I’ve wanted to share my post pregnancy weight loss journey with you for months now! And if you follow me on Insta (which I hope you do), you know that I’m expecting baby number 2. That is pretty much back to back pregnancies and totally planned that way because we want our kids close in age 🙂
But before trying for #2, it was extremely important for me to lose all of my post pregnancy weight gain. And I’m happy to say that I was able to achieve that goal. So, grab your cup of coffee (or matcha latte) and keep reading for my pregnancy weight loss tips and views on the MOM BODY!
My Post Pregnancy Weight Loss
Last February, my husband and I welcomed our first child into this world! A healthy and hungry little cutie who weighed a whopping 9 pounds. It was love at first sight!
After carrying a child for 41 + weeks ( yup, I went past my due date), going through the roller coaster that is pregnancy, suddenly looking into a little human’s eyes makes everything you went through totally worth it and you would do it a million times over! ( and we did lol).
Life as a new mom was definitely the coolest, most rewarding and difficult job on the planet. I loved being responsible for our little guy and for the first 3 months postpartum focused solely on my new role as a mother.
Losing weight or getting my body back after baby was not a priority at all. I just wanted to have enough energy to bond and care for my child.
Pregnancy Weight Gain
During my pregnancy I gained 38 pounds. The Institute of Medicine sets the gestational weight gain guidelines based on various BMI ranges. For example, the IOM recommends gaining between 25-35 pounds for women with a normal BMI.
However, if the woman’s BMI is underweight then she will need to gain more weight than the standard recommendation otherwise she will run the risk of pregnancy complications. On the flip side, if a woman is overweight the IOM recommends less weight gain than the standard 25-35 pounds or she may also run the risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetics, etc.
The First 3 Months
My weight gain was just a little over the recommended for a healthy BMI. However, my obstetrician wasn’t concerned and neither was I. I was able to stay active during the entire pregnancy and ate realtivly healthy focusing on mostly plant-based foods.
Some things that helped my post pregnancy weight loss:
Although I wasn’t able to breastfeed for more than 5 months, I believe breastfeeding played a major role in shedding the excess baby weight early on. It is estimated that breastfeeding can help burn 300-500 calories a day.
I slept when the baby slept. Proper sleep is essential for recovery after childbirth and for post pregnancy weight loss. If you don’t sleep at least 7 + hours each night, you will experience surges of cortisol – the stress hormone. Cortisol surges are associated with resistant fat and weight gain. Another thing that happens when you are sleep deprived is a disruption of your hunger and satiety hormones ghrelin and leptin. In other words, when you haven’t slept correctly, your defenses are down, your sugar cravings are up and you are more likely to overeat or make poor food choices.
Drinking enough water is a no brainer. Pregnancy and the postpartum stages of your body release lots of hormones. By drinking enough water throughout the day, you reduce bloating, flush out toxins, and keep your digestive organs in good working order. But, if you don’t drink enough water, you will not metabolize your food properly and are more likely to feel bloated .
Post Pregnancy Weight Loss | Months 4 – 6
After having the baby, my body felt soft to the touch. I had lost muscle definition and strength. I remember I couldn’t even do a few sit-ups without running out of breath. It was obvious, I was completely out of shape.
My body fat percentage had also increased, causing cellulite. My once toned abs gone and my hips much wider. Just keeping it REAL, ladies!
During these next two months, I shifted my attention to getting back into shape. I had developed a good rhythm with my baby, went back to work and felt strong enough to start working out and cleaning up my diet. I had the inner motivation to get it done! Well…(most of the time)
motivation is like an ocean wave. It has highs and lows
I want you to know that NO ONE is perfect 100% of the time. Not an Insta #fitmom and not even a health coach who has dedicated 6+ year to the field of nutrition science like myself.
