As a Mum and a blogger I am constantly getting questions like;
- How do I lose weight?
- How do I keep weight off?
- How do I get and stay skinny?
Having been through 4 pregnancies where I gained a lot of weight, I have learned a lot about getting back into your jeans after baby and even more about staying slim enough to feel confident in your own skin. If you want to hear everything that I’ve learned, including some tricks that will
Let me start by saying…
I’m not a doctor, just a Mum who has had a lot of weight to shift over the years (thanks to 4 pregnancies where I gained a lot of excess weight) and have done it successfully. Before starting any new diets or making any significant lifestyle changes, please consult your own doctor, you know it’s the right thing to do.
Now I don’t want you to think I’ve had it easy
I’ve never had one of those amazing pregnancies where I glowed and was all bump and you couldn’t tell I was pregnant from behind. Nope, mine were all more “landed whale” type pregnancies where got too big to even fit in my maternity clothes and I was left after the birth with enormous amounts of excess weight to lose.
Plus, I’m a recovering comfort eater
Hands up if you’ve ever eaten because you’re;
- Just because it was there
… as opposed to because you are actually hungry. I have. A lot. If I let myself, this is a very easy pattern to slip back into. I’m going to give you some strategies to get over this and actually lose weight. Keep reading for my top tips.
Before you eat – check if you’re hungry
Are you really hungry? Or just tired, bored, stressed or eating because it’s there? If you’re hungry, by all means eat, but if not, step away from the sanacks.
Water is your new best friend
So you’ve checked if you’re really hungry, you’re pretty sure you are, now it’s time to drink a large glass of water. This will do a couple of things;
- It will ensure that you are not confusing thirst with hunger (which is surprisingly easy to do)
- It will fill you up a little, meaning that you will feel full sooner and ultimately eat less
I find the best way to make sure you are hydrated (and therefore less likely to overeat) is to keep a water bottle with you at all times. An insulated water bottle, like the one below,
If water is too boring…
You can try these Exante flavoured water enhancers. Zero calories, plus if you’re anything like me, you’re far more likely to hydrate with water that tastes yummy.
Only eat food you love
Sounds crazy, right? But the truth is, if you are punishing yourself with “diet food” that you hate, you will never stick to it long term.
Equally, do you really love left over chicken nuggets from your kid’s plate? No? Then don’t eat them! I know us Mums are guilty of mindlessly eating these types of things because it is easy and we deserve better.
This is where exante comes in
As busy Mum, preparing delicious food that I really fancy at a moment’s notice while juggling 4 kids is not always an option. This is one of the reasons that I adore the Exante meal replacement bars. If I always have my favourites in stock, I always have something to look forward to as a meal or a snack, even if I am super short of time.
Now I have tried many of Exante’s
Some of my favourite
Eat Slowly & Consciously
Make sure that you enjoy every mouthful of your food. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly and be aware of how it tastes in your mouth. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls, avoid distractions such as the TV or iPad so that you can concentrate on flavour, texture and listen for signals form your body that you are full.
When You’re Full, Stop Eating
This one may sound super obvious, but how many of us eat until food is gone, as opposed to until we are full?
Cut Up Your Bars
This is a trick that I learned to make my meal replacement bars last longer and help me follow the other steps. Sometimes I only need half a bar, so if it’s cut in half, I only eat half and save the rest for later. I also prefer picking then up in smaller pieces rather than biting off large chunks.
Avoid Foods That Make You Crash & Burn
I have found that so many of my favourite foods that I used to reach for lacked protein and made me hungry again very quickly. I would so often feel shaky and hungry as soon s an hour after eating, so would end up eating too much. I love that the Exante bars are packed with protein and keep me fuller for so much longer.
Make Sure You Always Have Planned Out Snacks To Hand
Make sure that you’re not caught short and have good choices of snacks to hand for when hunger does strike. I always have an Exante bar in my bag for just this eventuality.
Meal Plan For The Win
Quite simply, if you know what you’re planning to eat, you are more likely to make sensible choices. For those days where I have not planned anything? You guessed it, I go for an Exante bar for breakfast or lunch as I know it’ll do the trick.
MyFitnessPal is an amazing free tool (although there is a premium option) for tracking your food, exercise and progress. What gets measured gets done. Put everything that you eat into this app and it really makes you think before mindlessly snacking.
Increase Your Activity Levels
Now I’m not talking about running a marathon, but any increase in your exercise levels will help you shift unwanted weight. This can be as simple as parking a little further away from the shops, talking the stairs instead
Track Your Movement
I use an Apple Watch fo tracking my movement during the day and I love it. My watch gives me a nudge to get up when I have been sitting for too log and keeps me motivated to move around.
Track Your Progress
I’d advise tracking your progress by not just recoding your weight, but your measurements too. If you are losing fat but gaining muscle, your weight may stay the same week, but your measurements will reflect your progress.
Stay Accountable With Buddies
If you know someone else is going to be checking in with your progress, you are more likely to stay on track. Add friend in MyFitnessPal, compete with friends on your fitness tracker, or utilise Exante’s Facebook support group to talk to people in the same boat. Whichever way you do it, get support to stay motivated.
Perfectionism Is The Enemy
Hands up if you have ever eaten the “wrong thing” while dieting and thought “oh well, it’s ruined now, I may as well eat everything in the cupboards. My hand is up.
What I need you to remember is that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep going. Every time you make a sensible choice, only eat when your hungry stop eating when you’re full, move your body more, it’s a win. Celebrate that. If you over eat or have a lazy day, so what? Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect, shrug it off, forgive yourself and go back to following the steps.
Trick Your Brain With Small Plates
Try using smaller plates when you eat. Your full plate will summed crammed with food even though you will end up eating less.
Eat Food From Contrasting Coloured Plates
If the colour of your food blends with the colour of your plate, your brain will tell you to pile more food on it.
Leave some food on your plate
Maybe your grandparents grew up in times of rations and messages about food shortages were passed down to you. Maybe you were guilted into eating as a child with stories of “starving children” and encouraged to clear your plate. These messages are unhelpful and make us over eat.
Eat until you’re full, not until it’s gone. Try leaving some food on your plate at every meal.
Eating Out? Do Your Research Before You Go
a) being the diet bore of the group and spending ages on the menu counting calories, or
b) making poor choices in a rush
… simply be looking at the menu before you go and making your meal choice in advance.
Remember Your Will Power Is Like Your Phone Battery
Like your phone battery, your will power starts on 100% and diminishes through the day. Just knowing this helps us to consciously hold onto our Weill power and keep following the steps through the day.
Can you just have it later?
Really want to eat something? Rather than saying “no” to yourself, promise yourself you can have it later. When later comes, maybe you will have forgotten about it? If nothing else, you will have pushed further through your day’s diminishing willpower.
Love yourself every day
If you find fault with every part of your appearance now, that’s not going to change when you reach your “perfect weight”. When you look in the mirror, see all of the things that you love about yourself. Maybe you have great lips? Shiny hair? Fabulous boobs? The more you learn to love yourself at every stage of your journey, the easier it will be.
Give Yourself A Break
We are only human, don’t forget that! Celebrate your “wins” and forgive your less than perfect days and you’ll be well on your way to being happier in your body.
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Join The Conversation
What is it that you struggle with? Emotional eating? Knowing when you’re full? Temptations? Motivation? Click on the Instagram post below and let me know.