One Pound Forward, Two Pounds Back

It’s been a few months now since I recommitted to living a healthier life once again, and you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t made too many mentions of it since. Well, there’s a pretty simple reason for that. In a turn of events that shocks absolutely no one, I’m sure, things have not gone super rosily in the healthy living department. ::shrug::

I was doing really well for quite a while, actually: logging all my food, being more mindful of my eating, and what have you. I lost around 10 pounds, which might sound like a decent amount, but while it isn’t anything to sneer at, 10 pounds really isn’t all that much when you’re my size & height. It was a good start. But you all know how it goes: maybe Penny had a bad week sleepwise, or I had a bunch of work commitments, or I went out of town, and little by little I just, I dunno, slid back into my old habits. And things just kind of… settle. I haven’t stepped on the scale in a couple of weeks, but I have a feeling I’ve started to gain back a couple of even the small amount of pounds I lost.

As I’ve mentioned before, having Penny really has changed my perception of my body and given me true appreciation for what I’ve got. So I’m being honest when I say I hadn’t been as bothered by weight the same way I used to be… until quite recently. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been extra bloated this past week, or because my skin has been freaking out on me, or just because I’m whatever pre-Penny mindset I used to have is finally starting to creep back in, but I simply haven’t been feeling very good about myself lately. I find myself groaning at photos of myself, whining to Sean, agonizing over what to wear, and just generally not feeling myself.


Regardless of whatever number I see on the scale, I just want to regain the feeling of being happy when I look in the mirror. I want to feel good about myself, to take photos with Penny without feeling self-conscious about how I look, and to focus on how beautiful and wonderful she is instead. I want to look into my closet without my first thought being about how I can best disguise my mid-section today. I just want to reinvigorate my confidence — mostly for my own happiness and wellbeing, but also because I don’t ever want to surround Penny with the kind of negative self-talk (or even self-thought!) that has plagued me for most of my life.

So, you know, that’s where I’m at! Now that Penny seems to have gotten a handle on sleeping all night (for this past week, at least… watch, just typing out that sentence will totally have jinxed it and tonight is gonna be terrible hahaha), it seems like a great time to focus on myself a little bit more again. So it’s back to the basics for me! I’m trying to make sure I stay super well-hydrated, move more, grocery shop, meal plan, and just be mindful about what I put into my body. I actually have been a lot better about getting a smidgen of movement going a little more often, even if it’s cleaning the house (which I think totally counts!) or taking Penny or the dogs on a quick walk around the neighborhood.


But my latest greatest problem is constantly waiting too long to eat, so by the time I finally get around to it I make all my food decisions out of hanger and desperation. I also don’t get to the grocery store nearly as often as I should, and so while we have been doing better with regard to not eating out or ordering in quite as much as we were before, it’s still just suuuuuch an easy fallback solution for us. Having real food around the house so I can whip up really is really key to me staying on track.

So my mom was dealing with some health issues at the beginning of this year that led her to go on an elimination diet in an attempt to suss out what’s been giving her grief. It’s been SUPER strict (and she’s just in the phase now of starting to add things back in) but it’s actually done her a lot of good — she says she has more energy, her joints don’t hurt as much, and as a kind of unintentional effect, she’s lost quite a bit of weight as well. She’s been talking to me a lot about her diet and suggested that I cut out sugar since she feels like that’s the thing that has caused her the most issues.

Based on my past history with diets and disordered eating, I don’t think it’s realistic for me to cut anything out of my diet completely, but I will admit that I’m starting to wonder if it might do me some good to cut back on sugar, simple carbs, etc. I mean, this probably sounds like a no-brainer to some of you, but eh, you know me, I gotta do everything in my own time. And since I have been a little extra indulgent in the sugar department lately (regular soda, chocolate, and lattes being specific culprits), I’m wondering if that might be contributing to my skin acting up and feeling as bloated as Jabba the Hut.

