Postpartum weight loss is a touchy subject. With so many phrases like, “How to get your body back after baby” or “how to lose weight quickly after having a baby“, moms feel more pressure than ever to lose baby weight and fit back into their pre-baby clothes.
While many have become very offended by this “body back after baby” phrase, I want to shed some light on a different perspective.
I have yet to meet one mother, especially a first time mom, who hasn’t struggled with recognizing the person she sees in the mirror postpartum.
Not just because of the extra weight gain, stretch marks and wider hips.
But also because of the bags under her eyes, unwashed hair, unbrushed teeth and just the pure exhaustion that is written all over her face. (yes, in your postpartum journey, there might be days you don’t shower or brush you teeth. It’s okay, we have all been there!)
Personally, it was not until I had babies that I finally LOVED my body.
I finally appreciated it for what it is capable of and the strength I never knew I had.
But that doesn’t mean I loved my body immediately postpartum. It took me months, if not years, to accept that physical changes that my body went through.
And I would do it a million times over.
But that does’t mean I have to love how my body looked.
I will admit that with each pregnancy, I was not as eager to “bounce back” as quickly.
But for first time moms, this transition from pre-baby to postpartum can be a scary and vulnerable time.
Your new postpartum body
After the birth of my first daughter, I vividly remember feeling so blessed to have a healthy baby in my arms yet feeling guilty for not loving my new postpartum body.
I felt this guilt because society has told me that I must love my body after having a baby because it is given me such a beautiful blessing.
But that’s not fair. To me or anyone.
Please don’t feel guilty or pressured to love you body immidiatly after having baby. It’s okay to worry if you’ll ever “get your body back”.
What it means to “Get your body back after baby”
When I say, “get my body back”, I don’t just mean lose weight and get a six back.
Yes, I would like to fit back in my old clothes and feel more confident in my new body.
But what I mean, personally, is I want to heal the injuries that having a baby can cause to our bodies so that I can resume my workouts pain, and urine free.
If you aren’t interested in getting a flatter stomach, that is okay!
But your abdominal muscles have still stretched and possibly split during pregnancy leading to more back pain and incontinence.
No matter how confident you are in your body, no one pees their pants when the laugh, sneeze or cough, confidently.
For me, personally, I want my body back to functioning optiamally so I can resume my favorite workouts, not worry about leaking when I run or sneeze and not live with chronic back pain.
The Weight Loss Connection
Okay, now that I have clarified my perspective on getting your body back after having a baby because I know it is a touch subject, here are some of my favorite tips to resume exercising when you are ready.
Keep in mind that postpartum exercise is extremely helpful in coping with postpartum depression, anxiety and the new demands of motherhood.
This tips are what helped me not only find time to workout but also help me lose extra baby weight.
I gained 39 pounds my first pregnancy and 26 pounds the second pregnancy.
Understanding the benefits of prenatal exercise to myself and the baby kept me motivated to stay active, even on days I didn’t want to workout.
Not only did I owe it to myself to stay fit and healthy but I also owed it to my growing baby. Pregnancy is the best time to start focusing on your eating habits and activity levels.
Related: Benefits of Prenatal Exercise for Mom and Baby
How to Bounce Back Physically and Mentally Postpartum
1. Start Slow
I know how it feels to want your pre-pregnancy body back QUICKLY.
But trust me, resuming exercise with an over ambitious attitude could sabotage your long term results.
During pregnancy, our bodies release a hormone called “Relaxin”. The purpose of this hormone is to help soften the pelvis, ligaments and smooth muscle for labor.
However, this hormone also softens every other joint in our bodies as well.
Resuming strenuous exercise too quickly with high levels of this hormone still present can potentially cause pain or injury to your joints.
Also focus on strengthening your core and pelvic floor to build a solid foundation for future workouts. The best thing about these rehabilitation exercises is that they can be done at home with your baby.
2. Get organized and plan ahead
Being organized with an infant sounds like a contradiction, right? But finding time to work out also seems impossible.
So what’s the solution?
The best way to find time for working out is to get organized and plan ahead.
Once I was able to establish more predictability in my daughters routine, I was able to organize and plan our days better to allow myself time to exercise.
After becoming a mom, there is no such thing as having time.
So we must make time. Even if all you can do is 10-15 minutes, that is much better than nothing!
Getting a baby onto a schedule is not easy.
But our family runs much more smoothly when we have a set routine.
