How to Create Healthy Habits to Lose Weight | For Mums
Knowing how to eat healthily is not only essential for weight loss, but also a critical life skill. "Knowing" that you have to eat healthy isn't enough. In order to get yourself to actually "do" the healthy eating you need to create healthy habits.
Creating healthy habits is particularly vital when breastfeeding. What you eat during this time of life plays a significant role in both your health and in the health of your little one too.
In this article we are going to share 5 tips to help you create the healthy habits that will help you achieve your health and weight loss goals.
Conisder meal times as an opportunity to nourish your body and provide it with nutrients to be healthy. Remember, each healthy meal you eat well will benefit your health and bring you closer to your goals.
Here are our tips on how mums can create healthy habits that stick.
1. Eat a Variety of Foods
Diversity is super important when it comes to food. Health professionals suggest we aim for around 30 different fruits and vegetables every week (around 4-5 per day). And new research shows that eating a highly diverse diet is linked to better overall health and improved weight loss success. This can be attributed to the benefits we see in our gut health when we consume a wide variety of good quality produce like fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
So, you might be thinking, how do I eat 30 different fruits and vegetables every week? Once you establish a healthy habit, it actually becomes quite manageable. Here’s an example of how you can incorporate 13 varieties of fruit and vegetables in one day.
A smoothie with banana, frozen mixed berries (e.g. strawberries, raspberries and blackberries) and the In Shape Mummy Health Shake mix.
Hummus dip and chopped veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber and celery)
Wholemeal toast with boiled egg, avocado, and spinach.
Rice cakes with tomato and tuna.
Spaghetti Bolognese with carrot, celery, zucchini and mushrooms.
A great time-saver is online shopping, as Coles and Woolworths can save your previous shops. Your pantry and fridge items will likely change each week, but your fruits and vegetables can easily be reordered and used in new meals.
Don’t be afraid of frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen varieties hold their nutritional value, and planning meals with frozen veg is a great way to reduce wastage.
Aim to "Eat a Rainbow" each day. Eating a rainbow of coloured fruits and vegetables can ensure you receive a variety of nutrients.
2. Start With Breakfast
The best advice we can give is to start your day on the right foot with a healthy breakfast. That way, you're priming your habit circuits to live a healthy day.
And if all else fails throughout the day, you know you’ve still given yourself some goodness in the morning.
If you're short on time and energy, an In Shape Mummy Smoothie is a great breakfast option because it is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and protein. It is quick and easy to make, you can drink it with one hand and you can take it on the go. The protein in the shake mix helps you feel full for longer. As a result, mums find they are less likely to overeat later in the day after having an In Shape Mummy smoothie for breakfast.
Smoothies are a quick and easy way to help you eat more fuit and veggies. Here's an example of a smoothie recipe to assist with health and weight loss:
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 tbsp Vanilla In Shape Mummy Health Shake
- 1 cup almond milk
3. Know what to limit
What you don't eat is just as important as what you do eat. Knowing which foods to avoid or limit is invaluable. There are certain foods and drinks you should limit when breastfeeding. These include coffee and alcohol. And in terms of weight loss there a many foods and drinks that should be limited and, in some cases, completely avoided.
Fizzy drinks and beverages that contain a lot of added sugar like iced tea and cordial are the biggest no-nos for anyone hoping to lose weight. Not only is there zero goodness in soft drinks, there’s also on average, around 30-40g of sugar in each serve. And they don’t fill you up, so you will still need to eat a meal on top of these calories. Therefore, sugary drinks should be totally avoided when working to lose weight. Replace soft drink with sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh lemon or orange.
Most fast foods are high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt, which are all bad for weight loss. These types of food wreak havoc on our digestive system and cause big spikes and drops in our blood sugar levels. The lack of nutrients and high-calorie content of foods like burgers, chips and thick shakes mean these are the types of foods you want to limit when on a weight loss journey.
Lollies and Chocolate
High sugary foods like lollies and chocolates are bad for weight loss. Like soft drinks, they don’t make you feel full, so the calories you’re getting from these foods are in addition to whatever food you have to eat to fill yourself up.
As a tired mum, you can’t deny yourself treats completely. So, yes, chocolate and lollies should be limited when trying to lose weight, but it’s okay to treat yourself now and then. Try to stick to the 90/10 rule; healthy foods 90% of the time and allow 10% to treat yourself.
If you do suffer from chocolate cravings, the In Shape Mummy's Chocolate Brownie Breastfeeding Boost Bar is a great guilt-free treat to satisfy chocolate cravings.
Getting into the habit of exercising every day will do wonders. Exercising every day is good for your fitness, weight management, for your mood and for your mental health. When we exercise, our bodies release hormones known as endorphins, which have the power to boost your mood and energy. When exercising becomes a habit, you get the benefits of these wonderful hormones daily.
If you’re looking to start an exercise regime in the postpartum period, we advise taking it slow but be consistent. Walking around the block every day is a great way to initiate a healthy exercise habit. You can take your bub in the pram or carrier. Or go on your own when a partner is there to look after your bub. It’s a great way to clear your mind and do something just for you.
As your fitness and recovery accelerate, you can increase the intensity of your walk or start to incorporate other exercises into your daily routine. Mum’s and bubs classes are great for women who find it difficult to exercise because you can take your little one with you.
A great tip to make an exercise habit is to dress for success. Put on your workout clothes first thing in the morning as it will make you feel more inclined to exercise.
Be sure to check with your health care professional before starting to exercise after child birth.
5. How to Make a Healthy Habit Stick
Creating a habit is all about consistency and achievability. There’s no point in developing a healthy habit that will cause you stress and make you feel guilty if you don’t achieve it. Instead, we recommend starting small, celebrating your success, and not sweating the failures too much.
Start small. The key is consistency. Once you’ve repeated a simple action enough days in a row, you start to set the action on autopilot. Once the small action is on autopilot, then you can start to build on the action to increase it. At the beginning make your habit too small to fail.
Your new health habit could be as simple as starting with an In Shape Mummy smoothie for breakfast every morning.
Set yourself a cue every day to remind yourself. Then after you’ve taken the desired action, do something small to reward yourself. For example, before you go to bed, set the tub of your In Shape Mummy Health Shake on your bench to remind you in the morning. In the morning you’ll be much more likely to make your shake if you see the tub sitting on the bench. Then do something small to reward yourself. You could simply put a green checkmark on your calendar every time after you’ve followed through on your habit. Following this simple Cue/Action/Reward sequence is a proven way to embed habits. And before you know it your healthy habits will become second nature and easy for you.
Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a mum of a baby and a toddler, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.