When it comes to losing your baby weight, there are myriad options in books and on the Internet, promising quick weight loss and instant tone.
But if you’re not into crash dieting and exercising like a crazy person, one Sydney mother is living proof that you can ditch your ‘mum tum’ in a healthy way.
Jessica Zalums, 27, spoke to FEMAIL about how she shed eight kilograms and 62 centimetres from her body inside 16 weeks via nutritional cleansing.
For the 27-year-old new mum, it’s all about loving your body – in both its ‘before’ and its ‘after’ state – and nourishing it from the inside out.
Jessica Zalums, 27, spoke to FEMAIL about how she shed eight kilograms and 62 centimetres from her body inside 16 weeks via nutritional cleansing (pictured before and 16 weeks later)
For the 27-year-old new mum, it’s all about loving your body – in both its ‘before’ and its ‘after’ state – and nourishing it from the inside out (pictured before and after)
The 27-year-old (pictured) said that she knew the best thing for both herself and her baby was to feed herself wholesome, nutritious foods
Ms Zalums told FEMAIL that when she first gave birth to baby Theo – via a traumatic birth that saw them both remain in the hospital for seven days afterwards – she didn’t actually dislike her body.
‘These are not your usual before and after photos,’ she explained to FEMAIL of a series of images she shared on her Instagram page recently.
‘I wasn’t unhappy with my body, or ashamed. In fact, I was pretty proud of what I’d put it through – bringing my first child into the world.’
However, the 27-year-old added that she knew the best thing for her and her newborn baby – who she is currently breastfeeding – was to feed herself wholesome, nutritious foods.
‘I’m all about feeding myself well,’ she explained. ‘I knew I needed to look after myself in order for Theo and me to thrive.’
And so, she started nutritional cleansing – or ‘flooding my body with nutrients’ (pictured working out after having given birth)
A typical day on a plate for Ms Zalums lets her eat plenty of complex carbohydrates such as salmon and sweet potato mash and vegetables (pictured)
She also drinks lots of shakes, which have the perfect amount of fat, carbs and protein (pictured with baby Theo)
And so, the 27-year-old mother embarked on a 16-week challenge – in which she did one half of the requirements of nutritional cleansing, to see if she got results.
A typical day on Jessica Zalum’s plate
* BREAKFAST: Superfood smoothie
* MORNING SNACK: Nuts and fruit or a wholemeal crumpet with peanut butter.
* LUNCH: Chicken salad or a wholemeal wrap.
* AFTERNOON SNACK: Fruit or a high nutrition bar.
* DINNER: Salmon, sweet potato mash and vegetables.
‘I had done nutritional cleansing once before when I was working 60+ hour weeks as a publicist, and had no time to meal prep, and I had seen great results,’ Ms Zalums said.
‘Basically, what happens when you do it is you cleanse the body of impurities, and plug the gaps in your diet, and then flood the body with nutrition.’
Because she had just given birth and is still breastfeeding, Ms Zalums said she just followed the ‘flooding the body with nutrition’ part of nutritional cleansing – making sure she ate balanced wholefoods and the right amount of fat, carbs and protein at each meal.
‘The majority of the weight that I’ve lost I lost in the first eight weeks,’ she said.
‘A typical day on a plate would see me have a superfood smoothie for breakfast, nuts and fruit or a wholemeal crumpet with peanut butter as a morning snack, chicken salad or a wholemeal wrap at lunch, fruit or a high nutrition bar in the afternoon and then salmon, sweet potato mash and veggies for dinner.’
After she gave birth (pictured pregnant), Ms Zalumd said that she did no exercise for the first six weeks, before gently reintroducing walking and yoga
‘It’s definitely 80 per cent food, 20 per cent exercise,’ she added. ‘The exercise is much less important,’ she explained (pictured working out with baby Theo)
Added to this, for the first six weeks of being a mother, she said she did no exercise.
‘I started doing gentle exercise at around the six-week mark,’ she said. ‘Walks around the block, yoga etc – nothing too hard.’
It’s only in the last ten weeks that Ms Zalums has upped her workout regime to include some HIIT [high intensity interval training] and RPM or resistance-based work, too.
‘It’s definitely 80 per cent food, 20 per cent exercise,’ she added. ‘The exercise is much less important.’
‘Because I’m busy, drinking shakes with the perfect combination of fat, carbs and protein has also been a godsend. If I’m too busy for lunch, I’ll just have a shake and know I’m getting the adequate nutrients.’
When she is too busy, Ms Zalums will have a shake (left); on other occasions, she’ll prepare meals, which she can slow cook during the day and enjoy later on in the evening (right)
Speaking about her tips for other women who have just given birth, Ms Zalums said you need to love yourself, no matter what (pictured pregnant and with her baby)
‘Do a programme like this because you love your body, not because you want to change it,’ she added (pictured before embarking on the programme and now)
Speaking about her tips for other women who have just given birth, Ms Zalums said you need to love yourself, no matter what:
‘Love your body before and after,’ she said. ‘Do a programme like this because you love your body, not because you want to change it.’
Tips for women trying to lose baby weight
* Love your body before and after. Do a programme because you love your body, not because you want to change it.
* Follow a programme, to help to give you accountability and direction.
* Always have something healthy to eat on hand, whether it’s chopped-up vegetables in the fridge or Bircher muesli.
* Carry healthy food around with you in a nappy bag so you’re not caught out.
* Make time to do a healthy food shop.
* Invest in a slow cooker, so you can prepare something slowly throughout the day and be prepared for the so-called ‘witching hours’ of parenthood – between 5 and 7pm, when things get really busy.
* Don’t cut any food groups. If you’re craving dark chocolate, allow yourself a square.
* Eat wholesome nutritious foods and remember it’s 80 per cent diet, 20 per cent exercise.
* Reintroduce exercise slowly after giving birth.
The 27-year-old also recommends following a programme. She runs the Wellness Collective, which helps other mums with accountability and giving them direction.
‘This is a lifestyle rather than a quick fix,’ she said. ‘It’s about your mindset as much as your body.’
When it comes to practicalities, the new mother recommends that you always have something healthy on hand that you can snack on, whether it’s chopped-up vegetables in the fridge, or bircher muesli:
‘Cook when you have the extra time during the day and keep things in the fridge,’ she said.
‘Make time for a healthy food shop. I go to the farmers’ markets on a Friday and am never caught unaware, carrying health bars around with me in a nappy bag.’
The 27-year-old recommends investing in a slow cooker – so you can prepare something slowly throughout the day, and be prepared for the so-called ‘witching hours’ of parenthood – between 5 and 7pm, when it’s super busy, you need to feed your baby and get them down for the night.
‘It’s a good idea to have a meal ready to go for then,’ she said.
Lastly, make sure you don’t deny yourself a food group, as then you’ll start to crave it.
‘If you want a square of dark chocolate after dinner, go for it,’ she said. ‘You’ve only got one body, after all.’
The next Wellness Collective programmes run on Monday 30 October and Monday 6 November. For more information, click here.