New moms are often sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and already have so much else on their plate… When it comes to getting your body back after baby, it’s often hard to know where to start. We get it! You’ve got a lot to think about: when to feed the baby, what to do if he or she cries . . . and how to get rid of those extra pounds packed on during pregnancy.
There is a TON of conflicting information out there about how to get your body back after baby. If you’re not an expert, it’s really difficult to know where to start. If you don’t know where to start (or if sifting through fat loss programs makes your head spin), you’re not alone. But getting back your pre-baby body doesn’t have to be complicated. Here at Baby Chick our mission is to educate, inspire, and uplift mothers. So today, we’re bringing you some easy to follow postpartum health and fitness tips to help you bounce back after baby.
Body Back After Baby: 7 Postpartum Weight Loss Tips for Mom
1. Set realistic goals!
When it comes time to get serious about losing the baby weight, make sure you keep your expectations in check. It’s tempting to set unrealistic goals and then get frustrated when we aren’t where we “should” be. Although every new mom is eager to look like her old self again, one of the most important things to remember is to be patient with yourself. Give yourself some grace and remember, it CAN be done . . . but it’s going to take time to get your body back. How much time? The National Women’s Health Information Center advises that about one pound per week is a safe amount of weight to lose postpartum, and will not affect your milk supply or the baby’s growth. With the average woman gaining about 30 pounds during pregnancy and typically losing around 18 to 20 in the first month, that final 10 pounds will push your postpartum fat loss goal to several months after baby makes an arrival.
2. Do it at home!
“Getting slim without the gym” has been a favorite motto of mine since becoming a mom. As you know, there are some days when getting out of the house to exercise is simply not an option. The good news is that you can still get fit in the comfort of your home. Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have time to get to the gym. Remember, our goal is to do SOMETHING. And you can get a fabulous fat-burning workout in the comfort of your own home. Hold your baby and do squats and stationary lunges (no weights needed!) for your lower body, then lift your baby overhead (get ready for some giggles) to strengthen your arms and shoulders, or lay on your back and do “baby chest presses.” And during those precious 30-minute nap times, grab some dumbbells and get in a quick weight training workout while your little one sleeps!
3. Embrace the endorphins!
Beyond helping you burn the baby fat, exercise provides additional hormonal benefits to a new mom. In addition to lowering stress hormones and stimulating fat-burning hormones like HGH, exercise releases endorphins that will help ease the postpartum blues that almost every new mom encounters. Not only does it help with depression, but I also found just 10 minutes of daily exercise to help me sleep better, and it is a huge help in relieving stress (as wonderful as it is, having a new baby in the house can be stressful). Even if you don’t have the time or energy to get back into a full training schedule, you can take advantage of those feel-good hormones by squeezing in short 10- to 20-minute walks as soon (and as often) as possible.
4. Lift Weights!
Speaking of weight training . . . if you’re ready to get your body back, cardio alone won’t cut it. This is the most often missed secret in postpartum fat loss. If you’re wondering how to lose baby weight, you have to look past the cardio and on to the weights. The most successful postpartum training plan incorporates a balance of activities including leisurely walks, some HIIT, plenty of stretching, proper core rehabilitation (especially important for moms who have diastasis recti), and also weight training. Cardiovascular exercise may get you to drop pounds, but you will stay the same shape. Weight training is the #1 way to change the shape of your body. I recommend that moms do strength training 3 times a week for 30 minutes to boost their metabolism and balance metabolic hormones that help burn fat long after your workout is over. This will go will a long way toward tightening and toning your body as well.
5. Eat Right!
Proper postpartum training must always be fueled by proper postpartum nutrition. I see far too many moms trying low calorie, fat diets as they try to figure out how to lose the baby weight. Diets don’t work. In fact, many times these types of diets make you fatter. As a new mom, your body needs maximum nutrition to recover from pregnancy, refuel after your workouts, and if you’re breastfeeding, to provide fuel for your baby. So immediately dropping your caloric intake to an unreasonable level isn’t healthy, and may actually cause you to gain weight or do some long term damage to your metabolism. You certainly don’t have to count calories (in fact, I prefer to focus on quality over quantity). To give you an idea of what you need to sustain your baby while you are breastfeeding and safely lose fat, the National Women’s Health Information Center advises consuming at least 1,800 calories per day. For a healthy baby AND mama, concentrate on well-balanced, healthy food choices that include foods rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and folate. Remember to focus on foods that keep your hunger, energy, and cravings balanced. If you do that, the caloric intake will take care of itself.
6. Find some accountability!
Having social support, whether through friends, or family (or awesome women in an online community) is key to reaching your long-term goals. We are social creatures by nature, and we feel good when we have someone who listens and can relate to what we’re going through. Consider getting involved with mommy and baby fitness classes (you can workout and bond with your baby at the same time) or join a group workout if you belong to a gym. Group training–both online or in-person–allows us not just to get a great workout, but to develop and foster friendships, many of which reach beyond the walls of the gym. If you don’t have a local group, connect with moms in a similar situation as you online. If you need a friend, I’ll keep you accountable! The key is to establish a built-in support system and to make sure you have someone to help you on your journey.
7. Be happy!
Let’s start here. Seriously. You just had a baby–you have a lot to be happy about! You have plenty of time to focus on fat loss. Instead of stressing about how the latest celeb went straight from the delivery room to her size 0 jeans, take some time to enjoy these moments and to revel in the miracle of your pregnancy and the birth of your sweet bundle of joy. They say that time flies. And it’s true! You’ll never get these first few weeks back. Remember what truly matters, and don’t miss these moments by obsessing over a few extra pounds.