Ok SO.. I am NOT a fitness model or personal trainer. I do NOT have the perfect body (whatever that is) I’m just a mama of two, who has successfully lost the baby weight fairly quickly. So I thought I’d write down what I did. There are probably others who had success in ways completely different than mine. But here is my story, and I’m hoping that what worked for me will work for you too! Here are my reasons, my excuses, how I overcame my excuses, and my tips. My goal is to help other Mommys out there get healthy! :)
I actually have many reasons. First, my kiddos. I want to be a good example of health and discipline. They watch everything we do, whether we know it or not. If they grow up in a family that eats healthy and is active, then that is what will be normal to them. If they grow up eating fast food everyday, they will think that is normal and later it will be much harder for them to learn to be healthy. Also, I am a registered nurse. My livelihood is helping others with their health, so I feel as if I need to practice what I preach. Don’t yall think its kinda weird to see doctors and nurses taking a smoke break after they just lost a patient in respiratory failure due to COPD? Thats what I’m saying. Another reason (and sorry if this is TMI) is for my husband. Sorry, but its true! I’m the only woman he gets to see naked… so you’re welcome babe. And my final reason for getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight: ME. I did it for me. Because I feel better, sexier, more content, more like myself when i’m healthy and active. Eating whatever I craved for 9 months was fun, but it’s time to feel good and back to normal. :)
- Its HARD: “Ok yes, nothing good comes easy, blah blah. But it seriously takes work. Hard work. The pounds came on so easy, I don’t even want to think about all the crap I ate when I was pregnant. I just want to be complacent. Just stay how I am. How will I ever get back to where I was?” -Well, what I remembered was that i’ve done it before. I gained (and eventually lost) 5o lbs with my first son. I had to tell myself “I can do it again!” Think back to a huge challenge that you have overcome. Remember standing at the base of that mountain and how daunting it was. Now remember overcoming the obstacle and how amazing that felt! If you’ve overcome that, then you can do this. This is obtainable. It has already been proven: you are an overcomer! And nothing good comes easy. If it was easy then no one would have problems with it! Hard work ALWAYS pays off!
- I’m too busy: This was a big one for me because I am in a season right now where I am juggling so much. “When will I ever find the time to fit in a workout? I have a toddler, a newborn, no family close, I work, & I’m going to graduate school full time.” – I had to remember that if I wait for the perfect conditions, I’ll never get anything done. When is it a good time to go back to school? Never- you just have to start! When will the conditions be perfect now that I have a baby? NEVER. You just have to find a slot in your day to fit it in. If you have no slots, you make one. I work around my family’s schedule. I never workout at the same time every day because I only can sqeeze it in when I can… If I work or have clinical, I do it when I get home during C2’s nap and while C1 is still at daycare. If its a school day, I usually take a rest day. And if its a weekend then I do it first thing in the AM before everyone is up and going. Does it always work out that way? Nope! But there are enough windows of time during the week to get 3-4 good workouts in. We all have many hats we wear and things we are juggling, but I promise if I can find a window, you can too!
- Its too expensive: “I can’t afford anything extra like a gym membership right now.” -This one’s easy: you dont need a gym or personal trainer! I did all my workouts at home. Insanity (a Beachbody DVD program) is what I used because it is what works for me. I got it after my first son was born… getting good use out of it! But it doesnt even have to be that. Find some pilates or bootcamp type DVDs, rent them from the library, or find some on YouTube. Also, look on Pinterest- theres workout routines all over the place. Print 5 of them out and rotate through them. Put a good playlist together to keep you pumped up! And dont forget about a good old fashioned run outside, its great for your mind, heart, and lungs!
- But I have TWO under 3: “I cant pay extra for the childcare, and if I did join a gym (which I didnt) then I wouldnt take the little baby to the daycare there, yuck. Getting them to nap at the same time is a miracle! And if that happens I need that time to clean or study!” -This is another reason to find your windows of opportunity. Do it when they nap (the dishes will still be there, your window of time to get a workout in might not be), have them go to the park with dad (they need bonding time anyway!), do it before they wake up or after they go to bed. Having kids is no excuse. And what does that teach our kids? ‘Sorry guys, but your life made it too hard for me to accomplish anything, so when stuff gets hard for yall just do what I did and give up.’ Haha, ok maybe thats a little harsh, but I really do believe that children should not be used as an excuse for anything.
- Genetics: This one wasnt really one of mine, but I know that people’s genetics can be very frustrating because its something that is out of our control. No, we cant pick what are DNA is composed of, but think about it this way- your family genetic history is what you are predisposed to. NOT what you 100% for sure will be. Much of “genetics” arent actually in your genes, but trend because of the ways families live. If your mom cooked unhealthy, you learned to cook/eat that way- it may be more of a nurture vs. nature situation. Which is GOOD news, because you can change that! Genetics may make things harder, but it doesn’t have to make them impossible. Also, you had the same genes now as you did before you got pregnant. So if your goal is to get to your pre-pregnancy weight, then genes can’t possibly hold you back. That’s an awesome concept to remember!