I know that I need to cut back on my dairy consumption again too… or at least to frickin’ remember to take my Lactaid since my lactose intolerance seems to have made its unfortunate return as well (it went away during my pregnancy!).

Penny’s face pretty much sums up how I feel about all that… so I’m still in the “just thinking about it” stage with regard to the sugar thing right now, haha. But I am already dialing back on the dairy, and we’ll see how all of that goes. Pasta is also often our fallback easy dinner (because, duh, pasta is delicious), and while I’m anywhere near willing to say goodbye to noodles, I do think I need to start refocusing on balance when it comes to the meals we prepare at home as well. Ugh, why is there always so much to consider! ANYWAY. The entire point of this useless post is for me to simply say: here’s to getting back to that wonderful place where I feel healthy and happy, but not deprived!

Wish me luck. Heh.


  1. Polinasays:

    So I’m still struggling with weight loss. I just can’t afford to give up because my career depends on my weight and fitness level unfortunately.
    I said bye to lattes except for maybe once a week. Because that’s easily 200-300 calories. I drink water all day and conconut water after my more intense workouts. When I do coffee, I go for almond milk. I’ve pretty much cut dairy except for occasional cheese. Breakfast are scrambled eggs or protein shakes when I’m at work since it’s after a workout. Lunch and dinner is some sort of protein, a bit of carbs, and something green. Counting calories has helped me tremendously and I can tell it takes me less food to get full quicker in as little as 6 weeks of sticking to the change. It is hard to lose weight, but easier to maintain – at least for me and my experience. But waiting to get to the hangry state is definitely a downfall. Let’s be real, we all do it! I do a cheat meal, not a cheat day, once a week. Definitely focusing on 1-3 things to change at a time is helpful! Also my husband bought a relatively cheap stationary bike a while ago. Perfect in the living room when the baby is busy in the activity center.

  2. Megansays:

    awwwwww, sorry you are feeling down on yourself. i understand completely b/c i am of the same mindset. still it makes me sad that such a beautiful mamma like yourself has to go through this mental torture. anywho, one thing that helped me after baby was doing harris teeter online shopping. i HATE grocery shopping especially w/ a kid in tow so it has been amazing to just shop on my phone and then just swing by HT, pop the trunk, and zip home w/ healthy food. enjoy your beautiful baby and just realize we all think you are wonderful just as you are, and try not to get too down on yourself. and if you are BF, cravings are NO JOKE. p.s. like polina above, my only pleasure in life is my coffee and cream ughhhhhhhhhhh cant quit itttt

    • You’re so sweet to say that, thank you! The mental load we women carry really does make things tough sometimes. I don’t know WHY I never think about doing like an online order thing for groceries… it makes SO much sense and my sister literally talks about doing it all the frickin’ time I just never do!!

  3. Laurensays:

    I’m in the same boat as you- started off the year doing WW and doing great then spent the past month not giving a damn and gaining everything back except 2 lbs. One thing that does really help me as far as grocery shopping and having healthy food in the house is Instacart. Honestly, I could go on and on about how wonderful it is so if you want more information let me know and I’ll write the longest comment ever haha

    • Tell me all about it!!

      • Lauren Drakesays:

        Basically it’s online grocery shopping, but even better because you can order from more than one store at a time! Imagine Uber Eats, but instead of someone picking up your takeout order, they’re picking out your groceries for you and then delivering them. We paid $149/yearly, but I think you can try the first week or two for free. Any order of $35 or more is free delivery. I’ve found that it’s a lot easier for me because I can make a meal plan for the week and as I’m picking a recipe I just add the ingredients directly into my Instacart, rather than have to make a list and then go to the store, etc. Normally I order at Fry’s and Sprout’s and check the prices on each item at both place to see what’s cheaper (SO quick and easy to do online- it’s literally just one button to click). The prices are the same as the grocery store, and sometimes they have special deals so it’s even cheaper. When my husband first suggested it, I was skeptical because I worried about produce and it not being good, but since it’s a real-life person picking it out I haven’t had any problems with that at all. Everything has been fresh and exactly what I would pick it. Honestly, I can’t rave about it enough. It saves me a ton of time because I normally make my list on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning and can have the groceries delivered within an hour or two, then I clean the house while waiting. It’s basically like getting all my weekend errands done in half the time! I can send you a code to try it for free if you’d like.

