If you're a mum who wants to lose weight and keep it off, you're not alone. Many new mums report that losing the weight gained during pregnancy is at the top of their priority list, but they don't know where to start. Whether you're a new mum or you are later down the track weight loss is a often a concern.
The internet is full of information on popular diets, but these quick fixes rarely work long-term. Instead, a commitment to consistent healthy eating and regular physical activity is what will get you back to a healthy weight.
Understanding which foods to avoid is a great place to start.
Top Foods to Avoid When Losing Weight
This might seem like an obvious one, but fast food is the number one food to avoid when trying to lose weight. Fast food is highly processed, contains tonnes of hidden sugar and is cooked in huge amounts of unhealthy oil in cooking. A large Big Mac meal contains a whopping 1015 calories. To put that into perspective, that's over half the generic woman's daily calorie allowance as recommended by the NHS.
The easiest way to avoid fast food is to be prepared. If you know you're going on a long car trip, take a packed lunch with you. If a Friday night takeaway is a family tradition, why not make a compromise? Instead of ordering a chicken burger meal, make a healthy chicken salad and order in the chips. Or order roasted chicken with a side of veggies. This way, you'll save yourself around 500 calories and avoid lots of unneeded sugar, fats and oils.
We would never recommend cutting out sweet treats completely; that would just be cruel! But if you seriously want to lose weight, cutting back on sugary snacks is vital. High sugar treats are one of the main inhibitors for weight loss. And it's often because people don't realise how quickly the calories add up when they have a little treat here and there.
Just 20 M&M's has over 100 calories. That's more than a protein-packed, nutritious, and filling boiled egg. After eating a boiled egg, you'll most likely feel satiated and full for at least an hour or two. But a handful of M&M's doesn't provide any nutritional goodness, just empty calories, leaving you hungry and looking for your next snack.
When trying to lose weight, we want to opt for nutrient-dense snacks. Hummus, nuts, vegetable sticks, tinned tuna, fruit and yogurt are all great options. They'll help to keep you full but also provide essential nutrients for you and bub.
It's the quality and the quantity of oil that is important. Good quality coconut and olive oils and a great addition to any diet. They provide important healthy fats, rich flavours to foods, and allow us to cook using various methods. However, they're super high in calories, so we need to be very careful with the quantity we use.
I'm sure we're all guilty of free-pouring olive oil over our veggies before we roast them and then coating our chicken breast before popping it in the frying pan. But just two tablespoons of olive oil contain 238 calories. So when you add the calories of the chicken and vegetables, a meal you thought was healthy is actually one that's leading to inhibited weight loss.
The best way to avoid consuming too many calories out from oil is to use a measuring spoon and reduce the total quantity. Another option is to consider investing in an air fryer or non-stick pans. Both of these kitchen items enable you to cook with far less oil.
Salad Dressing and Sauces
You might be surprised to see salad dressing and sauces on the list, but these two items are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to hidden sugar. For example, a store-bought tomato sauce contains around 1 tsp of sugar in every serve, and it's not uncommon for a salad dressing to contain up to 10g of sugar per serve.
The best way to avoid these unnecessary sugars is to make your sauces and dressings at home. A vinaigrette made with a bit of olive oil, water, mustard, and lemon is virtually sugar-free. In addition to this, making some healthy ingredient swaps will make all the difference. Try swapping mayonnaise for Greek yoghurt and tomato sauce for homemade tomato salsa.
We won't beat around the bush here; soft drinks are a big no-no for anyone wanting to lose weight. A can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar. That's around 10 grams more than the total maximum recommended intake in a day. A soft drink provides no nutritional benefits and doesn't fill you up. So, in addition to the large amount of sugar you're consuming, you'll also need to eat a meal or a snack.
The good news is there are lots of delicious low sugar or sugar-free drinks you can have while breastfeeding. Kombucha is a fantastic low sugar option that's still full of flavour and will give you the fizzy hit that comes with a soft drink. Otherwise, sparkling water with some berries or slices of lemon or lime can hit the spot.
Weight Loss Foods to Avoid
It's important to note that some foods are called 'weight loss foods' that can actually have the opposite effect. Fat-free foods, in particular, may cause more harm than good. The reason is that when the fat is removed from a product, something needs to be added to replace the taste. And the addition is usually sugar.
For example, full-fat yoghurt often doesn't contain any added sugar, whereas the fat-free version may contain up to 14 grams. And, without the fat content, the yoghurt really won't be that filling. So, you may find your still hungry.
Foods to Eat For Weight Loss
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, wholegrains and healthy fats.
How Can I Speed Up Weight Loss?
In Shape Mummy Health Shakes are an effective way to lose weight safely. Replacing one meal and one snack with a shake will reduce your total daily calories without affecting your milk supply if you're breastfeeding.
In Shape Mummy Health Shakes contain over 12g of protein to keep you feeling full, plus 25 essential vitamins and minerals to boost your energy and health. In addition to this, the breastfeeding shake is enhanced with galactagogues, which support milk production in breastfeeding women. For mums who are not breastfeeding, try the shake for Busy Mums.
Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, 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.
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