You have a new little bundle of joy… no extra time. Maybe you’re ready to start shedding what’s left of the baby weight or want to feel good in your “mom bod,” but don’t know where to start. With lack of sleep and new priorities, it’s no wonder moms get confused about weight loss after pregnancy.
Though I know you’re eager to “feel like yourself again” and there’s a constant barrage of svelte celebrity post-baby bodies, so it’s most important to be patient with yourself.
Moms need a little extra TLC and special guidance when it comes to post-partum weight loss. Your mind & body are probably in a much different place than before you got pregnant, and you have to understand your needs are much different.
I work with a lot of moms, and being one myself, I get it.
With all the conflicting information out there, I can understand your frustration & confusion.
But weight loss after pregnancy doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Start small and build healthy habits into your day. Be mindful of your choices and engage with people who will empower you. Be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t compare yourself to other moms.
1. First off, set realistic goals. You just had a baby. You spent 9 months growing a human, so don’t expect everything to happen immediately. Don’t get down on yourself if you still have some “baby weight” at 6 months post-partum. Studies have shown that it can take up to a year. Set smaller goals that you can work toward every day, like drinking enough water. Then think about weekly goals, like exercising at least twice. Set yourself up for success, not failure! Set goals that you know you can achieve- goals that will lead you down the path toward the more long term ones that you desire.
2. Don’t diet. Diet literally means what you eat. But today’s society has defined it in terms of temporary, fast fixes. Get away from the ‘diet mentality’ and just focus on building healthy habits. Instead of limiting yourself with ridiculous restrictions, teach yourself to build healthy habits into your day; the good stuff will start to edge out the “bad” stuff. You want a sustainable lifestyle not a crash diet.
3. You need sleep. I know, I know. Once motherhood hits, rest can be hard to come by and your sleeping habits get out of whack. Just do your best- nap whenever possible and let other people give you a break. Your body needs to rest and sleep is a crucial part of healthy weight loss, especially as a mom.
4. Load up on those superfoods. Including foods in your day that pack a nutritional punch will keep you full of the energy you need. Nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, chia seeds, etc are common ‘superfoods’ that support healthy weight loss & good eating habits.
5. Drink more water. Replacing the sugar-filled soda and juices with water will keep you hydrated from your cells to your skin. Water helps flush impurities from your body, assists with weight loss and is one of the best things you can do for your post-partum health.
6. Consider nursing. Though there’s conflicting studies about whether breastfeeding helps women lose weight after giving birth-it’s possible that the baby is not the only one benefiting. There are definitely women who aren’t able to breastfeed; but if you can it may offer health benefits to your baby and you.
7. Ask for help. Moms are some of the most selfless people I know. However, we all need help from time to time. Think about the people who will support your goals, cheer you on when you’re having a bad day & celebrate your wins with you. Having a support system will not only help you in your daily mom life, but will provide encouragement when it comes to your post-partum goals. If you need more than a cheerleader, you may want to find people who can give you the guidance you need– seek out trainers, nutrition specialists and other professionals who work with post-partum moms. Ask questions, get references and check out their social media. Find someone who fits your needs, not just someone who has a million fans.
8. Move your body. You don’t need to wait until you have the elusive hour or special equipment to get in a good workout. Circuit training with body weight exercises can help you get a lot done in less time. It’s important to know where you are in the healing process; don’t try to do too much too soon. Following a fitness plan designed for post-partum moms can help you gradually build strength while shedding pounds.
“Though exercising can be tiring, I have more energy overall. I find myself getting down on the floor and playing with my kids during ‘free time’ instead of zoning out on the couch.” -Susan D.
9. Stop the sit-ups. Elaborating on #8, you need to make sure you don’t try to target your abdominal muscles too soon after giving birth. If you aren’t completely healed, crunches, sit-ups and other core exercises may actually create damage to those muscles and not give you the results you want.
10. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Making sure you have healthy foods at your fingertips can ease some of the weight loss stress. I’m not talking about crazy meal-prepping for the week ahead. You can easily cover the basics with cut up fruits & veggies, bags of trailmix, hard boiled eggs, natural meal bars, and granola.
11. Quality over quantity. I’ve read a lot of ‘how to lose weight after pregnancy’ articles, and I often come across suggestions to limit calories. I don’t know too many moms who have time to track every little thing they eat, much less count calories. And while it may work for some, it’s not something I teach. If you’re eating nutrient-dense foods, your body will be getting the vitamins & minerals it needs and you’ll stay satisfied longer. Processed foods, foods high in sugar and foods containing artificial sweeteners will spike your blood sugar and cause you to feel hungrier sooner…and they also do nothing for your health. Choose foods are full of nutrients and not empty calories. Be mindful of what you’re eating, instead of the calories.
12. Understand why you’re doing this. Sure, you may be excited to fit into those pre-pregnancy jeans…but there’s more to it. How will you feel when you zip them? Your initial goal is just the precursor to why you do something. So dig deep and think about how you want to feel when you’ve accomplished what you’re setting out to do. That’s what’s going to keep you moving forward when the journey gets challenging.
13. Someone’s watching you. Your baby may be just a month or two old, but he/she is watching every move you make. It’s never too soon (or too late!) to build healthy habits and become a role model for your child. Teaching our next generation where food comes from and how to have a healthy body & mind is what’s going to set them up for success. They’re going to be impacted by your lifestyle, so teaching them from a young age is a good way to instill those habits & empower them to live a healthy life.
14. Don’t compare yourself to other moms. It may be tempting, but don’t do it. You have no idea where that other mom is in her post-partum journey. Pregnant women gain various amounts of weight and respond differently to pregnancy and birth; so stay focused on your own journey and don’t worry about where anyone else is.
It’s a lot, I know. And it’s not easy…but it’s simple.
Ultimately, you need to build healthy habits into your day, to edge out the not-so-healthy ones.
Don’t worry about crazy restrictions or being hard on yourself. Love yourself where you are and use the tips above as a guide for your post-pregnancy health & weight loss.
Make sure you join our community of moms who are on the journey to living a healthy post-partum lifestyle!