  4. Maybe you should talk to fANNEtastic Food to see if she could recommend an RD to work with (or work with her, if that isn’t too weird for your friendship?). RDs can really help with the behavior modifications and emotional part of weight loss that helps the plan stick. I would also agree with finding one change to make, get that part of your routine down, and then find another change to make. The more things you try to do at once, the more you set yourself up to fail because it gets to be too overwhelming and not remotely like your life used to be. RDs can also help with body confidence to help you keep feeling good about yourself while you tend to your little one. You are good enough and pretty enough and perfect enough just the way you are now. Good luck to you!

    • Thank you for your kind words! I’ll definitely talk to Anne to see what she thinks — great idea!

      • I don’t necessarily subscribe to the whole “I need to lose weight” idea, but…feeling healthier and better about yourself is something I can get behind. 🙂 I also don’t do well with restriction/elimination, but I’m sure Anne knows a great RD who can help you feel better about things. I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant in a plus-size pregnancy myself, so…I get what you went through – and am about to experience what you are going through now! Thanks for sharing so openly – I love your blog!

        • Congratulations to you!!! I honestly struggled with how to word this post while I was writing it because I didn’t want it to just sound like I’m trying to lose weight for weight loss’ sake again, because that’s definitely not what it’s about. I just haven’t been feeling great about myself lately and want to regain my confidence, and I think that a natural side effect of me eating healthier to feel better will be some amount of weight loss. But I’m still going to try really hard not to continue not to focus on the scale and all that but just gauge how I feel. Bc even if I don’t lose a single pound, if I can eliminate this bloaty gross feeling + get my skin back under control I think I’ll feel like it’s all worth it! Haha

  5. Shannonsays:

    We women are so hard on ourselves! I’m the same way as you. I realized I needed to cut down on sugar after watching a Netflix documentary. So, I follow Keto diet’s guidelines on sugar (not actually following the diet) and basically keep everything Stevia based. Zevia soda tastes legit and doesn’t have the crap that diet and regular soda does. Lily’s brand of chocolate is Stevia sweetened and has both chocolate bars and chocolate chips. Just a couple tips to help cut back the sugar but keep the sweetness. My sweet tooth is saber tooth sized, so I feel ya 😉

  6. Ellesays:

    I’ve dealt with body image issues for 25 years and I can’t imagine how complex it must be, post baby. I am struggling to wonder how I’ll deal if I’m ever fortunate enough to get pregnant. I think you’re doing a great job of being a great mum, wife, sister, daughter, friend, colleague/employee – all those roles 🙂

    You know what works for you. But I want to share what works for me. I went and saw a dietician that with HAES (Healthy At Any Size). She taught me a lot about hunger-fullness and self-love, and self-care. I threw away my scales, because they don’t serve me. I thought more about how I wanted to feel as opposed to a number. I know when I put on a few kgs, I can feel it, and I know why – because I eat out for work a lot, I don’t walk as much as I usually do, or I get too busy to cook food I know I like and food that makes me feel good.

    I personally don’t believe in cutting things out (for me) unless I had a specific and diagnosed intolerance. Cutting out for me means I crave it more and am likely to binge on that exact food. Which makes me feel worse. Vicious cycle. I don’t believe in diets for weight loss (again, this is for me). I believe in loving yourself, I believe that weight doesn’t equate to good health or bad. Everyone’s different.

