AS a new mother, you love having your bundle of joy around. But each time you pass a mirror, you find yourself wistfully longing for that hourglass figure you had prior to childbirth.
"Pregnancy is usually a time when women see themselves eating for two, and coupled with the possibility of a reduction in exercise, this can cause excessive weight gain," explained nutritionist and fitness expert Donovan Grant.
So now, instead of a taut stomach, you have a mound of flab, and even after a year of giving birth, you are still forced to walk around in maternity garb.
More than anything else, you just wish you could wave a magic wand, undo nine months of overeating and morph back to your size two self.
Unfortunately, it's not going to be as easy as that. While we can't offer you that wand, we can certainly give you some advice on how to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, or as close to it as possible.
1. Don't crash diet. Avoid the temptation to go on a crash diet in your desperation to lose weight, as the results are just temporary and this could affect your baby if you are breastfeeding. You'll need anywhere between 1,500 to 2,200 calories at least to sustain you throughout the day as you tackle your new role. So create healthy menus that will guarantee you the right combination of nutrients.
2. Learn to multitask. You are going to find yourself busier with a new addition to your family, but this is no excuse to neglect yourself. Try to get small work-outs in while carrying out chores. You can do push-ups and squats, for example, while waiting to change a laundry load or do arm string curls while waiting on the chicken to bake in the oven.
3. Stock up on vegetables and fruits. You can never go wrong with vegetables or fruits because they keep you full and are low in calories. You can choose dark green, leafy vegetables, or snack on things like carrots, melon, apples, oranges or ripe bananas.
4. Build your self-confidence. If you keep on telling yourself that you are fat, then you will behave that way. Weight loss begins in the mind, so you have to first decide that you want to shed the weight before you even start planning strategies to achieve these goals.
5. Plan ahead. Try to find time in the morning to pre-plan your meals. You can keep it simple by making healthy sandwiches, stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables and packaging cereal and nuts in Ziploc bags so you can have something nutritious to eat when you are on the go.
6. Create a support system. Plan activities with other moms in your area that will help to keep you active. You can decide to take your babies for strolls in the mornings or in the evenings. The walks will help to keep you fit. You could also do other low impact exercises together, like swimming.
7. Find healthier versions of your favourite foods. Don't deprive yourself of foods you love; just find healthier versions to substitute them. Try creating homemade vegetable pizzas and ask that whole wheat bread be used for your hamburger, so you can cut back on calories.