Learn my tips and tricks on how to effectively lose weight after pregnancy. Nutrition, exercises, and a positive attitude are all important for new moms looking to lose the baby weight.
According to March of Dimes, women are supposed to gain anywhere from 20-40lbs. during pregnancy, depending on their pre-pregnancy BMI. But, things don’t always go as planned, even when you do your best to stay on track. Some women gain more than 50lbs. during their pregnancy! So, it’s not unnatural for new moms to want to lose the baby weight and get back to their pre-baby bodies as quickly and safely as possible.
With my first pregnancy, I gained only 14lbs! But, I was also overweight for my height. I lost 40lbs. afterward, which put me in far better shape than I had been in previous to being pregnant. When I got pregnant with Baby O (due. September 30th), I was at a healthy 120-ish pounds. Now, 33 weeks in, I am at 143.5lbs (23.5lbs. gained thus far, for those who don’t care for math– no judgment), and this go-around I have paid closer attention to my diet and maintained my workouts 3-5 days a week. I recently wrote a very candid post about my body image during pregnancy, so it’s no surprise that I’m a little anxious to get my body back.
I have a pretty detailed weight loss plan that I intend to use after I give birth, and I thought it would helpful for some if I shared some of those tips and tricks with you guys.
How to Successfully Lose Weight After Having a Baby
1). Ease Back Into Exercise
Don’t try to overwhelm yourself with a full training schedule a week or two after giving birth. Come up with an easy to accomplish the goal, like going for a 30-minute walk two times a week, and go from there. No one, not your husband, your mom, your best friend, or your personal trainer expects you to jump back into 5 days of Tabata classes after having a baby, so don’t try it. Work back into a routine.
After you have started to figure out your baby’s sleeping pattern, try and wake up 30-40 minutes before she usually does in the morning, and get in one of these home workouts. All you need is a computer, phone or smart tv and an internet connection. I found home based workouts to be the easiest to stick to and the most convenient after I had my first daughter. Need a way to stay accountable? Get this Printable Weekly Exercise Log by Amber Keinath.
2). Pick a Program That Keeps Your Attention
Have you ever tried to get into a certain kind of exercise, but just had no desire to do it? Maybe you had a friend who loved spinning class and always talked about how great of a workout it was, but when you tried it, it felt like hours upon hours of boredom. This is major No-No in my book!
You have to figure out what you like. Strength training with weights, kickboxing, HIIT, running, yoga, etc. Find something you love. What doesn’t make you cringe when you think about doing it? I quickly learned that I’m not very good at dancing (but I like it), and I don’t like really repetitive exercises. I need constant change, with a mix of strength training and cardio.
After this baby is born, I plan to do a combination of HIIT and Cardio routines from FitnessBlender.com and incorporate some routines from The 21 Day Fix. Both include high-intensity routines that only last about 30 minutes or so and have a variety of moves to work the whole body. They also have modifications, which I’ll be taking advantage of in the early stages of post-pregnancy.
Need a set of hand weights that’s versatile and that you won’t outgrow? Check out these awesome Power Block Adjustable Dumbells. You can find these on Amazon (my affiliate link is provided), or I saw them at Scheels Sporting Goods near the other workout equipment for a comparable price. I promise you won’t be disappointed with these. They take up very little room and can quickly be adjusted to the weight you need without changing out plates or clamps. FYI: I call these ‘Build a Booty Blocks’, because they are heavy enough to make my booty burn when I do squats and lunges with them.
3). Calculate How Many Calories You Need
I’m not a huge advocate for strict calorie counting, as I have tried it before and it lead to restrictive eating and bingeing cycles, but I believe it’s necessary to know how many calories you body needs and then get a general idea of what that looks like to successfully lose weight after pregnancy. First, are you breastfeeding or not? According to Mayo Clinic, a woman who is breastfeeding needs approximately 500 more calories per day than a woman who is not breastfeeding.
IF you are breastfeeding, I recommend using this calorie intake calculator to determine your daily calorie requirement. Once you determine your caloric need, track your food for a few days and get as close to that number as possible. This will give you a good idea of how much food you should be eating. To start losing weight, cut out no more than 50-100 calories at a time, one week at a time. Be careful while breastfeeding! Cutting calories too low can lower or even stop your body’s ability to produce milk.
