Nearly four months ago, I had a baby! With a six and eight-year-old already making my husband’s and my life interesting, we were excited…and a little nervous to meet the fifth member of our family. Here we are several months down the road, and our growing family is doing great. I wasn’t so sure how my growing body would fare, though!
The Journey of Losing Pregnancy Weight
First let me say that I am incredibly grateful that I now have three healthy children. I love them dearly and consider myself blessed beyond belief to have my husband and kids in my life. That being said, I’m not a fan of pregnancy. At all. My body tends to do whatever it wants, disregarding any input from me. From the beginning of my pregnancy to the end, I gained a total of 40 pounds. Maybe even a pound or two more.
I wanted to tell you about this because, even if you’ve never been pregnant, the principles I adhere to when it comes to weight loss, or simply maintaining an optimal weight, apply to everyone! Any postpartum weight loss plan is really just a weight loss plan. Sure, there are a couple of considerations new moms have to take into account, but all-in-all, the basic rules apply to everyone – at least to get the ball rolling.
Helping people get into great shape and lose weight safely and for good is what I do for a living, so losing the weight after my pregnancy didn’t really concern me. Ironically, however, I began writing my book, The Belly Burn Plan just before I found out I was pregnant. I literally wrote the book on how to get rid of dangerous belly fat as my belly got bigger. Granted, the cargo in my belly was significantly different from visceral fat.
I happened to have a few other friends who were pregnant right around the same time as me, and I’m pretty sure I showed much sooner than all of them. In fact, I think I started showing as soon as I peed on the stick. I’d been down the road of pregnancy a couple times before, and all have been the same.
Jump to November of 2014 and my little bundle arrived. Weighing 8 pounds and 3 ounces, Baby Mitchell was only two days ahead of schedule. Yippee! I could gush all day long about my son, but for now, I’ll take a short cut to what I did to get the weight off.
1) Before I had Baby Mitchell
What I did during my pregnancy gave me the greatest leg up on getting rid of the weight after Baby Mitchell was born.
- I stayed active: I can’t say that I worked out doing my high intensity interval workouts during the last trimester, but I did keep moving.
- I ate like I ate before I was pregnant: At no point did I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat more food. It’s true that pregnant women need a little more food, but let me assure you that the baby will take what it needs from you. You’re not feeding the baby, you’re feeding you when you eat. Eating more really means eating a few hundred extra calories…and usually not before the second trimester. This amounts to a handful of almonds and a extra side of veggies with hummus. Three hundred calories adds up fast!It’s okay to let yourself indulge every once in a while, but don’t make it a daily occasion. If you do, be prepared to hang onto pregnancy weight a little longer.
- I slept: The one thing I knew I wouldn’t be able to do after Baby Mitchell arrived was catch up on sleep, so I tried to front-load it. I seriously doubt any extra time you spend in the sack before the baby arrives gets put into a reserve tank (if only it did!), but at least you’ll feel better during your pregnancy. If you feel better (mentally and physically), you make better choices.
2) After I had Baby Mitchell
- I DID avoid caffeine: Avoiding caffeine isn’t anything unusual for new moms, especially if they’re nursing. But it’s especially important if you want to lose weight. The first few months postpartum are fairly sleep-deprived. When we’re lacking sleep, lots of hormones get all thrown out of whack, including insulin and cortisol. As tempting as it might be, reaching for a big cup of coffee could tax your stress hormones more, sending signals to store more belly fat. Having one cup of coffee every now and then isn’t the worst thing in the world, but drinking it regularly throws a wrench into your fat-burning efforts.
- I DID Increase water intake: Right after having my son, I lost a lot of the fluid I was holding onto. I still had a lot to flush out and water helped do that. I opted to breastfeed, so my water consumption was about 20 to 30 ounces greater than it was before having Baby Mitchell was born. That’s a lot of water as I was drinking plenty while I was pregnant, too.
- I DID follow the nutrition principles of The Belly Burn Plan: Six Weeks to a Lean, Fit & Healthy Body">The Belly Burn Plan: I know I have some bias as I wrote this book, but it works. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet – and if you nail the principles, you’ve got it made. No need to buy quirky foods or starve yourself.
- I DID increase my vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids: I always made sure I got plenty of vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids. Not only are vitamin D and omega 3s important for managing inflammation and overall health, but reaching an optimal weight, too. I’ve always gotten my omega 3s + D from Nordic Naturals in the form of cod liver oil. I take a separate boost of vitamin D3 as well – especially during the winter months. I can’t stress how important it is to get both omega 3s and D3.
- I DID move around (before 6 weeks pp): With all my pregnancies, I waited to start working out until I was about six weeks postpartum. Before the workouts started, I picked up the pace a little bit. I went for long walks, and generally tried to stay off my butt as much as possible.
- I DID exercise vigorously (after 6 weeks pp): Six weeks is usually the doctor-imposed minimum amount of time to wait until vigorous exercise starts again, and longer if you’re recovering from a C-section. Whether my doctor advised me or not, I took the six weeks to bond with Baby Mitchell, catch up on sleep when I could, and focus on my nutrition.The workouts I did graduated as my body adapted. At first, my workouts were 45 minutes and included a lot of work that strengthened my pelvic floor combined with brief bursts of cardio intervals. I also started taking yoga on the days that I felt particularly stressed. Eventually I built up to the workouts in The Belly Burn Plan: Six Weeks to a Lean, Fit & Healthy Body">The Belly Burn Plan. I still love my yoga, too!
- I DID become more conscious of what my abs and back were doing: In the weeks after having a baby, the abdominal muscles start to work their way back to where they started (hopefully). My goal was to draw my belly button to my spine as often as possible. I also wanted to make sure I was maintaining proper posture. Feeling my muscles engage reminded me to continue engaging them. Eventually, my tone started coming back and my “lazy abs” were history.
Whether you’ve just had a baby (congrats) or if you’re looking to lose weight, hopefully this gives you a little guidance. If you have any questions, please let me know. And don’t forget to order The Belly Burn Plan: Six Weeks to a Lean, Fit & Healthy Body">The Belly Burn Plan. Connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.
This post is from a few years ago! Wow. Time goes by fast. We’re all still doing good, but I thought I’d share an updated photo of my son for you all to see. He’s still my little man!