Hi Balanced Beauties,
I am FINALLY writing a highly requested blost post about my journey towards postpartum weight loss and how I’ve managed to keep the weight off. I remember when I was pregnant, one of my biggest concerns was how to manage a healthy pregnancy while staying in shape. I was focused on keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, yet increasing my calories so that my baby could grow. I consistently worked out throughout the duration of my pregnancy, which was the first thing that helped me get that extra step ahead towards “bouncing back” to my pre-baby weight.
Before I start to elaborate on my personal journey, I want to first state that everyone has a unique body, and your personal genetics play a huge role in how your body is made up. Secondly, I’ve said this to myself from the moment I got pregnant, and I still say it now – “give yourself grace”. If you are a current mom, it’s vitally important to remind yourself; you grew a human, like a real human! Our body is absolutely incredible, so don’t give up or get discouraged, even if there are little blips in the journey. If you can grow a baby, you can get back to a “fit” state, and you will, with patience, motivation and most of all, time. Nine months growing a baby, and nine months to go back to “normal”, even if the new “normal” consists of a few scars, stretch marks, and a few extra pounds. So before reading this, give yourself grace, and be so proud of what your body has done for you, even if it’s not currently where you want it to be.
My postpartum weight loss journey
Despite working out throughout the duration of my pregnancy, and gaining, what I assume to be a normal 28 pounds, postpartum was a lot more shocking for me than I originally anticipated. I believe one major reason for that was because I went my whole pregnancy without gaining stretch marks. However, as my stomach started to shrink rather quickly after having Brooklyn, a few stretch marks started to make an appearance out of nowhere. I remember telling my sisters about this, and their advice was to give my body time to heal, as these marks will likely fade, if not disappear. In my situation, this turned out to be an accurate statement. My stretch marks on my lower stomach faded significantly, if not almost completely disappeared since then. Every mark, stretch or blemish on your body should be worn as a badge of honor regardless of if they fade or not.
Post-birth, I dropped most of my baby weight within the first two weeks home. Breastfeeding helped with this rapid weight loss, and so did being so preoccupied with Brooklyn (and not putting myself first in any way shape or form). However, once I lost the first 23 pounds in the first month, my weight on the scale hit a plateau. This is when I started to wonder why that extra 5 pounds was sticking around. By this point, I was working out, still eating healthy and otherwise back to my new normal life. For some people, breastfeeding their babies helps shed most, if not all of the weight. For me, after the initial drop in weight, I believe it actually has prohibited extra weight loss for many reasons. Firstly, I intentionally added more fats in my diet to keep my milk supply bountiful. Secondly, for me personally, water weight weighs heavily, and I went from being a small B cup to a high C cup while nursing. WATER weight is real. If you’re nursing and are one of those people that hold water weight, I feel you! I remind myself that my body is my babies food source and most of her growth has been because of what my body has given her. It is truly incredible when I sit down and think about that. Right now my body is designed to give her the best of me, and my extra water weight and diet can wait until after she gets what she needs!
Despite some adjustments that I’ve been unable to implement in my routine while nursing, there are things that I have done post-birth that has helped safe weight loss. The day after Brooklyn came home (despite being born in February) I went for walks (sometimes twice) from the second she came home, until the day I was cleared to officially workout. The walks started out slow, but they not only helped shed some extra water weight and pounds, but were great for Brooklyn’s lungs and gave her some fresh air to help her sleep better. Post-birth, no matter how tired, once cleared by your doctor, endless walks are wonderful for everyone’s sanity and body!
Once I was cleared to workout, I continued to put Brooklyn in the stroller and walk everyday. On the side of this, I started to do short workouts whenever I could. Early in the morning or late at night, it didn’t matter as long as I was moving. Sometimes I’d squeeze one in while she napped in the swing next to me. Moving my body (even if it was a short amount of time) helped not only physically, but also helped my mind and sanity. 20 or 30 minutes of MOVING in any way shape or form, will help, mama!
THIS IS MY CURRENT ROUTINE THAT WORKS FOR ME SINCE GETTING CLEARED AT MY 6 WEEK VISIT
- I wake up early and have a warm water with lemon to start my day and trigger a healthy mindset.
