The saying is that to lose weight and maintain a trim, lean figure it's 70% diet, 30% exercise and I thoroughly support this. I also believe that it's about time we saw food as our friend, not the enemy and stopped all this fad diet nonsense. We need to focus more on eating clean, healthy, unprocessed food that can provide our bodies with enough nutrients to do the jobs that it is supposed to do.
After I had my son I fell into the 'diet trap' and found that after a few weeks, I felt bloated & tired, my skin looked patchy & dull and I was generally hungry & fed up. Not what you want on top of sleepless nights and endless nappy changes. Getting off the diet and going back to basics with my nutrition was the best thing I could have done.
Here are some simple tips to get you started:
Never eat any diet food product. These foods are full of chemicals that our body cannot process and are almost certainly lacking in nutrients.
Avoid all starchy carbohydrates. By this I mean the white or processed carbs like bread, white rice, pasta, cakes and biscuits. These are packed full of sugar and will give you an energy rush followed by a sudden fall in energy levels. They will make you feel bloated and retain weight.
Avoid all processed foods and sauces. These contain high levels of sugar, salt and additives. All of which are detrimental to the body. Check ingredients or better still make a sauce from scratch so you know what goes into it.
Go for the 4 days on 1 day off approach when it comes to treats. This will mean that you are able to get in the habit of eating sensibly but the 1 day off means you can have that treat you are looking forward to. Note: this is not a binge day - don't undo all your hard work!
Drink gallons of water and cut back on soft drinks, alcohol, coffee and tea. This will help your digestive system, pick up your energy levels, reduce water retention and give your skin a healthy glow.
Stock up on lean protein like trimmed meat, eggs and nuts. Protein fills you up for longer and plays a vital part in muscle formation. Perfect if you are trying to lose weight and gain muscle tone.
Lastly, if you fall off the wagon don't be too hard on yourself. This is not a diet plan it's a change of lifestyle that the whole family can join in with. It's all about giving your body and your family's bodies what they really need. It will take time but the benefits are amazing and I promise you will not want to go back to your old way of eating, ever.
I used to be queen of the treadmill, spending hours on it each week and despairing when my figure seemed to only change for the worse and I didn't lose any weight. Doing purely CV work is great for your heart and your lungs but can have a negative effect on the rest of your body. Constant running meant that I lost all muscle tone, my back and knees ached from all the impact and I was shattered.
I lost weight in places I didn't want to lose it from and because I wasn't toned. I still felt that I had weight to lose. In comparison strength training is by far the most effective way of achieving a strong, lean and healthy body. Whether your aim is to tone up, lose weight or bulk up, an individual programme can be tailored to meet your goals. For me the results were very fast, I felt I had more energy than I had had in ages and my body toned up and felt strong. I felt much more confident after only a few sessions.
If you're not able to visit a personal trainer then I would recommend the following:
Get some good resistance style workout DVDs that you can do in your own home. I did Mel C's 'Totally Fit' which is fantastic as it relies on body weight and targets each problem area one at a time.
Use objects in the home as free weights. Bottles of water and tins are easy to hold and can be used to tone up your arms. You can also hold one in each hand for lunges.
Always focus on your core. These muscles really take a beating during pregnancy and without properly strengthening these you will never be able to have the strength and tone in your tummy and back that you need.
Try and do exercises that involve balance. By doing this you are engaging more muscles thus making your workout more effective. If you don't already have one then get yourself a gym ball. This is a fantastic piece of equipment to have and most of them come with manuals containing examples of exercises that you can do.
Little and often is the key. You don't have to spend hours a day working out to see results. A good 20 minute workout 4 – 5 times a week is more realistic and effective.
There is no doubt that becoming a Mummy for the first time turns your world upside down. It affects all your priorities, social life, work life, sleep and even your relationships.
The only thing that it doesn't change is you. YOU are still YOU after you have a baby and it's very important to remember that. Here are a few tips that got me out of the sleep deprived baby bubble and back into the real world.
Don't become of those Mums who has a baby and never leaves the house again. If you were a social butterfly before you had a baby then for goodness sake get back out there.
Don't settle for looking like a blearey eyed frump. Get out of those maternity leggings and slap on some lippy. If you wouldn't leave the house looking like a bag lady before your baby then why would you start now?
Do make time for your relationship. If it was just the two of you for a long time before becoming parents then having a third person thrown into the equation can be tricky. Get dressed up and arrange a date night, let your husband see you in something other than your PJs and spend some time as a couple.
Do all you can to get your healthy lifestyle back on track. There is no reason why you should still be carrying baby weight a year later. You deserve to be the best you can be for the sake of your health, energy and sanity levels. Eat healthily, sleep when you can, exercise a little every day and see that sparkle in your eye return.
By reading this you are already on your way to achieving Yummy Mummy status.