have the best service, and it makes it easy to use on the fly in the grocery store. I also love that there are Wellness Wins points now, which you get for tracking your meals, activities, and for going to the meetings, which you can trade in for prizes once you’ve accumulated enough. I also love WW Connect (@bethsjourneyy) for inspiration, meal ideas, and to connect with other WWers.

10.) Everyday is a new day. I love opening the WW app every day and seeing the daily point balance, especially when I’ve gone overboard the day before and dipped deep into my weekly points. It reminds me that each day is a fresh start and to try to make the best decisions I can, and not to “punish” or deprive myself even when I’ve overdone it. And, in the past, if I have tried to make up for going overboard the day before by eating too little, or trying to be perfect, it always backfires. Getting those daily points every day no matter what helps me embrace that every day is a fresh start!

What I’m Doing Differently This Time Around

Being in weight loss mode is something I’m super comfortable with, and while it’s perhaps a little too familiar, here we are. This time though, things feel different than ever before because I have different reasons that make me even more committed. And with this new chapter of my weight loss journey, I want to take the opportunity to do certain things a bit differently than I have in the past. Here are the main things I want to do different this ‘go round:

1.) Actually take monthly photos and measurements. This is something I’ve wanted to do every time I’ve ever lost weight and have regretted not doing it consistently. I’ve pieced together random photos from different times and aligned them with what weight I was at the time, but I want to take consistent photos and measurements so I can see my successes outside of the scale. I took my starting measurements and photos on January 2 and will take the first progress photos and measurements on Saturday, February 2nd. I’m not quite ready to share these yet, but maybe I will one day.

2.) Realize I’m going to mess up sometimes and focus on getting back on track quickly rather than beating myself up. This is a mistake I’ve always made in the past — getting very frustrated with myself when I mess up, and then throwing in the towel and taking too much time to get back on track, rather than just forgiving myself and moving on. This time I’m going in eyes wide open to realize that there will be times when I’m sleep deprived and overdo it, or am tempted at a party and give in, or go out to eat and eat all the chips, drinks, and dessert. But instead of wallowing in frustration about falling off track, I’m going to do my best to start fresh with the next meal because that will make the biggest difference in the long run. I also want Riley to be gentle on herself in whatever battles she comes across later in life, and since kids do as we do, I want to set that example as early as I can.

3.) Not avoid social gatherings. Now that I’m older, have moved to the ‘burbs, and have a kid, social gatherings are fewer and farther between than they were when I was younger. On previous attempts when I was getting serious at losing weight, I would avoid getting together with friends because I didn’t trust myself, or try to re-route us to do healthy things rather than what was suggested. While I’m not going to shy away from healthy dates by any means, I’m also going to make a big effort to really soak those experiences in and not let my weight loss efforts get in the way of having fun, being social and living my life. Life is short and friends, parties, and outings are a big, important part of it, whether I’m trying to lose weight or not. And if I overdo it while enjoying good company? See #2.

4.) Pay more attention to ingredients. I know I won’t be perfect with this one, but I want to shy away from diet foods and light options and focus on nourishing myself with whole foods and short ingredient lists for the most part. I think WW Freestyle nudges you in this direction anyway, but in past attempts at weight loss I haven’t cared what was in anything I was eating except for the number of Points. This time, I want to focus on feeding myself well because I know that’s important for my overall health, and plus I’m feeding my baby from my body now, so what I put in is even more important.

5.) Enjoy the journey. Sure, I’d like to be where I want to be now (or yesterday), but I’m not. Life goes SO FAST and I know that if I focus on the positives, make the best choices I can in the moment, and stay proud of myself for healthy habits, even if I’m not where I once was, it’ll be a much more enjoyable experience and I’ll be where I’m heading before I know it. A good example of this was yesterday — I did week one, day one of the Couch to 5 K running program, and it was really hard! Rather than harp on the fact that I used to run half marathons and would even skip the first few weeks of the program as I’ve gotten back into running several times since then, I was truly proud of myself for making the time to do it and for doing all 8 intervals of (slow) jogging. In the past I would have been frustrated that I’m back to square one at this point, but that’s not going to get me anywhere, so instead I choose to see the good in it. And that only encourages me to keep going.

