Fitness Trainer and pre & post natal training expert Dahlas Fletcher has very kindly taken the time out of her busy schedule of running a successful business, Body Fabulous and being Mum to 3 small kids to write a post for us on Post Baby (or just busy Mum) Fat Loss Tips. Even though I had my babies quite some time ago my post winter exercise routine needs a bit of a boost before hitting the beach so I’m taking on board all of these 10 tips too.
Dahlas has also done an edit of recipes that can be found here on Boiled Eggs & Soldiers and picked out a few that can fit in well with a fat loss goal. I love Dahlas’s philosophy towards exercise and food, she is not about diets but sensible eating that is right for YOUR body. As she says “life is not about dieting, life is about living” and Dahlas is Body Fabulous so I’m listening to her! Thank you to Dahlas for this terrific post and great advice. Read on….
This is Dahlas and her second son age 5 weeks old, fabulous right?
Pregnancy and postnatal health and exercise is something I am incredibly passionate about – helping women enjoy safe and appropriate exercise so they can feel their physical and emotional best during and after pregnancy.
Combining my experience as a mother to 3 young children, 15 years working in the corporate sector and 10 years working as a Fitness Trainer has allowed me to work with people of all ages, stages and fitness levels to provide a specialised training, that allows pregnant and post pregnant women to safely and confidently improve their health and wellbeing. Bodyfabulous.com.au
These days it can be very confusing knowing where to go, what to eat and how to exercise especially after you have had a baby. I constantly hear things such as….
“Have you tried the Dukan diet….I only eat raw vegan, you need to quit sugar…What ! why are you eating wheat ! Oh you better try running- walking will do nothing, Bikram hot yoga is the only yoga that gets results, I just did a 12 week boot camp, Zumba gave me the best butt….etc etc etc”
There are SOoooo soo many topics in this field, it is hard to know what really works. It is also very overwhelming especially if you are juggling the challenges of a new bub or motherhood in general.
What you need to remember is there is no magic prescription or single way that will work to get your body back. So your friend is a vegetarian and stays away from meat. She loves how she feels, and then you decide to get rid of all meat as well. Why would you take something out of your diet without knowing what is best for your body? You could actually be hindering fat loss. I recommend all my bodyfabulous clients go and see a qualified nutritionist/naturopath so they can find out from a qualified professional what they may be lacking in and how they can modify their nutritional needs accordingly.
If you had a baby 8 weeks ago or 10 years ago – I am sure you have a goal to get your body back as close to its “pre baby” state. There are many MANY misconceptions when it comes to fat loss, weight loss, fitness, food, exercise etc etc. The tricky thing about all of this information that you read and hear daily is that everyone’s body responds differently.
So what works for me…
As a trainer I am often asked what exercises I do and what do I eat. In truth I can only say what has worked for me, and the guidelines I follow to keep my healthy lifestyle. I never like to “prescribe” tips or workouts and say “this is the be all and end all”
I am not an extremist when it comes to my food and I don’t do diets. I enjoy everything in moderation 80/20 style. I cook with food my family and I love to eat and that makes me feel energized. I enjoy what you may call my modified primal eating plan – A BALANCED DIET SUITED TO MY NEEDS which focuses mainly on plant based and protein food sources that make me feel healthy and work for my body. I am also gluten intolerant so most of what we eat is gluten or wheat free.
You will find many recipes that suit this way of eating at Boiled Eggs and Soldiers that are quick and easy to prepare for the whole family.
Please remember …
Different exercise and eating tactics will work differently for every individual, however with this said, there are certainly some tips that can help you to accelerate fat loss significantly.
Oh and if you are one of those people who is still very focused about a number on a scale, you need to understand weight loss and fat loss are two very different things. What I am about to provide are…
10 tips for post baby fat loss
If you had a baby 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years ago ! These tips can help you.
Tip 1) Start Exercising
- The earliest you should return to exercise is 6 weeks post natural birth and 8 weeks post caesarean section and episiotomy – once your doctor has cleared you.
- Please read my page on Returning to Exercise Post Natally
- Always begin very slowly but consistently at least 2-4 times a week .”Whaaat !” I hear you say – “I hardly have time to wash my hair twice a week” I totally understand.
- Remember consistency is the key to improvement in fitness and re-conditioning so you need to try to commit to this. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen when you want to -baby steps. It will get easier as you get stronger, less tired and your baby gets older.
- Exercise is also a great opportunity to have some “me time”, that is rare time just for you without the bub. Trust me you will feel more energised afterwards – try to squeeze 15 – 20 mins when you can.
- Remember Fat loss is not the only benefit you will gain from exercise there are many others click here to find out.
Tip 2) Lift Something
You WILL NOT, I REPEAT WILL NOT…look like Arnold Schwarzenegger if you lift weights!
- Firstly, if you have just had a baby, please check the guidelines for Strength/Weight training when returning to exercise Post Birth on my blog.
