Saddened by jiggly thighs and rolls of fat

All Woman

Dear Donovan,
I had a baby eight months ago and I really want to eat right and exercise, but the baby and work keep me extremely busy. To be honest, I wasn't really making much of an effort though, but a hurtful comment from my husband recently, makes me want to start the journey. He said my legs looks like the baby's, and that at least the baby has an excuse for having jiggly thighs and rolls of fat all over. I was embarrassed and hurt, but he was partly right — I gained a lot of weight and it's showing in my legs and thighs as rolls of cellulite-looking fat. I also still have a belly, despite having a baby so long ago. What can I do to combat all this?

I have access to a pool and walking facilities at home (there's a hill behind my house). I also have an exercise bike that's gathering dust; I was just lazy before. My diet is a lot of carbs and protein, as well as an addiction to sugary stuff. I am able and willing to cut back, but I just don't know the first place to start. Sometimes I make an attempt but the TV and phone are so addictive and I will lie on the couch with a plan to go exercise then I'll fall asleep!

For breakfast, I usually have a fried egg and avocado sandwich (wheat bread); for lunch, rice and peas and a protein from the cafeteria at work; and for dinner, more like what lunch was. I snack on plantain chips, nuts, raisins and bulla. Can you help me with a plan? I weigh 140 now, and was 128 before pregnancy. I weighed at highest 148 pounds during my pregnancy.

Firstly, I must say congratulations on bringing a child into this world. This is a source of great joy as well as responsibility.

I see where you would like to get back into shape after pregnancy. One reason might be that you want to keep healthy for your young child. In addition, if you are looking better physically this could also be a great confidence booster.

Getting back into shape might not be easy, but it can be done. It is therefore important that you get your mind ready in order to successfully take on this journey.

The reasons why you are doing this must be very clear in your mind and must mean a lot to you. Breastfeeding, for example, burns about 600 calories per day. Along with proper diet and exercise, this will help a new mother to get back into shape.

You will have to make some changes to your lifestyle. However, I am quite aware that the responsibility of work and a baby can be very challenging and you may have to try and get some extra help with the baby.

You will definitely also need to make some changes to your eating habits. From just looking at what you are consuming, the calorie intake is definitely too high if you want to lose weight. I would suggest that you start making changes to your diet that will reduce the calories and keep you healthy. If the calories are reduced, the body will be forced to use up some of the reserved fat. However, in order not to stress out yourself at the start of your programme, I would suggest that you start with portion control and make some changes in what you are eating as well. In your case it might be best to start slowly with your diet and step up the pace as you go along. I would suggest you cut all your meal portions in half from breakfast through to dinner. In some cases lunch can be cut into two and one-half used for dinner. In addition, I would also suggest that you reduce the amount of fried foods in your diet and cut your snacks by at least a half.

It would also be good to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, vegetable juices, soups and salads in your diet. The aim is to lose weight but you also want to be healthy in the process. It is also important to watch the sugary foods in your diet, especially if diabetes runs in the family. Also, drinking water during meals might also be important to prevent you from getting too hungry and overeating .

I am almost sure you are not breastfeeding at this time so you could do four to five nights of a detox programme. This will definitely help the tummy to go down. I would also suggest that you try and get in at least 30 minutes of exercise at least three to four days per week.

You are very fortunate to have access to a pool, walking trails, as well as exercise equipment. Exercise will help you to reduce stress and make you feel good. In addition, exercise will also help you to cut calories and improve your general health. Your diet and exercise programmes will have to be adjusted periodically in order for you to get continuous weight loss. Hopefully over time this becomes a lifestyle.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

Have you managed to transform your body through weight gain or weight loss? Want to share your story with us? E-mail clarkep@ jamaicaobserver.com

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