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After my sons were born, the first thing I wanted to do (after recovering from a c-section of course) was start losing the baby weight.
With baby #1, I gained about 50 lbs and had to work incredibly hard to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
I know firsthand that starting a new weight loss journey after growing a baby for 9 months is no easy feat.
Today, I’m sharing all the helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way that will help you get started and stay motivated to reach your goals!
How long does it take to lose weight after having a baby?
Before we jump into the tips, let’s address the main thing we all want to know– How long will it take?
The amount of time it takes a new mom to lose the baby weight depends on, well, a lot of things.
- How much extra weight did you gain? Not counting baby, placenta, water retention, etc.
- Are you breastfeeding? Not eating enough can affect milk supply.
- How hard are you willing to work? The more effort you’re willing to put into losing weight after pregnancy, the faster you’ll see results. (This doesn’t mean starve yourself!)
After that first initial drop in weight after baby is born, an average of 1-2 lbs per week is a realistic amount to aim for.
Tips for losing weight after baby
Stop drinking soda
One soda has roughly 140-170 calories and 46g of sugar.
Assuming you drink 3 sodas per day (one with each of your meals), this tip alone will save you an extra 420-510 calories and about 138g of added sugars per day. That’s crazy, right?
Swapping out soda for water and tea (this green tea is my favorite) helps tremendously!
Staying hydrated can help with losing the baby weight because you won’t be mistaking hunger for thirst.
Ready to commit to drinking more water? Grab your free 30-day water challenge printable and get started!
Skip the crash diets
I cringe every time I come across someone saying they’re only going to eat 1,000 calories per day. I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, or anything like that, but I do know that there are no shortcuts. Starving yourself will only land yourself in a vicious binge cycle and that’s just not worth it.
Not only that, if you’re breastfeeding, not eating enough can affect your milk supply.
So, how much is enough? That will vary from person to person based on your activity level, etc. I feel better when I don’t drop below my BMR at least. BMR is your basal metabolic rate. You can learn about it and calculate yours here.
At the end of the day, numbers are just numbers. Try to be mindful and listen to your body.
Eat real food
There’s a difference between eating real food and eating food products.
Everything is usually fine in moderation, but for the most part, I’ve found that it’s much easier to stay on track if you’re skipping the processed foods.
A good rule of thumb: If it’s pre-packaged (even if it’s marketed for weight loss), it’s probably best to avoid it.
A simple apple with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter beats 3 bites of 100-calorie crackers any day in my eyes. 😉
If you need some new healthy meal ideas, the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle has lots of time-saving recipes and meal plans!
Fill up on veggies
Speaking of real food– One easy trick you can try is to fill half of your plate with your favorite veggies.
Vegetables are filled with fiber and other nutrients and are low in calories– Basically the holy grail for losing the baby weight.
Tip: An easy way to get more veggies in your diet is to serve up veggie noodles. My favorites are zucchini noodles (you’ll just need a veggie slicer to make these!) and using spaghetti squash as a noodle replacement.
Disclaimer: Make sure you have been cleared by your doctor before you begin any new exercise regimen! This is usually done at your 6 week postpartum visit.
The more you move, the more you burn… but the trick is to find an exercise you actually enjoy. It may sound painfully obvious, but this will do wonders for your motivation.
Forcing yourself to do something you hate or realistically don’t have the time and energy for is a recipe for disaster.
Related: Free Printable Workout Log/Tracker
Related: Free Printable Workout Calendar
Set a step goal
If you’re not quite ready to hit the workouts yet, committing to a daily step goal is a simple way to start losing the baby weight.
Activity trackers are perfect for helping you stay motivated to move.
I’ve found myself walking way more than I normally would just to hit my step goal (think parking far away from the grocery store on purpose.. *gasp*).
There are a tons of activity trackers to choose from, depending on your goals and budget.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option– I went with the Fitbit Flex 2, because it…
- Tracks your sleep
- Gives you an estimate on calorie burn
- Syncs to my iPhone
- Lets me set goals within the app
- Isn’t bulky on my wrist like some I’ve seen
- Syncs to Myfitnesspal
However, a friend of mine absolutely loves her Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2. 💪
Find healthy substitutions
If you live for your daily milk chocolate candy bar, it’s not very realistic to say you’re going to cut out all sweets completely, right?
