5 Helpful Postpartum Weight Loss Tips

I know all of us moms wonder: HOW WILL I EVER GET MY BODY BACK AFTER PREGNANCY?!

I felt the same!

I ended my pregnancy at 214 lbs and by following the below advice, I lost 75 lbs within the first year post partum.

(45 lbs by 6 weeks P.P. and 60 lbs by 6 months P.P.)

1. Get moving

It's so easy to sit in a cozy chair all day watching TV, nursing your baby and holding them while they nap.

Don't fall into this sedentary habit! I can promise you that once your child starts crawling, you will wish you had worked on your stamina to keep up with them!

I found it energizing for me and soothing for my daughter to wear her while walking on the treadmill, around the neighborhood, if the weather was nice, or even doing some squats. (P.S.I loved this baby carrier) She would also nap so well in her carrier and moving really made me feel like a human again after spending so much time in a chair nursing.

Caution: Please make sure you are cleared by your doctor to be active before you hit pause on the resting phase. You need to give your body time to heal properly.

Then when you're ready, jump into a workout routine that excites you! Pick something that sounds somewhat appealing- don't force it! If you hate running, just don't even go there.

I also find it ridiculously helpful to do a "program" or "challenge" vs. just doing a random workout. I'm currently obsessed with Heather Robinson's Free Youtube Workouts. She has a 12 week challenge along with other workouts that are pretty customizable to any fitness level. I also find it helpful to find an accountability partner. Even if you don't actually workout together, start the same program at the same time and check in on each other. Neither of you will want to let the other down. Plus, it gives you someone to commiserate with or celebrate successes!

CLICK HERE for a brief list of products I love for living an active lifestyle.

2. Take advantage of breastfeeding

I will start with the disclaimer that I completely understand some mom's have production issues, latch issues or any number of reasons to use formula. I get it. #FedIsBest

If that isn't the case though, I would truly encourage you to breastfeed your child. Weight loss shouldn't be your "reason" but it's most certainly a huge benefit! In fact there are tons of benefits:

  • Based on numerous sources, breastfeeding can burn anywhere from 500-900+ calories per day (this equates to the average person running 5-9 miles)

  • Most moms are more aware of what they are putting into their bodies while breastfeeding. We watch our alcohol and caffeine consumption, we try to eat a more balanced organic diet. Basically we realize that food is actually fuel for our little ones to help them grow and be healthy. This mindset shift will absolutely help you make healthier choices.

  • Your child will stay healthier, ultimately giving you more balance and rest. Your breast milk is constantly changing to meet the needs of your baby. Their saliva sends signals to mom to "customize" her milk to help baby if she is getting sick or is in need of more of a particular nutrient. Fun Fact: You can stay healthier too! Breastfeeding reduces mama’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The longer she breastfeeds, the higher the benefit.

  • Breastfeeding may also have positive long-term effects on your weight. This is certainly likely due to the boost that it has on mom's metabolism!

  • Breastfeeding will help your uterus return to pre-pregnancy size faster!

  • Truth: some mom's do actually find it difficult to lose weight while breastfeeding because they are more hungry from that calorie deficit that comes from nursing. If these moms aren't choosing a balanced diet, they may even see a decline in their supply. This is why it's so important to be conscious of what you're eating and really consider how your food is fueling you. I'll touch more on this later but this is the perfect motivation to make healthier choices, your child's nourishment depends on it!

3. Drink tons of water

I feel like we hear this all of the time and it generally falls on deaf ears. If you would have told me this pre-pregnancy, I would have rolled my eyes.

Now that you're done rolling your eyes too, give me a chance to redeem myself!

If you are breastfeeding (see tip #2) you will need to drink an absurd amount of water to ensure you keep up your supply. Although that sounds like a pain in the ass, it will mostly come naturally to you because you will also be super thirsty!

Get yourself an extra large water bottle and keep it by your side. One of my best friends bought me this bottle in my first week as a new mom and I always kept it next to me while I was nursing.