I’m not expecting perfection from myself with any of these things, but even aiming for them is a few steps ahead of where I’ve been in the past with my mindset, and it already feels good.

What I Eat In A Day on WW Freestyle

One of the things I love most about WW Freestyle is that nothing is off limits. You get a daily SmartPoints (SP) allowance to use however you want, and that works really well for me because I tend to go straight for anything that’s off limits if such a thing exists. It helps me make healthier choices without feeling deprived, and yesterday was a good example of how I spend my SPs throughout the day. Since I’m nursing, I get 16 (!) extra SPs a day, for a total of 41. Here’s a look at everything I ate yesterday, which totaled 40 SPs.

I started the day with a cup of DD Caramel Coffee Cake coffee (0 SP) with 3 tablespoons whole milk (1 SP).

Breakfast consisted of 3 whole eggs (0 SP) scrambled with spinach (0 SP) and 1 ounce of goat cheese (3 SP), cooked in 1 teaspoon of olive oil (1 SP). I also had two slices of Nature’s Own 100% whole wheat bread (3 SP) with 1 tablespoon peanut butter (3 SP), for a grand total of 10 SP.

For a morning snack, I had a string cheese (2 SP) and a fuji apple (0 SP).

Lunch was a salmon salad sandwich that had canned salmon (0 SP), chopped red onion and celery (0 SP), and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (3 SP) on a Trader Joe’s lavash bread (2 SP). On the side, I had 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese (2 SP) with 2 mandarins for 7 SP total.

For an afternoon snack I had a mini bag of SkinnyPop popcorn (5 SP), which is pretty good. I actually bought these thinking they were the 100 calorie packs that have 3 SP, so luckily I have extra points to play with since I’m breastfeeding.

Dinner was grilled chicken that I quickly marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and ginger powder (0 SP), plus sauteed kale (1 SP – cooked using this recipe) and a baked sweet potato (7 SP using the weight). I also made a peanut sauce on the side that had 1 tbsp peanut butter (3 SP) plus soy sauce, chili sauce, lime juice, stevia and a little water to thin it out.

For dessert, I had a frozen weight watchers treat which was tiiiiny for 4 SPs, but tasty. It was the last one in the box and honestly I won’t buy them again because they’re too small for what you get!

And that’s a wrap! That was a total of 40 SP for the day, which is 1 SP under my daily allowance. I ate when I was hungry and went to bed feeling both satisfied and happy that I can eat like this and be headed back towards my goal weight. Yay WW!

Riley’s Birth Story: Part One

October 4, 2018 was the day everything changed. Until then, I’d had a relatively uneventful pregnancy and was excited to be heading towards the final month before my baby’s arrival. I was planning on trying for an unmedicated vaginal birth, and couldn’t wait to find out the baby’s gender when that day finally arrived. I was down to having weekly appointments since I was in the last 5 weeks, and was feeling really good and still pretty energetic given how far along I was.

While I’d never felt the baby move a ton since I had an anterior placenta (meaning it was on the front of the uterus so muffled any movements except on the sides), we had a regular routine going. I would stay in bed to feel the baby move first thing in the morning, and then would press on my belly to feel baby again in the evening before drifting off into sleep.

But that Thursday evening, the baby stopped moving. I tried everything you’re supposed to do — I laid on my left side, ate something sweet, drank iced water, and even pushed hard to try to get a reaction — but nothing worked. A tremendous sense of anxiety came over me, but as a first time mom, and someone who never felt the baby move a lot as it was, I convinced myself it’d be OK and to just wait until the following morning for my 35 week appointment where they’d confirm everything was fine.

I barely slept that night and was a ball of nerves as I anxiously waited for 9am the next day. When I got to my appointment, they used the doppler to find the baby’s heart beat, and it was in the 120s, which was much lower than it had been, but still within normal range, so they weren’t too concerned. When I mentioned that I felt a marked decrease in movement starting the night before, a look of alarm came over my midwife’s face as she asked why I hadn’t called/come in the night before when I’d first noticed. She immediately sent me upstairs to the Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist for an ultrasound to check on what was going on. They took my bloodpressure and it was elevated, no doubt because I was freaking out about the lack of movement, even though I kept rationalizing it away in my mind.

