Let me start by saying that there is no timeline for bouncing back. There is no rush getting back to your pre-pregnancy body. Don’t let the media fool you with celebrities showing off their slim waistlines weeks after delivery. Many celebrities have trainers, dieticians, and cooks working with them to help them get back to their pre-baby figure.
Most women will lose about 10- 15 lbs immediately after birth with the delivery of the baby, placenta, and fluid loss. The remaining weight will come off in the next following months after the delivery of the baby.
After giving birth, your body goes through a lot of changes. Your hips change, your shoe size may grow, your breasts are different, and you are different. You may need to consult your healthcare provider and get the green light before you start any exercise program.
I gained 40 lbs with my first pregnancy and 35 lbs with my second. I was able to lose all of that weight and then some about 4 months after delivery. I’ve been able to lose the weight and keep it off. I’m thinner now than before I had kids. Part of that is due to the stress of taking care of them but losing all the weight didn’t just happen overnight.
I lost weight through consistency and patience. I’m here to tell you that you can lose it too! It will take time, hard work, and dedication.
Here are my tips for losing the baby weight and getting your pre-pregnancy body.
Set Realistic Expectations
It’s important to realize that you spent nine months growing a little human and that you didn’t put the weight on overnight. Since it took time to put on the weight, it will take time to shed the weight.
Be realistic about how long it will take to lose weight. Don’t expect the weight to come off quickly and don’t give into crash diets. Crash diets are diets where you eat very few calories to lose weight quickly. You don’t get a lot of nutrition when you crash diet. It’s not healthy and not a sustainable way of living.
You want to lose weight sustainably. If you’re breastfeeding and taking care of a newborn, you want to have enough energy to do that. Don’t deprive yourself of the key nutrition and energy that you need to take care of your little one and yourself.
After about a month of giving birth, I was about 15-20 lbs over my ideal weight. My face was chubbier than what I liked it to be and my jeans were a little snug. I knew that I didn’t want to stay at that weight because it made me feel uncomfortable. I also feel more confident when I’m at my ideal weight that I’m comfortable with.
I made a plan to lose weight and was determined to stay consistent until I reached my goal. I knew I couldn’t lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks. I made a realistic goal of losing 1-2 lbs a week. Considering how much weight I wanted to lose, that would take me a little over 2 months.
Figure out how much you want to lose and divide that by how many pounds a week you want to lose. For example, if you want to lose 30 lbs, divide that by 1-2. That would take you about 15- 30 weeks to reach your goal depending on if you’re planning to lose 1-2 lbs a week respectively.
Again, be realistic about how much weight you want to lose, how many pounds you can shed, and how long it will take. You don’t want to stress out about losing weight. It took time to gain weight and grow a baby and it will also take time to shed the weight.
Walk Daily and Get 10,000 Steps In
The best and easiest recommendation I can give for new moms trying to lose weight is to make sure that you’re walking regularly and getting your steps in. Not only is it a great way to keep the weight off, burn calories, and exercise, but it’s also great for your cardiovascular health and maintaining bone density.
After giving birth, your calcium deposits are depleted and you need to exercise to maintain bone density and keep your bones strong.
What I did was I would strap my kids in the stroller after breakfast every morning. I would take the kids for a walk around the neighborhood and to the park. I would make laps around the park every morning. We would walk for about 45 minutes to over an hour every day.
Since we went at the same time every morning, we met a lot of regulars who walk the trail at the park too. It was also good for my mental health as a stay-at-home mom to get out and socialize with some of the people in the community while on our walks.
If you can’t commit to walking for an hour straight, you can break it up into smaller chunks. You could walk for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.
If you work, you could eat for 15 minutes on your lunch break and then walk for the following 15 minutes.
Break up your walks into manageable time blocks that work for your lifestyle.
The point is that you should walk every day and try to get at least 10,000 steps in a day. For the average person, that’s about 1 hour of walking if you’re averaging a pace of 500 efforts a minute.
Drink a Minimum of 2L of Water a Day
Drinking water is critical to losing weight and keeping the weight off. A lot of times when you’re hungry, it’s just your body’s way of telling you that it’s thirsty. Before reaching for something to eat, drink a full glass of water and wait. Were you just thirsty or are you really hungry?
Drinking water is important for keeping you hydrated. Aim to get at least 8 8- ounce glasses a day- or two liters.