If you aren’t breastfeeding: I suggest this calorie calculator. It’s what I used when I first started my weight loss journey, all the way until I got pregnant with baby number 2. It’s super accurate and versatile. You can also adjust your macros and see actual examples of what a meal would look like on your plan. Adjust your plan according to your goals and track your calories for a few days to establish eating habits that coincide with your caloric needs.
The next step is great for both breastfeeding and bottle feeding mommas.
4). Plan, prep, and track your meals.
The easiest way to do this is to grab My FREE Weekly Planning Printable and start planning out your meals. Write your plan down for each day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Be sure to have healthy snack items on hand. My go-to sweet treat is the Oh Yeah! ONE Bar. They come in super yummy flavors like Birthday Cake (my favorite… it has sprinkles and everything) and Almond Bliss, and they have 20+ grams of protein per bar.
You can order them at Pure Formulas and get FREE Shipping on your order, forever. They also carry the most delicious nut-butters, gluten free baking mixes, vegan treats and more.
5). Spoil Yourself with Fitness/Health Rewards
Depending on who you ask, this is a great technique to help you accomplish your weight loss goals after having a baby. Chances are, you aren’t quite fitting back into your favorite pair of jeans after a few weeks. But, if you reward yourself along the road, you are more likely to keep pushing forward. Well, at least that’s what I believe, and it’s worked for me in the past.
Even if there isn’t a lot of money to spend, treat yourself with something small that’s related to your goal. Maybe it’s a weight loss book, a motivational poster from Etsy, a new pair of running socks, or a new healthy cookbook, like the 31 Meals Cookbook from Minimalist Baker. Just do something nice for yourself every once in a while. My reward system was set up so that every time I lost 5lbs., I would get something new. I think with my first round of weight loss my rewards included a new sports bra, a pair of leggings from Victoria Secret’s VSX line, a water bottle, and a new yoga mat. I was so pumped with each small victory and reward that I fought even harder for the next.
6). Set a Long-Term Goal with a Deadline
If you are anything like me, you have to be working towards something. I have to have a WHY, and you need to have one too. Knowing you have a big goal for yourself and a specified date is super motivating. My big goal is to run a half-marathon next August. That’s one year from now and about 10 months after Baby O will be born. Having this long-term goal reminds me that I have to push through the hard and uncomfortable times.
So, even if it isn’t a half-marathon, or it’s a year and a half from now, set a goal, write it down, and put it somewhere where you will see it often. Maybe you want to be the best-looking bridesmaid at your friend’s wedding next summer, or you are taking a Caribbean vacation and want to fit into a certain bathing suit. Buy the bathing suit; hang it on the wall, and look at it every day. Think about what you want most, what is achievable, and how you are going to get there. And then write it all down! I can’t stress that enough. Writing it down is like putting it in stone. There’s some sort of psychology to it, and it makes you more likely to accomplish your goals and follow through with your plans.
7). Get Some Post-Pregnancy Shapewear
I didn’t do this after my first pregnancy. Then again, I was 21 and my skin and body were a lot more resilient than it is now. This time, I am buying a post-pregnancy corset before I give birth so that I’m prepared right after. The Belly Bandit is a top of the line post-pregnancy shapewear line that’s tight fitting but comfortable, and will bring back your confidence no matter what you’re wearing. I seriously can’t wait to get mine and try it out. The reviews are excellent (note: some women complain that they run a little small, so double check your measurements on their website) and I am super excited to see my waist again, especially so soon after having a baby.
No matter if you have 5, 10, 20, or 50lbs. to lose after you give birth, you have to start somewhere. Start small and make gradual changes to your lifestyle. Don’t forget to reward yourself for your hard effort, and be sure to make all of your goals realistic. Gaining the weight didn’t happen overnight. Be patient and consistent and you WILL see change.
Do you have a post pregnancy weight loss success story you want to share? I’d love to hear them for motivation once this baby comes, so please feel free to leave me a comment below! I’ll be sure to respond!