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My name is Denise-Marie McDonald (@dmarie_rochelle), and I am 31. I am a stay-at-home mom from Suwanee, prednisone induced diabetes Georgia. I practiced portion control and did low-impact cardio, like walking and hiking, for weight loss after my C-section.

I really didn’t have a lot of weight issues growing up, but my weight did fluctuate throughout high school and college. Then, right before I got pregnant with my first son in 2015, I was trying to lose about 20 pounds.

While I was pregnant with my son, I gained about 53 pounds, and I worked hard to lose weight after I gave birth. But I only lost about 30 pounds before I got pregnant with my second son in 2019. After giving birth for the second time in December 2019, I was at my heaviest weight of 242 pounds, at 30 years old.

I also had a C-section with my second son, and I had a horrible recovery and suffered nerve damage as a result of the procedure. I was not able to walk after his birth…which eventually led me to my turning point.

As soon as I was able to be active again, I knew that I wanted to stick to a weight-loss journey and not give up on it.

My C-section recovery was really long and difficult. I hated that I wasn’t able to do anything for a few months after giving birth. But I was patient and let my body heal. This set me up to be able to be active and (mostly) pain-free when I started adding movement into my life again. I took it slow and listened to my body.

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Before getting active, I focused on tweaking my eating habits. My biggest issue was always portion control. So, I simply tried to eat half the size of the portions that I would normally eat. I love food! I was just eating too much of it. Implementing portion control into my diet helped me lose weight while still eating everything I loved.

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Here’s what I eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Coffee and avocado toast
  • Lunch: Smoothie and a salad
  • Snacks: Fruits, nuts, and any low-carb snacks
  • Dinner: Whatever I’m in the mood for
  • Dessert: Frozen yogurt or sherbet

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After I was cleared from my C-section and recovery, I started being active on March 1, 2020.

I started by doing low-impact (like hiking and walking) cardio six days a week. Then once I was able to move with a little bit more muscle behind it, without hurting or impacting my C-section scar, I began to lift weights.

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Weight lifting and toning came later due to the scar and incision pain that I had when I worked out. Now, a typical week of exercise for me consists of lots of cardio, weight training, and a lot of HIIT workouts. I use my Apple Watch to track my workouts, which has helped me push myself. I also love to hike with my boys.

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I have lost a total of 72 pounds.

I started over so many times, but I didn’t give up on myself. I also had to give myself a lot of grace because, at the end of the day, I’m a human.

I’m a mom to two wonderful boys, and I incorporated them a lot in my workouts. I’ll put them in the stroller and they work out with me. We make it fun and light. I put myself out there and know I’m on my own journey and telling my own story.

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