Let me just clear this up before I move on. I hate dieting. I have these grand plans to begin a healthy eating plan on Monday late on a Sunday night, when Iíve overindulged on maybe a couple of wines and some chocolate. Then I wake up. Once it gets to about lunchtime, those Tim Tams are mine.
Being a Mum and eating healthy are two things that can be a challenge, even for the most organised of us. I donít have a Thyroid either, so my metabolism is all over the place. Some days I will forget to eat until that 3pm sugar craving hits and I blow out probably two days of calories in one sitting. Occasionally, when itís The Witching Hour at 6pm, I hide in the cupboard with the chips. Every Mum has possibly done this before, so you may be familiar with it.
My goal over the past twelve months has been to find healthy eating plans or diets that are easy to follow, and inexpensive for Mums on a budget. Supplements can work wonders to drop that bit of baby weight, but they arenít always the cheapest. I road tested a fair few of the fad diets and have found two that are pretty easy for Mums to incorporate into their day to day routines.
The 5:2 Fast Diet
If you havenít heard of 5:2, you may have been living under a rock. Itís also known as Intermittent Fasting and works on 2 days with a lower calorie intake (500 calories for women and 600 for men) and 5 days of normal, unconstrained eating. Besides claiming to help you lose weight, it supposedly decreases the risk of long term diseases, however this has never been studied in depth.
So, how, did I go with the 5:2 diet? The 5 days of normal eating was what sold it to me, to be honest. Eating normal foods and losing weight? Where do I sign up? I put on a good 7kg when I finished breastfeeding, and when I began Intermittent Fasting, the weight just fell off.
So, what happens on a fast day? Firstly, try and put your eating off for as long as possible. You can have anything you like, as long as itís under 500 calories. Coffee is fine, just make sure itís black. It sounds tough, and it is the first few fast days, but once you get the hang of it, the 5:2 diet becomes a lifestyle. I ate a piece of toasted bread with Vegemite for lunch, and 100 grams of chicken and 100 grams of vegetables for dinner. Not only did this diet help me to drop some extra kilos, it also reduced my shopping bill and helped me enjoy and appreciate my food more. This is why the 5:2 Fast Diet is definitely worth looking into if youíre a busy Mum.
Another fad diet that has come to light in recent years, Paleo works on the idea that all food should be eaten in its most natural form, without being refined or processed. So, nuts, meat, fruit and veggies are the go, almost like a cave man probably would eat. On the naughty list is sugar, grains, bread, pastas, dairy and anything thatís processed.
From a Mum perspective, I found the Paleo diet very easy to incorporate into my lifestyle. There are fantastic and easy recipes you can find that taste great and it was really only the Ďno sugarí issue that got me. I had headaches for a few days, and then I felt great with more energy to chase after my twin boys. I lost weight fairly quickly due to not eating any processed foods and sugars (including none of my beloved wine) and I felt satisfied and fuller for longer. Even though I wonít be religiously sticking to Paleo, all the time, it is the right diet for me at the moment while I lead up to my 30th birthday (hello slim fitted dress).
So, if youíre a busy Mum and looking for an easy diet with no gimmicks, I recommend these two because they worked for me. Everyone is different of course, and donít forget that before you start any healthy eating plan, you should make an appointment with your GP to ensure itís right for your situation.