Recently, I finally stopped breastfeeding. After 20, beautiful wholesome months. The long road to body freedom started sometime around 14 months but somehow my young man had me on demand night and day and I just couldn’t turn him away. After a recent stretch of little sleep, my body, business goals, and patience said, ‘enough is enough’. I was exhausted!
Over the course of a week, we dropped our feeds to 1-2 a day, and stopped completely on day 6. It was hard for both of us, but we got through.
This week I slept goodt! A mum friend even complimented me on my youthful glow. While I miss the lovely feeling of closeness, I’m glad to have my body back.
In this video I share how I treated my post-c section body using traditional African methods and my approach to getting back in shape after my 5th child:
Now we’re on the other side of breastfeeding and with there being less nutritional demand on my body, I can modify my diet and cut back slightly on calories to aid my weight loss. Breastfeeding made me crave carb heavy meals and I loved every minute of it! But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end *sigh*.
Also, with better sleep, my energy level has shut up which has meant my body now tolerates vigorous workouts (gosh I missed a good sweat dripping workout). Losing weight is hard and trying to do that with a child who’s keeping you up at night is a painful task for your body and sanity! Your body will gain weight even just through crappy sleep. I’m so glad I’m now physically able to reclaim the body I feel happiest in.
Weight loss after pregnancy takes time but It’s possible. Although this is my 5th child, I consider this my second postpartum weight loss journey. A few years back (decade ago) my body seemed to naturally do its thing to bring me close to my pre-baby weight- however, with my last two pregnancies, it’s taken deliberate effort to ‘snap back’. I guess that’s kind of my body’s way of telling me I’m moving on in years.
Some women just bounce back to their pre pregnancy bodies, but for others like me, it can take a little longer to come off. With a few changes to your diet and armed with a realistic fitness plan, you can totally reach your goal weight. I’m on the road to getting my body all the way together and sharing with you my diet game plan.
1. Meal planning
When we plan our meals ahead of time, we take the guess work out of mealtimes and are better able to overcome the self sabotage behaviours we are tempted to take.
Family life can get hectic and if you often find yourself stuck on what to cook for dinner, you leave yourself open to making unhealthy choices.
Leave no chance to indulge on unhealthy food or the temptation to order in by coming up with a weekly meal plan. Get your own copy of our immediately downloadable diet guide with 4-week meal plan HERE
I’ve gotten in the habit of stocking up on core ingredients that I can quickly put together to cook a delicious and healthy meal. My core favourites are avocado, bell peppers, courgettes, mushrooms, eggs, beans, and chicken. With these few ingredients I can rustle up a mean meal at any time of the day- anything from an egg omelet, bean and avocado wrap, vegetable fried rice or a chicken vege stir fry. The best thing is, there’s very little prep required beforehand with these ingredients and so when hunger calls, I can get in the kitchen and be done in no time.
Another way to stay on top of your diet is to arm yourself with three core meals to rotate on a weekly basis and then shop for the ingredients. When it comes to weight loss, having your day-to-day meals in check is more than half the battle won. More ideas on ways to meal plan HERE
2. Stick to healthy plating
When it comes to healthy plating, my rule of thumb is: vegetables at every meal. I also aim to:
- Eat at least one portion of whole grain/ complex carbs per day- I like to begin my day with oats or fermented maize cereal (ogi). For lunch I might have an average portion of leftovers from the previous evening, beans, salad wrap. Dinner is usually a rice, yam or plantain dish.
- 2 servings of protein a day- my regulars are: mackeral, salmon, chicken, beef, beans and lentils
- At least 2 servings of healthy fats – I enjoy avocado and whole eggs. I like butter and coconut oil on bread, ghee for stir fries, olive oil for salad dressing, and palm oil for cooking traditional meals.
I don’t actively eat this way solely for weight loss; it’s what I find satisfying and keeps me full. Motherhood alone is an olympic sport and I need all the energy and goodness fresh food offers.
3. Cut out fried, processed, or sugary food
I’m not big on junk food so it’s not much of a challenge to limit the diet killers which are
- Sugary foods (cakes, pastries, ice cream)
- Sugary drinks (sodas, fruit juices, vitamin water, overly sweetened hot drinks)
- Fried, dried and crucified foods (fries, fried chicken, battered fried vegetables)
The goal isn’t just to lose weight, it’s to do so as healthily as possible. Cutting out (or cutting back) on junk food and prioritising making your own food with fresh ingredients will do you a lot of good in many ways.
From time to time, it’s okay to indulge a craving, however, the key is moderation and finding a healthy balance that puts your health first.
4. Portion Control
Portion control is a key part of helping you lose weight and keep it off. Portion control is a formal way to measure the amount of food you’re eating so that you get the benefits of the nutrients in the food without overeating or undereating.
Here’s how I eyeball my portion sizes without starving or counting calories (My plate typically looks like 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat):
- Protein– 1 palm size
- Carbs– 1 handful
- Serving of vegetables: 1 fist size
- Fats– 1 thumb size
It’s important to look at serving suggestions on the foods you eat as most people are consuming way more than their body needs without realising.
Something I wasn’t aware of during my first weight loss journey is, you can still put on weight from overeating the good stuff. It matters that you eat the right foods and stick to healthy portions.
There are times my portions increase or slightly decrease depending on my mood, activity levels or just because ‘YOLO’ and that’s okay I’m a human not a robot.
There’s no need to worry about overeating in a day, it’s not the one time you overeat that leads to weight gain, but continuously eating to the point you have to undo your trouser button- day after day- is what leads to weight gain. It’s just as important to honour your hunger as it is your fullness.
“If hunger isn’t your problem, food shouldn’t be your solution”
5. No food after 8
Before getting into fitness, I would often eat right up to bed hour. It’s not to say that eating past a certain time is ‘bad’. If you’re hungry eat; you’re accountable to only yourself. For me, the evening is a classic time for cravings and whatever I can reach for. Basically, eating for the sake of eating. The thing is, late night snacks do raise how many calories we consume and tend to not be healthy food. With the goal of losing a few extra pounds, those are extra calories I can do without. More to this, for me, fitness is a lifestyle of discipline that spreads to other aspects of my life. A lack of discipline with my eating habits communicates to me that I’m not exercising will power and honouring my highest self.
To sum it up, our diet is a major key when it comes to losing weight. To make weight loss easier, it helps to plan your meals, increase the quality of foods you consume, manage your portion sizes, and limit your eating window. Lifestyle factors that can also affect our body composition include stress, lack of exercise and inadequate sleep. Not having these under control can offset your body’s natural balance and make it difficult to lose weight.