Say Bye-Bye to Baby Fat with Two Easy Steps
Every new mom wants to lose the extra pregnancy pounds and get back into her pre-pregnancy wardrobe— as fast as possible.
But with the 24/7 demands of infant care competing with other family responsibilities, this goal might seem impossible, especially for those who have a history of past dieting disasters. But don’t despair. Armed with this easy, yet amazingly effective two-tiered plan, you can lose weight, feel great, and look terrific.
It took 40 long weeks to grow your baby, and you need to give yourself the same amount of time to transition from your “new mommy body” back to your pre-pregnancy physique.
Sure, celebrities get back in shape a lot faster, but that’s because they hire an army of people — personal trainers, personal chefs, live-in nannies — to make it happen. Out here in the real world, we have to do it all by ourselves.
Body composition is determined by a simple ratio: what we put into our bodies (both the quantity and quality of calories consumed) over our activity level (which determines our metabolic rate). The easy and healthy postnatal weight loss strategy outlined below works because it balances both sides of the equation by combining the Three 80 % Rules with the Forty-Minute Miracle.
The Three 80% Rules:
- Make each serving size 80 percent of what you would normally have.
- Eat until you feel just 80 percent full, then stop. (News flash: it’s OK to leave food on your plate!)
- Choose foods with the highest nutritional value for 80 percent of your daily calories, which leaves 20 percent for a small daily treat, or foods of lower quality.
The Forty-Minute Miracle
Caring for an infant is fairly sedentary. To raise your metabolism and speed weight loss, you must increase your daily activity level. By far, the most effective exercise strategy for weight loss is — drum roll please — burning fat as fuel with moderate intensity aerobic activity.
Because when you use it, you lose it, and then it’s gone for good!
If you have at least an average fitness level, walk briskly, with your baby in a stroller or a front-pack for a minimum of 40 minutes every day, or at the very least, on most days of the week. (If you are less fit, you may need to gradually work up to this amount.) What’s so special about 40 minutes? Glad you asked.
During the first 20 minutes of aerobic exercise our bodies primarily use carbohydrates (stored as glycogen) as fuel. Think of this as your body’s snack food, ready to be consumed. It’s only when this source of energy is depleted do our bodies “go into the pantry” and start burning a significant proportion of fat as fuel.
So when you exercise for 40 minutes, about half the calories will be from carbohydrates and half will be from fat. Burning fat as fuel is crucial for permanent weight loss and long-term healthy weight management. (Here’s a great motivational tip: Set an alarm to go off after 20 minutes. Then say to your self “I’m getting leaner right now! It’s working! I’m achieving my goal!”)
As a new mom, if you habitually combine the “Three 80% Rules” with the “Forty- Minute Miracle” you’ll easily glide down the track of successful, permanent weight loss. You won’t feel hungry or deprived. This method makes the concept of “dieting” obsolete and creates a lifestyle that you will feel proud of.
As an added benefit, daily brisk walking will boost your mood, and give you more energy, helping you to be a better mom. A thinner, healthier, happier you is just around the corner.
Helene Byrne, founder of BeFit-Mom at befitmom.com, is a pre and postnatal exercise specialist, and author of the award winning DVD “Bounce Back Fast! Post Natal Core Conditioning” and the acclaimed book, “Exercise after Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best.”