- When the baby naps, I play my favorite music to get in an energized mindset, throw down a mat and do a barre class, ab tape, or hop on the treadmill. (I know, so much easier said than done when you have 100 other things you feel need to be done – it’ll get done eventually!) Avoid scrolling on your phone because this is a very easy trap
- At some point during the day, when I feel tired and the baby seems fussy, I put her in the stroller and WALK! Again, easier said than done, because who really wants to leave the comfort of your home, get ALL of the baby things together, the stroller and so much more? But I promise, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and the baby will love the fresh air (besides on the days where they scream in the stroller because they are cranky and don’t want to be bothered). My advice: turn around and go home immediately! LOL. We’ve all been there!
- WATER* Drink, drink and drink some more! I still struggle with this, which is why I put electrolytes in my water to help stay hydrated (Liquid IV is my go-to). I make it a point to stay hydrated, which I feel has helped in my journey.
- I snack frequently during the day! Once Brooklyn falls asleep at night, I use that as my window of opportunity to plan my meals and healthy snacks. I keep nuts, shakes (now my new Isagenix shakes thanks to Ali Gray and YourBestYou), healthy bars, oat balls, yogurt, hard boiled eggs (essentially anything really healthy, fast and easy) at my disposal at all times of the day. When I don’t, I find myself getting so hungry and eventually craving every single thing imaginable. In a fitness journey, nothing ever good comes from a lack of preparation. Not only will these small, frequent meals satisfy your current hunger and keep your metabolism churning, it will also keep your energy levels up and help you avoid all of the BIG, binge meals. Also, if those binge meals happen once or twice a week, so be it. It happens to all of us. But 90 percent of the time, this is what I do. For the days that it doesn’t exactly work, I will give myself grace and plan for the next day.
- USE YOUR BABY AS YOUR WORKOUT BUDDY! I remember my sister asked me how I got my arms so skinny after birth. Well, if I was being honest at the time, my baby was my weight, lol. Play with your baby. Get down on the ground, hold them, put them up in the air, put them on your belly. I know it seems nice and easy to put them in their jumper or bassinet and whip out some goodies while you watch your favorite show, again, totally normal. BUT, try this sometimes too. I have yet to put Brooklyn in front of a TV (I know, a little crazy) but I just don’t do it for this very reason. I don’t want to create this habit for her, and also for myself. One day she will be able to watch the TV, but for now, we are going to play and stay active together. It’s a win win- I keep my body active and she learns and grows rapidly.
- “SLEEP WHEN BABY IS SLEEPING”, THEY SAID! & they were so right. One of the best pieces of advice that I still listen to is “sleep when the baby is sleeping”. I get it, but the laundry, dishes, shower and whatever else needs to be done, can wait. Sleep is so essential to weight loss. I would be lying if I told you that I feel rested everyday, because the truth is, I am not sure when I’ll ever feel “rested” again. However, I really can’t imagine how I’d feel, both physically and mentally, if I didn’t take that advice. If I can’t find the time to nap while Brooklyn naps, I will ask for help. When I really start to feel run down, I will call my mom to come over, or if my husband is working from home, i’ll ask for a little help while I take a half hour snooze. Sometimes, that is just enough to get me motivated to get in my workout for the day!
- Switch up your workouts! Something I love doing, but never realized the importance of until having a baby. My stomach has been my personal hardest target (I mean, no surprise there since it was supporting a tiny human for 9 months)…. SO, I naturally felt very weak in my core. I remember doing my first plank once I was cleared and could hardly last one second in the plank. I felt lifeless, and I truly was in shock that even after working out my whole pregnancy, and for most of my life, that this was the case! So I knew that I would have to teach my body everything again. Postpartum is equivalent to learning how to walk again. I incorporated cardio, weight training, yoga and barre to work on everything.
In conclusion, postpartum is truly a journey. Not only are you learning to balance a new life with your baby, but you are introduced to your new body too. I hope this inspires anyone who wants kids in the future, expecting moms or new moms to realize that you are important too and you will get there with a little bit of preparation and hard work. I am not where I want to be but I am inching closer everyday. Remember fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no such thing as progress being measured as too little or small. Keep striving to be the best version of yourself.