I am often asked, “How many calories should I eat to lose the baby weight?” or “But I’m eating really healthy food, why can’t I lose weight?”.

Because if you eat more food than your body needs, you won’t lose weight.

Now if you’re one of the MUTU Mamas who has downloaded the MUTU System 12 week coaching programme to *lose the mummy tummy for good* then you will know all about MUTU Food. MUTU Food is not a diet in the traditional sense. It has a few very simple rules and one of them is simply to eat CLEAN FOOD. Clean food is real food. Unprocessed, in its natural state, no list of ingredients, real food.

Real food INCLUDES nuts, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and seeds. These foods do contain fats but these fats are good for us! As I have been heard (once or twice ;)) to comment… “No one ever got fat from eating too many brazil nuts”. I mean it – show me an overweight person who’s fat because they eat too many avocados or cashews and I’ll eat my shoes.

But whilst these foods are good for you, and so are wholewheat spelt pasta, and Whole Earth peanut butter and bananas… whilst these foods are all nutritious and energy giving and wholesome… if you eat more than your body needs, you’ll gain weight. Too many calories will make you fat. And that’s not baby fat, it’s just fat :(

I was recently reassured by a client that the pizza and wine she had consumed 3 days out of 7 last week was OK because it was organic. Fabulous. Organic. We like that. No pesticides, no sulphites in the wine, plenty of healthy antioxidants in the tomatoes…  just TOO MANY CALORIES!!

So how many calories do you need to lose weight? Well that depends on your genes, your age, your lifestyle, your activity levels and your metabolism. But if you want to lose fat, you need to use up more energy (calories) than you consume. Don’t eat more than you need.

The fat on your tummy (and everywhere else) is determined by the food you eat, not at the gym. Try these Top Tips for Losing the (Baby) Weight:

  • Write down what you eat. Often the simple act of writing it down can be a shocker (how many lattes / glasses of wine?!).
  • Eat smaller portion sizes. Portion sizes have got WAY out of control. Research has shown that the more we are served, the more we eat, overeating what our body needs by around 40%. Packaged foods and restaurant (especially fast food) servings have increased dramatically in size over the last 30 years. The meat on your plate should be the size of a deck of cards or your palm (without the fingers!). The pasta, rice or cereal the size of your clenched fist. The mayo or butter, the top of your thumb or 50g. I know it seems small, but that’s simply because we have got used to seeing enormous portions of food – way more than we need
  • Another way to keep an eye on variety and portion size is to divide your plate. One quarter protein, one quarter starch (potatoes, pasta etc) one half vegetables. Don’t overlap them or pile them high!
  • Sit at the table, put your food on a plate and eat it with a knife and fork. Think about and enjoy the food you’re eating – it doesn’t have to be fancy, but look at and think about what you’re eating – you may re-think it!
  • If you’re baffled by calories and want to be methodical about it, try a gadget like the Nutri-Weigh, kitchen scales that actually tell you the calorie content of your food.
  • Sugar and alcohol may be completely sabotaging your attempts at weight loss. For reasons I have written about at length… sugar makes you fatter. (And alcohol is sugar. Empty calories plus added workload for your liver)

For the numbers-oriented amongst you, a pound / 0.45 Kilos of fat is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories. By reducing your daily calorie intake, or by increasing your daily exercise, by 500 calories, you can lose a pound of fat in a week. Over a year, that’s 52 pounds, or 3.5 stones, or 23.64 Kilos.

So if you want fat loss that stays lost, this is the rate you should aim for: drop 500 calories a day from where you are now.

Oh and a PS to the statement in the title… if you’re more than 6 months postnatal, um, that’s not baby weight. Sorry. ;)