The gym is busier than I’ve ever seen it these days. Everyone is running to the new-year, new-body finish line. I am on the body-after-baby treadmill, with little weight left to lose, but some muscle and sheer physical fitness to gain back. Having a baby has this silly way of turning your body into jelly. Everything goes soft and flabby. Its great for cuddling, not so great for jumping around and trying to look right and tight. I lost all the baby weight fairly quickly mostly because I stayed healthy and active during pregnancy, but not because of my postpartum workout. The truth is, the fitter you are during pregnancy, the faster you’ll lose your extra pregnancy fluff. Easier said than done. When you hit the postpartum mark, and you have your chubby little one in your arms, the itch to get rid of any pregnancy resemblance becomes very strong. Enter postpartum weight-loss plan of attack! Gym membership we meet again.
Your postpartum workout is not going to burn the baby fat. The workout is not your key, and it shouldn’t be where all your focus is. Gyms, trainers, commercials for equipment and health coaches motivate you to commit to your work and put all your sweat and tears into your 20-minute sprint. We see lots of workout videos and plans that will banish the pooch or tighten the tush. That’s only maybe a quarter of the postpartum weight loss story.
Let me tell you what’s going to get rid of your baby belly rolls. Its your nutrition. Focusing on your food all day everyday is a lot harder than focusing on a 30 minute workout. It really is. You have a lot of opportunities to put something in your mouth. You also don’t burn as many calories as you feel like you do at the gym. I know when I’m so sore from all the squats I did, I feel like I burned thousands of calories because I’m in so much pain. I didn’t. I burned maybe 200.
Working out is not for weight loss. Its for saving muscle. Its for gaining energy. Its for preventing injury. Its for clearing your mind and lifting your spirit. Your diet is 80% of weight loss, and a lot of people don’t want to admit that because its the harder piece to look at. Okay, its somewhere around 80%, maybe not exact, but if you don’t believe me, see what this expert stated on Huffington Post:
Expert: Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic
“As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart. On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers lost only six over about 21 weeks. It’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off. For example, if you eat a fast-food steak quesadilla, which can pack 500-plus calories, you need to run more than four miles to ‘undo’ it.
Get this, exercise can even cause you to eat more than you should if you are trying to lose weight. Your body doesn’t naturally want to let go of the weight, so you have to keep your mind above how you feel at times, and know where you are really at with your intake and output. See what New York City nutritionist Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN has to say on the matter in an article published on Elle magazine.
I always tell my clients that it’s 80 percent diet, 20 percent exercise,” she says. “It’s definitely most important to get the diet right, especially since we tend to underestimate what we eat and overestimate what we burn. Moreover, the more we lose weight, the lower our calorie burn (a 200 pound woman will burn far more calories in spin class than a 120 pound woman).
Your diet and meals is going to get you the most success when losing the weight after having a baby. I like the article, Eating vs Exercise: Why Your Food Choices Always Win to help bring the point across. If you want to get rid of the extra pounds, focus on whole, natural, clean foods and consider the amounts you are consuming. Find an eating plan that works for you and focus on that to achieve the weight you want to be at.
This post is not to diminish the importance of working out in any way. The goal is to bring to light the role your diet plays in your weight loss and the need for exercise in your life, not for weight loss. Exercise brings more than a method to burn calories. It shouldn’t be seen as merely that. Exercise is your natural anti-depressant and mood-lifter. It gives you more energy than you had. It builds and maintains muscle, so you can live and move without injury as you age. Working out will keep you young. It tells your body your alive and moving. Workout to build balance in your mind, soul and body. They all connect in the moments you are challenging yourself through the cycling class or boot camp. That’s why you work out. Working out just to burn calories is almost offensive. Its so much more than that for your life and longevity.
Originally published at joyfulmesses.com on January 26, 2017.
Originally published at medium.com