I am thrilled to feature this fit mom guest blog from April Plank, mother of two and VP of Marketing for Medi Weight Loss Clinic. April has her Master’s in Exercise Science, and shares her insight on how to “Get Your Before Baby Body Back.”
Losing weight is hard. Compound that with sleepless nights, colic, and the multitude of demands that new moms face, and losing weight seems downright impossible. A recent study of over 1,600 overweight women showed that three in four of them gained excess weight, and, on average, still carried 40% of that weight a year after giving birth. So how do you go about losing the baby weight and doing it before said baby goes to college? Following are some of our favorite tips that just may help you succeed.
- Sleep. Easier said than done — we know. But sleeping is important for regulating metabolism. According to a recent study, insufficient sleep increases the risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. If sleeping long stretches at night is out of the question, try to get one or two short naps during the day or sleep longer on the weekends when you may have more help around the house.
- Stock kitchen with healthy foods. With a little one (and all the demands that come along with a baby), having healthy, easy-to prepare foods readily available will help keep you from binging on salty, unhealthy snacks. Consider Greek or low-fat yogurt, string cheese, prepackaged apple slices, steamer veggie bags, and ready-made green salads.
- Keep a journal. If you write down everything you eat and drink, you are going to be more aware of what’s going in your mouth. In fact, one recent study says that people keeping a food diary six days a week lost about twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less. Tracking your food intake can help reveal patterns. Maybe you don’t eat all day and then overeat once the kids are asleep. Or you may find you eat well one week only to ruin your hard work with a weekend of “cheats.” Writing down what you eat will help you be more mindful of what you eat.
- Small changes lead to big results. The key to sustainable weight loss is small changes. Did you know that cutting just 250 calories a day and increasing your daily calorie burn through exercise by 250 calories a day can result in 1 pound of weight loss per week? That 250 calories is less than one 20-oz can of soda. A 160-pound woman can burn 250 calories with just 35 minutes of hiking. One small change a day can add up to 52 pounds lost in a year.
- Get out the measuring cup. Most of us are suffering from portion distortion and years of eyeballing portions are adding up to unwanted calories. Instead of a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter and jelly on your sandwich, level out the tablespoon. Check out the serving size and measure everything before you eat it. You might be surprised at how many servings you’ve really been eating.
- Make a vision board. If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you will never get there. Make a board with your “after” weight loss desires — from the clothes you will buy to the places you will travel to the activities you will start or restart. Hang your board in a visible place and take 2 to 3 minutes to visualize your success every day.
- Wear your baby. Using a sling or carrier to keep baby close during the day will make your baby happier. As a plus, it also will give you a little extra weight resistance as you do household chores and activities. It may not seem like much, but, as your baby grows, carrying around that extra weight will result in weight loss for you. Depending on how often you wear your baby (and her weight), you can easily burn an extra 100-200 calories a day.
- Don’t finish your kids’ plates. Moms hate to waste those last bites of food, but waste not want not doesn’t apply to your waistline. Over time, those extra bites translate into extra pounds. Kids get hungry often and full fast. So those few bites that you don’t need could be just enough for snack time. Put the leftovers away for the kids to enjoy later.