Tuesday, 26 January 2016

4 Tips for Returning to the Gym After Having a Baby

Many new mothers feel the pressure of getting back in shape after having a baby. Much of this can be blamed on celebrities, and their ability to get back into their pre-baby bodies within weeks of giving birth.

We know it’s unhealthy, but that doesn’t stop us wanting to get back into shape, right?

Well, returning to the gym is a possibility. If you’re not a gym bunny, doing other forms of exercise are possible. I just want to make sure you do it safely for you and your newborn.

Here are my four tips for returning to the gym after having a baby.

Don’t Start Too Soon

Listen to your body. Are you really ready to return to the gym right now? If you’ve had a c-section, it’s going to take longer to heal than if you had a pain-free natural delivery (they happen, apparently!).

So, avoid starting too soon. Listen to what your body is telling you and be honest with yourself.
I don’t recommend starting before your six week post-natal check, but if you’re anything like me you can’t wait that long. I know I was out walking again just two days after getting out of the hospital.

You’ll know how far you can push yourself.

Eat Healthily From the Start

Getting the right nutrients into your body is a must. If you’re breastfeeding, you may need extra calories but they should always come from healthy foods.

Focus on getting three balanced meals a day, and look at nutritious snacks. That doesn’t mean all chocolate and crisps are no-gos, but you don’t want to rely on them.

Avoid cutting anything out. Your body needs protein, carbs, fat and fibre (healthy versions of all), so make sure you get them in your diet. They’ll help you get back in shape and perform better in the gym.

Talk to Your Gym Instructors

Your gym may have specifications before you go back to doing your workouts. Some will want you to have your post-natal check first to make sure you’re not a health risk. Others will want you to make sure your c-section wound is fully healed or bleeding has stopped before you start doing certain types of workouts.

By talking to your gym instructors, you can also get exercises that are specific for returning after having a baby. These exercises will help to strengthen your core muscles again and can also help avoid putting excess strain on any areas you suffered rips or surgery.

If you can get one, have a workout program created for yourself so you can follow something recommended by the professionals.

Build It Up Slowly

Don’t expect to get straight back into your original workout capabilities right away. It’s not going to happen, even if you did stick to a workout routine during pregnancy.

Your body has gone through a lot, and you need to build your fitness back up again slowly. Don’t push yourself on the first day. Remember, you have a newborn to look after.

If you do feel dizzy, sick or in pain, you need to stop your workout. Scale it back the next time and build up your capabilities from there.

It won’t take you too long to get back to where you were, as long as you do it carefully and safely.

Congratulations on your newborn. Now could be the time to return to the gym, but that doesn’t mean you need to do it all at once. It’s important that you do this safely, and put you and your newborn first.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

How Soon Can You Start Losing Weight After Having a Baby?

On Monday I gave birth to my daughter. That’s why I’ve been so quiet. The birth went well, and we’re now back home and settling into a routine.

Of course, as a Weight Watchers leader there have been people who have been following my weight gain throughout pregnancy. I didn’t post much about it here, but shared with some people close to me.

With healthy eating throughout my pregnancy, I gained 37lbs up until last Friday. I didn’t bother weighing the last two days of my pregnancy, and wasn’t exactly watching what I was eating!

Now there’s the question of when I will start losing weight after having a baby. Is there a wrong or right time?

Wait Six Weeks

If you’re joining Weight Watchers or returning after giving birth, you can’t do it until six weeks after the birth of your baby. That’s when I’ll be officially following the plan again.

Midwives recommend waiting until the six week mark because the body has the chance to recover from the birth; whichever method of birth. Weight Watchers has to take this line because of the health recommendations.

Wait Until Your Doctor’s Checkup

Most mothers will have a checkup between six and eight weeks after birth. Some midwives will recommend that you wait until then to start losing weight after the birth of your baby.

This helps to ensure that your body really is ready to lose weight. You get the chance to discuss any health issues that may have come up and your doctor will make sure that various aspects of your body have returned to normal.

Weight Watchers tends to accept that most mothers have had their checkup after six weeks. It is the most common, especially since mothers will likely book this appointment themselves.

Listen to Your Body

I’ll be unofficially getting back to losing weight from next week. There are a few reasons for this, and one of those is that I listen well to my body.

