After having four babies, I’ve had more than my fair share of weight to lose. I’ve never had one of those glamorous pregnancies where I looked like a supermodel that had shoved a beach ball up her jumper. Oh no. Every single time, I’ve gained upteen zillion pounds too many and looked like a landed whale.
In spite of this, I am pleased to report that after each pregnancy, the weight came off steadily and I was back in my size 10s. Not straight away you’ll understand, I’ve never been one of these “back in the jeans within days” like you see in the magazines, kind of girls. Never the less, the weight came off and stayed off, at least until until the 2 lines appeared on the stick again.
So now baby number 4 is definitely our last baby. While I am far from the skinniest person you’ll meet, Zara is 8 months old and I’ve been back in my 10s for some time. While I could probably get over critical about this or that part of my body, overall I am comfortable in my own skin.
So over the years I have tried and tested a number of different methods to get the weight off and keep it off. Between experimenting with all of the different diets and my training as a fitness instructor, I think that I’ve hit upon the magic formula and I’m going to share it with you.
So here are the golden rules;
1. No fad diets. It is my firm belief that you should not undertake any extreme diet that you cannot maintain for life. Although I have known many people who have seen fantastic results with things like meal replacement shakes, I know that this sort of thing could never work for me. Once you reach your goal weight, you will often return to your old habits and pile on the weight. I would always advocate a less severe approach.
2. When you’re hungry, eat. Starving yourself puts your body into starvation mode and you actually slow down your metabolism. It also increases the risks of binge eating. So if you’re hungry, for goodness sakes, eat.
3. Establish if you’re really hungry. This is something that I struggle with. Am I really hungry? Or just tired. I get very confused between hungry and tired. Or am I stressed? Or bored? Learn to distinguish emotional hunger from real hunger.
4. Before you eat, have a large drink. No added sugar squash with no calories in it works for me, but water does the same job. This will help you decide if you are hungry or just thirsty and will fill you a little, helping to avoid over eating.
5. No foods are off limits. (I should probably do my due diligence here and remind you that if you have to avoid any foods for medical reasons, please do so, consult your doctor before beginning any new diet, etc, – you get the picture). In general, banning yourself from certain foods will only make you want them more. So when you are hungry, eat what you want to eat. Never eat something that you don’t enjoy, life is too short. Those “naturally skinny” people you know eat “forbidden foods” such as chips, ice cream and chocolate, just in moderation.
6. Add ‘good foods’ onto your plate. By all means, if you fancy pizza, eat pizza, but fill your plate with yummy salad and vegetables first. Aim to eat as much of the salad and vegetables as you can along with your pizza. The result? You fill up on the goodness and are less likely to over indulge on the not so good foods.
7. Eat slowly and consciously. This is another one that I struggle with. As a busy mother, its the easiest thing in the world to inhale your food, fearing you won’t have the opportunity to eat otherwise. Unfortunately, eating quickly leads to overeating, so eat slowly & chew thoroughly. Think about your food, appreciate the flavours. Enjoy every mouthful. Also its a hard no to absent minded eating of the children’s leftovers. Remember : Are you hungry? Do you love cold chicken nuggets? No? Then step away.
8. When you are no longer hungry, pause. When you think you might be getting full, stop. Food is plentiful, you do not have to clear your plate. In fact, I urge you to get into the habit of always leaving something on your plate. If you haven’t eaten much and get hungry again later, go back to “If you’re hungry, eat” again.
9. Be more active. It’s not about committing to an exercise routine that your find a chore, but working more activity into your daily life. When you have very small children, this can seem difficult. Personally, with a baby still on the boob that doesn’t sleep, I’m a way off being able to leave the house to engage in solo exercise. If this is you, there is still plenty you can do. Working more movement into your daily life is the answer. The way I motivate myself to do this is with my beloved Apple Watch.
As with most fitness trackers, it motivates you to be more active. It prompts me through the day to “move” more, thus reminding me to work things into my daily schedule that I perhaps wouldn’t otherwise do. It’s can be things like parking a bit further away, doing some vigorous cleaning, a brisk walk while the children scoot, or having an ever popular “dance party”. By tracking your movement, it will give you a well needed nudge to do more. The more you move, the faster the weight will come off.
The Apple Watch, like many other trackers, has the facility to compete with friends in reaching your goals. Personally, I find this hugely motivating to get off my bottom.
If you are at the stage where you can leave your baby with a husband or partner for a couple of hours, pick an activity that you love. For me, this will be dance classes. I’m a qualified fitness instructor and used to love teaching dance classes, I’m sure I’ll teach them again at some point. When you find something you love, you stick to it. Pick an exercise, be it running, swimming, team sports or classes, just make sure it inspires you.
10. Track your progress.
I have found MyFitnessPal the best app for doing this and the great news is, its free! You can use it to record your food exercise & weight. Although, strictly speaking, if you stick to the other 9 rules, you shouldn’t have to record what you eat, it can really help to keep you on track.
So those are my 10 golden rules to losing weight then maintaining a weight that you are happy with. I’ll be honest with you, I do not always follow all of these rules myself. Life gets in the way an on occasions, some, of not all of it, goes out of the window. The key is to stop, take a breath, not beat yourself up and go back to following the rules.
If you want to reinforce, this and make the whole thing much easier to stick to, you can use another trick of mine – weight loss hypnosis soundtracks. The idea is that you listen to them as you are in bed preparing to go to sleep. They reinforce the ideas that you are going to eat only what your body needs, you are going to move your body more and you are going to lose weight and feel happier. These hypnosis track also have the other added benefit of making you fall asleep very quickly. For me, this is a huge added bonus. Once my baby (who still wakes frequently at night) falls asleep, I cannot afford to be lying there trying and failing to sleep. Those minutes wasted thinking about the day are valuable sleep opportunities that are not to be missed! So do the hypnosis tracks make you lose more weight? Well honestly, I don’t know. But if they are passing on any subconscious messages to promote healthy behaviours, plus they stop me throwing away precious sleep opportunities, I’ll count that as a win. Click here to give it a go.
I could probably still do with losing another few pounds, half a stone would be nice, but I’m not stressing it. My weight is gradually still dropping and when Zara is just a little older, I’ll embark upon some “me time” exercise to tone up and stay healthy. In the mean time, I’m happy enough with how I am and i have these 10 simple rules to thank.
So give it a go! Throw out the diets you hate and avoid the yo-yo diet trap. Try following the rules and living a healthier life, the weight will follow.
This blog post was written as part of #BLOGTOBER17 . Each day there is a specific prompt laid out on the Hex Mum Blog and bloggers all over the world are writing their own particular take on the subject. Today is #DAY9 and the prompt is #ICECREAM