But knowing my body extremely well I knew that I had to start working out again and clean up my diet. For me, this meant no more bagels, no more croissants, no instant oatmeal from Trader Joe’s (guilty), and no more sugar in my coffee. I switched back to stevia and monk fruit. (for the benefits of monk fruit, check out this post)
Some things that helped my post-pregnancy weight loss:
1. Meal Prepping
This may seem impossible as a new mom but it’s not that difficult to do once you get the hang of it. I personally stopped eating anything that was processed. If it has a longer shelf life than you do, you need to trash it! I prepped chicken breast, fish, chickpeas, and quinoa in large batches. Then I added some fresh salads or steamed veggies. That’s all.
2. Clean Out Fridge and Pantry.
When you have a baby, its common for friends and family to visit and bring lots of cakes, chocolates, and other celebratory desserts. So, once you are ready to commit to your post-pregnancy weight loss goals, it’s time to clean out your fridge and pantry. If its in your kitchen, pantry or another hide-away drawer, you will eat it. But if all you have is healthy food and snacks, you will be forced to eat those instead. So go ahead and purging your fridge and pantry of chips, cookies, ice cream, white bread, processed condiments, canned soups, alcohol or whatever your guilty indulgence is!
3. Ditching the Added Sugar
You probably know this by now, but as Americans, we overdose on added sugar. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars women should consume in a day is about 100 calories or 25 grams of sugar. That is about 6 teaspoons if you measure it out. And just for reference, one 12oz can of regular coke contains 140 calories from sugar. As you can see, it is extremely easy to go over the daily max without even knowing.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of cardio that helps burn fat for many hours after exercise. The type of HIIT I did was sprints and jumping jacks. Look up a bunch of HIIT workouts on Youtube.
5. Resistance Training
I did resistance training 3 x weekly. This type of exercise is based on using resistance to induce muscle contraction. Some popular forms of resistance training are plyometrics and full body weight exercise. I used Kayla Itsines App and also did Hard Corps, a 22-Minute military inspired workout.
6. Keeping a Food Journal
I kept a food journal for 1 week and tracked exactly how much-processed food, added sugar and unhealthy fats I eat. Don’t forget to track liquid calories too. If the scale is not budging, then start being really conscious of your food intake by writing down what you eat in a day. You can also use My Fitness Pal for a more precise record. There are countless studies that show that people will lose weight if they start writing down what they eat even if they don’t change anything.
Post Pregnancy Weight Loss | The last 10 pounds
This last 10 pounds was definitely the hardest for me. I avoided most forms of added sugar. My diet consisted of 1 to 2 servings of low glycemic fruit, healthy fats, lots of lean protein and two big salads daily. I also drank 8-10 glasses of water daily.
Some things that helped my post-pregnancy weight loss:
1. MCT Oil- I started adding MCT oil to my morning coffee daily. MCT is a type of fatty acid that is derived from coconut oil. There are lots of studies that indicate that MCT oil boosts fat burning and can also help you lose weight. So basically, your body absorbs the oil directly from your gut into the liver and doesn’t get stored as fat but rather burned quickly and turned into energy by your body. Cool right!?
New Body | Learning to Love & Accept Yourself
Will you ever get back the body you had once as an 18-year-old?
My Final Recommendations for Post Pregnancy Weight Loss
1. Before you start on your post-pregnancy weight loss journey, the first thing you should do is set a realistic weight loss goal. Remember, it takes 9+ months to put on the weight and it can take you 9+ months to take it off! Be patient. It’s going to take more than a juice cleanse or a detox to get to where you want to be.
2. And never-ever starve yourself in hopes of losing weight. Your body loves routine and skipping meals or going to bed hungry will do more harm than good. In fact, it will sabotage any efforts of weight loss at all!
3. Finally, if you find that you are struggling, doing everything in your power to drop the weight but the scale just won’t budge, then you may want to work with a pro to help you reach your goals. Most of us know the basics of eating healthy and the internet is full of diet advice. But most of these diets are not based on science and most of them are dangerous and don’t work!! Working with a qualified nutritionist/ health coach makes all of the difference.