- Smart women lift weights. I cannot stress enough how important it is to LIFT WEIGHTS if you want to accelerate fat loss. YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY please move away from this myth.
- The only thing that will happen if you add weights to your workout is a faster metabolism, tighter physique and more defined body. Sounds good huh ?
- Weight training boosts metabolic rate both over the short term as well as over the long term. In the hours after a weightlifting workout you will experience an increase in metabolic rate. What’s more, weight lifting will help you maintain your total amount of lean muscle mass, creating a permanent increase in metabolism
- Yes, I am a woman and I lift weights…and I did this before during and after my 3 pregnancies. I am also a woman who does NOT have a huge amount of muscle mass and I definitely don’t have arms like Arnie !
- Many women need to move away from the cardio “overdose” which can cause a decrease in muscle mass if done too often, but also causes decrease in metabolic rate…and increase in exhaustion especially if you are a new mother.
- 2 sessions of weight training plus 1 session of cardio per week is an ideal workout.
Tip 3) Eat Protein at Every Meal
- Why ? Protein helps to satisfy hunger and eating protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while making you feel satiated.
- Protein also helps you get lean by boosting your metabolic rate, which ultimately leads to burning more fat.
- Protein after a workout has also been proven to be the best way to boost muscle protein synthesis at the most critical time of your training day, optimizing the muscle-building and growth process. There is something called the post workout “window” which is about 45 minutes. Be sure to feed your muscles in this time or else you become at risk of breaking down the muscle fibre’s rather than helping to rebuild them; thus slowing metabolism.
My favourite protein based meals from Boiled Eggs and Soldiers are:
- Baked Eggs with Chorizo & Cannellini Beans
- One Tray Baked Fish & Veggies
- 10 min Beef Stir Fry
- Kale & Walnut Pesto
Tip 4) Eat Fruits and Vegetables with every meal
We all know that fruits and veggies are healthy, but when it comes to fat loss, fruits and vegetables are absolutely necessary!
- Vegetables are so effective when it comes to fat loss because they provide ‘bulk’ to the diet with very few calories. Your metabolism is able to stay elevated because of the large volume of food and fibre vegetables provide that the body has to process.
- Vegetables keep blood sugar levels steady so muscle building and fat burning is not affected.
- Vegetables are extremely nutrient dense (packed with macronutrients) and very low in calories.
- Good news you can eat as many green leafy vegetables as you like EVERY MEAL– especially, kale, rocket, lettuce, spinach.
- Try to buy organic vegetables, if not be sure to wash them in a vegetable rinse to get rid of any chemical pesticide residue (especially if pregnant).
- Get creative – start your day and include some veggies with breakfast!
TRY some of these awesome veggie packed meals from Boiled Eggs and Soldiers :
Zucchini Omelette – perfect for breakky, lunch a snack or dinner
- When it comes to fat loss, fruit can get a bad reputation. Many of my clients tell me I have cut out fruit from their diet, my response is “Noooooo- Fruits are healthy! In fact they are top shelf healthy”.
- They are rich in vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants that all have positive properties when eaten. Also very important for growing babies if you are breastfeeding.
- Fruits are fibre filled and water dense – so fill you up and keep you satisfied.
- Now fruit does get tricky when trying to shed fat. It’s all about choosing the right types of fruits. I personally try to always enjoy fruit together with protein because the protein slows the release of the sugars. Instead of getting a large spike in blood sugar from eating a cup of watermelon, try eating watermelon with ½ cup natural Greek Yogurt or blend a banana into your delicious whey protein smoothie with almond milk !
- You can also avoid sugar spikes by choosing low GI fruits such as berries, kiwifruits, cherries, peaches, grapefruits and apples
- Best of all how convenient is fruit ? VERY ! It is so easy to grab an apple if you are busy. Plus it is fun to eat a little fruit platter with your toddler.
I just love these fruity ideas from Boiled Eggs and Soldiers :
Tip 5) Eat Fat to Lose Fat
- Yes, you MUST eat fat to lose fat. Sounds like an oxymoron right? The health benefits of good fats which are found in fish, nuts, seeds, flaxseed oil, olive oil and coconut oil are astounding!
- Omega-3 fats in particular are very important when trying to shed fat. Benefits such as less risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, brain food for you and your babies–are great on their own. But omega-3 fats contribute to a better physique and beautiful skin as well.
- Omega-3s reduce inflammation throughout your body. That not only prevents heart attacks (inflammation in the tissues surrounding blood vessels is a major cause) but also helps your muscles recover faster from workouts.
- I take fish oil tablets everyday and also incorporate healthy fats such as salmon, olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower seeds, avocado, macadamias and natural almond butter into my diet every single day.
- Healthy fats provide you with a source of energy that will help you feel alive all day long. Muscle burns calories 24 hours a day and if you eat a low fat or no fat diet you will have a hard time building and maintaining muscle. And with no muscle you won’t burn fat ! Simple as that – eat your fats my friends !
