5 Baby Steps to Get Back in Shape – Guest Post – Laura Clark

Are you a new Mum keen to get back to your pre-baby weight? Are you stuck between your maternity wardrobe and your ‘normal’ one with everything feeling just that bit too tight? Are you wishing your waist would shrink at the same rate as your baby appears to be growing?

Thinking about your own nutrition can feel hard when constantly needing to put your little one first.

With more things to think about and probably less sleep too, now is not the time to also be trying to follow a complicated diet that involves any sort of mathematics! It’s important to keep it simple and the great news is ‘simple’ gets results.

Here are my top 5 tips that WILL make a difference:

1)        Have breakfast!

Yes this old chestnut but it really does work J .It has been proven without doubt that people who eat breakfast are leaner than those that don’t. Breakfast time tends to disappear in the foggy haze that is the first few hours of the day with a baby, but it is essential to make grabbing something a priority. If you’ve no time to sit with a bowl of cereal or toast, go for something a little easier to eat whilst multi- tasking – a cereal bar, banana or malt loaf. Breakfast literally breaks the fast and kick starts your metabolism for the day.

2)       Eat regularly

Have you noticed since being on maternity leave that there’s no such thing as a meal time anymore and that you are tending to graze on food throughout the day? This may also be because you have easy access to the kitchen? Or maybe it gets to 7pm and you realise the last time you ate it was morning!

Grazing might seem like a good idea but in actual fact, you are likely to consume more as unbalanced snacks and ‘a bit of this and that’ with lurch you from one sugar high to the next. Going long periods of time without food isn’t great either – if you’re not hungry for food about every 3-4 hours, it’s a sign your metabolism isn’t working efficiently leaving you more prone to overeating when the sun’s gone down. Aim to have 3 meals a day and 2 nutritious snacks.

3)      Plan to snack

Excessive unhealthy snacking will of course make you prone to taking on board more calories than you need but planned, healthy snacks are essential to keep your nutrition topped up and help to keep your metabolism pumping until your next meal. Good snacks include plain popcorn, fruit, low fat yoghurt or a crumpet with low fat spread.

4)       Count to 3!

I know I said it’s best to avoid mathematics when making dietary changes but hopefully our sleep deprived brains can still manage to count to 3!

Try to include a food from the 3 most important food groups at each meal – a carbohydrate such as wholegrain bread, pasta, cous cous or rice, a protein such as fish, chicken, eggs or baked beans and some fruit and/or veg (hopefully you know what these are!) It doesn’t have to be perfect, just balanced for improved well-being and satisfaction! For example cream cheese on toast with some cherry tomatoes or houmous with pitta bread and carrot sticks.

When looking at your plate the 3 food groups should cover equal proportions and to help with portion size, choose a smaller plate!

5)      Think  about drinks

Calories we drink often get forgotten. The average coffee shop milky coffee contains over 200kcals with the ‘skinny versions’ containing over 100kcals. This can soon add up over the course of a week, especially if you have a lot of friends! Choose from the variety of teas available for a lower calorie alternative.

And finally…

If you are a very new Mum now is not the time to be restricting your intake too much (can you hear me celebrities?!) All Mums need a healthy, nutritious diet to give them essential fuel and nutrients and when breastfeeding additional calories are needed.  However, this additional energy can be achieved through a slightly larger carbohydrate and protein intake at meal times and nutritious snacks such as cheese and biscuits or a milky drink.

Indulging in high calorie treats might be ok for a while – there must be some perks for new mums surely! But getting into habits where these foods become a significant, ongoing part of your diet will make it much harder to get back on track…. and back into those pre-baby jeans!

Article by Laura Clark – Head of LEC Nutrition

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