Instead, look for substitutions that align with your goals and your style of eating. There are substitutions for everything. You just have to do a little bit of searching to find them.
Speaking of chocolate, these dark chocolate squares with sea salt caramel are my favorite!
At the end of the day, watch your portions and remember that balance is your friend!
Meal plan + prep
Do you ever find yourself stressing over what to cook? Maybe you’re like me and it’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation when the 5 pm hunger strikes.
Planning your meals ahead of time (especially dinners) will help you stay sane.
If you can prep some of your meals ahead of time, that’s even better. Sometimes I use meal prep containers to prep lunches from dinner leftovers. (They stack neatly in your fridge and are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe too.)
Also, heading to the grocery store with a plan will prevent you from buying things you really don’t need, which is also a plus for your pocketbook!
Make a plan for losing the baby weight
Not only should you write your goals down, but you also need to figure out the exact action steps that’ll get you there.
If you have a goal to fit into your old jeans, what specific things are you going to do each week or day to make that happen?
Try this free goal setting worksheet to help you brainstorm!
Keep a food diary
And finally, one of the biggest tips that will help you stay on track to lose the baby weight is to keep a food diary.
Keeping a food diary is beneficial for so many reasons.
- It helps you stay on track. Let’s be honest… nobody likes to log or write down a Big Mac and large fries!
- You can refer back to it for future meal ideas.
- If something isn’t working, you can use your food diary as a troubleshooting tool and figure out why.
I love Myfitnesspal for this, but pen and paper works perfectly fine too.
Create healthy habits
Next, if you want to start losing the baby weight and keep it off, creating new healthy habits is key.
Success doesn’t come from saying you’re going to lose X amount of lbs in Y amount of days.
The Compound Effect goes into this in more detail, but success actually comes from doing those small, daily tasks consistently over a period of time.
Like exercising consistently, drinking plenty of water consistently, making the right food choices… consistently.
Here’s a free monthly habit tracker printable to help you start establishing the healthy habits that’ll help you start losing the baby weight and keep it off for good!
Celebrate non-scale victories
Listen, I know you want your jeans to fit and the scale to go down, but it is imperative that you strive for more wins than the ones you can see on the scale.
The amount of weight you’ll lose isn’t something you always have FULL control over. One week, your weigh-in might be awesome. The next, it might be half of what it was the previous week. Or exactly the same.
Instead of beating yourself up when it happens, it’s much better to focus on non-scale wins too like the step goal that you demolished for the week… Or the fact that you exercised 4 times. Are you forgetting that you completed your entire workout this time without having to take a break?!
These things matter, too.
Track your measurements
At times, it might seem as though you’re making zero progress, especially if you’ve been fixated on the scale.
No matter what the scale says– measurements don’t lie. If your measurements are going down (even if it’s painfully slow!), you are making progress.
You can use an app, store it all in a designated notebook, or even use a printable template.
I’m a huge fan of setting mini goals. And when you crush them? #treatyoself
Giving yourself little mini rewards is a fun way to keep yourself motivated.
And, yes, there are tons of things you can reward yourself with that are not food!
Here are some ideas:
- The new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeballing
- A new planner to organize your life
- A massage
- New shirt/jeans/dress
- New book
It can literally be anything.
After baby #1, I “started on Monday” so many times. I finally stuck to it and took action after one of my best friends agreed to jump on board with me. It’s SO nice to have someone to talk to that’s going through the same thing as you.
If you don’t have an accountability partner, there are plenty of online groups and forums you can join.
There are also numerous new moms on Instagram posting about their fitness journeys that you can follow for inspiration.
OR– Do you love to write? You could always start a fitness blog and share your journey and tips with other mamas.
Take progress pictures
This adds on to the previous point, and I cannot stress it enough. Take progress pics! The scale might like to troll you, but pictures also don’t lie.
A lot of new moms don’t want to take pictures of themselves when they first start because they feel embarrassed and don’t think they’ll ever want the reminder.
If this is you, I promise you will thank me later. You can hide them somewhere or download a locking app on your phone. Just please take the pics!
Kick the all or nothing mindset
Finally, if there’s anything I’ve learned about losing the baby weight, it’s that you MUST kick that perfectionist voice out of your head.
If you “slip up” and eat a whole box of cookies, your whole week isn’t ruined and you don’t have to starve and skip dinner. Instead, have a light healthy dinner, make healthier choices the next day, and move on with your life.
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