Hey Pretty Mama,
I recently talked about new moms often feeling a bulge, or layer of fat around their mid-section, and no matter what they do, they can’t shift it.
Today, I’m going to talk about your diet. You may have heard the old adage, “Abs are made in the kitchen”, and to tell you the truth, in order to have a lean, flat tummy and defined abs, most work is done in the kitchen versus at the gym.
There are several reasons why postnatal women store fat around their middle and below I’ve listed the top culprits:
Let’s get truthful here: how many coffee mornings have you been to where you treated yourself to a donut/pastry over the last month? Were all of those “treats” necessary, and what steps did you put in place to ensure you burnt off those excess calories? If you did no exercise as a result other than a 20 minutes walk home with your stroller, then, chances are, those treats are now being stored nicely on your mid-section. Ask yourself: do you need that cookie? Could your body do without that candy bar today? Why are you rewarding yourself with bad food? Ok, so I agree it’s incredibly difficult being a new mom, it’s possibly the hardest job in the world. And I do understand that you have to get yourself out of the house and meet other new moms, I get that, BUT, do you have to reward yourself with treats every time you socialize with friends? Make sure you eat a breakfast that’s high in protein and green vegetables like for example: an omelette with smoked salmon and spinach which will help you feel fuller for longer, instead of sugary cereal/fruit/bagel which will give your body a massive insulin spike, then bring you crashing down an hour or so later. Ever wondered why you feel lethargic mid-morning? That’s because of the sugary carbs you’ve put into your system at breakfast. Any other sugary treats you eat afterwards also, will do much the same, so step away from the donuts, people.
Ok, now this is unavoidable. You have a newborn baby to look after, you’re doing absolutely everything humanly possible to ensure your baby’s needs are being looked after, BUT, how often do you turn this around and do something for YOU, instead? Probably never. Exercise, as you know, can help with stress and anxiety, so, next time you just feel completely overwhelmed, take your baby out for a walk in the park, or better still, arrange for someone else to look after him/her and do something for yourself instead. Go get a hair cut, get your nails done, book a personal shopping session, buy some new makeup, go for a swim, schedule a pedicure/massage etc. Getting your stress levels/hormones down, means your body is better at burning, rather than storing fat. The fat cells in your body just continue to multiply, unless you bring your hormone levels into balance. Changing your diet into a more high protein/green leafy vegetables combination is one way of doing this, as I’ve mentioned above, because the more green leafy vegetables you eat, the more alkaline your system becomes, and in turn, it becomes more efficient at burning off the fat cells.
LACK OF SLEEP
Now, I can see some of you rolling your eyes and letting out an involuntary groan here and muttering “but I have a newborn baby who’s not sleeping!”, however, remember, what I’m trying to do in this article, is to let you know the reasons WHY your Muffin Top just isn’t shifting, no matter what you’ve done up to now. Lack of sleep actually equals high stress and increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which ties in with the previous point I made about stress being bad for you. The less sleep you get, the more stressed you become, and the more likely you are to snack on the wrong foods because you’re constantly tired, and before you know it, that Muffin Top is there to stay, and this vicious cycle you’ve started just continues. I love my sleep, just like the next person, but, if you’re constantly in a sleep deficit, we’re going nowhere, and neither is that weight around your mid-section.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll already know the importance of drinking water. This also applies if you’re bottle-feeding your baby too, so there’s no getting off lightly here, I’m afraid. Put simply, the human body is made of up a fairly high percentage of water, and feeding it water, is a really useful way of flushing out the toxins in your system. The more neutralized your system is, the better it is at burning fat. Opt for 1 Gallon of water a day, bottled if you can, because water in general has a lot of estrogen in it – a hormone postnatal women don’t need any more of if they’re wanting to shift their baby weight, if they can avoid it.
So, we’ve touched on poor diet, stress levels, lack of sleep and dehydration, and what’s next? Caffeine. Oh yes. Some of you LOVE your coffee or tea, don’t you? Your whole world probably revolves around it at the moment! I expect you’re thinking how can caffeine affect my Muffin Top? Well, it’s a conglomeration of everything I’ve already mentioned, plus the fact that caffeine dehydrates you. We drink caffeine to wake ourselves up, so, taking everything I’ve listed above into consideration, why are you still drinking it if: a) you’re not sleeping well, b) you’re stressed and c) you’re dehydrated? It just isn’t doing you any favors, is it? My suggestion would be to swap caffeinated drinks for unsweetened herbal teas, or water with a slice of lemon/lime. Be aware of Green Tea as some does have caffeine in it, unless you purchase the decaffeinated version of it.
Hope this clarifies things for you. If you need help with getting your diet back on track, please contact me and I will be happy to help you make healthy food swaps so that you will lose your Muffin Top once and for all.
Be well. Be fit. Be strong and always smiling. You are doing a great job pretty Mama.