During the ultrasound, I just knew something wasn’t right. On all my previous ultrasounds, the baby had been moving around like crazy, but this time, it just sat there with a very occasional jerky movement of a limb. They were looking for 4 things during the ultrasound — practice breathing, muscle tone, muscle movement, and the amount of amniotic fluid — and saw everything they were looking for except for practice breathing. She told me since I’d only met 3 of the 4 markers, they’d likely send me straight to the hospital for additional monitoring, but not to be too worried since she’d seen some movement. She sent me back downstairs to speak with my midwife while she prepared the report.

I called my husband in tears and told him he needed to come meet me immediately because I’d most likely be heading to the hospital. He dropped everything and came and met me, and just as he arrived we got the official word to head straight to the hospital, which we did.

I was placed in triage where they wrapped two wires around my belly — one to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, and a second to monitor any contractions. They told me that continuous fetal monitoring (being hooked up to these wires) was a better indicator of fetal health than an ultrasound since an ultrasound was just one isolated period of time. They saw several fluctuations and accelerations of the heart rate during the 6 hours I was at the hospital and assured me that even though I wasn’t feeling the baby move, the accelerations indicated movement and that everything seemed OK. They told me the main thing I had to worry about was my blood pressure, which continued to be elevated as I sat there in panic staring at the machines.

After 6 hours, they discharged me and told me to take my blood pressure at home every day, and that they’d see me in a week for my 36 week appointment unless my blood pressure spiked before then. I left feeling somewhat relieved but still uneasy, though I trusted the doctors and tried to silence my maternal instinct that something was not right since they had told me everything was fine.

That night I went home and since it’d been such a long day, tried to go to sleep pretty soon thereafter. I dozed off on the couch and then moved into bed, where I tried to see if I could feel the baby move again with all the tricks I knew. I barely slept all night between moving from side to side and pressing hard on my belly. I’d taken 4 boxes of juice from the hospital and ended up drinking all 4 that night in an attempt to get the baby to move, but still had no luck.

The next morning around 8am, I came out of my bedroom and my husband asked how I was feeling and I told him, “Not good. I barely slept a wink and still am not feeling the baby move.” “Let’s go” was his response, and thank God for that because I had been spending much of the night trying to talk myself out of my concern since I’d just been released from the hospital hours before. He made me some eggs and toast and we left to go back to the hospital, where the same midwife was working as the night before.

I was again taken into triage and put on the monitors, and then was sent downstairs for a follow up ultrasound. As we sat there watching the baby completely still on the monitor, the panic built up in me again and I just knew something was wrong. I kept asking the technician if she was seeing what she was supposed to, and she said she was looking but couldn’t tell me much. That morning, the ultrasound resulted in a score of 0 and so they admitted me to the hospital for monitoring and took me up to labor and delivery.

Still, the doctors and nurses reassured me that everything was fine because the monitoring showed accelerations in the baby’s heartbeat. I had no idea what was to come, and even walked around the room noting random things like that there wasn’t any shampoo so we needed to make sure to bring some, asking the nurses where the squat bar was that attached to the end of the bed, and asking how I could get my hands on a peanut ball when I was to come back in a month to have my baby.

I asked the nurse what the plan was as far as me staying at the hospital and kept getting unclear answers as to what we were hoping to see, though was assured everything was looking good and I’d probably be released soon. They told me I may have to stay overnight so they could repeat the ultrasound again the next morning to make sure it had better results, but that they may try to do something else to get me out sooner.

Once night shift started and the nurses passed their patients along, our night nurse came in to check on me. When she came into my room and said she’d heard that I was asking about what the plan was and when I’d be going home, she told me to prepare to stay there for at least a few days. I was so confused. No one had indicated that anything was wrong until that moment, despite my persistent asking for status updates and to be in the know with any developments, and she mentioned the day nurse had noted several heart decelerations, which she had failed to tell me about.

I asked what that meant, and she said there’s no telling yet, but that she would not feel comfortable discharing me at this point or anytime soon. I asked her how concerning the decelerations were and she said they were only slight and that I’d know when it was cause for concern.

