Your baby is here! Congratulations! Life has taken on a beautiful new meaning and chances are you are experiencing some frustration over what is left of your pregnancy weight gain. Bottom line is that whether your baby is 6 weeks or 6 months old, the changes to your body and difficulty losing the weight can be overwhelming. Eating less and exercising more is really not an option. How can you be serious about counting calories and carbs when you are consumed with measuring ounces and tracking poop? The gym may be beckoning you but your favorite class is given during feeding time and an after work drink with friends has been replaced by a dash to the train.
Does this resonate for you? If so, I am here to tell you there is a better way, a different way to approach weight loss and it doesn’t require baby steps. It is more about HOW you eat, WHY you eat and WHEN you eat. There is no required punishing exercise designed to make your body go away. It involves no deprivation or willpower but introduces you to empowering choice.
Welcome to The 7 Steps to Food F.R.E.E.D.O.M.. Follow these simple strategies and you, like hundreds of clients I have helped in the last 18 years, can reach your happy and healthy weight as you nurture the body you are in.
Feel the love. This step is all about gratitude. It starts with honoring your body as you appreciate all that it has given you. Partner with it, include it in the conversation. Keeping yourself stuck on negative thoughts and limiting beliefs about your body will keep you feeling powerless. Gratitude allows us to feel “I am..”instead of “I am not..”Take Action: know all you are feeling is coming from a blessed place.
Relax. I know I am asking a lot here. I am a Mom and Grandmother and I know how stressful it is to be sleep deprived, unsure of how to soothe a crying baby, make sense of the blogs and re-calls coming to your inbox, all while balancing a marriage, friendships and work responsibilities. I need you to know that stress will de-rail your weight loss efforts. A prolonged stress response will negatively impact digestion, nutrient absorption and the rate at which we burn calories. A relaxation response will promote “rest and digest”which in turn promotes optimal calorie burning, assimilation and increased metabolism. Take Action: Breath! Take several deep, conscious cleansing breaths whenever you feel overwhelmed. Exhale fully, take in a breath for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and exhale for 7.
Eat when you are Hungry, Stop When You’re Not. When you include your body in the conversation, you can tune into your hunger. What are you hungry for? Are you bored? Are you feeling feelings that a bag of cookies will take you away from? Are you craving foods because you are trying to be “good”all day? Eating when you are hungry allows you to honor your appetite. Skipping meals in an effort to restrict calories will only set you up for overeating, possibly binging as your body requires fuel. Take Action: Use a hunger and fullness scale. On a scale of 1-5, eat when you are at a 2-3 and stop when you are comfortably full, a 3-4. Eat your largest meal when the sun is highest in the sky, when your metabolism is at its best.
Eat Slowly, with Awareness. When you eat with awareness, without distraction, your brain can take in all the sensory stimuli from your meal, letting you know when you have had enough. When you eat fast, while engaging in other activities like talking on the phone or surfing the internet, your miss these signals, your brain doesn’t alert your body food is coming and it screams, “I want more”. Even negative thoughts like, “I shouldn’t be eating this”creates a distracting stress response. Take Action: Slow down, breath, if you normally eat in 5 minutes, make it 10. When you eat, eat.
Do something everyday to move your body. No time for the gym? No worries. Walking your baby, rocking your baby, and lifting your baby are all forms of what’s known as functional exercise. Once you get your doctor’s go-ahead, aim to find 5-15 minutes in your day to do some basic movements that you enjoy. There are many health benefits to exercise, one of the best ones for you now is the sense of well-being it promotes. Take Action: Find ways to move that will fit into your life as it is now. Working out shouldn’t be work.
Eat mostly Whole Foods. I know you have been longing for sushi, pining for Sauvignon Blanc. I know you’re done asking the waiter if the feta is pasteurized. While each of us has unique needs and requirements for nutrition and satiety, I have some suggested guidelines for you to follow. Welcome to the concept of “crowding out”- eating more of what your body needs and less of what it doesn’t. What we DON’T need are refined sugars, processed foods, artificial sweeteners and any food in a box labeled “sugar-free”, “fat-free or “diet”. These empty calories are menacing to our health and weight loss goals as they set us up for cravings and deplete us of vital nutrients. Eating whole food, minimally processed, made from plants rather than in a plant, will create the ideal setting for optimal calorie and fat burning. Choose from:
- Lean proteins from organic free range eggs, organic poultry, wild fish and organic dairy to promote healing and cell turnover, helping you to feel focused, necessary if you are sleep deprived.
- Carbohydrates in their natural form, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, will provide the essential vitamins, minerals, and enzymes you need to be at your best. Carbohydrates are important for helping us to relax, promoting a sense of calm.
- Fats are essential and serve many functions. Helping us to feel satisfied, healthy fats control appetite and cravings. Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado and minimally processed oils serve to regulate hormones, improve the quality of our hair, skin and nails, aid digestion and help us absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Take Action: Eat with joy, find pleasure in your empowered choices, and always eat dessert.
Make sure you surround yourself with what truly nourishes. True nourishment comes from so much more than what is on our plates. Our relationships, our careers, our spirituality and physicality complete the circle of our lives. During this time of major transition and adjustment, reach out to family and friends for support. If you need more help, find an appropriate professional. Talk, play and laugh as often as you can. Take Action: Nourish yourself with the people, places and things that remind you how amazing you are so you can continue to be the most brilliant version of yourself.
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