It was only a matter of days, maybe even hours, after both my kids were born that I was looking for signs of my baby weight melting off. Once my uterus had returned to normal size and I was no longer retaining fluid, I was left with twenty pounds to lose. Losing twenty pounds seemed like a daunting task to me in the midst of newborn survival mode—how in the world am I going to focus on my health when I’m sleep deprived, and caring for my new baby?!
One habit at a time. One day at a time.
We all know by now that losing weight is not an overnight phenomenon. It requires making good choices daily that will add up to big results later. Weight loss success is determined by our daily choices and habits.
As a prenatal and postpartum fitness specialist, I encourage moms to give themselves grace and really focus on those non-scale victories the first year postpartum. It took nine months to gain the weight, give yourself at least nine months to lose it, if not more. Here are some things that I focused on to help shed those baby weight pounds:
- Water! Water is the best form of hydration and you should aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces, more if you’re nursing and exercising. Studies have shown that drinking water helps speed up your metabolism, helps you feel full, boosts your energy, and helps power your workouts. Don’t love water? You can spice it up by adding fresh fruit to give it some flavor. Lemon is my favorite, plus it has a ton of benefits!
- Eat your fruits and veggies! Try adding vegetables to every meal. By filling up on fruits and vegetables, you’re not leaving a lot of room for the processed foods.
- Move Daily! Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone. Getting out of the house as a new Mom will help combat any baby blues feelings as well help your body heal. For the first few weeks of postpartum, walking is the best form of exercise. Start out slow, and slowly build up to 30 minutes daily. Once my Doctor cleared me to exercise, I included some strength training into my routine. Lifting weights helps blast fat and kick our metabolism into gear. I wait until I’m no longer breastfeeding to really go after my fitness goals. I don’t want to compromise my milk production so until I’m done nursing, I keep my workouts at moderate intensity.
- Focus on non-scale victories! The scale can be deceiving and doesn’t tell the whole story. Instead of focusing on a number, focus on how you feel in your clothes, and in your own skin. Do you feel good in your favorite pair of jeans? Are you noticing more energy? Fewer cravings? Celebrate those things!
- Meal prep! This requires time up front but it helped me immensely to stay on track with my goals. My meals were ready to go so I had no excuse but to eat what I had prepared. Try roasting a big batch of vegetables, wash and chop fruit, cook some lean protein. Assemble and it’s ready to go!
- Sleep! Hah, we’re Moms, do we ever really get a full eight hours!? I know I’ll be up during the night with at least one of my children so instead of staying up late, I try to go to bed early to at least catch some zzz’s before I’m up with my baby. Sleep is important for our health in helping our bodies repair and brain function, so maybe instead of staying up to watch This Is Us, watch it on the app the next day. (Y’all, I can’t even stay up to watch the entire episode without falling asleep!)
All of our bodies are different and losing the baby weight requires patience, grace, and consistency. I found my results when I was consistent with the things above. I’d love to hear what has worked for you and the challenges you faced.