So you got yourself a bundle of joy and with this a few lovely extra pounds. Time passes and they seem to stay just where they are: a moment on the lips, forever on the hips (and belly, bum and tights!). As the obvious answer to gaining weight is dieting, how many hours do we, women spend on reading about the newest weight loss trends in glossy magazines they swear would work on us too? So here I am talking about what helped me overcome all the frustrations, stress and negative thoughts that so easily can take over you when things don’t move as fast as you wish them too. Sugar control, fighting cravings demanded by your tired brain, we always talk diets but never the reasons that make us fail. But not only the genetically blessed can pull it off…
1. Not understanding a new mum’s body is no pre-pregnancy body
Unlike regular dieters, a new mum’s body needs certain nutrients for her and her baby to be healthy. Cutting on a little something and you may end up lacking in something else which is crucial for a good balanced development. There are now foods we should be very careful with and some to avoid completely, needless to mention all fast and junk foods. Focussing on high-protein foods which contain a hunger-fighting hormone will fill you up more than carbs. Lots of sources of protein such as fish, beef or eggs (also rich in iron and vitamin B12), are the best choice for new mum’s body in order to increase the energy levels. Make sure you go for lean cuts of meat and watch your fat intake as excess saturated fat won’t help your diet or your cardiovascular health.
2. Stressing too much over food and sleepless nights
Research now shows how the tired version of you may end up asking for up to 30% more sugar than you after a good night sleep. The key to restoring your energy is not hidden only in counting your hours of sleep, but focussing on the goodness from your plate each time you eat. The secret I discovered the hard way is that spreading food throughout the day makes you get into a routine of having even amounts of calories therefore replenishing your energy levels. While thinking too much about what you eat, skipping meals is another mistake to be avoided.
3. Not knowing your super foods are super fuels
Getting your five a day from all fruits & veggies full of vitamins and minerals is a must, we all know it. After birth, it’s better to understand more about super foods which are the energy booster you and your baby need, so try focussing more on the the following:
- dried fruits; these are packed with acid folic, calcium, potassium
- cereals: fortified with vitamins and acid folic
- tofu: amazing source of protein, rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin A & K
- wholemeal bread and pasta: good source of iron, B vitamins and calcium
- vitamin C, a great helper with wound healing for mothers who delivered via Caesarian; check it out in oranges, tomatoes and natural fruit juices
- nuts & seeds: good oils are vital for baby’s brain and eyes development before and after birth
4. Neglecting a good workout
It’s simple math, weight loss depends entirely on calories in versus calories out. A healthy lifestyle requires a mandatory exercising routine. Even if you weren’t the most active person before or during pregnancy, now it’s the time for you to find a workout you enjoy. Dance classes, aerobics, a gym session or a fast paced walk with your buggy in the park, this must be part of your new routine for faster and more obvious results.
5. Getting the wrong help – filter your helpers
Friends and family will queue in order to meet the new addition to your family. Either they ask you if you need their help or offer it unconditionally, you need to know which help is good and which is harmful for your waistline. Having friends bringing cupcakes and sugary goods because you deserve a treat as you went through so much with the birth as they say, it will only make you settle into a bad routine hard to break. As people don’t like coming empty handed when visiting the baby at least for the first time, ask them switch for healthy grocery pick ups, nuts or seeds goodies instead of the regular tea biscuits and bomb calories double chocolate cookies.
6. Not wearing the right clothes
Don’t hurry up trying to get yourself into your pre-pregnancy clothes as it won’t help much with your self confidence. They are not meant to fit for a while. Don’t go into the other extreme and lose yourself into baggy clothes either as you will only feel you’re trying to hide more than there is to hide. Instead, you know your best features, highlight these and feel better about yourself. Putting on a nice lipstick, getting your nails done once in a while or going shopping may help you think about other things rather than having to slim down. Find clothes you like, focus on colours, mix and match with accessories, have fun but don’t buy the tightest articles just yet. Your body only needs a good routine based on a healthy diet and workout and you’ll be back to your favourite pair of jeans in no time.
7. Not getting your priorities in order
Nothing stays the same once a baby enters your life. Your relationship dynamics with people around you change, you change. If not embracing these changes, it will be harder to see your priorities and be able to work on them. Make a list of things that need your attention now your schedule is changing and focus on finding solutions rather than complaining about them.
8. Forgetting to drink
I kept this for last as this is the most common mistake people in general tend to make. Although while breastfeeding our body gives us gentle reminders that we need to drink more due to the thirst stimulus hormonal release, drinking water is always a good idea for toxins to be released faster and fat won’t build up as fast either, will also help you avoid constipation and cystitis. Keeping hydrated is important, although stick with water, keep away from fizzy drinks. Even fruit drinks are not the always the best option as they don’t fully replace fruit goodness and may be packed with unessential sugars.
One more I should add: be happy, smile more and enjoy the ride! It’s not about finding the old you, instead it’s about embracing the changes. Work on the new you.
Share your thoughts on how you think we could make any diets successful and what else you a new mum can work more on…