How to lose pregnancy weight

Want to lose that baby weight? Know what kind of eater you are. 

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Whatever size you were before getting pregnant, chances are, you’ll inevitably worry about your post-baby body and yearn to reclaim your pre-baby figure after the initial excitement of being a new mum has died down.

Unfortunately, motherhood and everything that comes with it can conspire against you. Personal trainer Matt Roberts agrees that it’s normal to face several stumbling blocks when you first decide to get back in shape. “The first few months after childbirth are very demanding and it’s hard to find time to exercise.”

Sleep deprivation will also make you crave sugary foods and refined carbohydrates to prop up your energy levels. If you’re determined to drop the pounds, you must first be honest about your eating patterns and tipping points before you can find the right solution, and get into the right mindset.

First, identify what your diet demons are, match them to the right solutions and turn your flab to fab. And bring out those slim-cut jeans — nothing like keeping your eye on the prize to spur you!

The constant grazer

When you’re exhausted, your resolve flies out of the window. You give your munchkin a nutritious bowl of baby cereal with fresh berries, while you reach for a bar of chocolate to keep your energy levels up. And you squeeze in quick meals when bubba is napping. Sound familiar? Nutritionist Amanda Ursell notes that many women become “people pleasers” — choosing to put everyone else first — in an attempt to be the perfect mum, wife or employee. So from now, when you make breakfast for your little one, make some for yourself and eat it with her.

Your weight-loss solution: Eat 5 meals a day
Do it right: “Eat little and often, but not in the way you have been doing,” suggests personal trainer James Duigan. Just because you don’t have time to prepare meals doesn’t mean the meals you do eat have to be pre-packed. Have five smaller, healthier meals, including smoothies. “It hardly takes any time to whip up two handfuls of berries with 100ml natural yoghurt, 100ml rice milk and cinnamon,” Duigan adds.

Secret success tip: Nutritionist Amanda Ursell advises, “Keep healthy snacks with you at all times.” Nuts, bananas and apples are good options.

The comfort seeker
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Many new mums feel exhausted and even a bit depressed, so they turn to sugar-laden foods for physical and emotional comfort. “But the feel-good factor doesn’t last long,” says Psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley. “Sugary foods send your blood-sugar levels sky-high and when you crash, you feel more tired than before and reach for sugar again — and the dreaded cycle continues.” So, the next time you reach for a biscuit, think about whether you’re hungry or just tired.

Your weight-loss solution: Pick the correct carbs
Do it right: You tend to like carbohydrates because they give you an emotional boost. To avoid the energy spikes and crashes, pick slow-release carbs such as whole-grain bread and sweet potatoes. Duigan notes that if you do have something sweet, eat it with a handful of nuts. “It will slow the rate at which the sugar hits your bloodstream and keep your energy levels consistent.”

Secret success tip: When you feel like comfort eating, do something else to distract yourself, like painting your nails. You’ll look and feel good, and soon forget about food.

The excuse maker

It may seem impossible to find time for yourself now that you’ve had a baby. Set small, realistic goals, instead of daunting ones like exercising three times a week and then beating yourself up when you can’t fulfil them. It can be as simple as walking to the shops, instead of driving. “It’s easier to say you don’t have time to exercise and lose weight than it is to try and fail. Make a few changes and you will see a difference,” says personal trainer Matt Roberts.

Your weight-loss solution: Have fitness 'snacks'
✔ Do it right: Fitness “snacking” is highly beneficial, reckons Roberts. “Forget about lengthy workouts, instead, do small bouts of exercises whenever you can.” Studies show that this way of working out is just as effective at boosting your metabolism, increasing your fitness levels and burning fat comfort.”

✔ Secret success tip: Download circuit-training apps such as the Sworkit Pro (free on iTunes and Google Play) to stay on track. You can select how much time you have and what you want to do — whether it’s working your abs or stretching — and get a personalised workout that’s different every time.