Friday, December 30, 2011

I Lost It


I posted about the "Lose It" here.  But at the time I hadn’t been using it consistently and I hadn’t seen the results yet.  Now that I’ve been using it consistently for about 10 weeks and am thrilled with the results, I feel as though it’s something I must share!  It’s hard to tell people about how you’ve lost weight without sounding like you’re bragging (in fact I almost wrote a facebook status but decided I was just begging to be judged).  I figured if I posted about it on the blog I could go into a bit more detail-- as well as assure you that I still have a ways to go.  Besides my blog friends would never judge me right?!  ;)  So here it is…

As I posted before, the premise of Lose It is pretty simple.  It’s basic calorie counting.  I’m sure there are some nutrition buffs who are thinking “duh, of course it works.”  But for me, who has never attempted to lose weight and actually lost it (hence the 12ish L-Bs I’d slowly put on since college), I was astounded at how easy Lose It makes it.  What I love is it’s not complicated and there aren’t all these rules about the types of food you can eat and how this food or that food affects your body or your weight loss efforts.  Do you all know what I’m talking about?  Let me give you an example.  Fiber is good right?  But oftentimes whole wheat fiber (i.e. pasta or bread) is higher in calories than regular pasta or bread.  But it doesn’t matter because it keeps you full longer so you eat less right?  Or is it because your body burns more calories digesting it?  See what I mean?   I am not a scientist or a doctor or a nutritionist (or whoever studies these things) and honestly I don’t want to think about all that stuff –at least not right now.  I’m aware that all of the nuances about diet ARE important and it’s about more than just being thin- it’s also about heart health, muscle building, and avoiding harmful toxins/chemicals in our food.  I’m not saying we (or I) should ignore all that.  However, with 2  kiddos--two and under, I don’t have time to figure out all of those nuances.  I want to be able to just eat a low fat and low calorie diet and lose weight.  My next goal (perhaps a New Years’ resolution?) will be to begin focusing on foods that help my body rather than just calorie count.  So I’ll get there… 
Lose It is all about calories and if you track them accurately, you WILL lose weight!  My scale is crap so I’m not entirely sure exactly how much I’ve lost but all of my old jeans are too big.  I believe I’ve lost between 10 and 15 lbs in the past 10 weeks.  I think nursing has helped also.  And now I plan on nursing Nadia until she’s 3 or 4.  What is that weird? ;)  Ok, I’m kidding, but I do have a sneaky suspicion I may put on a few pounds when I stop nursing.  I’m hoping I’m wrong of course.
The husband has also lost weight.  The last time I asked, he’d lost 10 lbs.  He set his goals more aggressively than I did but he is also thrilled with how easy the app makes it.  Oh and I should say when I say “easy,” I’m not talking about easy.  Let me explain—it’s not easy to eat less or eat veggies instead of carbs or fat. It’s hard.  Sometimes I’m a little hungry (though I feel compelled to say you don't have to be hungry if you make good choices. I always save room for snacks ;).  And all the time I want to just eat what I want without thinking about it.  But it’s easy in the sense of what I detailed above.  It takes out the guess work and tells you how much you can eat and when to stop. You obey, you lose the weight.  Easy right?  It's also changed the way I think about food when grocery shopping.  For the most part I am eating "everything in moderation."  But there are some foods that you can eat SO little of that it’s not even worth it.  Chex Mix, and Pillsbury cinnamon rolls are the first items that pop into mind.  Who stops at a ¼ cup of Chex Mix?!  That’s just cruel!  Or who eats only one cinnamon roll for breakfast?  Ok now that I type that, eating one cinnamon roll does sound normal. oops.  When you’re counting calories you realize there are other foods that you can eat enough to satisfy the craving and not totally ruin your diet.
It’s also helped me see patterns with my eating.  First of all I thought I was being “good” most of the time until I started tracking.  Turns out there’s a reason I’d gained the weight- it’s called lack of portion control! I also realized my plan of "being good" (which was really barely ok) Monday through Thursday and eating whatever I wanted Friday through Sunday wasn’t really working. First of all Friday through Sunday is almost half the week, stupid.  (Stupid me, not you).  So if you’re eating terribly half the time that’s not a good diet plan.  Second of all you can easily wreck your entire week by going over your calories on Friday and Saturday.  So now I eat a little less all week to be able to relax on the weekends.  Or I might just have one cheat day instead of 3.  You can play around with the numbers to get the results you want.  That’s the other thing I like about lose it.  Believe it or not, it's kind of fun to see how many calories are in the food you eat and then try to maximize your eating while minimizing your calories.  It’s kind of like a game.  How can I eat at least some of what I want, but still stay on track and lose weight?  It’s extremely eye opening to see how much exercise it takes to burn off one bad choice.  Right now I’m barely exercising but when I do, I can eat more calories so there’s an immediate pay off.  That said I also see if I eat a fun size snickers (a whopping 135 calories), it will take me an hour of aerobics to burn it off.  Not so fun anymore right?   
Ok I should stop now [is this my longest post EVER]?  I just have so much to say about that little app!  If you have a smart phone (or even if you don’t—my mom uses loseit.com), and you are looking to shed some weight (anyone go a little crazy over the holidays?) Lose It is totally for you!  I can say I’ve met my goal weight and have officially changed my goals to "maintain."  Now I can focus on toning up—Lose It isn't magic; I still have fat, cellulite, grossness, work to do—and losing the belly.  HOW can I weigh the least I've weighed since college and STILL have a belly?!  It’s just unfair what having a baby does to your body, but that’s another post for another time.  So believe me when I say, I still have a ways to go.  But I am happy with my weight and clothes size and now my dilemma is deciding wether to hang on to old pants/jeans just in case or toss them and go shopping?  If you ask me, that a hell of a way to start the New Year!
Now it’s your turn—what weight loss tips do you have for me?  Is there any low calorie but delicious snack foods I should know about?  Please share…

