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Busy mum's guide to losing weight


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Busy mum's guide to losing weight

  1. 1. ==== ====About Aerobics for new mums ====Hormonal changes during pregnancy, and quite normal fat gain often makes many women feelunattractive and sometimes quite depressed. Many women still believe that "eating for two" is theway to go during pregnancy. I am sorry if I disappoint some of you, but this really is not the case. Ifa woman eats to satisfy her appetite, her weight will usually increase by about 3.5kg (8lb) in thefirst 20 weeks of pregnancy and then by about 0.5kg (1lb) a week until the end of the pregnancy.The total weight gain during pregnancy will be about 12.5kg (27lb). Gaining too much weightduring pregnancy can raise blood pressure and increases the risk of becoming obese (veryoverweight) in the future. Although women should not restrict their food intake or go on slimmingdiets when pregnant, there is no need to increase food intakes significantly until late pregnancy.Incidentally, those who do gain weight over and above what is normal are the ones who strugglemost with post-pregnancy weight loss, and fatigue.LATE PREGNANCYThe estimated averaged requirement for energy (EAR) increases during the last three months ofpregnancy by an average of 800kJ (200kcal) per day... equivalent to 2 oatcakes with ricottacheese and fruit spread and 2 dried figs - a snack like this would provide extra iron and calciumtoo - 2 vital nutrients to increase during these latter stages!At this time a womans energy expenditure from physical activity is usually reduced.So what can you do to lose any unwanted pounds gained during pregnancy?For new mums!The most natural, safest and easiest way to lose weight after giving birth is to breastfeed!Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day (the equivalent of a good workout) so helps dropexcess pounds and enables many women to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight without toomuch effort.Breastfeeding not only gives your baby the best possible start in life, but it also gives you addedincentive to eat healthily and sensibly. Breast milk is not only the perfect food for your baby; it isalso your babys main protection against disease and infection. Babys first milk or "colostrum"provides vital IgA antibodies (the first-line defence antibodies) received in the first 24-48 hours oflife! These are not found in formula milks. Naturally the health of the mother is paramount inpassing on healthy immunity to the child. Many protective antibodies are "anti-allergenic"protecting the baby against developing food allergies, asthma, eczema and other allergicconditions. Breast milk has the perfect fat and protein profile for the baby, and nutrients such asiron and manganese are much more absorbable in breast milk than they are in formula milks.Furthermore, only breast milk contains chromium (essential for controlling blood sugar levels),
  2. 2. selenium (an important antioxidant), and normal levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs), which arevital for the babys brain development. Lastly, breast-feeding helps to establish a protectivebacterial population in the infants digestive tract - yes, those "friendly bacteria" we hear so muchabout!During the early weeks of motherhood... breastfeeding, regular daily walks, and "intelligent" eatingis the way to go.N.B. DO NOT DIET WHILE BREAST FEEDINGFat cells contain toxins and nasty "residues" of foods eaten in previous years! Losing weight tooquickly releases these stored toxins into the bloodstream. Often the liver cannot clear them quicklyenough, and for breast-feeding Mums, these can easily be transported into breast milk.Remember youll gradually lose weight quite naturally if you can breast feed. Dieting only reducesthe nutrient quality of your breast milk, reduces the level of sugar in the blood and the level ofcertain brain chemicals. This leads to binge eating and mood changes - so DO NOT diet,especially while breastfeeding!You must look after yourself...In order to give your baby the best start in life, the first consideration has to be the food you eat. Itis important to have an adequate intake of nutrients, particularly the B vitamins, zinc and EFAs.Foods such as oily fish, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, avocados, almonds etc. contain all thesetypes of nutrients making them excellent snack foods or additions to salads, soups and stir-fries.The quest to cut down on calories by avoiding all fatty foods generally results in a deficiency ofEFAs, which are vital to the bodys metabolism.Suggested meals and eating times for pregnant or breast-feeding Mums:7-8am - Breakfast (Oat porridge with soya milk, chopped banana + pumpkin seeds or groundlinseeds)10-11am - Snack (a pear and 6-8 almonds)1-2pm - Light Lunch (Small baked sweet potato with tuna, tomato, avocado and salad)4-5pm - Snack (fresh fruit, rice cakes and fruit spread)7-8pm - Evening meal (poached fish or grilled chicken, salad, steamed veg & brown rice)Other snacks (nut and seed mix, fresh fruit, raw crudités and ricotta dip)N.B. Try almond or rice milk occasionally on homemade cereal. Use Tahini (sesame seed spread)or almond butter on breads & crackers, pure fruit spreads instead of jams, and use cold flaxseed oil (rich in omega-3 fats) daily. Other beneficial oils include olive oil for cooking, and usingcold walnut oil and pumpkin seed oil on salads, rice and vegetables.In terms of portion sizes, work more to your natural appetite, and begin to better recognise TRUE
