Losing sight of your weight is easy when you're tasked with the daily demands of motherhood. Lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits can quickly take their toll. Experts recommend losing weight at a rate of no more than two pounds per week for lasting results. Since one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, a 500-calorie daily deficit is required to lose one pound per week. Although this might sound like a lot, various lifestyle changes can help you get the job done safely and effectively.
1. Food Choices
If finishing your child's leftovers and resorting to fast-food dinners has become a habit, making health-conscious choices can reduce your caloric intake. Swap high-calorie foods for low-calorie foods. For instance, instead of having ice cream for dessert, have strawberries to satisfy your sweet tooth; drink fat-free milk instead of whole milk and instead of chips, snack on air-popped popcorn without butter. Eating smaller portions can also help you reduce calories. Read and compare food labels to keep track of your caloric intake per serving size.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest doing 30 to 60 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise five days a week. However, your motherly duties might not always allow you to work this into your schedule. In this case, spread your workout over the day into three sessions that last 10 or 20 minutes. Walking at a rate of 2 miles per hour for 30 minutes can burn about 100 calories for a person who weighs 160 pounds, while jumping rope can burn more than 400 calories in the same amount of time. Get your kids involved if you like -- walk with a stroller or join your kids in a rope jumping game.
3. Strength Training
Although you might associate weightlifting with grunting, sweaty and muscular men, don't pass on it. Targeting your body's major muscle groups can help maintain and increase muscle tissue to boost your metabolism. One hour of weightlifting can burn about 365 calories in a 160-pound person. If you're intimidated by the gym's weight room, try an exercise DVD or hire a certified, personal trainer who can safely introduce you to different exercises. Lifting weights at least twice a week is recommended by the CDC.
Before changing your diet or starting an exercise routine, consult a doctor, especially if you've been inactive or have a medical condition or injury. Finding the right balance is essential to weight loss. If one day you don't feel like exercising or if you had one too many cookies, don't beat yourself up over it. Make a concentrated effort to get back on track. Ask a supportive loved one to check in with you periodically to see how you are progressing. Remember that daily activities also burn calories and contribute to your weight loss.