Lose The Baby Fat, Keep The Skinny Jeans
It can be done!
-Monica Bearden, RD and Shara Aaron, MS, RD
Having a baby doesn’t have to mean tossing out your skinny jeans. Granted, fitting back into your fave jeans may not be as easy as getting Paula Abdul to love you but it is definitely not as difficult as getting Simon to pay a compliment. So, honestly, getting back to your “pre-baby” weight will take some work, but on the positive side, it is a realistic goal as long as you eat right and stay on track. Here are some tried and true tips for getting your body back:
1. Eat the right foods. Are you eating at least five fruits and veggies a day? By getting enough fruits and veggies you will get the nutrients needed to burn energy as well as fiber to fill you up. And bonus, the carbs will give you the energy boost you need to manage your day.
Try this – around 4 p.m., count how many fruits and vegetables you have eaten so far, if you have not hit at least five, make sure to eat the rest by the time you hit the hay.
2. Don’t sabotage yourself. Clean out your pantry. Don’t trust your willpower – we all have moments of weakness throughout the day. So make sure healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as raw nuts (about an ounce), are available to you at all times.
Try this – pick one day a week to pre-package your snacks into baggies. Then, during the week, have the baggies available for a quick snack in your kitchen and on the go.
3. Eat your breakfast. Research shows that those who eat breakfast every morning around the same time successfully lose weight and keep it off. Make sure to include low-fat dairy for protein and carbs as well as whole grain carbs and fruit for some added fiber.
Try this – toss some seasonal berries in with low-fat yogurt and have a piece of whole wheat toast and a glass of all natural orange juice to start the day strong.
4. Don’t skip lunch. To keep from craving refined carbs and losing energy mid afternoon, make sure and eat lunch. A great mid-day meal includes protein, healthful fats and good carbs.
Try this – make a sandwich on whole wheat bread using 2 tbsp of all natural peanut butter (or almond or sunflower seed butter) and a tbsp of all natural jelly. Eat it with a glass of skim milk, and you have a high protein, healthy carb and healthy fat meal with 470 calories, 57 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein and 13.5 of healthful fats!
5. Eat smart at restaurants. Make sure to pick healthful choices and fill up first. Studies show that eating a high-volume, low-calorie appetizer helps decrease the number of calories eaten during a meal.
Try this – make sure to order a broth-based soup and/or a salad with just veggies and a light dressing on the side. Also, enjoy a glass of water with your appetizer. By the time your meal arrives you should be half full, leaving you with leftovers for the next day.
6. Don’t eat your child’s leftovers. Eating at your child’s favorite fast food restaurant can be tricky. Many parents will choose a sensible meal for themselves only to be tempted by their children’s leftovers as they go off and play.
Try this – as soon as your child is done eating, have them clean up and throw away any leftovers before they go play.
7. Read the back of the package. Don’t believe the front of the package “health” claims. It is important to read the back of the pack to know if a food is truly “healthful.” Many manufacturers are able to imply and make all kinds of claims that make the food seem healthful. For example, contains whole grains, does not mean the food is a good source of whole grains.
Try this – when choosing foods read the ingredients. If one of the first three ingredients is a whole food, i.e. oat, nuts, fruit, etc, the food may actually have some nutritional value. Also, save foods that have a sugar listed in the first two ingredients as a treat.
8. Don’t diet. Instead include the foods that your body needs to be healthful. By making sure you eat all the foods you need every day, you will naturally decrease the empty-calorie, non-nutritive foods that can sabotage your health goals.
Try this – go to www.mypyramid.gov and enter you information. You will get a recommendation on the number of calories and servings in each food group you should eat – try and follow it.
9. Burn those calories. Exercise even if you are tired. By exercising you will feel more energetic and positive about losing weight and eating right. Research shows that breaking up your workout throughout the day gets the same benefits as doing it all at once. By finding pockets of time and scheduling your workouts, you can make sure to burn those extra calories and rev up your metabolism.
Try this – take a 10-15 minute power walk (or jog), pop in an exercise DVD or jump rope for 10 minutes, play chase or dance with your kids, you can even do 10 minutes of lunges and squats while watching TV – do these energy-burners to stay on track and lose weight.
10. Take a multivitamin. But don’t overdo it. Whole foods should be the primary source for your vitamin and mineral needs, however, taking a multivitamin is great for any gaps you may have throughout the week.
Try this – find a multivitamin that has most of its nutrients at 100 percent of the daily value, but try not to go too far beyond 150 percent – you can get too much of a good thing.
Monica Bearden, RD and Shara Aaron, MS, RD are the owners of NutCom, LLC Nutrition Communications and authors of Chocolate – A Healthy Passion and The Baby Fat Diet. They also each maintain a private counseling practice and have spent years teaching families how to eat healthier. For more of their healthful eating tips visit www.babyfatdiet.com.