To be 100-percent honest, I don’t believe in dieting. Let’s say that you tell yourself that you’re going to cut out sugar for one month. Definitely hard, but doable right? But, once that month goes by, what’s the first thing you’re going to pop in your mouth? A donut, a cupcake, an entire pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream? Whatever it is, you can bet that it’s going to be packed with sugar and will leave you wanting more, resulting in a future binge of sweet treats that will ultimately force you to diet again. Add a newborn or toddler to the mix, and there’s no denying: A diet is simply not realistic.
In addition to a regular workout regime and an 80/20 “clean” diet, I am all about implementing small, practical, but effective changes into your lifestyle that you don’t even have to think about after a while. The type of changes that make you feel good as you’re doing them, not leave you craving something you “can’t” have. Here, easy ways to lose those final pregnancy pounds without even trying.
1. Ditch the dinner plates
If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’ll notice that the portions are MUCH smaller than the serving sizes we’re used to in the U.S. For example, Italians eat multiple courses without seeming to gain a pound. While you can look up the proper serving size for your ideal weight, make it easy on yourself and always eat your meals on a salad plate. Fill up your plate with the carbs, veggies and protein of your choice without worrying if you’re eating too much. (Tip: Eat your actual salad on a separate plate to ensure you’re getting those greens in!)
2. Use a small plate or bowl when snacking
Snacks are a huge culprit of unwanted weight gain, especially when you’re at home with a newborn struggling to eat something quickly while your baby naps. My advice? Always eat your snacks out of a small plate or bowl. For example, I always want a little ice cream at the end of the night, but, rather than eating straight out of the carton ( a major NO-NO), I always give myself 1-2 small scoops in a tiny ramekin, not a bowl, to ensure that I get my sweet fix without going overboard.
3. Take a walk with your baby at least once a day
Integrate a long walk into your morning routine. Find streets with steep hills or look up paseos around your neighbor to make sure you’re getting in a decent amount of steps. You can also look up stairs in your neighborhood and wear your baby in a sling. You’ll get a good leg, butt and cardio workout with the added weight. Plus, you’ll develop a close bond (literally) with your little one. Focus on making the walk part of your baby’s routine, rather than seeing it as a form of exercise, to ensure that you get it done each day.
4. Throw out or donate the junk food in your pantry
Did your pregnancy cravings push you to load up on chips, cookies and crackers? Do yourself a favor by throwing out or donating any binge-worthy foods in your pantry. The sneaky foods will be out of your life—and, in turn, out of your stomach—allowing you to stock up on only good-for-you goodies the next time you’re at the supermarket.
5. Say goodbye to sugary drinks
Sodas, energy drinks, juices and even coffee drinks are basically calorie and sugar bombs waiting to make their way onto your stomach, hips and thighs. Limit your beverages to water, hot or iced coffee (with a small serving of creamer or milk, if desired) or tea and I promise you, you will see a huge difference. Avoid sugar-free, fat-free, or non-fat alternatives at all costs—frankly, I would rather drink something semi-fattening than ingest any of the toxic sugar replacements found in these beverages. Keep your drink selection simple, and after awhile, you won’t think about ordering anything else.
What are your top tried-and-true health tips? Share them in the comments below!