You’re trying to cope with a newborn, lack of sleep, sore boobs, inflamed wrists and stretch marks. And on top of that, there’s all that extra weight to lose! Who’s going to find the time to exercise? There’s barely enough time to take a shower!
I’ve been there. And for some things on that list, I’m STILL there!!
For both pregnancies, I gained about 15 kg. Although I knew that I would put on weight, seeing the number on the scale was always a shocker and I wondered if I would ever be able fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes again, or if I was doomed to a life of yoga pants and baggy tops.
After both pregnancies, it took me about 7-8 months to get back to pre-pregnancy weight. And after the first pregnancy, I actually continued to lose a bit more weight before I got pregnant with Elijah.
Since hitting my pre-pregnancy weight a few weeks ago, and being able to pack away some of the very unflattering maternity clothes, I’ve had a couple of people ask me about how to lose the baby weight, and especially the extra folds around the tummy.
So here are my slow-and-steady tips for getting back into pre-baby shape:
Be patient and ignore negative comments
It took 9 months to put on the weight. It will take a little while to get it off! Ignore people who may mistake you for still being pregnant, or who make rude remarks. You are on your own timeline, so don’t get discouraged.
Use a corset/abdominal binder
This is a tip from my mum, who had 3 kids and is now 61 years old and just as slim as she was when she got married at 23!
I used the belly bandit bamboo for about a 3+ weeks postpartum. I was aiming for a month, but I didn’t have enough perseverance! It can get hot and uncomfortable after many hours of wearing it. And the velcro section does bulge out and can be seen through clothes.
If you have the will-power, you can be like actress Jessica Alba, who wore a double corset 24/7, for three months!!!
Use a measuring tape, not the weighing scale
I used a measuring tape to measure my waist circumference. Numbers on a measuring tape just don’t affect me as much, emotionally. So it didn’t send me on a this-is-never-going-to-work-I’ll-just-give-up-and-eat-a-jar-of-peanut-butter binge. With time, you could probably guestimate your weight based on your waistline measurement. But a 0.1 inch increase on a measuring tape somehow doesn’t feel as bad as a 0.1 kg increase on the weighing scale!
Yes, you use a few hundred calories to produce breastmilk. But the reason I think this helped me was because I was often directly latching my baby. It was just really troublesome trying to eat with one hand (especially when it’s the left hand), and manage a fidgety baby underneath a stuffy nursing cover.
On those occasions when the baby was sleeping during a mealtime, I would still try to rush through the meal, in case he woke up. There was no time to hang around the table and take seconds… or even dessert!
Eat protein in the morning, and throughout the day
I didn’t follow a particular diet plan, but eating protein (a lot more than you think you need – about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight) helped to reduce the bloated post-carb feeling. Eggs, chicken, beef, pork, even protein shakes and protein bars when I had to grab a quick bite.
Because I didn’t do any structured kind of exercise (like going to the gym or doing some sport), having enough protein was even more critical, to make sure I minimised the loss of muscle mass.
Eat minimal processed carbs
These were easy to grab, and I love my carbs! Cutting down on rice, bread and pasta was actually not as difficult as resisting the cakes and snacks that well-meaning visitors would bring! But they do make me retain water, so I tried to keep these to a minimum.
Don’t use a stroller
Carrying the baby in a carrier or in your arms not only promotes bonding and other emotional benefits for the baby, but it is also tiring. Strapping a 15-20 pound weight to your body is like wearing a weighted vest all day!
Play a lot of physically demanding games with your child
Piggyback rides, lifting them high above your head, swinging them… they’ll love it, and you get a workout!
Work with a personal trainer
Ideally, you also fit in some time to do a proper workout. You would want someone experienced to help you, especially if you’ve had a C-section, or a condition like diastasis recti. You should look for a customised a program, which includes advice on what to eat so that you can breastfeed without worrying about whether this supplement or that food is going to affect your milk.
Genesis Gym has a team of professional coaches, led by Master Coach Jon (aka my brother!) who have helped many women from pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and post-pregnancy, to be in the best of health. A lot of what I know and tried, is based on what I’ve learned from them.
But do remember that being healthy is more than just a number, so start with the right habits, and the weight loss will follow!
Do you have any tips for losing weight after giving birth?
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to losing weight, and keeping it off?