7 ways to lose your pregnancy weight

Avoid these post-baby weight gaining situations and you'll shift those extra pounds

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Lapping up my childrens’ leftovers, eating chocolate ‘for energy’ and grabbing on-the-go foods have seen me pile on the weight even after pregnancy.

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I should be slipping into skinny jeans by now – my youngest is over 2 years old. But it’s all literally gone pear-shaped since I became a mum.

“Time, or rather lack of it, is a huge issue facing mums,” says life coach Lynette Allen. “Once you have children, they become your priority, and their eating habits concern you more than your own. It’s quick and easy to satisfy your hunger with unhealthy fixes that put on weight.”

 Here are the danger zones to avoid, to help you lose that leftover pregnancy weight.

Danger zone 1: Breastfeeding binges

One of the first presents I received on becoming a mum was a bar of chocolate. It was big. The length of my 6lb 12oz newborn in fact. “You’ll need it for feeding,” said my friend Jo. “It’ll increase the calcium in your milk.”

True? Or just the start of a serious weight-inducing habit? “There are certainly more nutritious ways to up your calcium intake, like nibbling on cheese cubes or eating a natural yogurt,” says nutritional therapist Sally Gordon.

“Unlike chocolate, which gives you a buzz and then a crash, these sugar-free snacks help sustain your energy levels, meaning you’ll crave less food.”

“Stockpile healthy snacks that are easy to grab before you’re stuck on the sofa feeding,” adds Lynette. “A little preparation can stop a lot of extra weight going on.”

Danger zone 2: Caffeine

Personally, I believe all new parents should be immediately hooked up on coffee drips to combat fatigue. But according to the experts, caffeine plays havoc with our blood sugar, lowering levels and causing cravings. And adding sugar messes with your metabolism, too.

“Instead, try whizzing up a fresh fruit, live yogurt and skimmed milk smoothie to keep in the fridge. You’ll get a sweet but nutrient-rich boost when you need it,” says nutritional therapist Sally.

Distraction can work wonders too. “A lot of eating is habit,” says life coach Lynette.

“Creating another ritual that doesn’t involve food avoids weight gain.”

Danger zone 3: Eating your baby’s food

There’s no harm to be had from your baby’s pure fruit and vegetable purees but scoffing her snacks can hinder your weight loss. Yes, even if they are organic!

“I can’t get enough of Katie’s rusks!” confesses Jo, 28, mum to Katie, 7 months. “They make me feel like a child again – until I clock my ballooning belly in the mirror!”

“There’s a lot of nostalgia in eating,” admits Lynette. “Certain foods remind us of happy times, but comfort eating can play havoc with your figure. Next time you eat, ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry? Why am I eating this?’”

If you’re bored or stressed, work on changing your moods, rather than using food to lift them.”

We’re not saying don’t snack, just make it healthy.

Mum’s story

“I lost 18lb”

“Although breastfeeding Esme, 6 months, can leave me ravenous, I’ve learnt to satisfy my hunger with healthy snacks rather than quick fixes. Before, I could never eat a biscuit without finishing the packet, so now I don’t have them in the house. Instead, the fruit bowl’s always full of ready-to-eat treats.

“I eat a bowl of porridge first thing so I’m not craving muffins when I meet the school-run mums for (a now skimmed-milk) latte. I’ve also learned to recognise when my energy dips, and have a snack to ward off slumps. Making the kids’ tea was always a danger zone, so now I snack on the raw veg I’m cooking for them. And any leftovers go straight in the bin.”

Alison, 36, mum to Joseph, 6, Thomas, 4, and Esme, 6 months

Danger zone 4: Coffee mornings

Granted, swapping stories with other mums is a healthy thing to do, but filling your face with pastry items while you do it isn’t.

“It’s hard to have coffee without biscuits, but because they’re high in sugar and crammed with refined carbohydrates, they hamper your energy levels and digestive system,” says nutritional therapist Sally Gordon.

