When you are pregnant and have a normal BMI the doctors tell you to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. I gained the latter with my first. Lots of chocolate ice cream, which my doctor told me didn’t cut it for my daily calcium intake. Sad.
Post children, I am put on a medication with some awful side effects, one of which was weight gain. So much for losing baby weight. I was on it for 6 months after my first. I felt like the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I’m a terrible dieter. I’ve only tried a few, but as soon as I’m not allowed to have something I crave it. So… I began counting calories.
Mad props to people who have counted calories before the invention of the smart phone. You should be able to count the research and writing as exercise. I’ll stick with app counting. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal for 3 years now. I had used a different calorie counting app for a few months… I think it was called EveryDay Food. Anyway, I switched because MyFitnessPal had a larger food database, making my entries more accurate and it has a fun feature that tells you at the end of the day, “if everyday were like today you would weigh ____ in 5 weeks.” It’s like a scale fortune cookie.
Managing weight has become fun to me. I’m naturally detail oriented; my favorite thing about counting calories with an app is that I can keep track of things like my calcium intake (gotta love Osteoporosis running in your family) and my vitamin A and C and Iron as well as my cholesterol (had to watch that one closely, thank you again heredity) and sodium.
I consider counting calories like budgeting your money. There isn’t a food I can’t have if I make room for it. Pizza’s tricky, but I can do it. My language has even become financial when it comes to my food choices. I now say, “I can’t afford to eat that today.” If you plan your meals ahead you can even enter them early (pre-populate your food diary) and then I can see how big of a breakfast I can have. Or I can look on my nutrition for the day and fill in the gaps… not enough vitamin A – eat a carrot.
This was especially helpful when I was pregnant the second time. I actually gained the 25 pounds only and I did it gradually. My o.b. nurse was impressed. I also did it healthier. I’ve heard that your body craves nutrients, so until you feed it right it remains hungry. I ate to gain while tracking my total nutrition and nearly eliminated cravings.
If you’re a social person or a competitor, MyFitnessPal is for you. It has a newsfeed with your friends for you to encourage one another and it keeps tally of your logging in streak. Today I have logged in for 361 days in a row and have lost in that year 17.4 lbs. Total loss since I’ve been counting calories, 34 lbs. That’s more than 20% of my body weight at the time.
You can also use the app to log your calories out by exercising. I don’t exercise. I should and I plan to, but I really like to read books with my little bit of free time. I think I’d get carsick if I read while working out. (Yes, that would help lose weight, but I doubt a doctor would bless that plan.) I’m less than two pounds from my ideal goal weight, and then I’ll add some exercise to build strength as I increase my calories to maintain my healthy weight.