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Battle of the bulge series: Natalie fights 'baby fat'

Published:Wednesday | March 2, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Natalie Murray, Gleaner's weight management candidate, checking her daily food journal. - Gladstone Taylor/ Photographer
Natalie Murray's waist circumference being measured by Frances Mahfood of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica.
Natalie Murray's 'weighing in' as she prepares to start her weight-loss programme.
Natalie Murray's height being taken at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica by nutritionist Frances by Ian Allen/Photographer

Eulalee Thompson, BE WELL

Week 1: Busy mom and Kingston-based banker, Natalie Murray, is The Gleaner's Health section 2011 weight management candidate. We will be following her to the gym and nutritionist in March as we track her quest to lose the baby fat.

Just about three months ago, 36-year-old Natalie, had her third child, a beautiful, bouncing baby girl, Sienna, but it's time now to lose the baby fat. She is motivated to battle with the bulge.

"I like to wear swimwear and don't like to see bulges of fat. I have always been on top of my weight so that I am not conscious about it," she said. "I like to look good and it's for health reasons as well. It is also a mental thing for me; work is stressful and I have the children, so exercising and taking care of myself is important."

During her pregnancy, Natalie said that she gained about 50 pounds, but she believes that about a 25-pound weight gain is normal during pregnancy. Tipping the scale at 173 pounds in week one, her ultimate target is 145 to 150 pounds. Her plan is to cut the excess fat over three months, at a rate of one to two pounds per week. Natalie has a supportive husband, but there are some challenges.

"My biggest challenge will be night-time snacking, and I just love Doritos. There are also other incidental calories such as I love to nibble from my daughter's leftover lunch box," she confessed.

Exercise plan

In the last few weeks of her maternity leave, Natalie stepped up the intensity of her exercise programme. Her exercise spot is Shakti MindBodyFitness where under the watchful eye of personal trainer Nadine Prendergast she has a range of activities in her plan. Full-body yoga, circuit training, spinning, strength training for abs, arms, leg definition and so on. In all, she is packing in six, sometimes seven hours per week.

Eating routine

"I normally eat well but snack horribly. I'm a late-night, read like 2 a.m., snacker. I used to eat mainly three meals per day with a mid-morning snack. Breakfast was protein-heavy, like eggs or a protein shake. Lunch and dinners were always too big. And I didn't eat much fruits, but I was good with the veggies," said Natalie.

Her old eating habit was heavy on thick, creamy sweet coffee and the old Jamaican favourite Milo and milk. Now she is cutting back on such delights, all for the sake of weight management and, of course, good health. Being guided by nutritionist Frances Mahfood, based at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica in Kingston, the eating plan has been overhauled.

She says that her current daily nutrition is as follows:

6 servings of protein per day

4 servings of starch

3 servings of fruit

2 dairy

3 fats

"The key is portion control. You actually have to measure your food. No alcohol, as that uses up too much starch servings. No Milo. No Doritos. But I'm not giving up my one cup of coffee," said Natalie.

Eulalee Thompson is health editor and a professional counsellor; email:

Natalie Murray

Age: 36 years old

Height: 5ft 8 inches

Post-pregnancy weight: 173 pounds

Target: 145 to 150 pounds over three months

A sample of daily eating plan:

Protein shake with fruit. (I use a whey protein powder and almond milk)

Apple and half of a granola

Tuna and pasta with roasted egg plant and tomatoes


Chicken breast. Pak Choi salad and sweet potato

Plenty of water and green tea