Pro Tip: You're busy enough, so be proactive and put your essentials within an arms reach. If you have a favorite spot to feed your baby- where you know you're going to spend most of your time - set yourself up with a care kit! Get your big-ass water bottle, a few snacks, the TV remote, a phone charger, spit-up rags and maybe even a good book and package it all up. I loved keeping this carrier by my side! This will also make water consumption and healthy food choices easier! A lack of prep seems to always lead to poor, "easy" choices.

Please, whatever you do, don't fill up on other liquid calories! Skip the pop, juice, sweet teas, etc. -- wouldn't you rather eat your calories?

4. Food for fuel

You are what you eat! If you eat crappy food, you feel crappy! It's super simple. I think it may come a little easier to breastfeeding moms to find more motivation and purpose for making healthy choices, but it's certainly a good time for anyone to "turn a new leaf". Having a child is truly the start of a new chapter and you can decide what you want to bring with you from the previous chapters and what you want to leave behind.

Think about what you're eating and why. Ultimately choose foods that make you feel good, give you energy and provide essential nutrients to you and your baby.

Don't be strict and cut out entire food groups, count calories or create "rules". Rules beg to to be broken! Instead strive to make healthy choices as often as possible. Look for healthier versions of your staple meals and never cut out your favorite treats; just be conscious of portion size and frequency.

My guilty pleasures are ice cream and cheese! Often after lunch I'll have a Skinny Cow Ice Cream Bar and every. single. night. I make a little cheese platter to have with a glass or wine or a Truly Hard Water.

Here are a few simple tips:

  • Don't skimp on the protein, that's what keeps you feeling full

  • Try not to eat dinner late and definitely don't use starchy carbs for late night snacks or meals

  • Watch your alcohol intake (it's full of sugar and slows your metabolism)

  • Keep healthy snacks around and unhealthy snacks out of the house

  • Cut out anything that makes your feel sluggish (especially once you start exercising-- it'll quickly become apparent what foods feel like a brick in your belly vs. give your energy)

5. Set new goals

I feel like the minute you label your health improvement goals as a "diet" there is an immense amount of pressure. Not only is there pressure but it also indicates that what you're doing is temporary and that you don't believe it is sustainable.

Take time to set goals that are healthy, attainable and sustainable.

Think about what you want.

I get it, you want to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight -- but there has to be more to it than that. Why does weight loss matter to you?

Do any of these statements resonate with you?

"I want to feel confident in my own skin."

"I want my husband to look at me like he did BEFORE he saw a baby come out of me!"

"I want to make healthy choices because I'm breastfeeding and I'm fueling my baby's growth and development."

"I want to be the kind of mom who can get down and play with her kids, run around and not be too out of shape to keep up."

"I'm putting so much time into prioritizing my new baby, I want to do something that is just for me."

"I want to look good in my swimsuit on family vacations and not shy away or miss out."

"I want to set a good example for my child."

Find YOUR reason and build upon it! Build a plan but don't let yourself get discouraged if you aren't 100% compliant.

Give yourself some grace and room to be human!

My biggest challenge has always been that I tend to have an "all or nothing" mindset. The minute I "fall off the wagon" I just quit.

Be flexible and encouraging to yourself!

In fact, share your progress with others as often as possible! Not only does it help with accountability but it also may inspire someone else.

When I started Heather Robinson's 12 Week Challenge I promised myself I would post a little snippet video of the workout each day on my Instagram. The purpose was to hold me accountable to doing my workout. God forbid I don't post a video and someone asks me about it! Especially because I started the challenge with 2 other family members who I was taking personal accountability to motivate and progress along side them.

You might be shocked to discover how many of your connections will reach out when you share your health and fitness journey. So many people are having similar struggles and maybe you can be their saving grace and be helpful to each other!

So don't give up and don't let yourself get discouraged. I believe in you mama!

For those of you who want to hear a little bit more about my personal weight loss journey, you can find that below...

Here's the scoop:

When my husband and I started trying to get pregnant, I was at my heaviest. I was very fit and healthy in my teens/early 20's but slowly became more sedentary, drank more alcohol, ate out more frequently and eventually stopped prioritizing my health.

Luckily pregnancy was pretty kind to me and I only gained about 30lbs total by the end.

Then my sweet daughter entered the world!

Thus, priorities changed by force initially: “sedentary” wasn’t really much of an option anymore and the running around has only increased. Cue lifestyle change #1.