  3. 3. hunger signals. If you think of hunger on a scale of 1-10, only eat when feeling about 2/3, andSTOP when you feel satisfied, around 7-8. This "appetite scale" is a key tool and one I often usewhen helping people with weight problems and "emotional" eating - i.e. eating to fill an emotionalvoid, rather than purely for fuelling reasons!Dietary advise for all MumsWatch your sugars!Sugar is a major culprit in weight gain and obesity. Being hooked on sugar and sugary foods iseasily passed on to children and a recipe for developing blood sugar and energy imbalances,behavioural and weight problems. Biscuits, cakes, chocolate bars, processed foods and low-fatfoods contain the most "hidden" sugars. Read food labels carefully, and try and get you and yourchildren used to more natural foods and natural sugars. Natural sweetness is present in manyfresh foods. Try doing taste tests with the children, identifying different flavours and degrees of"sweetness" in fruit and vegetables, dried figs, apricots and raisins. Use honey used in cooking ordrizzled on plain yogurt! Eat up to 4 pieces of fruit a day and encourage your children to do thesame. Fruit such as bananas, apples, pears and berries in the summer are great snack foods tohave between meals. Get out of the habit of giving sweets or sweet food as treats. This onlybecomes a learned habit and one, which you were probably taught as a child! Sweet things soonbecome something we turn to when feeling low or depressed, or something we often rewardourselves with. Try also not to use high fat and sugary snacks to fight boredom. Engage thechildren in a game, or take a trip to the park.Healthy snack foodsIt is OK to snack, providing a) that you are hungry and b) the foods that you snack on arenutritious. There are some good examples below! Protein foods eaten as snacks tend to fire upthe metabolism more effectively than carbohydrate dense foods such as bread, biscuits, scones,flapjacks and cake. These are not the best foods for maintaining energy levels or burning fat dueto the disruptive effect they have on blood sugar levels, and the ease at which excess is eventuallystored in fat cells as FAT! Slow-releasing carbohydrates (fresh vegetables and wholegrains, andlow-sugar fruits) and protein foods better balance blood sugar, promote energy and help to burnfat.Here are some perfect examples of small snacks and meals to give you energy and kick-start themetabolism:An apple or pear and a palmful of almondsOther fresh fruit with a handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds2 oatcakes with mashed avocado, or Tahini spreadA tuna or poached salmon saladAduki bean and chickpea salad with lettuce and tomatoes
  4. 4. Vegetable crudités and hummusA bowl of chunky homemade vegetable soupStir-fry tofu or chicken and vegetablesFeeding children healthy snack foods is critical to develop good eating habits. It also means that ifyou are tempted to finish off leftovers, at least they will be healthy leftovers!Great snack foods for the children (and Mum!):Mini rice cakes thinly spread with almond butter or pure fruit spread.A few strawberries, pieces of pear or some grapes.Carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes.Popcorn - instead of crisps - use olive oil over high heat. Sprinkle some whole corn kernels into apan. Cover and wait for the popping to finish. Empty pan immediately to avoid burning.Yogurt lollies - Mix fruit juice concentrate with natural yogurt to desired taste and freeze in lollymoulds.With children, it is better to give a couple of alternatives for snacks or foods at meal times, ratherthan saying "What would you like? Offer them an apple or a banana when they come in fromschool or nursery. Children need your authority (not your lack of willpower!). Lay the lunch ordinner table with 2 or 3 choices of things they can eat, and use lots of colours and shapes.Childrens health and vitality largely comes from the food they eat. By teaching your children to eathealthy, nutritious foods, you will also be teaching or re-training yourself to understand how dietcan make all the difference when it comes to looking and feeling your best!Dietary advice for MumsEat regularly, 4-5 times a day.Eat 4-5 pieces of fruit a day.Keep sugars and refined carbohydrates to an absolute minimum.Avoid carbohydrate-dense foods such as bread, scones, biscuits etc. during the day.Snack on fresh fruit, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, ½ an avocado etc.All these foods keep blood sugar levels stable, reduce sweet cravings, and nuts and seeds containEFAs. Remember, EFAs are essential for normal metabolic functioning and remove stored fatfrom fat cells.Try and eat fish as a main meal at least 3 times a week.
