By Lyz Lenz
Despite my best efforts—walking regularly, yoga, drinking water, snacking only on fruit—I gained 50 pounds when I was pregnant. After the enormously powerful emotions that swept through me when I held my daughter and I realized I was a mother had past, I just felt tired and fat. Enormously fat.
Nothing fit. Even my fat pants felt too skinny. Add in the exhaustion and I was a wreck. Besides feeding and caring for my baby, losing the weight was job number one on my list. And it happened, but it wasn’t easy.
Here are some tips to help you get your body back, or regain as much of it as you can muster.
1. Don’t compare yourself
Being a runner and a size 6, I arrogantly thought I would bounce right back into my old clothes after my daughter was born. I didn’t. I looked six months pregnant even when my baby was four months old. A friend of mine, who had her baby shortly after me, was bragging on Facebook about how she was back in to her pre-pregnancy jeans a mere two weeks after her baby was born. I blocked her. All women are different. Just because you don’t snap back like a rubber band doesn’t mean you are deficient and expecting yourself to be like someone else is just setting you up for failure. And I don’t know about you, but failure makes me want to gorge on M&Ms, which doesn’t help the waistline.
2. Get rid of the junk food
In order to lose her pregnancy weight, mom and small business owner Kathy Steck, made a commitment to snacking healthy. “It’s nice to be able to eat more when you’re nursing, but I chose fruit with yogurt as my snack over junk food.”
Clear the junk food out of your house and replace it with dried fruit, nuts and granola. Put water in your fridge for easy access. And if you have a guilty pleasure like ice cream, don’t avoid it, just get the low-calorie version. You may not see changes right away, but healthy snacking will help you achieve sustainable weight loss.
Jackie Zima-Evans, full-time working mom to a six month old boy, advises, “If I would give any tip to a new mom it would be to breastfeed your child. That’s what will help you lose all of those pounds and more.”
Breastfeeding isn’t some magic weight loss panacea, but it does help. Just make sure you aren’t using breastfeeding as a license to indulge. Breastfeeding combined with healthy eating and an active lifestyle can help you get started on dropping that baby weight.
4. Make time to be active
Even if it’s a quick jaunt around the block with the baby in tow, or a 30 minute yoga video in the morning, making activity a priority will not only make you feel better, but it can help you combat your lingering baby bulge. Loren Lorenzo, trainer and mom, encourages new moms to memorize a workout routine: “ Learn a 20-30 minute Pilates routine, lay the baby on a blanket or in a jumpy seat on the floor and perform your routine while the baby watches. It is best to learn this form a trainer rather than a video so you are able to get corrections on your form. Exercise is only effective if you are doing it correctly.”
5. You aren’t eating for two
It’s important not to deprive yourself of food while you are breastfeeding and caring for a newborn, but if you’ve grown accustomed to eating for two, watch out that you aren’t falling into those same nine-month old habits.
Helen Byrne, author and founder of BeFit-Mom advises all new moms to stay clear of over-eating. Byrne has three rules of 80%:
1. Make each serving size 80% of what you would normally have.
2. Eat until you feel just 80% full, then stop.
3. Choose highest quality foods for 80% of your daily calories, so you can fit in a small daily “fun” food.
How did you lose your baby weight?
About the Author:
Lyz Lenz is a writer, a mom and a midwesterner. Although, not in that order. She lives in Iowa and on the web at LyzLenz.com