We see it time and time again in grocery store check-out lines – tabloid and magazine covers showing beautiful pictures of celebrities who have seemingly bounced right back to their glowing, airbrushed selves shortly after having a baby. You glance down at your squishy, 3-month postpartum belly and wonder how celebrities do it! Well, here is some of the best advice out there for new moms to consider when trying to get their body back after the birth of a child.
Let’s be realistic. It took nine months to make your baby, it’s going to take some time to lose the baby weight. Realistically, it can take just as long, if not longer, to get back to your pre-baby weight. The best thing you can do is cut yourself some slack and be patient. Stay motivated by joining a fun workout class, like Zumba or yoga, and reward yourself for small weight loss victories. Lose five pounds, splurge on a cute new top. Lose another five, splurge on a new pair of jeans that DON’T have an elastic waistband. You’re much more likely to reach your goal if you have fun with it and don’t allow yourself to obsess or get depressed. Stay positive! You’ll get there!
Not only does breastfeeding come equipped with a slew of nutritional benefits for your sweet little babe, but it does wonders in the weight loss department too. Each time you breastfeed, it helps your uterus contract and shrink — effectively shrinking your belly along with it. As a bonus, it allows you to eat an extra 300 or so calories a day! Beware though, breastfeeding isn’t license to splurge on that extra donut no one wanted at the staff meeting. If you’re working towards losing weight, you’ll want to make smart food choices. Which brings us to our next important tidbit of advice…
It’s understandable that you want your body back. You’ve been a saint and should be applauded for offering it up to grow a life inside of you for the past nine months. However, one of the last things you should be doing as a new mom is dieting. Especially if you’re breastfeeding, your body needs a healthy amount of nutritious food — meaning regular meals. You’re also going to need a lot of energy to keep up with all of the needs and demands of your baby and all of those 12 am, 2 am, 4 am, and 6 am feedings. Dieting may leave you tired and groggy as well as feeling depleted. Instead, opt for healthy meals with lean proteins and a lot of fruits and veggies. Eating right will go a long way in getting you on track for losing weight.
This cannot be stressed enough. If you want to lose that belly and get your body back, chug that water. Not only is it important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding, but drinking plenty of water will also help speed up your metabolism. It also helps keep your belly feeling full, so you won’t eat as much during the day. An easy way to make sure you’re getting enough water every day is to make sure there’s always a water bottle on hand. Keep one on your nightstand, at your work desk, near the nursery rocking chair, and anywhere else you spend a lot of your time. If it’s on hand, you’ll most likely begin drinking it without even thinking about it!
Getting your body back is going to take some work on your part, there’s no getting around that. The easiest way to lose weight is to burn calories, and one of the easiest ways to burn calories is to incorporate some cardio into your daily routine. Walking, jogging, walking/jogging while pushing a stroller or hopping on an elliptical at the gym. There are many ways you can incorporate cardio into your day. And as long as you’re getting your heart-rate up, you’ll be burning calories in no time!
There are right and wrong kinds of crunches for postpartum women. Doing the wrong kind can result in long-term problems. Remember, your body has been through a lot, and many women experience a condition known as diastasis recti, a separation of abdominal muscles. Traditional crunches won’t fix this. Instead, focus on strengthening your Transverse Abdominus, a muscle deep beneath your skin that acts as your body’s natural girdle. There are numerous tutorials out there on the Internet and YouTube that help you target this abdominal area, and it’ll be much more effective than any number of crunches ever will be.
Establish a routine
Whether it’s squeezing in a power walk in between nap times or waking up a half hour earlier to get a quick workout in before you head for the office, it’s important to establish a routine. Find what works for you and your baby, and stick with it. On average, it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. Make that your goal when trying to establish a new routine. Before you know it, it’s become second nature.
It took two to make your baby. You’re not in this alone. And let’s face it, you’re going to have a harder time getting your body back if you’re on baby duty 24/7. Enlist some help from your significant other, and don’t forget your family, and friends so you can get a longer workout in a few nights a week or make a healthier meal. Cut yourself some slack. You don’t have to be Supermom all of the time.
Sleep…yes, it is possible
Ask any mom and most will tell you that they’re sleep deprived to some extent. Unfortunately, sleep is a key component to losing weight, so it’s no wonder some new moms struggle with this aspect. Failing to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night results in a slower metabolism and really dampens any motivation to exercise. So sleep when the baby sleeps and enlist help from your significant other. Take turns with night feedings, or have your partner take the baby for a couple hours on the weekend so you can get an uninterrupted nap. As a new mom, every bit of sleep you can squeeze in will help with your weight loss goals.
Stay positive and make healthy lifestyle decisions. You’re not on this journey alone, and with a little motivation and discipline, you’ll have your body back in no time!