Moments later, five nurses came rushing into the room and my nurse told me she’d need me to flip onto all fours, as the other nurses placed an oxygen mask over my face and still another nurse tried to get an IV into my arm. So this is what she was talking about in terms of knowing when it was cause for concern. Within a few minutes, the baby’s heart rate had returned into a normal range and I was again allowed to turn onto my back, but each time I laid down completely, the heart rate would subtly decelerate again, so I had to spend most of the time on my side.

I asked her for the truth about what was going on, and she said “Do I think we need to get the baby out now? No. But do I feel comfortable discharing you anytime soon? No. We just have to wait and see.” At this point, I’d been at the hospital for close to 14 hours and still had no idea what was to come. The baby’s heartbeat was staying in the normal range during most of the decelerations (~120), except for that scary one, but my baby’s baseline was in the 150s, so those 120s were decelerations all the same. Another hour passed with no noteable decelerations when the OB who was on call came into my room to talk to me around 10pm.

“At some point,” he said, “we have to stop explaining away these decelerations and decide that it’s safer to have the baby out than to keep the baby in.”

“OK, that makes sense,” I replied. “At what point do we make that call?”

“I’m ready to make it right now.”

“Wait. Like now, now? What do you mean?”

“I think we should do a C-section right away.”

I was in complete shock. My dreams of an unmedicated vaginal birth were slipping away right before my eyes and this surgical birth was the complete opposite of everything I envisioned. I was so scared, but knew that the only thing that mattered was getting the baby here safely, so I asked for a few minutes to talk to my husband before calling the doctor back in to tell him we were ready to move forward with an emergency C-section.

How My Why Has Changed

At the WW meeting I went to last week, we talked about the importance of why we’re doing this, and the leader shared a reason she’d heard from another member that really resonated with me. She told us that one of her members’ kids said to her, “If something were to happen to you mom, I have no pictures of the two of us to remember you by.”

Whew. That got me.

It made me think about my own baby girl and how, while I’m constantly taking pictures of her, I have very few of the two of us because I’m not loving how I look in photos lately. Even typing this right now is getting me choked up. The time is going by SO FAST and it makes me sad to think I’ve avoided taking photos of the two of us together because of my weight. If that’s not a good why, then I don’t know what is.

I shared my “Why” for losing weight back towards the end of 2017, and even though it wasn’t that long ago and some of those reasons still ring true, given all the life changes I’ve gone through recently, the reasons have overall changed quite a bit. WW tells us that when we think about our whys, it’s important to be specific and not just have “so I can get healthy” as our reason, so here we go.

1.) I want to feel good about myself so that I set a strong, healthy example for my daughter and hopefully help her avoid some of the weight-related struggles I’ve battled my whole life.

2.) I want to feel confident in pictures with my daughter so that I can look back on this time fondly and not with dread about how heavy I look.

3.) I feel like I’m giving so much of myself to my daughter with the round-the-clock nursing and care that she needs at this time in her life (and don’t get me wrong – that I love doing 98% of the time), but I want to lose weight because it means prioritizing myself sometimes, too.

4.) I want to avoid health issues related to being overweight, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. My parents have struggled with all these things and I’m close to the age where I’ll start seeing some of the same issues if I don’t get my weight under control.

5.) My back has been iffy lately, and I know losing weight will help reduce the chances of it spiraling out of control again.

6.) Summer will be here before I know it and I want to feel good in a bathing suit so I’m not shying away from sharing the joys of summer with Riley because of my weight.

I’m excited to share that at the weigh in, I’d lost another 1.4 pounds, bringing my total loss up to 6.8 pounds so far in 2019. Keeping these reasons top of mind has really helped me stay on track, even when part of me would still rather be elbow-deep in ice cream and french fries.

A Day in the Life with my 3 Month Old

Let me start out by saying I know I am so lucky to have a realllly good baby. She sleeps a lot, goes down fairly easily (most of the time), and is bright eyed and smiley a lot of the day. I thought it’d be fun to capture a day in the life with her at 3 months and kept waiting for a “typical” day, but then realized — there really isn’t typical at this point! Every day is different and I don’t have her on a schedule except the one that’s led by her. So here goes – our day last Thursday!