I always drink cups of water in the morning before my coffee. It’s good to drink water first thing in the morning to help wake you up but to also rehydrate you after you’ve been sleeping all night.
Water helps to keep your skin moisturized, keeps you feeling full, prevents dehydration, and helps speed up metabolism.
So skip the sugary beverages full of empty calories and zero nutrition and sip on water instead!
Eat At Least 5 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables
Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and water. It will help keep you feeling full with very few calories.
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and can help keep you feeling full.
We always kept bananas, oranges, and apples as staples in our fruit pantry. I ate a lot of different vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini and squash, green beans, mushrooms, and mixed greens. I would buy vegetables in bulk from Costco and cook them in bulk.
Make 1/2 of your plate full of vegetables during meal times and opt for fresh whole fruit as a snack in between meals. Drink a glass of water at each snack time too. It will help to keep you feeling full longer.
Weight training is so good for your muscles and bones. Strength training helps to build muscle which may increase your metabolic rate. The more muscle that you have, the more fat you burn and the leaner you may become.
Resistance training is a great way to burn some extra calories and build lean muscle. Muscle continues to burn calories even after you’re done with strength training exercises because it requires energy to repair.
It is also important for maintaining bone density so that you don’t develop weak bones later on. During pregnancy, calcium is drawn from your bones to nourish and feed your baby through the placenta. Even though you are taking prenatal supplements, you may still see a dip in your calcium levels. You want to maintain strong healthy bones so that you don’t develop fractures later on.
The great thing about weight training is that you don’t need to go to the gym to lift some heavy weights. You can strength train at home with your body weight, your baby, free weights, or resistance bands.
You can do stationary lunges, walking lunges, squats, and planks right in your own home. It’s convenient for busy moms who don’t have the time to go to the gym.
Be Mindful of Your Caloric Intake
If you’re OCD and want to track your calories, myfitnesspal is a great app you can download on your phone to keep track of your caloric intake. You’d be surprised at how many calories are in a small portion of food and how quickly they can add up.
You don’t want to overeat and you don’t want to cut your calories by a significant amount. You just want to be mindful of how much you’re eating and your caloric intake.
You can use the app, a fitness journal, or an online food diary to keep track of what you’re eating. There are various ways to keep track of your caloric intake. Just choose one that is convenient and works for you.
Limit Your Intake of Unhealthy Foods (Especially When You’re Tired and Stressed)
I don’t know about you but I was very relaxed about my cravings during pregnancy. Yes, I ate a healthy diet full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. But I also gave in to my chocolate, ice cream, and boba cravings. I certainly did not limit it.
When you are trying to lose weight, you should limit your cravings for refined sugars, saturated fats, processed foods, and sugary drinks.
I know you’re tired, exhausted, and probably stressed out caring for a baby; so you want to grab something quick to eat for energy. But limit your cravings and choose healthier options instead. Opt for an apple with peanut butter or crackers and cheese. The extra bit of protein will keep you feeling full longer.
Here are some quick high-protein snack options that take less than a few minutes to whip up. These healthy and nutritious snack options will keep you feeling full longer.
- Apples and peanut butter
- Crackers and cheese
- Cottage cheese and fresh berries
- Greek yogurt and chia seeds
- Celery and peanut butter
- Hard-boiled egg and banana
- Toast with cottage cheese and honey
- String cheese and almonds
Try Breastfeeding If You Can
If you can breastfeed and are able to, breastfeeding is also a great way to speed up weight loss. Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories/ day. Remember that you will need to eat nutritious food and stay hydrated when you’re breastfeeding.
Remember to Rest and Take Days Off to Recover
It may be tempting to go all in when you’re trying to lose weight but don’t forget to take days off to rest. Designate one day out of the week when you take it easy. Your rest day can be a full rest day where you don’t do anything active at all or it can be a passive active day where you walk or garden. It can be a day when you are active but not doing anything too intense.
The point is that you want to allow a day for your body to rest. Your muscles need a chance to rest and recover. And you need time to do other things that you enjoy as well.
Remember that this is not a quick sprint. Losing weight is like a steady marathon. You have to pace yourself. It’s better to go slow and steady; so you don’t burn out too quickly.
On your active rest day, you can practice self-care or spend extra time with your family. You can make it a date day with your partner or do anything your heart desires.
Enjoy your rest day and don’t stress too much about “not getting your workout in.” It’s a scheduled rest day so remember to rest!