Ask the Coach

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I have gained five pounds over the last few months, but I have also gained several inches in my belly and legs. What’s the best way to lose those extra inches?

Eating more than you move produces fat gain. Five pounds is a lot on someone 5’2” but not 6’. If fat increased by that much at the waist and legs, then you lost muscle in addition to gaining fat. If you stop exercising or suddenly become more sedentary, combined with a poor diet, the body stores excess energy as fat quickly, usually in all the wrong places. Improving eating habits to avoid weight gain is essential at times when you are moving less. When you gain and lose weight, it comes and goes from all over your body. Spot reduction is a myth. The good news is losing five pounds is not that hard, but putting back on some muscle is more challenging.

Move more! You need to do 150 minutes or more a week of cardiovascular activity that makes you a bit breathy such as resistance training (full-body routine, at least twice a week). Focus on activities that use two joints such as squats, lunges, leg press, deadlift, bench, shoulder press, pulldowns, rows and train your core, all 360 degrees. Track your steps and other fitness activities. Stretch every day or once a week for a longer session. Track your food with an app that allows you to input your movement data. Are you in the green or the red on energy balance for the day?

Eat more from the tree, bush and ground and less from the box, bag and can. Have a splurge meal or two on one day as a reward. You need to meal prep; eliminate calories from beverages (sugar); increase fruits and veggies, whole grains and consume lean proteins. Pack your own food when possible, have a go-to list of places who serve healthy foods and drink lots of water. You got this!

I gained almost 50 pounds during my pregnancy. I feel overwhelmed about trying to take off the extra weight. What’s a good way to start?

Breast feeding or pumping breast milk burns a lot of calories. This is great for the baby and helps new mothers lose weight. Start with walking in your neighborhood or nearby park most days of the week. All you need is a pair of exercise shoes. Time yourself and try to keep moving, with no breaks. Moving more will also help you feel better and have a more positive outlook, all while relieving stress. Stretch and prepare yourself and your body to gradually do more. Work up to 60 minutes. Take the baby with you in a stroller, which is adding resistance. There are classes for new mothers using the stroller or weight of the baby. Listen to motivating podcasts or music while walking. Exercise videos are available for new mothers and babies to exercise together. Exercise with DVDs, record exercise programming or use apps on your phone. Any type of exercise class can be delivered to you anywhere, anytime. Practice portion control. Track your food and activity with apps or old school, a journal. Journaling works. Weigh in once a week and track your progress.

Focus on increasing fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. Drink water and eliminate any beverages with calories. Get your rest. Allow yourself time to get the weight off. As the baby gets older, find activities you can share as a family that are active. Start today making changes because I know you will feel better!

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Carla Gray, BSES, HFS, CPT is a personal trainer and can be reached at
info@fitnessconnection.net or (504) 885-7855.

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