Some people think losing “pregnancy fat” is not like losing “real fat.” Let me tell you folks, as hard as it is to hear – fat is fat.
It’s tough to lose, which is why many mothers struggle with their muffin top after birth. While having a muffin top may only be one of many things on the list of issues post-baby, it definitely is at the top. It requires a level of discipline, patience, persistence and faith to unveil the strong midsection that can exist if you are willing to work hard (really hard) for it.
While pregnant, as well as when you are breastfeeding, you should only be adding about 500 calories a day to your diet. “Eating for 2” is this free-flowing myth that allows the average woman to rack up about an average of 1,000 additional calories way easier than it should be. Start with dropping your calories slowly; 1200 calories seems like the magic number for most women to aim for. This is why, while I am PRO food tracking I am NOT a fan of many of the popular fitness apps available. It will tell you how many calories you should eat for your goal weight. It doesn’t consider how heavy you currently are now, your current level of activity, or your current struggles.
I never just EAT 1200 CALORIES. Especially when active and starting a new program (fitness or food based). Start by dropping 250 calories off where you currently are now. (Fact: Did you know cutting just 100 calories a day will drop 10 lbs a year?) For every plateau you hit, drop another 200-250 calories from your intake. (Average woman post-pregnancy is eating 2,300 calories).
You should NOT ever starve yourself. Make healthy. alert choices that align with your goals. Starving yourself is why many people binge eat and are often not successful on their low-calorie intakes. Eventually your metabolism will break down. Progressions in your caloric deficit should be slow, just like running a marathon. You can’t go and run a marathon if you’re not used to it. Start jogging two miles, then five miles… you get the point. Training and eating right have similar logic. Make small progressions, change it up, keep your body guessing and evolving, and listen to it.
Next is fitness. I know we would all like to run a mile, eat a carrot and see a 15 pound change on the scale, but that will never happen. Deep core training is needed. This includes cardio as well as weight training. From lifting to planking, side planks, supermans, crunches, leg lifts. Develop and strengthen your core. Your deepest core muscles, your transverse abdominals are your main focus on get rid of that belly fat.
Document everything. While you may not be at a point where you are enjoying taking full body shots of yourself or stepping on the scale, PLEASE DO IT! Store the evidence away and come back to it later. I promise you will appreciate it in the long run. You have to measure yourself. Progress is made where progress is measured! Do understand that muscle gain does impede pounds loss, but the majority of unhealthy fat loss must happen prior to muscle gain. So also take measurements and body fat percentage.
Plan, set and create short term goals
Aiming to lose 25 to 75 pounds is far too lofty. Break it down to an average of 8 pounds a month. Whether your child is a newborn or new to middle school, it took longer than a month to gain that weight, it will take longer than a month to lose it. This requires about 2 pounds a week. This allows you to stay on point with your exercise and food intake each day. You will understand and appreciate the value in each of your actions. Short term goals lead to big time successes.
Lastly, be faithful to yourself and do not give up! Don’t beat yourself up when you have an unplanned cheat meal. Don’t give up when you eat poorly on a weekend or over eat on a vacation. Don’t give up when you get injuries or blow off the day when you slept poorly. When your husband pisses you off, work kicks your butt, or your children soak up every last ounce of energy you think you possess, please don’t give up. Don’t turn to a pint of ice cream or bag of chips for solace. Don’t lay in bed all day from acute depression. Beat it, prove others wrong, beat out the hateful thoughts in your mind, be consistent, and stay on plan. Stay disciplined and in tune with your body and mind to follow through even during the toughest of times.