How to Loose Weight after Pregnancy

Weight Loss Goal: fitting into a certain size jeans
Weight Loss Goal: fitting into a certain size jeans

A guide to getting and staying in shape that is quick and easy. Practical and down to earth advice for loosing the after baby weight and keeping it off

Most Moms don’t have much time to get to a gym and follow a special diet. Here is an eclectic guide filled with tips and ideas that have gotten me back to my size 4 jeans as quickly and painlessly as possible after each of my 5 pregnancies.

Goals and Motivation

If you want to look great after having kids you need to first have personal motivation and goals. My goal has always been fitting into a certain size. I don’t like to use a scale since my weight fluctuates naturally from day to day so that when I weigh myself I only end up frustrated.

My motivation is to live a healthy life, if not for myself then at least for my kids, I owe them no less. I want to be here to see them grow and hopefully become a healthy, involved Grandmother in the future.

Most effective and convenient workouts

After each of my children were born and my doctor gave me the green light to exercise (I had C-sections each time) I slowly began doing yoga at home. I practice the sun salutation series which is a simple set of positions that flow into one another and are easy to remember, these stretch and tone the whole body, but any stretching will work. I work my way up starting with five minutes a day and then add more time each day by repeating the series a few times once I become stronger. The best time to fit this in is either before my kids woke up or after providing my baby and other children with their breakfast. If I needed to tend to them I could easily stop what I was doing.

This rebounder and ipod have become my tools for fun and easy fitness in the shortest amount of time.
This rebounder and ipod have become my tools for fun and easy fitness in the shortest amount of time.

After a few weeks of yoga and when I felt able, I slowly added cardio and strength training. In the past I used workout videos, walking and jogging, but for the last few years I've used a mini trampoline or 'rebounder'. I seem to get the best workout with the rebounder, it is easy, I just listen to my favorite music, jump or dance around and before I know it I am done. A few days a week I use hand weights for arm toning and other days I do abdominal work since those are my weakest areas. I aim to workout everyday, that way if I skip a few days I still have done enough each week.


Here is my Fitness Routine

The cardio can be done at home or with the baby in a stroller. All you need are a pair of sneakers and you are set.

Cardio - approximately 30 minutes a day

Yoga/Stretching - 2-3 times a week

Toning such as sit-ups or lifting weights small weights - 2-3 times a week

I love working out at a gym, taking classes, swimming or using the equipment but for day to day I find working out at home, ideally in the morning before the kids wake up, to be the best way to accomplish my fitness goals.

Exercise is the secret to making it through the day after feeding the baby at night
Exercise is the secret to making it through the day after feeding the baby at night | Source

The Energy Secret

Working out in the morning also helps keep my energy up throughout the day and combat the Mommy headache that I so often suffered with from being up at night with the baby. I found once I worked out I felt much better regardless of how my night of sleep was.

30 minutes workouts seem to be the sweet spot
30 minutes workouts seem to be the sweet spot | Source

Don’t overdo it!

I try to stick to 30 minutes of cardio since too much exercise increases your appetite and then counteracts the possibility of weight loss or maintenance. I have heard time and time again of women trying to loose weight and planning long workouts resulting in their increased appetite, soreness and exhaustion then they end up frustrated and quit.

THE ECLECTIC MOMMY DIET

I call my diet eclectic since it is a result of many years of collecting different ideas and tips from the experts, a little here and a little there and 'vuala' I can manage to stay fitting into my preferred clothes size.

First and foremost, portion control and eating nutritious foods has always worked for me. Raw veggies and fruit ideally make up the largest part of the diet and carbs the smallest. A healthy protein with every meal is ideal since it keeps you satisfied. This isn’t a diet but a lifestyle.

Small portioned French Desserts
Small portioned French Desserts | Source

From “The French Diet: Why French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Michel Montiqnac

Eat tasty quality food in small portions. This avoids the deprived feeling that dieters get when they are not allowed to eat a certain food. If you really want something have a small portion of it. The French attitude towards food emphasizes internal cues related to the pleasure of eating and minimizes opportunities from external cues.

