It’s been over 4 months since little mister has arrived (somehow!). This leads me to something I’ve been dreading, something that I’ve been putting off for a few months now… the post-pregnancy diet. I’ve never been one to stick to a diet; the initial enthusiasm quickly wanes once my wine and chocolate have been taken away and end in a mega-binge that usually leaves me bigger and less athletic than before. Past exercise regimes have suffered a similar fate, with couch to 5k ending after 4 weeks because “it looked a bit rainy out”, badminton ending as “we’d be better off investing in equipment to work out from home” and the exercise bike at home ending as it had too many coats hanging off it. My weight has always yo-yo’d, but in recent years has been much harder to lose. Having hit my pre-pregnancy weight months ago to then gain even more weight since, I felt compelled to make the change. This time I have a very good incentive to get fitter (my little mister, and my future wedding), and maternity leave is a great time to form these new habits, away from the allure of office cakes and vending machines.
Obviously with running around after a bubba, I need something quick to throw together. It needs to be simple to follow; no “20 points on a Tuesday where you can eat anything pretty much, but only if the moons and stars have aligned and would you like to subscribe online for the real recipes?”. Nothing that promises eating ANYTHING you like, but requires you to spend all your free time in the gym. And certainly nothing that relies on going below your required daily calories; in the past I just counted 1200 calories a day on my fitness pal, only to feel like poop the whole time. That’s where the “Lean in 15” series of cook books caught my eye. Fast meals, a simple concept and exercises that can be completed at home during a nap time! On Saturday we took the plunge and ordered the books as they were sufficiently cheap to take a punt on, with a view to start on Monday. Diets can only start on Mondays, this is a fact. Before bed we did the dreaded weigh-in, and hideous before pictures O_O. Those pictures were the only motivation I needed to get cracking.
Day 1 – Monday 5th September
The books didn’t arrive until late on Sunday (Sunday deliveries provided through the magic of Amazon Prime), which led us to fail at the first hurdle. The Joe Wicks mantra is “prep like a boss”, so with that we began Monday with no food in the fridge. During a nap time I managed to reacquaint myself with spreadsheets and draft out a weekly schedule, and a shopping list of what we would need to assemble these concoctions. In lieu of any real food in but still wanting to start the diet on a Monday (I’m not going wait another week!), I threw together some scrambled eggs for brekkie. What an exciting start that was…
By Monday lunch time I’d picked up enough bits to make some oven steamed “fish in a bag” (salmon over some veg). I wasn’t too impressed with how this turned out; A) because my foil split before it went in, making me need to double foil the salmon, making it raw when it emerged from its steamy parcel (torture when you’re starving!) and B) because I bought cheap-o basics salmon which had more bones than the Natural History Museum. In the evening the little mister had lots of naps as we went to Lidl and Sainsbury’s to stock up for the week (prepping like a boss!... one day late). This was much more expensive than the usual weekly shop, and now my cupboard is suddenly full of weird concepts to me like coconut oil, chia seeds and protein powder. Hopefully now some of the basics are stocked we will be able to make some cheap substitutes to Joe’s recipes. The night was rounded off with a simple stir-fry, with Pak Choi being a first for me (although 2 each seemed excessive). Somehow I slotted in a 20 min HIIT session on the exercise bike before crawling up the stairs to bed.
Day 2 – Tuesday
Today was such a chaotic day. Poor little mister had his third set of jabs, and was such a brave little boy (even if his screaming left the other parent’s faces frozen in fear as we emerged from the nurses’ room). He was super good all day, until about five o’clock when he just screamed for an hour. We were also up every hour in the night, but we think this was down to teething (it looks like we have teeth coming through top and bottom, poor little guy!). This morning I battled with an unripe avocado and made and egg, avocado and bacon dish. This first attempt was pretty awful; I broke my yolk, I overcooked the egg and the avocado was super hard. This did get better as the week went on though. After my first experiences with avocado, I am a convert; they are awesome. At lunch time I played it safe with just a chicken salad, and dinner was just some wraps after an awesome time at badminton. I may suck at sport, but this was only the second time I hit 10,000 steps on my Fitbit (… it went mental as I hit target).