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Photograph Your Baby

In follow up to Friday's post, I wanted to post a few tips on taking pictures of your little one.  First the disclaimer: I am not a professional by any means!  But I do photograph my kids...a lot.  And I've been told the photos look professional (I believe the name Anne Geddes was mentioned- though I laughed at the comparison).  I've learned some tips and tricks I wanted to share.  Because I'm not a professional, these tips are not mechanical (i.e. what shutter speed to use, how to use aperture, etc) but more circumstantial... Ok here goes.

1. Happy baby makes pretty pictures.
This might seem obvious but I test this one all the time.  I think "Now's a good time...for me" but is it a good time for baby?  I find that the morning works best for my kiddos; they are not overstimulated and well rested.  I also find after nursing (but not immediately after to avoid blow outs and huge spit ups--we are talking about babies after all) works well.

2. Choose a place with lots of natural light. 
Nadia's room has two windows which is great.  I take a few test pictures first to see how bright the room looks.  I also find that if there is a ton of natural light I may be able to get away without using a flash (helps with red eye or frightened expressions!).  Again, these aren't technical tips but you can find a lot of tips/tricks online (pinterest is a GREAT source) for adjusting your camera's settings.

3. If you like natural, keep it natural.
In other words, props aren't really necessary for babies.  Their cute baby faces and baby chub is enough.  Try nude if they are really young (in my humble opinion nude photos are best at 6 months or younger).  Either way try to have them in as few clothes as possible.  Elaborate outfits detract from the baby- if you don't like the idea of nude (or the potential mess), then choose a simple onesie or diaper cover...see next tip.

4. If you like props, keep it simple.
I'm a prop girl!  They are basically like accessories.  But avoid tons of stuffed animals, frilly outfits, big bows, etc.  I hate it when the tutu is bigger than the baby.  Just sayin. (and this coming from the girl who put the HUGE flower hat on her baby- but I did realize the error of my ways pretty quickly!). I like a hat, diaper cover & booties, a cute blanket/scarf, a basket, or a pretty tutu.  Clarification: NOT all together!  Choose one or two and go for it.

5. Take close ups
How does the song go- "You have the cutest little baby face?"  Close up pictures are the easiest to fake (i.e. make look more "professional" than they really are).  Don't get a lot of crap items in the background that scream 'random snapshot.'  Try to clear out the background and keep it simple.

6. Work with your baby's phase. 
Nadia is just able to hold her head up and I couldn't wait to get pictures in front of her, at that angle.  I probably could have waited another couple of weeks in order for her head to be up straighter and longer.  This goes for sitting shots as well--or any skill that they develop at a certain age.

7. If possible, use an assistant
No, I'm not talking about hiring someone! My mom used to help me out- she'd run and grab stuff or adjust the baby and jump out of the way quickly, etc.  Obviously it's not always possible to have a helper but if you can, it's awesome-- even an older sibling could help.  And I have to say, the older the kid gets, the more necessary a "helper" is.  I think I've given up on photographing Genevieve after my last attempt at 2 years old! 

8. Keep the room very warm.
Usually you're not taking pictures of them with lots of clothes on (at least if you are following tip number 3 and 4) so make sure it's warm.  I usually use a space heater or turn the heat way up for the 20 or 30 minutes I'm taking pictures. I wear a tank top and I'm still breaking out in a sweat ahem,  perspiring after!

9. Do as much prep as possible before pictures. 
If you need to clear a space, or have props on hand, or have the heater nearby, etc--do it before you grab the baby.  That way once you start taking photos, you're ready to go.  Because if your baby's anything like mine, you have 20 minutes (maybe 30 if you're lucky) from beginning to end.

10.  JUST DO IT! 
This is the hardest part- I get it!  But it's also the most important.  It's hard to stop the busy-ness of life to take pictures.  But you'll regret it if you don't.  I literally made myself take pictures of Nadia Friday- when you have kids, there is always a nose to wipe, a diaper to change, a shower to take (mine!), a house to clean- you get my drift.  But I literally took a deep breath, held those things at bay and grabbed my camera...


Last but not least, if you're not interested in all of the above, hire her ;)

Happy photographing!







Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Not Too Late!

It's not too late to order Holiday Cards! If you're afraid you won't get them out until after Christmas, have no fear- just oder a "Happy Holidays," or "Happy New Year," or "Happy Everything" card! There are so many cool, modern options to choose from...or classic and traditional if that's your thing! Right now you can get 40% off with the code MERRY40. You can't beat that! Kinda makes me wish I would have procrastinated this year ;) "
Wishing You Merry Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Reason Why

So I haven't posted in a loooong time.  And I'm sorry about that.  But I wanted you to see the reason why.  I mean, if you had this deliciousness all to yourself, would you tear yourself away to blog? ;)  Ok that's only been the truth lately.  Prior to that there was this phase of desperation sprinkled with some colic and a dose of sleep deprivation mixed in.  But now we are getting a cool 8-10 hours of sleep a night and my Nadia is happy 85% of the time.  See?


I quickly realized this hat was a bit too big (are you thinking "duh?") and switched:

And the MONEY shot:

she's so worth it!


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