Well although we all want to hear differently, there are only two ways to get back into shape, or to get there in the first place, to eat well and to exercise. This is especially true for people who are looking to burn off baby weight. We all see how those actresses bounce back so fast, and with a personal trainer and a personal chef, it’s not surprising to see how easily they accomplish it. For the rest of us, it’s hard work, takes time, and effort, which is surprisingly difficult to come by in our daily lives not to mention when you add a newborn to the mix.
Well the first part is eating well. This is markedly different from “dieting”. Dieting implies two things, one that it is a temporary thing that is different from the rest of your life, this is why so many people put the weight back on when they “go off” a diet. Secondly, dieting has so many years of bad rap. We all feel that keeping to a diet is depriving your self and avoiding anything good. This is why it is important to remind your self that you are not dieting, you are eating well. Now if this is so simple, why are so many people over weight? Well no matter how hard they try to convince you other wise premade, prepackaged foods and the majority of restaurants are not on board with this plan. The other problem is that avoiding all this and using fresh ingredients is expensive, time consuming and inconvenient.
So how do we get on board with eating well? There are a few things we need to remember to hold true to this, and then there are a few tricks that will help. Firstly eating well includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and unless you have a plentiful garden, this means marketing at least once a week. The prime day to market is Wednesday, practically nation wide, the sales ads change on Wednesdays, so this gives you first grab at the sales prices, if you take the ad with you or grab one at the door you can get to all the sales prices and can save a good deal of money. Pay attention some stores will offer specials where they have both old and new sales prices if you go in on Tuesday or Wednesday in an attempt to catch more people. Also even the happiest new mom needs a break from the wee ones, an hour or two to market a week, mandates that you get out of the house and take a break, even if its not the most exciting thing to be doing. We all know that prices have been going up on produce lately even in the prime seasons. If you are lucky enough to live in a major city, check out the ethnic markets, generally the mid-eastern, Asian or Hispanic markets have produce prices that are way below what you pay at the main stream stores. Just know that you may have to look through a few bruised tomatoes to reach the perfect ones. Many places also have “farmers markets” be they traditional stand style weekly events, or stores that are capitalizing on the name. If you live in an area with none of these there are still produce stands in the good seasons, or perhaps you have to work more with whatever is affordable at the time, rather than what you would wish. I think the saddest part of my relocation making me turn to Wal-Mart as a food source was the pitiful state of their produce selection. If fresh produce is not a price option frozen can be a good substitute, only under desperate measures should you be reduced to canned, half the nutrients are boiled away in the canning process and they start out mush to begin with.
Even just cooking your own fresh made meals with fresh bought ingredients can usually change most peoples diets around to the point that they do not need specific recipes that then change the foods, but use common sense. If you are using large quantities of fats and sugar or eating giant portions it is not going to make a difference. One simple thing that I do is put half the butter in that a recipe will call for when cooking, you really don’t notice the difference in the out come. Or switch to 1% fat milk, yes for the first week it may taste off but after that you truly will get used to it. These are the simple guidelines that I follow when paying attention to what foods I am eating and buying. I have noticed that when I follow this advice I lose weight, up to 30 lbs in just a few months of eating right, doing nothing else different in my life. And I have noticed that when I eat out, fix premade or frozen meals too often that the weight comes right back.
Another trick to help jump start this eating thing, is to change five meals a week to a salad. Or even go up to one meal a day. You can still fill the salad up with proteins such as meat and cheese, but just by making the filler of the meal lettuce you do yourself a service.
One of the main things to remember is that you are just making small choices not banning things out right. I always held to my eating on weekdays and just didn’t worry about it on the weekend. Now if you spend those two days gorging on chips and pies obviously it doesn’t matter what you do the rest of the week, but if you again use common sense indulging a little wont matter either.
The final trick to eating well is holding your self accountable. The easiest way to accomplish this is by writing down everything you eat. Yes that means that if you steal a spoonful of ice cream out of the freezer it goes on the list too. My favorite source for keeping tabs on what I eat is a website called fitday.com it is free and easy to use. You also can then keep track of calories and all that as well as having a lovely pie chart that maps out what percentage of protein, carbs and fat you are eating. The rule of thumb is to keep the protein high and the fats low. I love pasta and bread and refuse to call carbs bad! I lost more weight cutting out meat, than I did when I tried the old school cottage cheese and tuna diet. Plus I was way happier, more satisfied and able to continue with it. But neither option was a life time way of living for me.
As far as exercise goes, you want to stick with things that you can do in the house while the wee ones are napping. The easiest, low impact, yet most challenging workout I have found, is the NYC Ballet work out video. All you need is a deal of space in front of the TV to stretch out in and you will be shocked how effective this can be just lying on the floor. There are a slew of videos out there though find something that appeals to you and go for it.
As the babies get older and you are comfortable taking them out regularly, pop them in the stroller and go for a walk, if you live in an area that isn’t really designed for foot travel, head to the mall. During the weekdays, it’s generally slow and it is most defiantly air conditioned. You don’t need to go all out to keep your body in shape just moving is important.
What ever type of exercise you find, a mix of cardio and strength training is the best. As you need to shape your muscles as well as use them. Dance, pilates and yoga are the best forms of developing long, lean, graceful muscle in women. Swimming is also great for low impact. It doesn’t matter what you choose so long as you say diligent in what you do. Even just 30 minutes of activity 3 times a week can make a marked improvement on your life. Remember that activity is more important than scheduled exercise, and that cleaning house, doing laundry, even just holding those little ones, is all activity that makes you use your body. Be satisfied in all that you do instead of worrying what you don’t accomplish and you will become more satisfied with your efforts.