Good afternoon Mamma's!
I have recently been asked by numerous mums for advice on nutrition to help shed the post baby weight. Today, I provide you with the golden nuggets you have been searching for.
Today is all about losing body fat as efficiently and safely as possible. Nutrition is key, and makes up roughly 75% of your weight loss journey. A wise man once said: “If it is abdominals you seek, you shall discover them in the kitchen.”
So let me start by saying I’m not going to fill your head with a whole lot of body science, or conflicting schools of thought on how to lose weight. And I wont discuss diets, fads, or supplements.
I am going to tell you what works for my wife, and the majority of my female clients. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is unique and will require minor tweaks to their food choices but if you stick to the below guidelines you’ll certainly shred kilos in no time.
Please note that I am a Personal Trainer and not a “certified” nutritionist or dietician. That said, I have studied several courses on the subject of nutrition for weight loss and am well versed on the subject. So please take my advice as you will.
The fact of the matter is we are surrounded by temptation. From fine dining, fast food outlets, supermarket shelving, advertising, and even reality shows - We are absolutely spoiled with choices. Remember this, we were not designed to have such abundant access to rich, fatty, sugary, processed foods!! We are meant to work for our food, and consume it as needed, not because we feel drawn to it.
That said, we are only human and we are all susceptible to temptation. We must ensure that we choose when we succumb to the treats that are all around us. And this is the easiest way I know how, apply the 80/20 rule.
Eat clean for the majority of the week then you can have almost 2 whole days off. If you’re smart about it, factor your clean days into your work life. You already have a set routine and it’s far easier to incorporate healthy eating into an existing regime. Then, take your weekends off! Note: this doesn’t mean catch up on all the junk you missed out on during the week, but enjoy yourself and don’t guilty - life is short and we need balance.
If you have a mid week function and want to use this as part of your 20%, then by all means. But in a perfect world you would do 5 consecutive days of clean eating before giving in. Why? It takes a few days for your body to reach a state of ketosis (its ability to utilise fat stores for energy) and the longer you are in this state, the more efficient your body is at exploiting this energy source.
Carb detox Phase – 3 days (only once you have stopped breastfeeding!***** important)
Please ensure that this phase is only to be considered if you are no longer breastfeeding. This is to ensure that you as a mother are the getting optimum nutrients and energy your body needs to feed your growing baby.
Starting out we want to fast track your body into a state of ketosis. You most likely have an abundance of carbohydrate stores in your body and we need to burn them off and start utilising your natural energy system. So remove everything but protein from your diet for 3 days. Eggs, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds should be your primary ‘go-to’ protein foods for the next three days. Fibre is basically non-existent in protein rich foods so consume a dietary fibre such as Metamucil 2 x per day, just before meals. Drink loads of water, 3+ litres!!!
Please note: this is optional and should only be considered if you’re in good health and have good kidney function. It is not unhealthy to complete this phase as it is only for a three day period. Think about some unhealthy binges you might have with food and alcohol. This doesn’t even compare.
Weight loss phase – until desired weight achieved
- Introduce fibrous carbohydrates into each of your main meals. Fibrous carbs are simply vegetables and legumes (however restrict legumes for now), and your main source of energy.
- The greener the vegetable the better. Broccoli is a winner, packed with nutrients and fibre. Simple enough, just like grandma taught you: meat and two veg.
- NO dairy, NO sugar, NO starchy carbs, NO fruit, NO alcohol – at all. Not during your 80%. Save it for your 20% on the weekends. Anyhow, abstaining from all this stuff does make it taste all that much better. Just don’t over do it!!
- Always have breakfast. An example on a plan such as this would be 2 eggs with avocado/ or lean meat and nuts/ or chicken and broccoli. You need to remove the way we have been conditioned to eating guidelines. Cereal, muesli or toast is no good if you want to lose weight, and besides most of them provide very little sustenance.
- Eat every 3 hours so you don’t get super hungry and overeat at main meals. Your 3 main meals (breaky/lunch/dinner) will consist of lean proteins and veg. your snacks will be protein only. I always have cans of tuna, almonds, boiled eggs (fresh of course) packed in my bag when I leave home in the morning. You are going to get hungry and high protein snacks help to fill you up and tide you over until your main meal.
- Don’t overeat. Use the hand index to determine your correct portions. Open your hand. Estimate the width and thickness of your palm (exclude fingers). This is your estimated protein portion. Close your fist. This is the size of your vegetable portion and you can double it, even triple it if you have to.
- Drink as much water as you can. Aim for a minimum 2 litres per day. You can safely get in 800ml before you even leave home in the morning. Green Tea – drink plenty of it. Black coffee is okay – no more than a few per day.
- Prep your food in advance so your meals are planned and ready for the week. You need to eat every 3 hours and if you don’t have something ready for that busy schedule of yours then you’re destined to skip, and ultimately fail.
- Finally, get rid of all the temptation from your fridge and cupboards. No dairy, sugar, fruit, carbs available.
Maintenance Phase – continuous
From here adhere to the same routine, but feel free to add fruit, dairy and starchy carbs into breakfast and lunch, only!
And don’t overdo it.
Use the same portion rule as you would for protein – open palm rule.
Get yourself a good Omega 3 supplement and have 500mg in the morning and 500mg at night.
Also grab a dietary fibre such as metamucil (anything psyllium husk based will do) which will aid digestion and reduce appetite. It should be taken once per day, before eating.
You'll notice that i haven't given you any specific eating plan. Why? Because you have different tastes, different lifestyles, and one size does not fit all. I have laid the foundations for you to make the healthy choices that work for you!! If you adhere to these guidelines you will have no problem losing your baby weight efficiently and safely.
Stay healthy Mamma's,
Found & Father