Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What mistakes can you avoid to help get rid of postpartum belly fat?

Postpartum belly fat has caused more than one new mom (and maybe some not so new moms) to sigh in frustration when looking in the mirror. What happened to those nice flat abs that you may have taken for granted in your pre-baby days?

You don’t have to resign yourself forever to that addition that the pregnancy left behind. Click here now to see a 14-minute video on a fun way to lose that weight that you may not have thought of. (Hint: You don't have to join a gym!)

You’re a smart woman. You know you can’t stuff yourself with chocolate and boatloads of spaghetti and meatballs, and then expect to look great in a bikini by next weekend. Even if you’re nursing the baby, you probably still have room to cut back on calories and fat a bit. You know you should eat mostly fruits and vegetables, clean proteins and carbohydrates plus a bit of healthy fats, and you know you should be active.

Once your doctor clears you for returning to full activity, you know you should get your heart rate up for at least twenty minutes, at least three times a week. You’re also probably aware that you need to add in some weight training to get the most benefit out of your activity. It’s becoming common knowledge that muscle confusion is the way to optimize your workouts, too.

Here are a few tips you might not have known that will help you crush that postpartum belly fat and get back into fighting shape in the shortest time possible.

Mistake # 1: Eating more than you think you’re eating.

While packaged diets can be a challenge to follow, they do have one great benefit: they show you how much a “serving” really is. American restaurants tend to serve very large portions, sometimes two or three times the amount of a healthy serving. We’ve become accustomed to seeing that much food on the plate, and we assume that we’re eating just one portion.

Do you know how much one serving of meat is? It’s about the size of a deck of cards. One portion of carbohydrates is one cup, or about the size of a tennis ball. Granted, that’s not very much food; so, fill up the rest of your plate with non-starchy vegetables plus a little fresh fruit.

Mistake # 2: Inadequate or inappropriate activity.

Taking one short walk once or twice on the weekends isn’t enough to make progress. You need to do a number of different activities in order to confuse your muscles and develop different muscle groups. This is important because, in order to grow, muscles need rest after a workout. If you switch up what muscle groups you’re working over the course of a week, you’ll build up the most calorie-burning muscle. Healthy, lean muscle burns more calories than fat tissue does even while it’s at rest.

Do some different activities that you enjoy. In warmer weather, take a brisk half-hour bike ride. Make the next workout a jog around the high school track. Two days later, swim laps for a half hour or follow an exercise DVD. To finish out the week, go to a samba dancing class or step class. Choose different and interesting workout activities so you’ll look forward to them.

Try an activity you’ve never tried before. You don’t have to be one of the pros on Dancing With The Stars to enjoy dancing. It’s a great, calorie burning activity, so don’t underestimate its value as you’re trying to lose weight. Focus on enjoying the activity and on how many calories you’re burning, not on trying to be the best dancer in the room.

Mistake # 3: Not eating frequently enough.

Don’t skip breakfast! By lunchtime, you’ll be cranky and starving, and then you’ll binge. On top of that, it’s not smart to be hungry when you’re caring for a new little one. Eat four to six small, healthy meals throughout the day. You’ll keep your blood sugar and your mood on a more even keel, and you’ll be much less tempted to dive into that bag of cookies.

Mistake # 4: Drinking your calories instead of eating them.

That smoothie shop may be calling out to you, and you may be tempted because smoothies are made with fruit. As innocent as a smoothie may seem, don’t be fooled – it’s loaded with calories, and it’s not very filling. Also, be wary of diet shake meal replacements. Your daily gourmet coffee may be a culprit too – if it’s made with whole milk, plus caramel, plus whipped cream, and the list goes on.

Calories that you drink have several problems. First, they don’t have much fiber, so they don’t stay with you for very long. Second, they’re loaded with calories, and they’re sometimes full of fat too. Third, they make your blood sugar level spike. When that happens, inevitably, your sugar level will crash – leaving you hungry and jittery again. For someone who is trying to reduce their postpartum belly fat, this leaves you right at Square 1 again, reaching for those sugary, fatty foods that created that bulge that you’re trying to get rid of.

Instead, eat real, wholesome foods that have plenty of fiber to keep you from getting hungry. Your main beverage should be plain water, not gourmet or vitamin waters which can have plenty of calories too.

For more information, visit http://www.loseweightthroughdancing.com and see a 14-minute video. One of the most fun ways to lose weight is to do something you really enjoy. This is a fun, energetic activity that can get you moving toward getting rid of that postpartum belly fat right away.

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