My fit & fabulous mommas, let me remind you, it took nine months to grow our little bundles of joy and naturally it is going to take a bit of time to lose the weight we needed to gain to offer nourishment and protection for our baby. After birth, it is such an adjustment on many levels. Wow, I can easily remember how difficult it could be to find a moment to run to the bathroom during the afterbirth stages. So please, don’t beat yourself up today if you haven’t found the time for a full blown workout or if you wound up choosing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch instead of the veggie packed lean chicken salad. As a mom, our lives are crazy and everyday is a new day, a clean slate towards your personal wellness goals. So what can you do to get the fat to move out? To begin, here are three diet tips to help you lose weight after giving birth.
To make things simple, let’s focus on 3 general ideas around good nutrition and the habit of being aware of what exactly you are eating and drinking.
- Journaling: Take a long hard look at the next 2-3 days of food intake (or even, the lack there-of). You can do this by utilizing your favorite tracking tool online, a smart phone app, or nothing fancy at all by simply using a pen and piece of paper. Just. Get. It. Written. Down. Within this journal, try to add what you were doing; sitting or standing? (I am guilty of that one too! Running around doing other things instead of sitting and eating).
- Hydration: Water, that is! Just how much are you drinking? You should be drinking half your weight in ounces, especially if you are a nursing momma. I use a water diffuser that allows me to put my favorite fruits in without getting any pulp or seeds in my water sips. My favorite combination of fruit infused water is lemon, strawberries and mint leaves! Yum! Almost always, with digital tools, there is a special place to record how much water you had for the day. If you are using the paper method, write a circle near the date on your logging page to indicate you had a full glass! Hopefully you will surprise yourself and have eight or more, amazing circles.
- Fruits and Veggies: Did you know that you are supposed to be eating 9-13 servings each day? Yes! Not only are the servings themselves important but it is also important to get a variety as well. Remember: eat the rainbow. Also note that if you are concentrating on getting that many servings of whole fruit and veggies, you typically are not going to look for the for other foods to consume. Ultimately, you will be helping your waistline! (Applause! Applause!)
That may seem simple and fairly easy to address, but there are a few other aspects to take into consideration when working towards a flat stomach after giving birth. First of all, at what time of the day are you assessing your belly? I am not sure if it is a scientifically proven thought, but I know personally (and some friends have attested as well), that bloating is more prevailalent by the end of the day. In addition, if you are eating a lot of gas forming foods, such as broccoli and cauliflower, that could be the culprit as well. The best time to eat these gas forming foods is earlier in the day and in smaller portions as well. Please do not avoid these all together, because eating these cruciferous vegetables will increase your intake of vitamin C, folate and fiber. Cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber and this makes them a great addition to any meal that will surely assist in your weight loss goals. How about adding chopped, precooked broccoli to an egg white omelet in the morning?
As for sodium, although we do need it in our diets to some extent, too much sodium in the diet will cause bloating overall. When we are eating too much salt, such as that found in processed foods, our bodies may find it difficult to flush out. So another reason to drink more water is to help out with flushing the body of excess sodium.
Another food for thought: Busy moms tend to eat fast in order to get on to the next task. Make this a mental note next time because eating too quickly can cause bloating and unwanted feelings of being overweight. Just how does eating too fast contribute to bloating? When eating food too quickly, excess air enters our mouths. Allow this thought to add to the beauty of family time around the dinner table. Even when we have a small baby we can start these habits early. Make it a point to to sit down and have a conversation with your loved ones, eat more slowly and avoid excess air-ingesting.
Last, but certainly not least in importance: do not skip meals. Begin your day with a great heart-healthy breakfast such as whole grains, berries and nuts, or even a nutrient packed smoothie. Short on time? No problem since the majority of us have a blender. The most nutrient dense, quickest, versatile meals can fit in a glass. Toss in your favorite milk product or substitute, a scoop of protein powder and top off with greens, chia seeds, and your favorite fruit. Pouring smoothies into a pretty glass and tossing in a cute straw will give you an energy boosting breakfast that will keep you going all morning with your little ones…and help you lose weight since you won’t be hungry and tempted to grab something from hubby’s junk food cabinet.
Here is a smoothie recipe I had posted previously. It is especially good in that the protein mix I use is absolutely LOADED with nutrients because it is whole food based and vegan, too. Another plus, my recipe is a coffee one: Healthy Frappuccino –yes, I have other smoothie recipes, but lets face it, this is my favorite and there are days for which I need my pick-me-up, too.
It takes time to get back to our pre-baby look, but know that it is possible and can be expedited if we really pay attention to what we are eating, how we are eating and our immediate surroundings. A healthy, fit mom is a happy mom…a happy mom, makes for a happy family.