8:00am – My alarm goes off and I jump out of bed with a start and run to the baby’s room to make sure she’s still breathing. She is. I was up from 4-4:45am feeding and soothing her back to sleep and she’s still out, so I go make coffee, respond to a few work emails, and tidy up downstairs.

9:05am – I hear Riley crying so go up to her room to start her day in disbelief that the hour I had is somehow gone.

9:15am – I bring her downstairs to nurse her until she loses interest and seems full, about 30 minutes.

9:45am – We play on her mat and I read her a book. Sometimes she likes it when I’m down on the mat with her, but sometimes she prefers to be by herself so I give her some space ha.

10:15am – She starts yawning so I pick her up and rock her a bit to try to put her down for a nap. I put her awake in the Rock ‘n Play and she falls asleep within 5 minutes.

10:30am – Realize I’m starving so go downstairs to make breakfast – scrambled eggs with leftover roasted broccoli and cheese, plus a piece of peanut butter toast. I also respond to a few more emails.

11:05am – I commit the cardinal sin of parenting and wake Riley up to change her diaper and get her dressed for the day because I’ve been wanting to make it to Baby and Me Yoga every Thursday since I’ve been cleared to exercise (7 weeks now) and decide today is the day I’ll finally make it.

11:25am – Arrive at the studio and go to register for the class online and realize it’s not happening today. Argh! I check the schedule for next week and the class is actually at 11am, not 11:30am, so learn the lesson that it’s best to check the schedule before you head out of the house (and/or wake your sleeping infant). Try again next week.

11:30am – Decide to reroute to the Dollar Store. Riley is not having it, so I rush through to grab the few things I need (gallon Ziplock bags, sponges) and a few things I don’t need (cheap K-cup coffee I’ve tried since and is NASTY, shockingly) and check out. Riley proceeds to spit up all over herself on our way out the door.

11:45am – Drive back home and eat a serving of my new dollar pretzels on the way.

12:00pm – Change Riley out of her clothes and into a new diaper as soon as we get home.

12:05pm – Sit down and breastfeed for 20 minutes.

12:25pm – Take Riley upstairs to her room, put her in a new outfit, add a sleep sack, and put her on my shoulder to pat her back for 10 minutes until she seems sleepy.

1:35pm – Get a solid hour of work in. Riley is still in her crib but I can’t tell if her eyes are open on the monitor, so I go up to check in person to make sure she’s still breathing. She is. Back to work.

1:55pm – Realize I’m super hungry so whip up a quick lunch. I take chicken breast and marinate it in soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar and fish sauce while the broiler heats up, then put it under for 8 minutes. I also take a cup of cooked quinoa and mix in chopped scallions and heat it up in the microwave while the chicken cooks, then top the whole thing with 1 tsp each of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Delish.

2:15pm – Can’t believe she’s still sleeping, so I start writing this blog post. (Funny how I’m just now finishing it almost a week later.)

2:35pm – Riley wakes up, so I bring her downstairs and let her have some diaper free time on the play mat. We just switched to cloth diapers a few weeks ago and I’m told diaper free time is important to help keep things dry and prevent rashes. We also do some tummy time which turns into torture time after 1 minute every time, even though she’s really good at it.

2:50pm – Time to nurse her again.

3:35pm – Riley falls asleep in her Rock n Play for another nap.

4:25pm – Riley wakes up and it’s back to the mat for playtime. Good thing she looks at it like it’s new every time still.

4:45pm – Riley gets a little cranky so I nurse her for a few minutes and then put her back on the mat for tummy time

5:05pm – John gets home and joins Riley on the floor for play time

5:30pm – She’s hungry again so it’s back to the boob.

5:45pm – She falls asleep while nursing and goes down for another nap in the crib.

6:30pm – She wakes up and starts talking to herself so we leave her in the crib for about 20 minutes since she’s content.

