I gain weight in my tummy, thighs and hips. What can I do?

It is common for women to store fat around the tummy, thighs and hips. Various studies have linked it to sex hormones such as estrogen. Also with pregnancy women tend to store some extra fat as by nature your body will want to ensure that you have enough energy to for the pregnancy and lactation.

Well first of all it is common for women to store fat around those areas and studies have linked it to sex hormones such as estrogen. Also with pregnancy women tend to store some extra fat as by nature your body will want to ensure that you have enough energy to for the pregnancy and lactation.

I don’t know how long ago you had your last c-section and if not too long ago you could still be carrying the pregnancy weight. From calculating your BMI you are within the healthy range and it is best not to go below your 60kg target as any less and you could be borderline underweight.

Also if it hasn’t been very long since you had a baby it may be wise to allow a bit of time for your body to rest and recuperate before starting dieting. If you pressure yourself to lose weight you may put your body in unnecessary strain and it could have negative effects for your health.

Bellow I have put together some tips for you:

1. I always advise to have a delayed and protein breakfast.

When we wake up in the morning after an overnight fast, our body burns more fat. By delaying your breakfast by 30min or an hour you increase the fat you burn. But do have a breakfast as if you are going without food for hours your metabolism could slow down to reserve energy. If you can do some physical activities before breakfast will also help in burning some extra fat and increase metabolism. That could be getting the kids ready, or doing some cleaning. If your morning is too busy anyway looking after your children then is best to avoid adding any more stress trying to do extra activities. Always try to plan things according to your life’s demands.

Protein makes you feel full for longer so you shouldn’t get the mid day craving for sugar and food.

2. Have a handful of mixed nuts or a fruit for midday snack if you feel hungry.

Some studies do suggest that nuts can make you feel full and also they are very nutritious. However, they do contain quite a lot of calories so do eat them in moderation.

3. By just following a healthy balanced diet and decreasing your calories slightly you should be able to lose your target weight.

The average recommended calories women use is 1500 – 2000 per day.  If you decrease your calories to 1200 – 1500 would be within a healthy range. However, do account for any physical activities you do. If you are quite physically active or exercise you should make an allowance for this in your calorie intake. A suggestion for a healthy balance diet is: Increase your protein intake (example, meat, cheese, fish, eggs) and reduce your carbohydrate intake (example bread, pasta, potatoes) and eat loads of vegetables and salads.

It is helpful to keep a diary all the foods and drinks you consume as it can give you an idea of what extra things you may be eating which could be adding to your calorie intake such as fizzy drinks, throat sweets, snacks, crisps, sugary drinks etc.

When you lose weight, you do lose weight from your tummy, thighs and hips as well as other parts of your body.

4. With having 2 pregnancies and 2 –c sections it could be the case that some of the muscles on your tummy may have been stretched or de-conditioned.

You can do some exercises which can help tone the areas which you are most concerned. It is always best to have an all over work out but if time is limited then just do some exercises for 20 – 30min per day. Pilates exercisescan provide a good workout. Example exercises are the bridge, side leg kick, and the 100 and possibly add a few. Pilates also include some pelvic floor exercises and conditioning the deep abdominal muscles.

You will not burn a large amount of calories with Pilates exercises but it helps with toning the muscles in the abdominal, waist, and upper leg areas. I would recommend following a class, at the beginning at least, to make sure you are performing exercises correctly and to your own level, but if is not possible do make sure you are comfortable with any exercises you perform and you do follow within your own abilities; maybe consult an exercise professional to show you how to do them. As I said earlier if you have the time do an all over body work out.

You could just do simple things such as walk to the shops/school instead of driving or taking a bus, or go for a run, vigorously clean the house, take the kids swimming/ cycling or do some gardening.

If you had the c-section less than 3 months it may not be safe to do any vigorous exercises. Best consult your doctor or a medical professional first. In any case it is always recommended to consult a medical professional before you take on any exercise or diet, especially if you have pre-existing medical complaints, diseases or disorders.

Moreover, do keep in mind that sometimes with pregnancy and c-sections there may be damage to the muscles or they may overstretch. In result it may be very difficult to condition the muscles or they may not return back to their original state giving the impression that you have a bit of a tummy. If you find that there are no results with diet and exercise then may be check with your doctor.

Hope the tips are helpful and answer your question. If you have any further questions or need more explanation for any of the points please do contact me.

About the author

Hara Hagikalfa

Hara Hagikalfa completed her BSc(Hons) in Health and Exercise Science, Sports Science and Medicine. She is a certified Personal Trainer and Pilates instructor. You can learn more about Hara and connect with her on Facebook