From Dr. Oz’s book "You on a Diet”

Find a healthy meal or two that you love that is healthy and repeat it everyday; I do this for breakfast and lunch. Figure out your ideal portion size and then you don’t have to think about it anymore. If you are not loosing weight then eat a little less than the day before. By doing this you are fine tuning your body’s needs.

From Oprah’s Trainer

Try to avoid late night eating, ideally complete your eating by dinnertime. Any calories after that will probably add to weight gain. I have heard differing opinions on this idea. I think if you had a really busy day and are truly hungry eating late at night is inconsequential.

From Denise Austin:

Eat like a king for breakfast, and queen for lunch and a pauper for dinner.

The Japanese eat until they are 80% full
The Japanese eat until they are 80% full | Source

Japanese Wisdom

If you have ever attended a Thanksgiving or similar holiday meal you will often see people eating until they are stuffed. The concept of knowing when you are full was one of the hardest things for me to learn and one that I still have to work on. Growing up, I was taught that I should know my appetite and when I am full, but often times I would follow this rule and feel stuffed a few minutes later, it seemed that I miss judged how full I was. Until one day I heard of the Japanese philosophy of being full. The Japanese have a saying that recommends “Hara hachi bunme”, which means, “Eat until you are 80 percent full.” This gave me another way to look at judging if I am really full. I found that if I stopped eating before I was full I usually felt satisfied about 15 minutes later. If an hour or two later I was still hungry then I could go back and eat something else. This allowed me to give my body and brain time to figure out the right amount of food that my body actually needed. It takes thought and work but it feels great knowing that your body is getting exactly what it needs.

Enemy #1
Enemy #1

Sugar is your Enemy

Eliminating sugar has really boosted my health, I have more energy and can meet my diet and fitness goals better without it. It takes time to accomplish the goal of elimination; cravings may remain for a while. Processed sugar and/or corn syrup are addictive and detrimental to the body. High fructose corn syrup tricks the brain into thinking that it hasn’t actually eaten so you don’t feel full and eat more. The first and most difficult step is to try and get the sugar out of the house. This will benefit the whole family. Each day that the sugar is gone the cravings will lessen. There will probably be a kind of withdrawal feeling but once you get past this point you will feel so much better.

Sometimes being a busy Mom can benefit you in overcoming these kinds of cravings since once you get busy with the kids especially in the evenings you will forget all about the sugary foods that you crave. While it is not necessary to eliminate sugar to have a rockin' mama bod, it helps a lot in terms of total health. (see more about eliminating sugar)

Brush your Teeth

Brushing your teeth after dinner can be a signal to stop eating for the day and prevent you from snacking in the evening.

Breastfeeding

The Eclectic diet allows for gradual weight loss which is ideal for a breastfeeding Mom.

May the force be with you on the road to after pregnancy weight loss.
May the force be with you on the road to after pregnancy weight loss.

May the Force be with you on the Road to after Pregnancy Weight Loss

  • Diet and exercise will take time to show results so stick with it each and everyday.
  • The most effective diet and fitness plan is the one that realistically fits into the busy Mom’s day so find what works for you.
  • You CAN have kids and look great too!

© Copyright 2011 Tracy Lynn Conway with all rights reserved.

Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program.

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Comments 4 comments

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great tips! I love the last picture, too.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 5 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Randomcreative, thank you!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

What a great, inspirational article. While I don't have baby weight to lose (mine are 18 and 20), I do have stress weight from the teenage years to lose :) Thanks for the inspiration.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Ktrapp, I am thrilled that you found this article inspirational. However, with all of my children being under the age of 13, I am not looking forward to the stress that will likely come with the teen years. You look so young to have teenagers.

Although the information here does initially begin as a post pregnancy guide, most of the concepts are applicable for all women.

Thank you so much for your comment!

Best, Tracy

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