6:50pm – Bring her back downstairs for more diaper-free time where she proceeds to pee AND poop with her diaper off. Good thing I have her on a waterproof mat haha

7:15pm – Bath time! She absolutely looooves the bath – it’s so cute. One thing that surprised me as a new mom is how quick baby baths are since you can’t let them get too cold. She’s probably in there for a grand total of 3 minutes but is smiling and cooing the whole time.

7:30pm – She’s hungry again so it’s back to nursing for session 3092834 today. Exaggerating obviously but it feels pretty constant!

8:00pm – She’s exhausted and keeps falling asleep in my arms but screams her head off every time I try to put her down. Finally I put her in the crib and leave her for a few minutes to see if she calms herself down. She doesn’t. I go back in to get her after 5 minutes and bring her back downstairs. John’s on the phone with his sister so we both chat with her for an hour or so while Riley sleeps on me the whole time.

9:00pm – I put her down in the Rock n Play soooo carefully but she immediately opens her eyes. I hand her to John because I am staaaarving and need to make something quick to eat — frozen veggie burgers it is.

9:35pm – Change into PJs and her nighttime diaper and feed her one last time.

10:00pm – Play the game where she falls asleep while I’m holding her but screams bloody murder as soon as I put her down for a good 30 minutes which feels like hours, but finally she tolerates being put in her crib and she is out for the night. Fingers crossed she makes it through the night like she has been for the last week or two.

10:30pm – I come back downstairs and melt into the couch while watching trashy TV but am exhausted too so don’t even make it through a show. Whew!

PS: That night she slept straight until 7am, got up to eat for 15 minutes and then went right back down until 10am. I know I’m super lucky and make sure to be grateful for it every day, especially during the tough moments!

My First Week on WW Freestyle

Last Wednesday, I went back to a WW meeting and rejoined at just a few days shy of 3 months postpartum. I’d been toying with the idea of rejoining for a few weeks and after all the traveling around the holidays (and then a cold and stomach bug – ugh!) I finally did it. My weight was… more than I wanted it to be. Roughly 24 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, and another 14 or so above my goal weight, so I’m looking at losing about 40 pounds to be in a place where I’m comfortable.

I’d done WW Freestyle for a few weeks towards the end of 2017, but I didn’t dive in that deep before getting pulled in other directions. This time though, I’m one week in and fully committed to getting to a place where I feel good. I am super proud of myself because I tracked every single day this week, including Saturday when I went wayyy overboard and had 75 SmartPoints at a friends house for dinner. I also found myself planning more and makng much better decisions while out to eat which is always something I struggle with.

5 Takeaways from My First Week

Being on WW really helps me reign in my eating. I love having the structure of the SmartPoints budget, while also having nothing off limits, because I tend to go straight towards anything I “can’t have”. I’ve planned more, made better choices while eating out, and have eaten lighter/lower SmartPoints to balance out times when I know I’ll be having more and love the flexibility the program gives me.

It works really well for me as a nursing mom. I am hungrier than I’ve ever been while nursing (even more so than when I was pregnant!) and get 16 (!) extra SmartPoints every day while exclusively breastfeeding. On top of those, there are so many zero point foods that are actually satiating, so I can definitely eat enough to fuel myself and my milk production and stay on the plan.

SmartPoints definitely steers me towards eating healthier and having more protein in my diet. I absolutely love that lean chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, and nonfat greek yogurt have been added to the Zero points food list, on top of fruits and veggies like before. That means when I’m running low on SmartPoints I can have a whole meal that’s actually satisfying for next to nothing, like scrambled eggs with veggies or white bean chicken chili.

I’ve eaten more fish this week. I looooove that salmon and fish have been added to the Zero points list! I ate salmon twice this week and would normally steer clear of it even though it’s healthy because it was so many Points in previous versions of WW.

I love that WW has focused more on whole foods. They’ve removed all artificial sweeteners and colors from their products, and all the recipes on the weekly cards are full of real foods and things I can feel good about eating. Previous versions of WW included recipes with lots of artificial ingredients and fat-free cheese, which I never feel great while eating.

