7 top tips to lose weight when you have kids
The Healthy Mummy founder Rhian Allen lets us in on her top secrets to shedding “baby weight” while juggling a growing family and busy life.
Motherhood can bring some drastic changes – to our lifestyles, priorities, finances, and of course, bodies.
Many mums are self-conscious about their changing bodies and “baby weight”; yet it can be difficult to find the time and motivation to get fit and healthy while also juggling kids and work.
It’s a dilemma Rhian Allen noticed as she gained weight during her first pregnancy in 2010.
“There wasn’t anything to help mums get healthy and lose weight after pregnancy; nothing that understood what it was like to be a busy mum, how priorities and finances change, how isolating it can be,” she said.
So at six months pregnant, she quit her corporate job, sold her house and started The Healthy Mummy, a health and weight loss program designed for mums and their families.
Eight years later, The Healthy Mummy has a 1.5 million-strong social media following and is estimated to have helped women lose a combined three million kilograms.
It’s not about trying to achieve a size 8; it’s about being confident, healthy and happy. That approach has resonated with mums.
The secret, Rhian says, is keeping it simple, supportive and family-friendly for busy, budget-conscious mums. The program’s themed 28-day challenges are complemented by Facebook private support groups catering to everyone from new mums to foodies.
“It’s not about trying to achieve a size 8; it’s about being confident, healthy and happy. That approach has resonated with mums,” Rhian says.
Rhian’s new book, The Busy Mum’s Guide to Weight Loss, pulls together The Healthy Mummy community’s favourite recipes with a 28-day meal and exercise plan.
Here are Rhian’s top tips for mums who want to lose weight:
Get a strong support network
“Losing weight is always difficult – so whether or not you have kids, having a support network is crucial.”
Make it a real lifestyle change
“It’s about making sure you’re doing something sustainable that works for your family. As soon as you do something that is not sustainable, you’re going to stop doing it after a few days or a week. Get educated – learn to make healthier choices when you’re shopping and cooking.”
- Related story: How to make healthy choices at the supermarket
Know your overeating triggers
“Try to recognise if you’re overeating, especially in the evenings. If it’s just a habit or boredom, try to combat that by trying to do something different – have some water or read a book or do something else to break that habit.”
Rethink how you exercise
“We often look at exercise as a route to losing weight, instead of doing it just for health,” Rhian says.
“A lot of programs condition us to think you have to exercise for an hour and exhaust yourself, but for a lot of people that’s way too much work.
“A lot of mums don’t have a lot of time, so instead they can do short and sharp bursts of exercise throughout the day. Whether it’s squats, or jumping around or dancing with the kids, do something to get your heart rate up every day – even if it’s just five or 10 minutes.”
Cut out the processed sugar
“Get educated about the different types of sugar. It’s just the added sugars, the white sugars found in processed foods, that are the problem, as opposed to vilifying things like fruit and lactose found in milk.”
Bounce back after a bad day
“If you do have a splurge, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just one night or one meal – dust yourself off and eat healthily tomorrow. It’s about moving on and feeling positive, it’s not about being perfect. Have treats, but make healthy choices as well.”
Prep, prep and more prep
“There’s a misconception that it costs more money to eat healthily. But if you buy healthy food in bulk and spend a few hours doing more food prep, it saves you time in the long run and it’s cheaper because you can get meals for about $2 per serve,” she says.
“You just need to do a bit of preparing and set a good example for your kids. Remember that what you do now is what your kids will end up doing.”
The Busy Mum’s Guide to Weight Loss ($34.99) by Rhian Allen is published by Plum.
Written by Michelle Rose. Main picture by Karen Watson.