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By Maegan Cranston

Weight Loss, Weight Gain and Pregnancy

Weight loss can be so hard. I have a degree in nutrition, and have struggled with weight loss throughout my life. Before having kids I was in perfect shape; I had the body I had always wanted. I also had the time and energy to exercise, and I did not have to eat healthy because my youthful metabolism took care of the rest.

Once my first daughter came along, I was far from in shape! I had a rough pregnancy, which resulted in bedrest for most of the 8.5 months I was pregnant. I also had "I'm pregnant and the baby needs these cookies!" mentality. Needless to say, I ballooned into a whale. With a newborn and work, I did not have the time and energy to exercise, so I kept putting it off. I still tried to diet and eat 1,200 calories a day, but I could only lose a pound or two.

It was not until my daughter's first birthday, after seeing myself in pictures, that I decided to get serious about losing weight. It took another year of eating 1,200 calories a day and consistently exercising to get down to 110 pounds. I became so obsessed with losing weight that I literally lost all of the fat on my body. I was far too skinny, and I still was not "in shape." I struggled to lift my daughter, and I couldn't do a pull-up or a pushup. I only did cardio! I could run for hours at a time.

Fast forward to a move across the state, and I finally started to gain a little weight. I started focusing on being strong instead of being skinny. My family adopted a Paleo diet, and I was the healthiest I have been in my life. Another move to the west end of the wonderful state of Texas put me in a whole new role in my life: pregnant with my second child and on bed rest again! Bed rest for the whole 8 months I was pregnant was just as bad as the first time around.

Fortunately, this time I knew how to stay healthy. But we lived in a Podunk town that had nothing but two fast food places I hated. I gained about 35 pounds with my second compared to 70 with my first. Once my second daughter turned six months old, I started working out again. I started a new fitness journey with CrossFit. I immediately fell in love with CrossFit. The heavy weights and debilitating soreness the next day felt amazing to me. I also made some awesome friends I could not live without.

Once I started CrossFit, I expected to lose weight quickly with the number of calories I was burning. However, for about six months, I cold only lose a pound here or a pound there despite how much I exercised and how healthy my diet was. About six months into CrossFit, I started losing weight; oddly enough, it was around the time my second daughter turned one.

What I have learned though my many weight loss journeys is that you cannot eat crap and expect to lose weigh.! I have tried many different types of diets. I have tried a plant-based diet, Paleo diet, keto diet, high-protein diet, low-carb diet, low-calorie diet and a high calorie diet. Nothing has worked more than cutting out junk foods.

I consider Paleo a really good diet to follow. For one, there are no processed foods. It's the caveman's diet: fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts. Everything I eat is fresh and organic. I also try to balance out my daily fat, protein, and carbohydrate ratio, meaning a certain percent of my diet is carbohydrates, a certain percent is fat and a certain percent is protein.

I truly believe that the Paleo lifestyle and macro counting has helped me maintain my healthy weight and muscle mass. I have energy to do heavy and lengthy CrossFit workouts as well as some daily cardio and still have energy to run around with my girls. The bottom line is that if you want to lose weight, it needs to start with your diet. It's the most important aspect in losing weight, but it's also the hardest to maintain.

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