Weigh In Results

So in all honesty, I was really proud of myself even before stepping on the scale this week. I felt great about the decisions I made this week, while not feeling deprived, and ate in a way that feels sustainable. I also cut back significantly on sugar and tracked every single day, even when I went way over my daily SmartPoints. But obviously, I was hoping the scale reflected my hard work, and I was ecstatic to see I was down 5.4 pounds! I know a lot of that is water weight, and that I can’t expect to lose like that every week, but I walked away feeling really proud of myself and excited about week two on the program.

My Pregnancy in a Nutshell

Pregnancy was good to me and overall pretty uneventful. I found out early (when I was 4 weeks and some days along) and decided to wait until the baby was born to find out the gender, which went against every Type A vein in my body, but turned out to be one of the best decisions I made.

I only had a week and a half of the dreaded morning sickness during my first trimester and never even threw up; I just felt awful and nauseous for a few hours each day. Even though in retrospect it was only a short while, it felt like an eternity while I was going through it. Other than that, I was suuuuper tired, which lasted well into the second trimester, even though everyone told me it would go away after the first. I kept waiting for that burst of energy everyone assured me was coming, but I’m not sure it ever arrived.

The only other less than fun part of pregnancy for me was the glucose test which I had at 26 weeks. For that, you drink a sugary drink and then get your blood sugar tested after an hour. A lot of people told me the drink was sickeningly sweet so I was a little worried, buttttt I actually liked it.

Orange flavor for life

However, my test came back borderline with a result of 137, so my practice made me do the 3 hour test, which was much less fun. For that, I had to fast from midnight the night before, and then drink a sugary drink that was the same volume but twice the sugar as the one for the 1 hour test, which was in fact sickeningly sweet. With the 3 hour, they take your fasting blood sugar, and then take it again 1, 2, and 3 hours after the drink. I did the test on a Friday, which was apparently the day a student was working in the lab. I’ve had my fair share of blood work and never had an issue before, but that student definitely needed more practice. She did the fasting blood draw, and then the one hour blood draw, and after that my arm stung so bad I was afraid to go back in for the last two draws. I ended up speaking with the front desk and they had someone else do the last two blood draws which were less unpleasant. But, I started feeling sooo sick and shaky between the 2nd and 3rd hour of waiting and had to ask for a room to lay down in. I was only allowed to drink a limited amount of water and just felt so gross for the last stretch of the test. Fortunately, I passed all four of the blood draws and didn’t have gestational diabetes, but the testing experience was not one of my favorite parts of the pregnancy.

As many of my longtime readers know, I had a tummy tuck back in 2013, so I wasn’t quite sure how, or if, that would impact the pregnancy. I obviously spoke with my providers about it and was told that it shouldn’t have an impact, besides showing less and/or later in the pregnancy, which definitely panned out to be true for me. I started taking photos at 16 weeks and barely had a bump until towards the end. While to some that might sound awesome, for me, I was really wanting to look pregnant when I was that far along in the pregnancy so it was kind of disappointing that I wasn’t obviously pregnant until 7 to 8 months. The grass is always greener, right?

For the record, I was really trying to look preg in all these photos

My goal for the birth was to have a low intervention, unmedicated vaginal birth and I did everything I could to make that dream a reality. In terms of birth prep and education, I did a tooooon of reading, listening to podcasts, went through training to be a doula so learned a lot about pain control methods and positions for labor, and also took the home study Hypnobabies course.

Physically, I stayed active throughout the pregnancy with lots of hilly walks around my neighborhood and going to prenatal yoga twice a week, which I loved. I also started seeing a chiropractor every week that specializes in the Webster Technique, which is a specific way of manipulating the pelvis to make positioning ideal for pregnancy and birth. I gained around 30 pounds total, which was more than I wanted to, but still in the range of normal, and I tried to be relatively healthy with my eating with the occasional (ok, more like regular) treat in the mix.

As I got into the home stretch at 34 weeks, my mom and sisters threw me a baby shower, which was awesome. They had it at Zaytinya which is one of my favorite restaurants in DC, and about 22 of my favorite ladies came and showered me and my baby with love.

A lot of my favorite people!

It was such a fun way to celebrate my pregnancy and the baby to be. I got so spoiled and felt so good and excited to meet my baby just 6 short weeks later, which barely felt like enough time to get ready. Little did I know that things would change drastically over the next several days and that my baby would be making a surprise early entrance less than a week later.

