I was chatting with a girlfriend the other day who had her second baby about 2 months ago, and she was frustrated that her body isn’t bouncing back as quickly as it did for baby number one. She filled me in on her daily eating & exercise regime, and I gave her some healthy weight loss tips that I want to share with all the other new mamas out there.
1. The Healthy Way Takes Time
Unfortunately, losing weight the healthy way takes time. Going on a strict diet may help you in the short-term, but it’s not sustainable, and you’ll put the weight back on once the diet is over. It’s better to focus on making healthy food choices, staying active, and avoiding highly restrictive diets.
2. Protein in the A.M.
Make sure your breakfast includes protein. Your body actually burns calories while digesting protein, and it keeps you feeling satisfied, longer. A smoothie with protein powder, a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit & granola, sprouted toast with nut butter, eggs or homemade muesli are healthy, high-protein choices. Also, breakfast should be your largest meal of the day – not only to give you energy for the day, but to allow your body enough time to burn off the calories. Remember: eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner.
3. Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats like coconut oil, hemp, chia & flax actually burn bad fats, and they also help lower cortisol levels – cortisol is a stress hormone, that when elevated, actually increases belly fat. I know it seems counter intuitive to eat fat when you’re trying to burn fat, but trust me! And, fat will also keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal or snack. Other healthy fats include: avocado, eggs, walnuts, almonds and salmon – all great things to incorporate into your diet.
4. Don’t be Afraid of Carbs
Unless they’re white & refined, you should incorporate carbohydrates into your diet. They provide your body with much-needed fibre, minerals, vitamins, and glucose to get you through your day. Healthy carbs also control your blood sugar & insulin secretion; controlling insulin levels is another way to keep cortisol levels down and help fight belly fat. Quinoa, brown rice, oats, sprouted bread, brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes and squash are all good choices.
Try adding some sweet potato to your salad at lunch: Using a fork, poke holes in a whole sweet potato and microwave for 5 minutes. Let it cool, and scoop out half into your salad (save the other half for the next day). Other great salad toppings include: eggs, chicken, shelled organic edamame, chick peas, slivered almonds, walnuts, and craisins or raisins.
5. Don’t Overdo it at the Gym
6. The Best Kind of Snacks = Produce + Protein
Don’t let yourself become ravenous between meals. If you need a snack to tie you over between meals, that’s ok. Letting yourself get too hungry makes it more likely that you’ll reach for something quick & unhealthy, and it also means your blood sugar has dropped (remember: control insulin levels to control cortisol levels to decrease belly fat). The best kind of snacks are a combination of produce or fibre + protein. For example, an apple with almonds, a brown rice cake with almond butter & blueberries, Greek yogurt with fruit or carrots & snap peas with hummus.
I’m sure I’ll be feeling the baby weight frustration and taking my own tips to heart very soon once my little one arrives, but just be patient, make healthy choices and don’t be too hard on yourself!