Social drinking became much less important after going 9-12 months without any alcohol (que a boosted metabolism and less calories). Lifestyle change #2.

Food became more for “fuel” than ever before as a super busy, tired new mom. Less about emotional, habitual snacking. Lifestyle change #3.

Then exercise… I’ve been bit hard by the fitness bug earlier in life and I understand how it can be all-consuming but when you become an adult and a parent it becomes really hard to make something else a priority like that. 10 years ago I had a personal trainer, I ran a ½ marathon, I habitually went to hot yoga classes, I did lots of spinning but that isn’t what people need in this stage of life!

We need BALANCE.

So my next small change was carving out a small chunk of time, between a meeting, during naptime, while playing with Lylah; 0 pressure, just literally whenever it fit and I pushed myself hard for that short time. It became a time to disconnect from everything else and connect with myself. A time to feel strong and confident. That was lifestyle change #4.

When you push yourself hard physically you become much more self-aware of how your diet makes your body feel. When I ate a quesadilla for lunch, I’d have a miserable workout. When I had a salad, I rocked it. So slowly it felt better to choose something healthier. Eventually on days I didn’t workout, (because trust me, I didn’t find time every day) I would make that quesadilla and realize that it made me feel crappy- workout or not. I found a desire to swap small things to make me feel better. A few favs: Halo 50cal ice cream bars, fat free strained Greek yogurt, Bolthouse yogurt-based salad dressing. Lifestyle change #5.

Again, for me there was never some "rock bottom", self-loathing moment that led to an intense desire for change. Maybe that happens for some people but I was never inspired to just overhaul my lifestyle and abruptly “change my ways”. In the end small changes slowly snowballed over and over into a very different lifestyle overall. It wasn’t abrupt. There was no pressure. There were just adjustments along the way that felt good and led to other adjustments.

Now I'm in a different phase of my journey. I'm really not concerned about weight or pants sizes but I just have the desire to feel good! I feel mentally and physically strong when I exercise and test my own limits. I feel confident in my skin, not just because of how I look but because of what I've accomplished.

So if you don’t feel good, try some small changes. If you want to chat please reach out!

As promised, here are some products that I love for a fit, healthy lifestyle:

  • Protein Powder: I personally don't do well with dairy but wanted to make sure I was helping my muscles recover after tough workouts. I've loved this Sunwarrior Warrior Blend protein powder because: 1. It's cost effective 2. It has added health benefits with plant-based ingredients like pea protein 3. It has won awards for safe ingredients 4. It tastes great 5. It has amino acids and BCAAs.

  • Silicone Wedding Ring: This might feel like a weird one but I got so sick of taking my ring on and off for workouts. My husband has been wearing a silicone ring for some time now and I finally jumped on the band wagon after lots of research. If you're looking as well, I highly recommend the Groove Life brand!

  • Bike Trailer: If you're looking for ways to be active with your baby/toddler, THIS. IS. IT. We absolutely love this bike trailer. I did so much research before deciding on the Burley Minnow and I have no regrets! It's top rated in safety, easy to attach, comfortable for your little one and also easy to break down!

  • Wireless Earbuds: If you don't already have wireless earbuds you need to step into the 21st century! They are a huge help with working out and not having to worry about pulling on the cords! Also, I love these Vislla Wireless Earbuds because they don't fall out no matter how many burpees I do!

  • Non-slip Towel/Mat: So I personally don't feel like I need to workout on a yoga mat because I have plenty of carpet or rugs to workout on. I do; however, despise getting my floor sweaty and also have pets, which makes for a gross combo when laying on the floor doing crunches and getting fur stuck to your sweaty back (bleh!) So I love to lay down this Haoke Non-slip Towel! It's easy to wash and also keeps my workout space nice and clean.

  • Caffeine: So I'm pretty obsessed with Starbucks coffee but truly found that coffee just doesn't sit well in my stomach during workouts. So I went back to an old favorite, Advocare Spark! I'm not big on Direct Sales brands because I feel like they are always so high pressure but in this case I just buy online and don't work with a "rep" which is nice. Give it a try! I even added a 10% off code here that I have!