Okay, fine. I'm pretty sure the model above has never had to lose baby weight her young, stretch-mark-free existence, but for the rest of us who have given birth and are raising kids, shedding those extra pounds can be torture. Weight brought on during the mommy-ing process seems to stick like glue. Seriously. Especially when the number of kids starts adding up and taking time to go work out becomes more and more difficult.
Now, back when I was doing my undergrad, I went through a spell of wanting to be a dietician. Studied it for about a year, then quit for personal reasons, but I've always loved food and nutrition. I actually taught a supplemental class for Basic Nutrition on campus. So, I'm by no means a health professional, but my teaching spree gave a good grounding in basic nutrition.
So how to loose that unwanted weight? A couple, simple tips.
- Burn more calories than you eat. Simple enough, right? I wouldn't go all crazy with calorie counting, but keep a rough, running estimate in mind, or download one of those cool calorie apps on your smartphone. How many calories should you be eating? Well, that depends. First, calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate, for an easy calculator, click HERE), then rate your activity level and use the info below to estimate your needed calories:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise) = BMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (light exercise 1-3 days per week) = BMR x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise 3-5 days per week) = BMR x 1.55
- Very active (hard exercise 6-7 days per week) = BMR x 1.755
- Extra active (very hard exercise 6-7 days per week) = BMR x 1.9
For example, say my BMR is about 1426. If I were moderately active, the number of calories I should be consuming (to keep the calorie burn and consumption relatively equal) is approximately 1426 x 1.55 = 2210.3. If I wanted to lose weight, I would eat less than that.
(NOTE: It takes eating about 1600 extra calories to gain a pound, and burning about 1900 extra calories to lose a pound. So, pound for pound, you're going to have to work harder to shed the weight. And the difference (300 calories) equals roughly 30 minutes of moderate jogging. It helps me to remember that before snacking with my toddler. Most times, I end up deciding having to exercise off the extra snack just isn't worth it.)
- Recognize the difference of when you're really hungry and when you've just got the munchies. One way to differentiate is choosing a fruit or vegetable you don't particularly love or hate and running a simple test. For me, it's celery. Whenever I feel like eating something, I offer myself celery first. If I don't want to eat it, I'm not really hungry. (True hunger means your body is telling you to refuel and you'll want to eat just about anything.)
-Recognize the difference of when you're hungry, or just thirsty. I would say 80 percent of the time when I feel like eating something, I drink a glass of water, and then I don't feel hungry anymore. It's so crazy. Seriously try it. Your body may just be trying to tell you its dehydrated.
-Eat smaller portions. Think about how much you want to put on your plate, and end up serving up about half of that. A serving of meat or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards. A serving of ice cream is usually just a 1/2 a cup. A serving of margarine or butter is about the size of a dice. And, get this, a typical bagel has 2 servings in it, which means you should be eating about a half a bagel. It seems like nothing, right? But I'm completely serious. Eat appropriate portions. You can eat wonderfully delicious food, but in smaller portions. If you're still hungry, fill the rest of the tummy space up by drinking water. I guarantee, you will not starve.
-Make sure your diet is balanced over the WEEK. It's unreasonable to think everyone will have the perfect diet EVERY DAY. Plus, I don't want to eat rabbit food day-in and day-out for the rest of my life. So, balance your meals weekly. When I plan dinners and make a heavier meal one day (because my husband likes stuff like that), I'll balance it out with lighter meals for the rest of the week.
-If your family has a tradition of dessert after dinner, change it. Point blank. Having dessert more than 2-3 nights a week is not necessary, and certainly not a healthy habit for you or your children. I'm not saying sweets are bad, (I adore them) but having them every night is a bit much. Cut back. Save dessert for special occasions, like FHE. Or serve fresh fruit instead of sugary sweets. Your kids might complain at first, but they'll get used to it and start to enjoy the natural sweetness and yumminess of no-sugar added fruits.
-And finally, work out. This isn't something you do to be a uber health nut. Thirty minutes of moderate exercising a day is absolutely necessary to maintain MINIMUM levels of health...to decrease your chances of developing cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart, liver and lung problems, and a whole host of medical issues we want to avoid. Moderate exercise is stuff like fast walking, heavier housework, jogging and swimming...anything that causes your heart rate to increase, your body to work hard enough to sweat, and your breathing to quicken. The most common argument against exercise I hear is that, "Well, I'm doing relatively okay without it. I'm not super in-shape, but I'm not sick." Har. This is serious, people. If you do not exercise consistently, it WILL catch up with you as you age. Work out. 30 minutes a day. Your 50, 60, and 70 year old self will thank you for it.
So, what do you think...is this doable, ladies? I think it's totally within our realm of reach. Now I'd like some inspiration from you. What sort of tips do you have for getting a good work out in when finding "alone" time is hard? How do you keep from mindlessly snacking all throughout the day? We'd love some awesome tips! Thanks much, friends!