A random weight check which saw her weighing in at 164 pounds nine months after the birth of her son was the wake-up call Jonelle Swaby needed to shed the pounds. Today, three months after she started on a mission to lose the weight, she is back to her pre-pregnancy weight of 130 pounds, with a flatter stomach and muscled thighs to show for it.
“I’m what you would call extremely lazy, a lover of all foods, and I’d rather sleep than do any form of activity,” Swaby, 34, shared. “And because I had a high metabolism in my youth, weight gain wasn’t really an issue before. When I found out I was pregnant, at my first doctor’s visit I was 130 pounds flat. By the second visit, because of morning sickness, I was down to 122 pounds. By month five I was 135, and I just kept ballooning.”
She said she took “eating for two” literally, and would blame the baby for her cravings — for soda, sweets, cakes, etc.
“My fiancé couldn’t complain because the baby ‘needed nourishment’, plus I was just so hungry all the time!”
After giving birth, her ravenous appetite continued, and though she’s not sure how much she weighed directly after birth, when her son was nine months old she visited the doctor for an illness, and glanced at the nurse’s records after she took her vitals.
“The weight notation was in kilograms, so it didn’t look too bad, but I was curious so I converted it on my phone. I was shocked,” she said. “I mean, my thighs were rubbing together, some clothes couldn’t fit, and I was obviously fuller in the face and hips, but no way would I have clocked my weight so high.”
She didn’t need much prodding to start on an exercise and diet regimen, which she said she continued even when she didn’t have the drive to. And she did it all by herself, without giving up many of the foods she loved.
“I completely cut out soda, and started drinking water only. I hate the taste of fruit juice and drinks, but soda was my very best friend. So that was devastating. Initially, I would hide and have a bottle, and then I just stopped buying soda totally. I substituted with seltzer and sugar-free sparkling water, and within two weeks I already felt lighter.”
She added: “Not owning a scale helped a lot also, as I didn’t want to be discouraged. Instead I gauged my progress by the fit of my clothes, and my ability to fit into clothes I previously couldn’t.”
Her other diet tips include:
•Eating smaller portions. “I switched plates, and ate smaller portions of my favourite foods”.
•Switching sauces for salad dressing. “Where before I would have my fries and wedges with barbecue sauce, I switched to ranch dressing.”
•Cut down on white rice. “I love jasmine rice, and I didn’t want to eliminate rice totally from my diet, so I just cut the portions, and added more vegetables.
•Eat more vegetables. “I bought the large bag of pre-cut vegetables at the supermarket, and fancy Asian seasoning, and did a lot of stir frys for lunch and dinner. I’d just add some hamburger patties for protein.”
•Cut out sugar. “I started having my coffee and tea without sugar, and they tasted much better!”
•Cut out snacking on sweets. “I love cakes and sweets a lot… so I just stopped buying them and went cold turkey. Instead of candy, I buy raisins and dried cranberries, and I snack on those when I need a sugar rush.”
“I was most displeased with my legs/thighs and belly, so I started to work on those. I just started by running around my neighbourhood. I couldn’t walk at all the day after my first run, I was in so much pain, but I continued nevertheless. Now I’m a pro.”
She added: “Since I’m so lazy, I also found a YouTube channel that does lots of on-the-back exercises (laughs). It’s POPSUGAR Fitness, and what I like is that one of the participants is at the beginner stage, so I don’t feel intimidated by the expert moves of the trainer.”
Other exercise tips include:
•Follow your body’s pace. “I started jogging slowly on my avenue, and by week two I was sprinting around the whole community.”
•Keep active. “Even when the bed is cozy, it’s raining, or I just don’t feel energised to exercise, I keep at it. If I don’t get to go out for my morning run, I run YouTube on the TV and tune in to POPSUGAR.
•Use every opportunity to exercise. “I’m like a pro now. I will park further away from the store and walk, and I will carry my own shopping bags to the car, to build my biceps. And you should see me on the stairs now — I’m running up and down a couple times, just to get some legwork in.”
“I still have a bit of belly flab, and I’m sure sit-ups could help, but I hate sit-ups. I’m also sure that if I changed my diet completely and eliminated some more foods, I’d lose more. But I love food and I don’t want to give up anything, so I compromise.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who hates exercise and dieting as much as I do, or anyone who was lazier than I was, but I managed to do it. Now I feel great! I don’t miss soda at all (actually I can no longer stomach it), and my clothes fit again. That’s a wonderful feeling!”
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