Losing weight after you have a baby is difficult, and it’s often different with each pregnancy. With one pregnancy, the weight might fall off, but next time, it might be a struggle to lose even a few pounds. Weight loss after pregnancy is always troublesome, and moms usually spend most of their time worrying about their baby rather than their own health.
I understand the struggles; I’ve had three kids and had to lose weight after each baby. Most importantly, losing weight had to be in a healthy way. I breastfeed my babies, and dramatically dropping weight while breastfeeding can cause your milk supply to crash. It’s tempting to resort to drastic measures to get back down to your pre-baby weight, but you have to do what’s best for you and your baby.
Here are 11 tips to help you lose weight after pregnancy in the healthiest way possible.
1. Remember to Eat Full Meals
It can be hard to remember to eat when you have a new baby. Everything is centered around diaper changes, feedings, cuddles, and (if you’re lucky) nap times. There were some days after giving birth when I would realize I hadn’t eaten at all. Instead of taking the time to sit down for an actual meal, I would usually reach for something quick, like chips or a sandwich.
I eventually learned that was a mistake.
Cutting back on eating may help you lose weight, but it’s not a healthy way to do it. Also, if you’re breastfeeding, you need to eat so you can create milk to feed your baby. A balanced, healthy diet is the best way to go about losing weight after pregnancy.
2. Eat the Right Foods
So, you remembered to eat, but reaching for that pan of brownies or having pancakes every breakfast doesn’t help either. Your body needs nutrients to help it come back to its healthiest form, and you need fuel to produce enough milk for your baby.
Your goal is to eat healthy foods. You want to eat things such as lean meat, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, whole grains, legumes, and beans.
3. Healthy Snacks
Snacks are my downfall. I can eat healthy meals, but I give in to temptation and grab some chocolate chips for a snack. Remember this, bad snacks erase the work you put in with healthy meals.
Breastfeeding mothers often feel hungrier, so you tend to find yourself snacking more often. Include healthy snacks in your menus such as nuts, whole grains, strips of veggies and dip, yogurt mixes, and granola. Finding healthy snacks doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious.
4. Don’t Eat Too Late
When you’re up late at night, it’s easy to snack, and that snacking is typically not healthy. You’ll find yourself reaching for bowls of ice cream, chips, or other unhealthy treats. Even if you ate well all day, eating late at night can erase all of that good work you did throughout the day.
5. Avoid Fast Food
When you’re busy, fast food seems like the obvious choice. The problem is, t’s not good for your waistline.
Eating at home is the cheapest and healthiest choice when trying to lose weight after pregnancy. Pack your lunches if you’ll be out and about during lunchtime. It’s also a good idea to write meal plans to avoid grabbing a pizza or take-out food.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water is essential. You need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Drinking enough water helps flush toxins out of your body, and it helps keep you away from calorie-filled drinks.
Water also has other benefits. For example, it helps prevent dehydration and improves your metabolism, which is a vital part of properly managing your weight.
Fluids are necessary, so don’t limit yourself to water. Try soups, stews, fresh juices, and smoothies. Those are all good selections when you’re trying to lose weight.
7. Get Moving Each Day
Perhaps the hardest thing of all after pregnancy is making time to exercise on a regular basis. You have so much to do when you’re a new mom, but including a form of exercise each day in your daily routine is a good idea.
You don’t need to pick any crazy exercises. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, yoga, and more are good picks.
8. Sleep As Much As Possible
Getting sleep when you’re a new mom is nearly impossible. A straight eight hours of sleep is like the holy grail for parents—don’t expect to find it.
Try to get as much sleep as possible. Being sleep deprived adversely affects your metabolism and will slow down your weight loss process. Find time to take power naps, take advantage of babysitting offers from family members, and go to bed as soon as your baby falls asleep.
9. Try Yoga
Yoga is one of the best exercises to start when you want to lose weight after pregnancy. You can watch a video on TV and practice yoga moves when your child is taking a nap. If you can get away for an hour, a yoga class is a gentle way to add exercise to your weekly routine.
10. Walk Often
You need to try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, and walking is a daily routine that you need to check off every day. Try to walk as often as you can, even if that means taking your baby with you. Walk to the library, to the store, or more. All you have to do is put your baby in a carrier or stroller.
11. Give Yourself Time
Most importantly, give yourself time to lose the weight. It took you nine months to gain the weight, so don’t expect it to disappear in a few weeks. You usually can’t exercise for the first six weeks after giving birth, and starting slow is a smart idea.
Try not to lose focus on the goal: healthy living. If you focus on the numbers on the scale, it’s easy to lose motivation. Keep focusing on the small changes that you’re incorporating in your life. Don’t feel stress or depressed.
Losing Weight after Pregnancy
Your goal is to live a healthy life. The dropping numbers on a scale are the side benefit of a healthy lifestyle. By focusing on eating well, sleeping, and getting active each day, you’ll find that the weight drops off slowly. Remember that breastfeeding mothers need to slowly drop the weight to avoid a dramatic drop in your milk supply.
Kate Boynton is just another mama of three constantly striving to do her best. She loves organizing things into lists and helping others find what they are looking for. You can find her sharing Postpartum Health hacks & tips on her blog.