I had my second child, Baby B, 8 months ago. The first 4 months were rough. Baby B was a bad sleeper, I had gone back to work literally a month after he was born (curry paste production waits for no man/mother) and my other son, let's call him "R man", is 4 years of age and hyperactive. I was sleep deprived, stressed from work, and the fact that I couldn't fit into my skinny jeans did nothing for the spirit.
I'd put on 12kg during the pregnancy, and now I was ready to part ways with this extra weight, plus I wanted to feel healthier and fitter. But I was short on time. Being in the food industry helped; I quickly figured out a better meal plan. As for exercise - what was fast, easy and efficient?
I had a yoga membership which had fallen into disuse, and I live near a park. So I made up a simple routine that took less than 3 hours a week, and which had me back in my old clothes in no time at all.
Before I get to the good stuff, a little disclaimer - I'm not backing any of this up with scientific or medical proof; just common sense and actual results from personal experience.
Step 1: 1.5 Hour Hot Yoga Class A Week
I get that not everyone has a yoga membership or even a yoga studio conveniently located near their work place or home. You can substitute this with running on a flat surface (treadmill, footpath), or pushing the stroller as you walk briskly. But yoga has the benefit of building strength, flexibility, and is a great form of meditation, especially for people like me who find it hard to quieten their mind. So if you can find a gym that offers pay-by-session hot yoga classes, it's definitely worth while.
Step 2: Run Up and Down 10 Flights of Stairs
Depending on how long and steep the stairs are, you can do fewer or more. Just make sure your heart and glutes are working overtime, that you're puffing at the end of the 3rd round, and that you're struggling to finish the last 2 rounds. Then you know you're pushing yourself. To challenge yourself, you can have baby in a baby carrier for the first few flights, before you get too sweaty!
Step 3: Substitute One Solid Meal A Day With Soup
I hate salads. I know they're the go-to food for weight loss, but I don't look forward to cold meals or leaves. Tasty store-bought salads are generally full of calorific ingredients, and lavished with some sort of Ranch dressing. Of course there's Mekhala's healthy dressings, which I use on the rare occasion when I feel like a salad (I generally use our dressings as a sauce). So instead of a commercially-made salad, my recommendation is soup.
As an Asian person, I'm partial to tom yum, or fish and rice noodle soup. The former I make myself with Mekhala's Organic Tom Yum paste. There's a great gluten-free recipe here using glass noodles and prawns. Another soup I enjoy is this Kale and Bean stew. Make more in advance and freeze a couple of containers for later. If you prefer a creamy soup, try this Lemongrass Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup (substitute low fat milk for coconut milk). Or just make or buy any healthy, hearty soup that's free from artificial flavourings, and packed with veggies and protein.
I'm pleased to say I was back to my pre-baby weight within 3 months of this routine. I was breastfeeding and always hungry, so I never starved myself but was just careful about what I ate. As they say - it's 98% diet and 2% exercise, but you can't discount how great you feel for the physical activity. Feel free to double the exercise or substitute 2 meals if you want to lose weight quicker!