I won’t follow the Weight Watchers Smart Points plan religiously, though. My husband will be doing, and I’ll just follow the No Count option mostly. If I really want that chocolate, sausage roll or other unhealthy option then I’ll weigh up whether it is worth it or not; do I really want or need it? I did this earlier tonight when my husband offered me seconds of tea. I made the decision to turn it down and had a yogurt instead because I didn’t need seconds.

Listening to your body is important. You need your energy after having a baby. Not only will you need to be able to do everything, but your hormones take a slide soon after giving birth. The baby blues are hard enough, and you don’t want to worry about losing weight at the same time.

Chances are if you eat healthily, you will end up losing weight. If you’re breastfeeding, this is even more likely. It all depends on whether you eat the recommended 330 calories extra a day. Your body will take the extra from your fat stores instead.

In short, you shouldn’t lose weight until you really are ready. This isn’t just about your head but also about your overall health. In your mind you may be ready right now, but your body may not quite be ready to take a cut in your calorie intake. It’s also worth listening to medical advice and following the rules of any weight loss plan you intend to follow to start losing weight after having a baby.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Why Crash Diets Aren’t Good for Long Term Weight Loss Success

Do you want weight loss success that lasts for years? Of course you do! The last thing you want is to drop four dresses sizes, just to go up six within weeks of stopping the diet.

It’s the start of the year and there are plenty of people looking to start crash diets. It could be the latest 10-day magazine diet, these juice diets (Juice Plus and everything else out there) or a 500-calorie only diet.

Whatever you find, it’s time to think carefully about them. Are they really sustainable for long term weight loss success?

There is one reason why I joined Weight Watchers as a leader. I could follow a healthy eating plan that would keep the weight off for the long term (forever, in fact!) Even with the new plan, it is sustainable for the long term.

And I don’t just say Weight Watchers works. For many people out there, Scottish Slimmers, Slimming World and the old Rosemary Connelly (I can’t remember the new name for it now) do work, and there are maintenance options.

Crash diets don’t have the long term success. Here’s why:

They’re Designed for Quick Results

The truth is these diets aren’t designed for slow and healthy losses. They’re designed for quick results, whether it’s 10 pounds in a week or 30 pounds in a month.

Not only are these not healthy but they’re not sustainable. You’re not changing your eating habits that got you in the position you’re currently in. They’re just cutting back your calories considerably so your body has to burn the excess ones you’ve stored within a short period of time.

A healthy weight loss plan will only reduce your calories by a smaller amount, so you change habits and burn the excess calories slowly.

Once you go back to eating normally after your crash diet, you’ll just pile the weight back on.

You Don’t Learn About Good Wholesome Food

As I mentioned, you’re not learning new habits. When it comes to long term success, you need to change habits to keep the weight off after the diet ends.

The best plans will help you replace your treats with healthier options, while still allowing you some freedom. You’ll learn more about the nutrients in food and why overeating is bad for you. You learn about foods that will make you feel fuller for longer, so you end up eating less throughout the day without actually feeling it.

Crash diets can’t teach you any of this. The whole aim is to lose the weight as soon as possible.

Many Replace Meals Temporarily

Most of the crash diets out there are all about replacing meals. They give you shakes instead of actual food, so you end up starving yourself. You think you’re getting all the nutrients you need, but chances are you aren’t.

These shakes and diets are only temporary, too. Eventually, you have to go back to eating normal food.

This goes back to what I’ve already said in points 1 and 2: you don’t change your habits!

You’re Not Losing Fat

When you lose weight so quickly, you’re not just losing fat. You start losing muscle and a lot of it will be water retention. It gives you the feeling that you’re losing a lot, but the fat is still there somewhere.

A healthy weight loss is up to 2lbs a week. This will be 2lbs of fat. Of course, there will be weeks where you lose a bit more than that and that’s normal and still healthy. But on average it should be no more than 2lbs a week.

By not losing fat, you end up causing yourself other damage. You could be more at risk of muscle and bone problems. You can also look very drawn in the face, making it look like you’ve lost too much weight and making you look older.

Crash diets don’t work, not for long term weight loss success. Please don’t waste your money and time on these diets. The only time that I see them being useful is if you have a lot of weight to lose or you want to give your body a wee kickstart before moving onto a healthy eating plan that will give you the long term success in your weight loss.