A respectable time after giving birth to Ben, my second child, I surveyed the damage. Things didn’t seem so bad. It seemed I was dealing with around 8kg worth of extra bodily substance that wasn’t there nine months before. Not a disaster I thought.
I decided that pushing a stroller, breastfeeding and the ability to move more freely and at greater speed than when pregnant would naturally address the situation, just like it did with my firstborn.
Cut forward to about a month later, I found myself happily absorbing my lactation consultant’s advice to eat more cake. Lots more cake she said. What’s a few kg in the grand scheme of safeguarding the health of your precious child? Damn right, I thought as I listened attentively, spooning Nutella into my face in an obedient trance.
Cut forward to 10 months later, there I was, mourning the last spoonful of my latest jar as Ben sat in his high chair enjoying his pureed lentils. He looked at me with his orange tinged mouth as if to sneer, "you can’t blame this on me anymore mama:".
I didn’t replace that last jar of Nutella. Instead I embarked on a quest for a plan. Everyone needs a plan right?
First stop, the 5:2 diet, then I realized they seriously wanted me to barely eat for two whole days a week forever. I gave the book to charity the very next day. Then I bought a book called Clean and Lean and decided it was possibly too much too soon for a mildly crazed comfort food addict.
The low carb route was abandoned due to lack of even the promise of chips ever, (I am British), and all plans that cut out alcohol forever simply didn’t feel like any shade of fun.
So there I was rubbing my Nutella belly waiting for someone to post some other methodologies on Facebook. It was then I got to thinking, I’ve read a lot of good stuff here, but no plan as it stands feels like something I could 100% embrace. The reason for that is that I personally am the unique entity that is Jackie Wilson. I don’t eat meat, but I eat fish. I love to run. I love nuts and seeds and am partial to the odd glass of champagne.
I continued my self-assessment. I was rarely satisfied by my breakfasts and craved chocolate - mildly at 11am and desperately by 11.30am. Bread based lunches made my heart race and whatever I ate for lunch, by 5pm, unlike most mothers I was hoping my children wouldn’t finish their dinners so I could. I was eating a good, old fashioned Brit style dinner every night with my husband and crashing out straight after with a heavy belly, awaiting the number of baby wake ups I’d undoubtedly have to tend to that night.
And therein lay my epiphany. I needed my own bespoke, expert inspired, lifestyle adjusted plan and there was one person, perfectly qualified, who didn’t require payment and had nothing better to do. That person was Jackie “me” Wilson.
So this is what I did. I cut out carbs from my breakfasts and focused on protein, usually eggs. That got me through to my clean, salad lunch, made delicious and desirable by avocados, quinoa and chia seeds. I snacked on nuts during the kid’s tea and I had a light evening meal of fish and veggies. I allowed myself one tiny chocolate treat a day, which was a couple of squares of 80% dark or a mini bounty and I had some wine at weekends.
A choir of angels really did sing. I didn’t need anything else and I loved it. I would happily eat like that for the rest of my days. The real beauty of it though was, within just 3 weeks, I found myself back at my pre-baby weight. Nearly 18 months on, I am still eating this way, evolving it all the time and I’m still that weight and still happy.
My advice therefore is, read all the plans that appeal, then design your own. Its way more likely not only to work but to fit you for life.