How to lose that baby fat

By Alice Neville

Nadia Holland was inspired to share her weight loss experience with others. Photo / Supplied
Nadia Holland was inspired to share her weight loss experience with others. Photo / Supplied

Nadia Holland has lost more than 70kg on her way to becoming a yummy mummy - now she wants to share her secrets with other women.

The 32-year-old piled on 36kg while she was pregnant with eldest daughter Isla, leaving her feeling "alienated" and "guilty".

"I'd put on so much weight when I was pregnant and had no idea about what to do to lose it," she says.

With a combination of sensible eating and exercise, Holland managed to lose 43kg by the time her daughter was 15 months old. But after falling pregnant again with daughter Chelsea two months later, she fell back into her old habits.

She put on another 30kg but managed to lose it again - leaving her determined to help other women from making the same mistakes.

The result is a book, The Yummy Mummy, written with dietitian Nicky McCarthy.

Nadia says the name is tongue-in-cheek, rather than a signal that new mums should be stick-thin and wearing full makeup and heels every day.

"What I set out to do was to help other women who might be in the same situation as me and put on a bit more than the 12kg that the pregnancy books tell you you should."

One of the biggest problems she faced was subscribing to the theory that pregnant women should eat for two.

Dietitian Caryn Zinn says that's a trap many fall into.

"It's not really eating for two, it's eating for one and a bit. The weight gain needs to be steady and controlled."

Personal trainer and midwife Fiona Ross says new mums often rush back into exercise, forgetting the body has been "battered and bruised".

"I see mums coming into the gym because they're desperate to get back into shape," says Ross. "But they're actually not in any physical shape to be going straight back into sport."

Plunket clinical adviser Allison Jamieson says most women lose the weight they gain through breastfeeding. Those who need more help should avoid crash diets and talk about weight loss with a medical professional.

Eating during pregnancy is the subject of research at Otago University.

Dr Colin Brown and Professor Dave Grattan have received a grant from the Government's Marsden Fund for their three-year project Eating for Two.

It aims to determine whether two pregnancy hormones interact to drive overeating and weight gain.

Tips from the book:

* Ditch the word 'diet'. Think of it as a process of remodelling yourself.

* Understand the basics. Weight loss is about "energy in" versus "energy out".

* Talk yourself up. Lack of confidence is the greatest obstacle.

* Use your child(ren) as motivation: Do you want to be the "fat mum" at the school gates?

* The sooner you start, the better for your health; being overweight has serious health implications.

* Set realistic goals slow and steady wins the race.

The Yummy Mummy, New Holland, $29.99.

- Herald on Sunday

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