Let’s Catch Up

Soooo it’s pretty crazy that it was a year ago yesterday that I wrote about getting engaged, and here we are one year later and so much has changed. You know how they say you should take your time with big life changes rather than piling them all on at once? Well, I’ve never been one to like being told what to do, so let’s catch up on what’s happened since then.

In January, we bought a house in Alexandria, which just outside of DC proper, and moved from our one bedroom apartment in Dupont Circle to our 4 bedroom house in February (which sounds much bigger than it is).

In early March, I became a wife when we got married in DC in front of 70 of our closest friends and families.

A few days later, I found out I was pregnant and became completely fascinated with all things pregnancy and birth. I researched and read everything I could get my hands on and ultimately decided to go through training to be a doula, which I completed in August.

Our baby was due November 9th, but she had plans of her own and made her appearance just over a month early on October 7th via emergency C-section. So much for the unmedicated vaginal birth I’d been planning on, though it was perhaps a good introduction to parenthood to realize you can plan as much as you want, but good luck with that.

Meet our daughter, Riley Sue.

That photo was taken a day after her due date, so she was just over a month old at that point. Riley is now two and a half months old and becoming a mom has been one of the most amazing, humbling, challenging, and rewarding transitions of my life.

I am excited to share this new chapter of my journey with you, as I learn to navigate life as a new mom, work towards being healthy / losing the baby weight, and adjusting to life in the ‘burbs. I hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

A Week on SmartPoints: The Good, The Bad & The Weigh-In

Yesterday marked my first full week on the Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale plan, and overall I’m really digging SmartPoints (SP). I’ve written about several of the Weight Watchers plans over the years, including:

But since rumor on the street has it that a new plan will be rolling out in the next few weeks (rumors are discussed here), rather than go into the nitty gritty details, I’ll just share five things that stuck out to me from this first week.

  1. SmartPoints seems more in line with the latest nutritional research, steering us towards foods lower in sugar and higher in protein. It seems like it’s a lot harder to “cheat the system” that it has been on earlier iterations of WW.
  2. I love that there’s a focus… beyond the scale, including thinking about (& writing down!) why you’re trying to lose weight at the beginning and setting non-scale related goals for yourself in addition to weight goals as you go along.
  3. I really miss the Healthy Living Guidelines tracker. I used to love checking off each cup of water and fruit and veggie as I ate it. (Can you tell I’m Type A much??) I’m not sure why they removed this feature, perhaps to simplify the program and not overwhelm those of us who don’t like having to check boxes, but I wish it was an option because I miss it!
  4. I’m a lot less impressed with the format for the Weight Watchers Weekly. It seems like there’s a lot less information and a lot of repetition from week to week. For example, each week uses a full page to talk about reframing your thinking, and the examples they give are just… dumb. This week’s topic was “Use Your Beans” and it did include one recipe, but it seemed like the rest of it was trying to convince me that beans are a good source of protein and alternative to meat… I’m convinced, now give me something useful!
  5. I love that fruits and veggies are still no points, and that they figured out how to tweak the Recipe Builder so that when you create recipes, fruits and veggies aren’t counting against you like they did before.

So, there’s definitely more things I like about SmartPoints than I dislike, and overall my first week went really well! I get 32 SmartPoints per day and 42 per week, and this first week I ate them ALL. I am actually really enjoying tracking again and have gone to town with the scanner at the grocery store. The week itself was pretty low key and easy to be on plan since I was mostly cooking at home, but then I had a bunch of social stuff over the weekend which is always more challenging. But, I tracked everything I ate, tried to make good decisions for the most part, and felt pretty in control.

So, when I went in yesterday for my weigh in, I was feeling pretty confident that I’d lost, but wasn’t sure what to expect numbers wise. I was quite pleased when I stepped up on the scale and was down 6.8 pounds!! I am obviously SUPER happy with this result, but I know most of it is probably water weight, so my goal for next week is to just maintain the loss from this week. Onwards!

One of the things I am excited to dive into this week is Connect on the WW app! For those on WW, any tips or insights on how best to use it?

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