  5. 5. Drink at least 2 litres (3 ½ pints) of filtered tap water a day.Dont eat late, especially not a high fat, high calorie meal.Eat a large bowl of fresh salad everyday.Cut right back on tea and coffee and avoid all together if breast-feeding.Suggested meals and eating times if you want to lose weight:7-8am - Breakfast (Chopped apple & pear, live plain yogurt + 1 dessert spoon of seeds)10-11am - Snack (2 oatcakes with Tahini spread)1-2pm - Light Lunch (large salad with tuna, tomato and avocado)4-5pm - Snack (1-2 pieces of fruit)7-8pm - Evening meal (steamed or grilled fish, tofu or chicken, salad, steamed veg & 1 tbsp.wholegrain or basmati rice)Other snacks (peaches, raw carrot, olives, celery and tomato)N.B. Try soya or goats milk on cereal. Use dairy-free spreads such as Vitaquell margarine orTahini (sesame seed spread) on bread & crackers, pure fruit spreads instead of jams, and tryflax seed oil (rich in omega-3 fats), sesame oil, or walnut oil on salads, rice and vegetables.Some exercise advice when youve found your "me time"!!!Exercise (coupled with a healthy eating regime) makes all the difference when trying to regain pre-pregnancy, or simply an ideal weight and shape. Exercising regularly can be difficult with babiesand young children... BUT, it is not impossible!Keeping fit and toned creates a happier person, a happier Mum, and happier children. Surelythats incentive enough! Staying active with energetic children is easy, and at the same time itshelping keep the metabolic rate active. However, to really burn excess fat, its necessary to literally"train" the body to do this. Regular cardiovascular exercise that significantly raises the heart ratehas to be a major consideration when wanting to lose weight. The sooner you can start a regularprogramme of aerobic activity the better.Brisk or power walking, jogging, steady cycling, mountain biking, aerobics classes, step classes orswimming are great examples of cardiovascular activities that are particularly effective at teachingthe body to better burn body fat. Try these exercises for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week if possible. Itis important to take time out for yourself, so dont feel guilty about doing this. Husbands, partners,parents, friends etc. can watch the kids while you go for a 30 minute brisk walk, a gym workout, aswim, or continue with your favourite exercise class.Alternatively, crèches nowadays are very accessible and a haven for many busy Mums.They can be very useful, and a great opportunity for your child to begin interacting with otheryoung children.
  6. 6. Sitting at home is a recipe for eating too much so try and spend as much time being active withyour children. Weather permitting, spend time in the garden or park, go walking, and involveyourself and your child in activities such as throwing and catching a ball, swimming or tennis.Pelvic floor exercises - essential after giving birth!Try and perform some "pelvic floor" strengthening exercises. These can be done literally anywhereand at any time of the day. The pelvic floor muscles become weakened after pregnancy so needto be worked in order to avoid embarrassing "leaking"!The easiest way to do this is to imagine youre desperately trying to stop the flow of urine.Squeeze the muscles upwards, HOLD for 30 seconds, and then release. Complete this exerciseup to 20 times, twice a day if you feel these muscles have become weak.It is also important to re-strengthen weak abdominal muscles. Abdominal curls are one of the bestexercises to tone and flatten the abdomen, so try and do a couple of sets after your 30 minuteaerobic sessions. With any exercise, perform the movements slowly and in a controlled way,working to the point of "muscular fatigue" (i.e. the last few are hurting!).Tips to remember*Be active as much as possible*Take time out for yourself*Try and routinely do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3-4 times a week*Cut out sugar and sugary foods*Get used to naturally sweetened foods such as figs and grapes, and raw vegetables such ascarrots and tomatoes*Replace desserts with fresh fruit or have a salad starter instead*Avoid carbohydrate dense foods throughout the day*Drink part fruit juice and part water to increase fluid intake*If youre a new Mum, remember breast is best for natural weight loss!Lucy-Ann Prideaux MSc BSc RNutr Registered NutritionistArticle Source:
  7. 7. ==== ====About Aerobics for new mums ====