Pregnancy is a physical and emotional roller coaster ride with one heck of a spectacular ending. Throughout each of my three pregnancies, I’ve marveled at my body’s ability to grow another human being. It really is miraculous. And for how much I enjoy the end product—a perfect pink-skinned newborn—it’s always intimidating to think of losing the 35+ pounds of baby weight gained.
Here are five areas I focus on after each pregnancy to help lose the baby weight safely and smartly. Being consistent with this game plan has helped me shed the pounds and get back into shape, and I’m relying on the same strategies again after baby #3.
5 Smart Ways To Lose Baby Weight and Get Back in Shape
1. Counting macros
The term “macros” became a buzzword a few years ago and everyone from celebrities to fitness gurus started counting them. You can learn more about macros here, but basically, counting macros is just a fancy way to count calories. For example, the 200 calories you get from a bowl of ice cream are completely different from the 200 calories you get from a salad. It’s just a way of keeping track of how many fats, carbohydrates, and protein you are consuming.
To lose the baby weight and get back into shape, I like to keep track of my calories but I also try to make those calories count. It’s all about making healthier options every day. When at home, I’ll opt for a 60-calorie veggie and yogurt dip over a bag of chips. Counting macros helps me stay on track and make healthier choices.
2. Jumping back into a regular fitness routine
For me, jumping right back into a regular and consistent exercise routine is vital, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees. Exercising postpartum boosts energy, tones abdominal muscles, is useful in preventing postpartum depression, and helps you sleep better.
Apart from staying active with my kiddos all day, I do love to exercise. When I can’t get to the gym, I make sure to workout at home. Either way, it’s important to make exercise a priority every day.
3. Drinking plenty of water
A lot of the initial weight you lose after giving birth is retained water, so it may seem counterintuitive to be putting more water back in your body, but it’s actually very beneficial. If you are nursing, you’ll need to increase your fluid intake anyway and water is the best beverage. Drinking plenty of water will help your body stay hydrated and satiated. I find that it helps curb my appetite for aimless snacking. If you find yourself craving something particularly sugary or salty, first drink a full eight ounces of water and chances are, you’ll be satisfied.
4. Stocking up on healthy snacks
Whatever I keep in the fridge and pantry, I’ll eat, so I try to really stock up on healthy options like fresh asparagus and mini peppers (my favorite!), grilled chicken, and whole grain crackers. Keeping the good stuff in sight at all times reminds me to make better choices when it comes to food. Eating healthy also helps me feel energized and overall mind and body wellness.
5. Core strengthening
That motivational phrase No pain, no gain is completely true. You’ve gotta put in work to shed that baby weight and get back into swimsuit shape. I focus on core strengthening exercises like the plank and variations of the plank. It strengthens those abdominal muscles that have been stretched out by pregnancy. Plank exercises also help focus on the linea alba—that fibrous strip that runs vertically down the center of your tummy. For many women, pregnancy stretches the linea alba and after you give birth, it leaves a noticeable gap. You can tone that area up more effectively with plank exercises than you can with sit ups and crunches.
Finally, the most important thing I cut myself is some slack. It took 40 weeks to grow this baby and it’s going to take some time getting back into pre-baby shape. And I’ve learned to be okay with the fact that pregnancy has changed some aspects of my body for good. When trying to lose your baby weight, don’t get frustrated when the pounds don’t come off immediately. I’ve found that as long as I’m consistently exercising and eating right, it will happen.
If you want to check out the app that I’m using to help me apply these tips (plus gives me grocery lists, meal plans and workouts for the gym and at home) and reach my post baby #3 weight-loss goals, you can read all about it and how you can try it for free HERE. It’s been an amazing tool for me and I hope it will help some of you as well!