Tip 6 ) Avoid refined white foods
- There is a BIG difference between the natural, wholesome, ‘good’ carbs we are designed to eat and the unnatural, highly-processed, ‘refined’ white carbs so many of us consume on a daily basis.
- Bad carbs are refined, processed carbohydrate foods that have had all or most of their natural nutrients and fibre removed in order to make them easier to transport and more ‘consumer friendly.’ Most pre packaged baked goods, white breads, pastas, snack foods and sweets fit into this category.
- Why avoid them ? Our hormonal and digestive systems developed over the course of millions of years. Yet only in the past 100 years or so have humans had access to these highly processed carbohydrates in abundance. Our bodies simply have not had time to evolve to handle the rapid changes in food processing.
- Because of this, most of the processed carbs we eat wreak havoc on our natural hormone levels. Insulin production, especially, is ‘thrown out of wack’ as the body attempts to process the huge amounts of starches and simple sugars contained in a typical ‘bad carb’-based meal. This leads to dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose levels – a big reason why you often feel lethargic after eating these unhealthy meals.
- Also, it’s important to realize that most processed carb foods provide only ’empty’ calories – calories with little or no nutritional-value. Eat enough of these empty calories and your body will quickly turn them into extra body fat.
- Regular consumption of large amounts of high-sugar, low-fibre, nutritionally-poor ‘bad carbs’ eventually leads to a much higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and fertility problems.
- These refined white foods are contributing to a health crisis or “globesity” in all parts of the world in the forms of child obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Millions of people are simply unaware of what they are doing to their bodies or kids bodies every time they eat processed carbs.
* So if you feel like white rice why not try Quinoa…or even better make some Cauliflower rice.
* Try to quit or reduce your sugar intake. Use less processed varieties including coconut sugar, rapadura sugar or maple syrup and in smaller amounts.
* Try swapping white potatoes for sweet potatoes.
* When baking use spelt flour or organic gluten free flour as these are less processed.
Trust me you won’t miss out! And your body will thank you for it – check out some of these favourites from Boiled Eggs and Soldier’s :
Tip 7 ) Slow down:
Think slow and steady when eating your food. Don’t be a multi tasking eater !
- I have been known to “inhale my food” and not even think about what is on my plate. This especially occurs if you are trying to juggle eating your meal together with feeding babies and children at the same time.
- Today I try to consciously take my time and savour the moment, enjoy the flavours, take pride in the food you cooked or if you are dining out, the flavours used in your dish.
- Yes there are some distractions that can’t be avoided. But some you can – don’t use your phone while eating, turn off the TV and instead try starting up a conversation about the food on your plate. It is also a great way for children to also get involved and learn about what they are eating.
- You need to get in touch with your hunger in order to better understand your body. Learn when you ‘feel full’ and notice hunger signals. You certainly won’t even know if you are still hungry or full if you just simply finish your food in 3 minutes flat then log onto Facebook. Think about how long you chew your food and make an effort to chew your food completely to help with the digestive process within your body.
- One of my favourite “me time” moments are “Food. Myself and Silence”….especially when the kids are asleep.
Tip 8 ) Variety
- Eat different foods. Eat those foods at different times of the day.
- Do not get into a food rut and boredom by eating the same exact things every single day at the same time. Your body will get used to the foods and the times you eat those foods, just like exercise. You must change it up and shock your body.
- As busy women and mums it is often too easy just to grab packed food at the supermarket. Instead take advantage of all of the delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season around you – make a trip to a local markets with the kids in tow. Trust me it can actually be easier and more fun than the weekly supermarket challenge.
- Cook your foods in different ways. Roast, steam, sauté, poach, stir-fry !
- Also try pairing foods together you would never think about. One of my favourites that always get the “Ohhh really??” from people when I tell them that is delicious is Avocado Chocolate Mousse. (found on my blog) Its weird, but it works and it’s so delicious….and the kiddies love it. Just try branching out and see where it goes! Your body will thank you.
Tip 9 ) Don’t drink away your calories.
- This means put down the 500-calorie fruit juice and swap it for water.
- Calories from alcohol and diet soft drinks are ‘empty calories‘ – they have no nutritional value.
- If you really can’t get rid of your soda/soft drink addiction try sparkling waters with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
Tip 10 ) Be kind to yourself.
Think progress- not perfection.
Recent research has found that the average Australian woman will go on at least 60 diets in their lifetime.
Life is not about dieting. Life is about living but along the way you can make sensible choices which will be sustainable, benefit your body and your general health forever. The first step to doing this is to menu plan which is so easy as Vicki does it all for you each week together with a shopping list! Check it out here
Start your journey as a healthy happy Mum today, and enjoy healthy happy family.
Both Dahlas & I would love to hear your feedback on this post so please comment away below to let us know what you thought. Are you going to use any of the tips? I am taking myself off to lift some weights…