Let’s be honest, we all want to lose the baby weight the second after we deliver. When I think about Kate Middleton walking out of the hospital in her perfect polka-dot dress looking absolutely gorgeous or Heidi Klum walking down the runway five months after giving birth, I wonder how this is humanly possible.
Watching celebrities drop the baby weight the week after they give birth has created unrealistic expectations for many women. Life with a newborn is hard. There never seems to be enough hours in the day. The to-do list is never ending and although “working-out” is always on list, the reality is it’s hard to find the time. So what is the time deprived and sleep deprived mama to do?
The good news is breastfeeding REALLY helps. Along with reducing our risk for breast and ovarian cancer, reducing our chances of developing osteoporosis, helping us to bond with our baby and promoting weight loss, breastfeeding is best.
Unfortunately, not all moms can breastfeed and if your only plan post baby is to breastfeed you may struggle to get the weight off for longer than necessary. I definitely don’t recommend dieting or significantly cutting back on your food intake. I’m so hungry ALL the time that even if I wanted to eat a lot less I couldn’t. Feeding a baby is hard and it takes extra calories, but getting our post-baby body back is top of mind for a lot of new moms.
This is my top 20 list of things you can do to help get back on track without going on some crazy diet that could be harmful to you and the beautiful babe you are feeding.
Be selective – think about the nutritional value of the food you are eating. Just because it tastes good does not mean it’s good for you.
Read labels – if sugar is listed as one of the first three ingredients or if there are more than three ingredients that you can’t pronounce, chances are this “food like” item is better left on the shelf in its plastic package.
Follow the 20 minute rule – it takes 20 minutes for our brain to receive the message that we are actually full and to stop eating. Take your time, slow down and actually enjoy what you are eating.
Don’t eliminate foods – as soon as you tell yourself “this week I’m not going to eat chocolate” the only thing you are going to think about is eating chocolate. We always want what we can’t have. Instead of forbidding food groups, have smaller portion sizes.
Eat at home – eating out means you are not in control. Restaurant and take-out food is typically filled with empty calories, excessive portion sizes and limited amounts of fresh veggies. Making meals at home will significantly increase the nutritional value of what you are eating.
Drink more water – when breastfeeding you need to be drinking constantly. It is not uncommon to mistake hunger for thirst, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Eat mindfully – too often we scarf down our food without even thinking about it. Take the time to focus on eating and listen to your body. When we eat mindfully our chances of overeating are greatly reduced.
Banish the buffets – the all you can eat sushi and big buffets are not good for anyone, especially those watching their weight. Going anywhere that promotes overconsumption and eating until your pants don’t fit should be avoided like the plague
Recognize triggers – do you eat when you are board, sad, lonely, upset or stressed? What is it that causes you to eat excessively? Identify the trigger and figure out how you can change it, avoid it, or find another way to cope.
Be in control – you are in the driver seat. Just because you have a thought does not mean you need to act on that thought. Be in control of your thoughts and the actions that follow. Work your willpower muscle.
Plan, plan, plan – if its 5:00 p.m. and you don’t know what you are having for dinner, your chances of relying on something quick and easy that comes from a box or bag significantly increases. Plan your meals for the week around your family schedule.
Move it to lose it – it’s hard staying active as a new mom but making the time, even if it’s going for a quick walk, will be physically and mentally beneficial for you and your babe.
Avoid plastic packaging – Mother Nature does not wrap her food in plastic. The more packaging your food has the more processed it probably is.
Don’t get too hungry – when we let ourselves get into starvation mod we tend to overeat. Plan your meals ahead of time and never leave home without a healthy snack.
Keep a food journal – the act of writing down what you put in your mouth automatically makes you more accountable. Tracking what and when you are eating will allow you to identify “problem foods” and “problem trends” to improve upon.
Watch portion distortion – if you pile your plate chances are you will eat everything on it. Be aware of serving sizes. Eat until you are satisfied, wait 20 minutes and then have seconds.
Watch the sugar – so often sugar is hiding in our food, waiting to spike our blood sugar and leave us craving more. Stay off the roller coaster sugar high.
Focus on fibre – I can’t stress the importance of getting enough fibre every day. Fibre is your friend. Filling you up and leaving you feeling satisfied longer. Focusing on fibre will help you to reach your weight loss goals faster.
Load up on fruits and veggies – shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Load up on fruits and veggies. When snacking reach for cut up veggies first. When you are craving a sweet treat have a piece of fruit. At least half of each meal should be fresh fruits and veggies.
Start small – bad habits are hard to break. Each week pick a few healthy habits that you want to focus on. It’s the small steps that we take every day that lead to big long lasting changes.
Finally, don’t forget that it took nine months to put on, it’s going to take at least that to come off. Don’t get discouraged. If you have a bad day make tomorrow better.
What have you done to lose the baby weight? What have you struggled with? What worked best for you? I would love to hear your experiences below.
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