My baby’s birthday was last week, but I’m still wearing maternity clothes.
We get it. They’re stretchy, comfortable and feel like… an old pair of jeans. And yup, at least you’re not wearing the muumuu from your third trimester. But Moms can be sexy and maternity gear post-baby? Definitely not sexy. It’s time to get your body back.
Stop eating for two.
Okay, so you’re making time to work out regularly and that is awesome. There are a zillion reasons to exercise and the main one is how it makes you feel. Right AFTER the workout. But did you know that exercise will do close to nada in terms of losing that mummy tummy? That’s right: nada, nothing, zilch. That is, unless you give your diet a serious re-haul as well. And you don’t have to complicate things by counting calories or reading up on the latest diet craze. You know our first value, right? Simplify! For a diet re-haul to be sustainable it has to be simple.
First of all, cut out the snacks. Unless you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, marathon-training, or young enough that you’ve never heard of the original Strawberry Shortcake, you do not need to be eating every two hours. And we’re talking the early months of breastfeeding when you could eat every single thing in the grocery store and still lose weight, not those later months when her sporadic nibbles do nothing to whittle your waistline. Babies and young children DO need to eat more frequently, but just because they’re eating around the clock doesn’t mean you have to.
Schedule your mealtimes as close to every four hours as possible, which means four meals a day. In Science speak: this allows your blood sugars to stabilize so you’re not peaking and crashing too frequently or too far apart. Translated to English: this will help you lose weight. Check out Master Your Metabolism, the recipes, the G.I. Diet (which is not actually a “diet” but a way of life), and those recipes if you’re interested to learn more.* If you’re too hungry to last four hours, amp up your water intake and tread the fine line between increasing portion sizes so you feel satiated but not stuffed. Focus on more lean protein, fruits, and veg.
The most critical snack to eliminate? After dinner! Not only is this one far too close to bedtime, but mowing down on Doritos during Downton Abbey is just an all-around bad idea no matter what time of day it is. They say it takes three weeks to kick a habit but whenever we’ve tested that theory to eliminate late-night noshing, using EVERY possible distraction technique to ignore those cravings, it’s worked in less than a week. And carries over until the next leftover birthday cake, holiday ice cream reappearance at the grocery store, or totally normal momentary weakness. If you’re really starving and haven’t hit the sack yet, don’t sweat it. Just make it a small, healthy snack.
Which brings us to point number two: reassess what you’re eating. Greek yoghurt may be today’s it-girl in the snack world, but have you noticed how much sugar is in “fruit” flavoured yoghurt? Cutting out as much sugar as possible will cut down your waistline tomorrow. As in: tomorrow. For real! So not only do you (obviously) have to avoid donuts, cookies, and pop, but look out for the sneaky sugars hiding EVERYWHERE. Read the labels and pay close attention to quasi-junk food dressed up for a healthy costume party such as non-plain yoghurt, dried fruit, peanut butter, granola bars, and even multi-grain cereals. And remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing: wean down the sugar in your coffee if you can’t eliminate it entirely (we can’t!).
Next on the chopping block: gluten. Gluten-free diets are all the rage and while we’re not ones to go for fads that have no sustenance, there’s something to be said about kicking carbs to the curb. At least, the non-healthy, non-whole-grain, non-complex variety. Try open-faced sandwiches, reduce the amount of pasta while you amp up the veggies in the sauce, blend brown and white rice together, check out trendy alternatives like quinoa and bulgur, and skip the over-priced cereal aisle altogether.
We’re all about loving the food you eat and healthy food can be delicious. Seriously! You can add flavour and nutrition with fruit (frozen berries work wonders for yoghurt and also cool oatmeal faster for little mouths) and spices (cinnamon anyone?). Even a little bit of honey or real maple syrup is better than buying sweetened products. Curbing your appetite and sticking to smarter food choices most of the time also means you can junk it up some of the time without feeling guilty. Just make sure to balance portion control and stick to one dessert right after dinner, when your stomach’s full and you have more will-power. So instead of having say, sixteen of your kid’s mini Valentine’s chocolates (the ones that just will not die – who decided we need another Halloween in February anyway?), stop after maybe three. You’ll be back in those skinny jeans before you can say “Easter egg hunt!”.
*We know you don’t have time to read. Have you tried listening to Audiobooks? Import them to your phone and you’ve got a library on the go. Perfect for in the car when you’re waiting for a nap to end, outside when you’re stroller-walking to get some fresh air, during those marathon breastfeeding sessions, while you’re doing the dishes, and… just about everywhere.
Email any questions and let us know how this worked for you!