So you probably know that two months ago I had a little boy – my second – and I have definitely blogged before about the issues I’ve had with my weight. Well after pregnancy #2 I’m left with 10 lbs on top of the 35 lbs I had stuck to me after pregnancy #1.

Without kids it’s easy to just work your butt off in thr gym to shed the extra weight but with a preschooler and a newborn I’m lucky to get a shower every day let alone time at the gym. So you have to make adjustments.

The Book: Master Your Metabolism

I’ve just read Master Your Metabolism By Mariska Van Aalst & Jillian Michaels (on my iPhone using the Kobo app). Jillian Michaels, as you probably know, is the hardcore ripped trainer from The Biggest Loser. I have to be honest with you… I have a bit of a chick crush here. She is definitely an authority on diet and exercise if her own physique (and those of countless Biggest Loser contestants) is any indication.

The premise of the book is that many of us who have dieted have royally screwed up our endocrine systems by severely restricting calories, eating non-foods, being over-stressed and not getting enough sleep. Here’s an excerpt from Master Your Metabolism; I won’t copy the content as it would be copyright infringement, but definitely give it a read. I think everyone who has ever struggled with their weight should read this book.

Not only are these extra pounds bugging me, but I can feel the unhealthy cycles in my body yet I feel pretty powerless most of the time. See, I know I don’t drink enough water and I know I eat when I’m tired. Two truths.

When I get dehydrated I crave sugar. Usually I’ll reach for a coffee (because I take sugar in it, right?) which will dehydrate me which will make me crave sugar… so then I move on to more sugar which makes me crash so I go for more… you can see how this could be problematic, right?

What I should do is drink more water and get more sleep.

But, with a 2 month old baby, sleep is elusive and it’s hard to drink the 3L of water I should be each day given my baby is exclusively breastfed. So that contributes even more to the dehydration. Which sends me reaching for yet more sugar…

The Diet: 1) From the Ground or 2) Has a Mother

So for the last few days I have pretty diligently followed Jillian’s advice to eat only things that grew from the ground or had a mother. Seriously. Reading this book has really turned me off processed foods in a big way. The hormone disruption going on in our bodies from eating these non-foods is unreal! And I’m beginning to feel the rewards from my body from having avoided them for just a few days: I’ve already noticed less mood swings, better hydration, a better awareness of my appetite/satiety and better regularity. Having had Gestational Diabetes twice now it’s pretty safe to say I’m at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes at some point and this actually isn’t too far off the diet I followed during my pregnancies. Having said that, I definitely used packaged foods, something I’m now trying to avoid.

So here’s a sample day’s menu (today’s menu, actually):

Coffee with cream & sugar (I said I’m working towards a total shift… this will likely be the last vice)
3 Ryvita fiber crackers with natural peanut butter & a glass of milk

Grilled chicken breast, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, mixed berries, plain non-fat yogurt with mango purée (from fresh), edamame beans (photo above)

Apple, coffee #2 with cream & sugar

Basa filet with citrus salsa, steamed kale and brown/wild rice blend

There are a few non-natural foods that I haven’t given up: the ryvita crackers, sprouted grain bread, Grape Nuts cereal, sugar in my coffee, wine, chocolate, cheese… but then this is a process. I have to get much better in the kitchen if I’m ever going to figure out what to do with quinoa and bulgur. Plus, there are just some things I probably won’t give up in the end. But the way I see it, any shift away from processed foods, pesticides, plastics etc. that are messing with my hormones the better. I may never get to where I buy all organic and I may never stop using plastic (something Jillian advises against) but I will take baby steps.

I’m enjoying the challenge… and the rewards.