“Wholegrain varieties, such as muffins or oatcakes, are a much better option. They release energy at a slower rate so you need to eat less throughout the day.”

Danger zone 5: Baby mealtime

Do you pick at your baby’s mealtime leftovers? “You don’t need extra calories if you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding,” says life coach Lynette Allen.

Admittedly, it’s hard to let perfectly good food go to waste, but eating out of guilt won’t help your waistline. And it could carry on past the baby phase and into toddlerhood.

“Betsy’s leftovers are such a temptation I squirt washing-up liquid over them when she’s finished,” says Lisa, 29, mum to Betsy, 2,“Unsurprisingly, it’s stopped me picking!”

Danger zone 6: Home baking

Cooking may be great for bonding with your toddler, but baking cakes can be rubbish for your figure – especially if you’re in the habit of over-catering.

“Make sure that you only cook what you should reasonably eat in that day,” says Lynette. “Or if you make too much, give one of your neighbours a treat by packaging up any extra cakes and dropping them round.”

Again, baking wholegrain rather than white treats is better for your digestion and energy levels, so look for the healthiest recipes you can find.

Danger zone 7: Supermarket habits

If your pre-schooler’s pester power has you giving in and topping up your trolley with bags of sugary snacks or crisps, you need to change your shopping habits to lose weight.

“Having unhealthy snacks in the house only brings temptation, so buy individual

treats, one at a time,” says Lynette. And if you do have them at home, keep a few anti-snacking tricks up your sleeve.

“I keep my kids’ treats in a tin with a picture of me at my slimmest on the lid,”

says Jenny, 34, mum to Ryan, 2, and Freya, 4. “Now, whenever I get the urge to tuck in, the picture reminds me of how I want to look and it stops me from snacking.”

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Exercise balls are a good way to keep fit without having to head to the gym

Danger zone 4: Coffee mornings

Granted, swapping stories with other mums is a healthy thing to do, but filling your face with pastry items while you do it isn’t.

“It’s hard to have coffee without biscuits, but because they’re high in sugar and crammed with refined carbohydrates, they hamper your energy levels and digestive system,” says nutritional therapist Sally Gordon.

“Wholegrain varieties, such as muffins or oatcakes, are a much better option. They release energy at a slower rate so you need to eat less throughout the day.”

Danger zone 5: Baby mealtime

Do you pick at your baby’s mealtime leftovers? “You don’t need extra calories if you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding,” says life coach Lynette Allen.

Admittedly, it’s hard to let perfectly good food go to waste, but eating out of guilt won’t help your waistline. And it could carry on past the baby phase and into toddlerhood.

“Betsy’s leftovers are such a temptation I squirt washing-up liquid over them when she’s finished,” says Lisa, 29, mum to Betsy, 2,“Unsurprisingly, it’s stopped me picking!”

Danger zone 6: Home baking

Cooking may be great for bonding with your toddler, but baking cakes can be rubbish for your figure – especially if you’re in the habit of over-catering.

“Make sure that you only cook what you should reasonably eat in that day,” says Lynette. “Or if you make too much, give one of your neighbours a treat by packaging up any extra cakes and dropping them round.”

Again, baking wholegrain rather than white treats is better for your digestion and energy levels, so look for the healthiest recipes you can find.

Danger zone 7: Supermarket habits

If your pre-schooler’s pester power has you giving in and topping up your trolley with bags of sugary snacks or crisps, you need to change your shopping habits to lose weight.

“Having unhealthy snacks in the house only brings temptation, so buy individual

treats, one at a time,” says Lynette. And if you do have them at home, keep a few anti-snacking tricks up your sleeve.

“I keep my kids’ treats in a tin with a picture of me at my slimmest on the lid,”

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says Jenny, 34, mum to Ryan, 2, and Freya, 4. “Now, whenever I get the urge to tuck in, the picture reminds me of how I want to look and it stops me from snacking.”

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