Between all-hours feedings, a steady stream of diaper changes and endless loads of laundry, finding the time (and motivation) to make it to the gym when you have a new baby can be difficult, to say the least.
Because during those first few whirlwind weeks, you’re too overwhelmed – and exhausted, frankly – to care.
But allow yourself some time to get in a groove, and eventually you’ll want to get your groove back.
Only now you may find yourself stuck in that stubborn limbo between maternity wear and your old wardrobe….so, what’s a new mom to do?
Here are a few tips to help jump-start your ‘body after baby.’
1. Go easy.
Congratulations, you just made a human! Now, give your body a break. Stop comparing yourself to that celebrity who has access to (and an unlimited budget for) a team of people to whip her into shape. Allow at least six to eight weeks for recovery, depending on your delivery, and clear it with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
2. Make goals.
Think of your your weight loss as a journey, not a destination. So rather than immediately snapping back to pre-baby shape, expect to make a few pit stops along the way. Just make sure those increments are reasonable, attainable and measurable – say, losing one pound per week – which will help keep you motivated to keep going.
3. Get moving.
Find an activity you love – whether it’s walking, swimming, jogging or yoga – and hold yourself accountable by signing up for a class at least once per week. Not only will it get you out of the house, but it’ll also establish a good habit. As a mom, you’re also a master multitasker, so squeeze more activity into your daily routine by walking to errands, taking the stairs or parking farther away.
4. Team up.
Whether it’s your partner or a pregnant friend, the power of a pal should not be underestimated. Get out and meet new people in a “mommy and me” type class or gather a group of local ladies to lean on each other for support. Either way, strength in numbers will help keep you motivated and focused on your goal of losing the baby weight.
5. Eat well.
When you’re tired, it’s tempting to grab whatever’s handy and stuff it in your mouth. But with a little planning, you can stay a step ahead: Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with nutritious foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains), limit the amount of junk food brought into the house, practice portion control and eat only when you’re hungry.
6. Get sleep.
The sleep equation is a simple one: Get enough, and you’re less compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy. Easier said than done when a baby breaks your sleep cycles and upsets your metabolism. But get on the same nap schedule, and you can help prevent a long-term sleep deficit, which will keep energy levels up and cravings in check.
7. Lift weights.
Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights will lean you out not bulk you up. Incorporating strength training into your fitness routine not only speeds up your metabolism, but it’ll also help get your guns prepped for hauling around that growing baby! And if you’re not ready to hit the gym or invest in a set of dumbbells, try improvising with household items, such as a milk jug or canned goods.
8. Follow through.
A final word when it comes to keeping those postpartum pounds in check: Consistency is key. Stick with your new schedule until it becomes routine, celebrate your wins, and learn from your losses along the way. Focus on what you’ve accomplished so far (um, like having that adorable bundle!), and always remember: You can look fabulous at any weight with the right attitude.
Stay tuned for part two of this post where real-life moms offer their favorite secrets for slimming down after baby…