If you can, try getting the baby into a routine by following their natural rylthem. This will help you have more predictability in your schedule to make time for things like working out and meal prepping.
Related: FREE 14 Day Get Fit Challenge -free worksheets and workouts to help jumpstart
3. Eat Smart
Weight loss results are the result of 80% Diet, 10% Exercise and 10% genetics.
This means that even if you cannot squeeze in your workouts, making healthy meal choices is the number one most important thing to help you reach your goals.
If you are able to breastfeed, keep in mind that what you eat is passed onto your baby.
Making smart food choices will have huge benefits for both you and your baby.
We burn an extra 300-500 calories a day strictly from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding made me more hungry than pregnancy
Finding the right balance in calories to keep you satisfied and lose weight may take some time and experimenting.
If you are not breastfeeding, eating healthy is equally important in order for your body to repair after pregnancy and maintain energy levels to care for your new baby.
Bottom line, making healthy eating habits a priority is crucial to quickly getting your body back.
4. Drink half your weight in ounces of water
Often times, our bodies have difficulty distinguishing between hunger and thirst.
If you are breastfeeding or not, drinking plenty of water is crucial for weight loss and recovery.
If you think you may be hungry, try drinking a glass or two of cold water first and wait a few minutes to decide if you are still hungry.
This could save you unnecessary calories and keep you well hydrated.
Having a cute water bottle makes staying hydrated much easier!
5. Trade “Quantity” for “Quality”
One thing that I have learned from having babies is that workout intensity drives the fastest results, not duration.
Prior to having babies, I worried how my long workouts were going to fit into my schedule. Truth is, they didn’t. But I actually saw better results from workouts after having babies than before because my workouts had to be quick which inevitable increased the intensity.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the only way I workout these days. Even just 10 minute workouts once or twice a day give great results, mentally and physically.
What makes HIIT training so effective is that your body burns MORE calories AFTER your workout. So it could be possible to burn more calories in a 10-15 minute HIIT workout than a 30-40 minute walk.
Save time by doing more HIIT!
6. Wear a Postpartum Girdle
I have never been a fan of the “corset” fad that has been around lately.
However, I do believe a postpartum girdle can help shrink the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size and provide support in the early stages of postpartum recovery.
Immediately postpartum, I really liked this Bellybandit girdle. Even though I did not have a c-section, I felt this stayed in place the best.
After a few weeks, I switched to a non pregnancy waist trainer because it was easier to adjust, more comfortable and didn’t feel as bulky under my clothes. I could wear it more comfortably during some of my workouts for more support.
I also wore a pelvic support band that not only helped support my pelvis but it may have even helped shrink my hips. None the less, the extra support felt amazing on my weak pelvis postpartum!
I actually wear this during pregnancy sometimes when I’m having hip pain.
7. Be Flexible & Forgiving
Remember, it took nine months for your body to make the necessary changes to both grow and deliver a baby.
Your hands and heart will be full and pushing through exhaustion is challenging.
It takes time to get into a new rhythm with a baby and they like to switch routines on us often.
Be patient, flexible and forgiving to prevent added stress and anxiety. If all you can find time for is a walk with your baby, remember something is always better than nothing!
8. Move Everyday
Prior to babies, if I didn’t have at least an hour to workout, I felt there was not point.
On days where time and energy are limited, I encourage you to squeeze in whatever you can just to keep moving, burn calories and releasing some stress or anxiety.
Movement can do wonders for both our minds and our bodies. Even if you’re exhausted, going for a brisk stroller walk can help give you a little pep in your step to tackle the rest of your day.
Remember, something is always better than nothing.
9. Postpartum Recovery Starts Before Pregnancy
Last but not least, your activity level both before and during pregnancy will have a HUGE impact on your postpartum recovery and weight loss.
The number one thing that helped with my postpartum weight loss and recovery was being active prior and during pregnancy.
I was fortunate to be physically able to stay active through both of my pregnancies.
I would never recommend working out during pregnancy without consulting your doctor first and listening to your body.
Remember, it is okay to want your body back after having a baby. Both functioning and looking the way that makes you feel most confident. There is nothing selfish about it. No one enjoys living with back pain or incontinence as a result of pregnancy.
HOWEVER, there is no rush. Take your time, go at your own pace and love your body for what it has been capable of!
For quick, effective workouts and more support in your postpartum journey, join me in my Tone in-10 Program where we can help each other in this journey of motherhood!
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