5 habits that helped mother slim down to below pre-maternity weight

By My Y   March 19, 2024 | 03:34 pm PT
Huynh Thi Kieu Trinh manages to maintain a body weight of 50 kg and a physique slimmer than her pre-marriage days through practices including intermittent fasting and employing the “handful” diet for portion control.

Now a businesswoman, Trinh, 35, shares that her greatest challenge used to be her propensity for easy weight gain. She struggled with numerous weight loss attempts, which unfortunately led to consistent failures.

After delivering her first child in Oct. 2020, weighing 85 kg, she has remarkably reduced her weight to 50 kg, boasting a waistline of merely 62 cm. Trinh is now active on social media, where she regularly posts about her dietary and fitness regimen, gathering numerous supportive responses.

Trinh a few months postpartum. Photo courtesy of Trinh

Trinh a few months postpartum. Photo courtesy of Trinh

The following are the five strategies Trinh employed to successfully slim down and attain her narrow waist.

Intermittent fasting 16:8

Intermittent fasting delineates a repeating pattern of consuming food and abstaining from it. This strategy grants the body ample time to digest food thoroughly while severely restricting calorie intake.

A common approach to intermittent fasting restricts the daily eating window to six to eight hours, with fasting spanning the remaining 16 to 18 hours. This process encourages the body to switch from glucose to ketones for energy, potentially reducing stress, decreasing cancer and obesity risks, and prolonging lifespan.

Trinh adhered to this regimen even during her breastfeeding period. She scheduled her meals between approximately 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. for lunch and 6 to 7 p.m. for dinner.

Nonetheless, specialists caution that intermittent fasting might also result in weight gain. Extended fasting durations can provoke some individuals to overconsume food during the eating window, which can lead to fat accumulation despite fasting for 12 to 16 hours daily.

Extended fasting periods may also reduce blood sugar levels, causing dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, and nausea. Hence, it is advisable for people with pre-existing health issues to consult a physician before embarking on intermittent fasting.

"Handful" diet

Trinh has made it a routine to gauge her meal sizes using her hand at each meal. By following this guideline, she generally eats a vegetable portion equal to one or two handfuls, a protein serving the size of her palm, and a carbohydrate portion about the size of her fist.

Nutrition specialists recommend the "handful" rule as a practical and straightforward method for estimating daily food portions using one’s hand to determine food intake.

According to Dr. Nguyen Trong Hung from the National Institute of Nutrition, the "handful" diet is a viable method to approximate meal sizes, aiding in weight management. It is crucial to include a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

Trinh after losing the excess weight. Photo courtesy of Trinh

Trinh after losing the excess weight. Photo courtesy of Trinh

Avoiding snacks

According to Trinh, abstaining from snacks is vital for weight reduction and maintaining a healthy figure. She advocates consuming full meals and drinking water to stave off hunger and, thus, cravings.

Research indicates that snacking significantly contributes to unchecked weight gain, as most snacks are laden with sugar, fats, and unhealthy additives. Minimizing these foods can facilitate quick weight loss for women.

Dr. Phan Thai Tan, a weight loss mentor at HomeFiT fitness center, suggests that those craving snacks opt for healthier alternatives such as whole grain cereal with milk, boiled fresh soybeans, a handful of nuts, fruit smoothies, vegetables, or protein-enriched drinks like whey protein. These should be consumed in modest amounts immediately after main meals or before workouts, and evening snacking should be avoided.

Drinking two liters of water daily

According to the health information website Healthline, there’s a long-held belief that hydration can support weight loss. Drinking between one to two liters (or four to eight glasses) of water daily can aid in shedding pounds.

This recommendation, however, is a general guideline. Individual needs may vary: some may require less, and others more water. For example, those who perspire heavily or are active may need more water compared to less active individuals. It is essential for the elderly and breastfeeding mothers to monitor their hydration levels carefully.

Combining walking and running

Trinh keeps up with a daily routine of walking for 30 to 60 minutes. On days when she feels more energetic, she incorporates running with her usual walking routine.

Walking, a globally embraced form of exercise, offers flexibility in terms of space and time, suits all ages and genders, is cost-effective, and doesn’t necessitate any special gear or training.

Despite its simplicity, walking yields significant health benefits like bone strengthening, balance improvement, assistance in managing high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and various chronic conditions. It also serves as a method to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the natural environment.

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