Last night my daughter was having a meltdown, refusing to go to sleep – she wanted to finish her panda mask so that she could wear it to bed. Upon packing up she realised she forgot to add the horn, “what panda has a horn I asked?”. Tears in her eyes, screaming “a Unicorn panda mummy!” as she shot me a death stare and I was left feeling like an imbecile. Sometimes, most of the time, motherhood throws you a curveball, but you roll with it. I felt grateful I don’t have additional stress in my life at this stage as I simply don’t have energy or time for anything else on top. This brings me precisely to the point I want to make in this article – motherhood is already stressful enough, there’s no need to add more stress especially if your goal is weight loss.
Back to basics
Most mums who want to lose weight think I need to go on a diet. The truth is there isn’t one way to eat to lose weight. Don’t believe me? If you think you need to eat high protein, low carb to lose weight, then look at trim and terrific vegans (or vegetarians) who pretty much live on a high carbs, low protein diets. How do you explain that? Perhaps it’s better to eat smaller, more frequent meals to keep our metabolism high? But wait, a bunch of your friends have lost a tremendous amount of weight doing the exact opposite – eating larger, less frequent meals when they went on an intermittent fasting diet.
If your goal is weight loss – rather than giving your current diet a complete face lift. Try to master these fundamentals first:
1) Eat mindfully and calmly
2) Eat more fruit and veggies
3) Move your body
Going on a strict diet without first mastering these fundamentals is like saying you’re going to start exercising 7 days a week when you already find it hard to fit in regular exercise. Not impossible but extremely hard to do!
Forget the “if you’re not doing it tough, you’re not trying hard enough” attitude
You don’t need complexity to get incredible results. Good nutrition helps us look, feel, and perform our best. But another element of good nutrition that we don’t often think about is how easy it is for us to actually stick to it? The best nutrition for you is the one you can actually stick to because it takes into account your lifestyle, personal preference, and available time.
Lifestyle: I exercise 3-4 times a week doing mostly HIIT exercise and strength training.
So, about 30/40% of my food intake will be carbs. Because I’m relying on glucose, the basic building block of carbs, as my body’s main source of energy for working muscles. However, mums who are less active or prefer lower intensity exercises might only need 10/20% carbohydrates in their diet.
Personal preference: I like the ideas that I can be flexible with my eating – eat anything, with anyone, at any time. Eating is not just eating but a bonding time with my loved ones. While, I think Keto and intermittent fasting have some amazing health benefits, it just something that doesn’t work for me. I want to be able to sit down to have a meal with my family when we’re ready rather than when the clock tells me. I also like carbs and sweet things, so I’m not willing to give that up for a Keto diet.
Available time: I eat out about 1-3 times, but most of the time my husband and I will cook big batches of food. We cook, freeze, and eat leftovers. I don’t have time to cook every night. When I do have time, I don’t want to spend it on cooking. I’d rather take the kids to the park or hang out with them on our balcony. Some mums might enjoy cooking, they might even cook with their kids. Other mums with very young kids and no help might like the convenience of being able to order in.
The human body adapts amazingly well to many different ways of eating. We can be healthy and fit whether we eat mostly meat (carnivore diet), mostly carbohydrate (vegan and vegetarian), mostly fat (Keto) as long as we consistently do the basics well.
In fact, next time you feel like you’re doing it tough, I encourage you to use this “resistance” as a guide and ask yourself what else you can try? Chances are you just haven’t found a solution that works for you yet. One of my clients found it hard to motivate herself to go to the gym. Even though she desperately wanted to get fit again after pregnancy she never found exercise fun. This was the resistance that kept her from sticking to exercise. It wasn’t until she joined postpartum group exercises that for the first time, she enjoyed exercising and was able to develop lasting healthy habits with her exercise.
I work with busy mums to help them become strong, lean, confident women. Women who take on greater challenges beyond exercise, translating into happier mums, and great role models for their kids.
My Mummy First is a deeply transformative programme that makes weight loss and healthy living fun, in a supportive community of mums that support, celebrate and lift each other up to become the best versions of themselves.
Founder My Mummy First, Fitness coach with Pre/Post Natal Specialisation, Corporate Speaker, Life Coach, Mother of two
More available on: www.mymummyfirst.com