Recently a few of the moms who attend my Baby Boot Camp classes asked individually what they could do to boost their weight loss. They have it right- they are coming to class 3-4 times per week, eating right and can’t seem to shake those last 5 pounds that stick to us like super glue.
Sound familiar? Maybe you don’t need to motivate yourself to lose a lot of weight- maybe you have been doing it right all along. How do you lose the last of the jiggle, the remainder of the unwelcome weight that came with growing and subsequently birthing a baby?
As Emeril used to say- you gotta take it up a notch. (BAM!) What you did to lose the weight initially is no longer doing it for you. When I hear this from clients and my moms, a few things come to mind. First- how much more weight are you trying to lose? For some, it is a legitimate 10 pounds that wasn’t there before and is not coming off with calorie reduction and exercise. For others though, it is a phantom 10 pounds that is more like 3 pounds and is more the client not liking the new body she is left with postpartum. It is important to be realistic. Many of my moms and clients are in their 30′s and 40′s. We are no longer in that golden era of eating whatever we want and not worrying about the impact. Our metabolism slows down as we age, making weight loss and maintenance harder.
When I get to the bottom of what it is the client really is looking to do- drop unnecessary weight or really shed those stubborn last 5 pounds- it is time to take a look at the diet. Is she really counting all her calories? I had a client once who was doing fantastic- working out hard, doing all the right changes to her diet. However, she wasn’t seeing the results she should have. When I prodded a bit more into what it was she was eating- she finally mentioned that she was having a bowl of real ice cream every night. It was her reward for really going the distance on her “get healthy” plan. She reasoned it was reward for hard work, taking care of a baby all day and night, working out 5 days a week and cutting out all the other bad things in her diet. She even was proud because the ice cream was the real deal- the type with only 3-4 ingredients on the label. She justified she was getting good fat and calories because she was avoiding all the artificial ingredients in many diet ice cream bars. When we examined the actual calorie content of her daily reward- she was truly shocked to learn just how much damage she was doing to her diet by adding this extra 500 calories of treat to her diet nightly. She cut that back to once per week (according to my 80/20 principle) and saw results almost overnight.
Remember everything you put in your mouth contains calories! Your latte has calories, the 5 peanut M&M’s you inhale while on the run have calories. Even the honey you add to your afternoon tea has calories. I recommend adding a calorie cushion to your daily totals- about 200 should do it. It will help you account for everything you are taking in daily.
When you are finished examining your diet- it is time to look at your workout. This is where I came in with my moms at Baby Boot Camp. These gals are in great shape and can probably run circles around many “fit” people who just go to the gym and hop on the elliptical machine a few times a week. However, your workout can get stale too. Your body does get used to the intensity eventually. It is up to you to add intensity and variety to continue to see results. What does this mean? It means investing in a good heart rate monitor and learning what your ideal ranges are for training. Once you get that in line, it means making a move harder if you can breeze through it. Many of my moms who are there to really train often have to seek out ways to make a move more intense- maybe doing an extra set of stairs or adding plyometrics to a regular move. It is all meant to shock the body some more and help increase your calorie burn. For many of my moms, a regular squat is easy. However, when you hold that squat and pulse low at a 90 degree angle for 30 seconds holding a medicine ball and do shoulder presses during the same squat- the intensity immediately raises and you are working harder and burning more calories. If you find yourself falling into this- consult a trainer or fitness instructor for help on ideas on how to progress moves (make your moves harder). Additionally, try a new workout- a zumba class or a cycle class maybe. Sometimes you just need to do something different!
So if you are faced with the overall discouragement that comes from a fitness plateau- take a close look at your diet and exercise before reaching for the ice cream. You’ll be surprised what honest evaluation will do to help you get to the next level!