Day 3 – Wednesday
5,068 steps (without leaving the house!)
Poor little mister was still out of sorts today, and would only not cry if he was in his cot or his swinging chair (probably the best present ever, this chair always soothes him when he’s crying but doesn’t want to be held). That said, we still had an awesome day with the Mums from NCT popping over for Cornish cream tea (I did cave and have a scone… I’m only human). Lunch was scrambled eggs (so many eggs this week!) with chorizo and mushrooms. This was super tasty and filling. Dinner was lasagne as per the cook book. There was no white sauce and used a tonne of pasta sheets, so was not a fan (so so dry!). But being good and sticking with it.
Day 4 – Thursday
2,007 steps (total pyjama day)
Today we were tired, but the house was clean so we could enjoy a guilt free pyjama day. Today was a repeat of yesterday’s brekkie, but with bacon instead of chorizo. For lunch I threw together a (tinned) tuna salad with my new BFF (avocado) and mango. Dinner was the rest of the dry, dry lasagne. At least with simple meals today, the Little Mister and I enjoyed lots and lots of play time. And I managed to slot in another HIIT session (PAIN, so much PAIN).
Day 5 – Friday!
(3,882 – TREAT DAY)
The day was off to a winner, with a double yolk in my avocado yay :D. We hadn’t time for lunch today (for reasons I now forget), but for dinner I wanted to do something special. I threw together sirloin steak, with asparagus and coconut oil oven chips (and a cheeky glass of red). These chips were super amazing, the only way I’d do chips from here on out. Coco-nutty, spicy and so sooooooo melt in the mouth, I cannot recommend trying this enough. And healthier than normal chips I guess? (please be healthier, please be healthier…)
Day 6 – Saturday
My fiancé and I usually fail to stick to a diet when we’re both home together; we both love eating and cooking and this is a dangerous combination when trying to cut back! That said, the only naughty bit was a few biccies with our morning cuppa (some traditions are hard to break). Smoked salmon on eggs for brekkie (I’ve had enough of eggs already!), courgette fritters for a snack, and a “o crap, the chicken’s off, what can we throw into a pan?” wrap for dinner. Om nom nom.
Day 7 – Sunday (OMG I STUCK TO SOMETHING FOR A WEEK)
6,503 steps and counting
Sundays are carboot days, a great excuse to get some fresh air and catch some bargains. Because of this, I wanted a quick brekkie we could down and get out the door with, so opted for a chunky monkey smoothie (chocolate, peanut and banana). This was so much nicer than I anticipated, and am in love with almond milk already. The car boot was pretty busy, but managed to nab a few bargains; a Fisher Price Phone (£3 vs. 12.99 on amazon), an ELC high-chair toy (£2 vs £12 online) and a pushchair toy (20p! vs £10). For a change, we had avocado and egg when we came in, before being successful in planning next weeks’ meals (meaning 2 more shopping trips to stock up). Tasty dinner of turkey chilli con-carne and cauliflower rice, which was so easy to make (just blitz the cauliflower in a food processor, and throw in the microwave for 7 mins… so simple!) rounded off the evening before weigh in.
Week 1 – the verdict
I have to say, before weighing myself I feel awesome. The meals were filling, but never left you feeling icky and stuffed. I’ve exercised 3 times this week, which is triple my normal rate, and as the workouts are under 20 mins I feel I can have the time to stick to them. So far I have lost 4 lb, and this is weighing on a full tummy, and am hoping to continue at this rate! Goals for next week are to try and make the meals a bit cheaper (with some clever substitutions), and to get the portion sizes right (the recipes are way too big, think they’re aimed at burly men). I’d also say the “Lean in 15” is misleading, as this doesn’t count the prep time for the veg which takes so long. But all in all, happy with how it’s going.