    Okay, rant over! You’re doing a great job Gretchen. I’ve read your blog for years, and I sympathise with your struggle. Be kind to yourself <3

  7. Valsays:

    I hear you on it being hard to think about meal planning/grocery shopping with a baby. Not sure if it’s helpful, but here’s my daily schedule which has become simplified post-baby. I did make some of these changes after talking to a nutritionist though she said I was still eating too much fruit.
    7:30AM breakfast: Cereal (or granola to boost your milk supply)/milk/fruit or yogurt/granola/fruit. I buy yogurt in case the milk expires before my next grocery trip since yogurt expires later than milk.
    10:30AM snack: A nice filling fruit like a huge apple. If I’m starving I’ll also have nuts or a slice of bread with peanut butter (protein + calories).
    11-11:45AM workout. Maybe a 3 mile run, or a weights class at the gym.
    1:00PM lunch. I make my lunches at the beginning of the week so it’s easy to microwave them if I’m really busy with work. Usually mixed brown/white rice, veggies, and some protein like tofu, sausage, or chicken. I’ve recently started buying frozen veggies because they’re so fast and pre-cut, and I don’t need to worry about running out before my next grocery trip. For proteins, I love tofu because they take forever to expire, and I like sausage because it’s so fast to defrost. I usually put a teaspoon of coconut oil in my rice while it cooks because I read that you can actually reduce the carb content of rice by doing that…though it’s better if the rice is also refrigerated before you eat it. Something about the coconut oil binding to the carbs or something.
    3 or 4PM: Fruit snack. I like to eat my juicier and sweeter fruit now because I’m usually less hungry after lunch and it’s kind of like dessert. I’ve recently started buying a bunch of oranges because they can sit in the fridge a long time without going bad.
    7PM: Dinner. (Richard usually cooks while I nurse A to sleep for the night.) Sadly dinners have gotten a lot more boring lately since we’re now into fast-prep meals. For example, we buy brussel sprouts in those bags where you just pop them in the microwave for 5 minutes to steam, and then we toss them with salt, pepper, and butter. Sometimes for my post-dinner dessert, I’ll eat a sweet cereal (e.g., Coco Puffs) with milk or sometimes I’ll have a cookie or piece of chocolate.

    Hope that wasn’t TMI! If not, feel free to disregard! I know I eat a lot more dairy than would be good if you’re lactose intolerant, but I think they sell lactose free milk? I don’t eat that much meat though, so it’s one way I get protein.

    • Valsays:

      PS – We’re also big fans of egg sandwiches for those crazy busy nights. We always have a stash of bagels in the freezer just in case, and eggs usually take awhile to expire!

  8. Lisasays:

    Breastfeeding makes me so freaking hungry! I had severe morning sickness when I was pregnant (I was hospitalized for preterm labor) and it got so bad my doctor actually said the words “women in concentration camps had healthy babies, she will be okay.” About 6 months after I had her my appetite went crazy! I am still nursing at 16 months and am starving all the time. I cut out all carbs except for veggies and an occasional piece of fruit and a weekly latte. Instead of looking at it as stuff you can’t eat, I look at it as all I can eat! It doesn’t feel restricting at all to me. But that’s just my experience.

  9. Katiesays:

    Hi Gretchen,
    I’ve been a long-time follower here and also in instagram. I think it’s so important to be health-focused, particularly with a child, because they pick up on EVERYTHING you say and do. I think it’s great that you have gotten so much support from your readers, and I don’t want this to come off as not supportive, but I have noticed a lot of food choices that you make, particularly through your instagram stories, that are really just not good choices for you. Like easter candy and cake for breakfast. I think it’s great to talk about wanting to be healthier, but at some point, those words are empty when you do not follow through with it, and also, you are a parent, and have more responsibilities to just yourself now. Penny will grow up seeing those choices, and its your responsibility to guide her to understand how food affects her body. Again, I’m not trying to be offensive or critical, but just as a reader, and someone who has dealt with similar things as a woman and a mom. Best of luck to you.

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