We asked 37-year-old Rachael Lalji about the simple and effective low-calorie, fat-burning diet which helped her shift those extra pounds and get her pre-baby body back, after back-to-back pregnancies:
What low-calorie meals would you recommend eating throughout the day?
From all the diets out there, I chose the clean eating approach, but clean doesn't mean boring! I tend to eat a few smalls meals each day to keep my metabolism high, burn fat and avoid snacking on junk.
Eggs and avocado with lemon and spinach.
Sweet jacket potato and salad, chicken salad with quinoa, raw mushroom and rocket salad or salmon salad.
Steak and salad, chicken stir fry, chicken, rice and vegetables or lemon chicken with brown rice.
Fruit, nuts, lean packet meat and sliced avocado.
Strawberry and banana protein shake.
What are the nutritional dos and don’ts for getting your pre-baby body back?
Drink lots of water
I always try to drink 2L of water every day to flush out toxins, reduce swelling and promote healing.
Write down your goals
You're more likely to stick to a programme once you have set your own personal goals. This will stop you comparing your success and failures to others. Remember – everyone is unique and what works for some may not work for others.
Keep healthy snacks available at all times, so you’re less likely to eat junk food. Try eating frozen fruit instead of ice cream or nuts instead of crisps.
Cut out alcohol
I try to limit my alcohol consumption, but I would recommend cutting it out completely during a six-week toning programme.
Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast
Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism and provide you with the energy that you need for you and your baby. Remember that your muscles need fuel throughout the day to improve tone and boost strength.
Avoid picking at your children’s leftovers, like chips, chicken nuggets and fish fingers (my worst vice). Those calories will add up!
Don’t expect instant results
I can't stress enough how it takes time for the body to return to its pre-pregnancy state, so be gentle with yourself.
How do you stay motivated about sticking to a diet plan?
My main motivation is being fit and healthy for my three babies. I also have a picture of pre-baby me in a bikini as my ‘thinspiration’ and follow fellow mums on social media.
There are some really inspirational new mums with amazing postpartum fitness journeys to share.
What fat-burning superfoods would you recommend for reducing the waistline?
The best fat burners are black beans, oats, avocados, salmon, blueberries, broccoli, quinoa, almonds, pears, egg whites, grapefruit and bananas.
Green tea is also great. I wouldn’t recommend the ‘skinny teas’ you may have noticed popping up all over social media (all they left me with was a sore tummy), however Japanese matcha tea speeds up metabolism and aids weight loss.
How do you fit training and healthy eating around family life?
I exercise for an hour every day, however being a mummy means that the timings can vary and that I am often too tired to train at the end of the day.
On weekends, I train before breakfast and before the children wake up. I have a protein shake post-workout and breakfast about an hour later.
On weekdays I train after the school run. This means eating breakfast with the children then having a protein shake after training.