Ok so here it is, how I lost the baby weight in 10 (not so easy) steps:
1. Accept your “Mommy Body”: I don’t care who you are, or what personal trainer you hired- your body will not be the same after a pregnancy. Ever. Listen- IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. Just take a minute to absorb and accept that right now. Even when you get down to your pre-pregnancy weight, you wont look/feel the same… things have shifted, skin has stretched. Is your life the same now that you have a baby? HECK no. Better? Of course! So with that said, accept the changes and look forward to shaping yourself the way you want. You may never look 20 again, but you could feel even better!!
2. Prepare: Do your research and form a plan. Make sure you start when you are ready. Not when you FEEL ready because that might never happen- but start after you have a plan and support. Ask your husband or sister or friend to do this with you and keep you accountable. Find a work out program and healthy recipes. Empty out your pantry with everything that is processed or loaded with sugar and empty carbs. Get it all out of your house! If its not there, you wont eat it. Get some new running shoes and a cute workout outfit! Reward yourself just for starting this adventure!
3. Stay Disciplined: Remember the hardest challenges you have overcome and think about them every day. Write them on your mirror: “I overcame our first deployment pregnant, in school, with a toddler!” That was mine, write what makes you proud of yourself! Also, I’ve found that when I am disciplined in one area of my life, it is easier to be disciplined in other areas as well. Start with something small, like putting your plate in the dishwasher instead of the sink everytime, taking the grocery cart to the proper spot instead of leaving it by your car in the parking lot (it sounds hard, but its really not, haha!), finish a book you’ve started… Little things to get you in the habit of daily resolve. Use motivators- I am in two weddings later this year and I live in Florida so we go to the beach often. I dont see anything wrong with using big events, a high school reunion, or an upcoming vacation as a motivator to get fit. Whatever is gonna get you started and keep you going! Just always know the difference between motivators and your reasons.
4. Breastfeed: According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, mamas who breastfeed tend to lose pregnancy weight more quickly due to the calorie consumption needed to produce and let down breast milk. On average, a breastfeeding mom will lose 2-4 lbs more per month. The oxytocin that is released in order to promote milk let down brings a calming feeling while it contracts the uterus back to its normal size. Also studies show, that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis. I could write a whole post about the benefits for your baby as well. 6 months is the recommended length of time, but do it as long as you and your little one want/need! If you’re wanting to breastfeed, or know someone who needs good education, get the book “AAPs New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding” by Dr. Joan Younger Meek.
5. Set a Goal: Goal setting is so so important. Be as detailed as you can. Set a start date and an end date. Write on your mirror with dry erase marker: “I WILL lose 35lbs by July 4th”. Get a calendar and write out your menu, your work out times, weigh-in days (I suggest only once a week, in the AM), along with the family’s schedule. This will make it easy to find your windows of opportunity. And ALWAYS schedule in time to rest- you know you deserve a mani/pedi!
6. Forget your Excuses: We all have them. Thinking abut them will only hold you back. Write them out on a piece of paper and then rip it up! Whatever you have to do to totally forget about them. They are no longer a part of you. Do not even give them the chance to enter your thoughts. Only positive thoughts allowed! If you find that one day an excuses finds its way in and you slip up, remember that tomorrow is a new day. Don’t let ANY excuse destroy you. Keep on pushing on! Talk to your accountability partner, think about why it happened and make a plan to combat it next time. The main point: KEEP GOING.
7. Eat Small, Clean, & Often: This is THE MOST important step!!! Losing weight is ALL DIET (think of exercise being more for cardiovascular health + toning up). If you never are able to work out but can eat small, clean, and often.. you WILL lose weight. The first two weeks I ate small/clean/often, I lost 10lbs without working out once during that time. This is such a huge point that I am going to write a whole post on it describing my diet and technique in detail. But for now:
- Small: 300 calories or less per meal- a LÄRA bar, a protein shake, small chicken breast with a veggie, a small spinach salad, a small wrap (half the size of a wrap you would get at Chick-Fil-a) with light dressing, egg whites, 1 cup of oatmeal with almond milk, a banana, black bean burger with 1/2 avocado, ect….
- Clean: ABSOLUTELY NO- fast food, salt, seasoning packets, processed foods (in a package with an expiration date over a month), foods that contain more sugar than fiber or protein (READ THE LABLES), no fried food, no soda- ESPECIALLY “diet” soda. Fast food is not real food. Think of it as un-edible (and it will be after you eat clean for a while). AVOID: breads, dairy, alcohol, juices, more than 1 cup fruit a day. STOCK UP: H2O H2O H2O!!!!!! USDA certified organic meats and veggies, almond milk, some fruit, oatmeal, egg whites, almonds, simple organic spices, thin cut chicken breast, lean flank steaks, lean ground turkey, Truvia, fresh (not instant) coffee, Morning Star and Kashi are trustworthy brands but still ALWAYS read those labels!!!
- Often: Every 3-4 hours you get to eat a meal! Well a 300 calorie meal. I like to think of it like eating like your baby: every 3 hours while awake :) Basically this kicks your metabolism into high gear. If you eat small, youre giving your body just enough to fuel you for about 3 hours. In 3 hours you’ll start feeling hungry and you can eat again! But just enough to keep you going for 3 more hours. This way your body is using what you need and dips into fat stores because it learns that it will only get just enough to last for a few hours. Skipping meals is NOT ok- because then your body goes into starvation mode and holds onto what it has (my thighs) because it doesnt know when it will get food again. Your body has to trust that you will keep fueling it in order to let some of that thigh go. It does take a few days for your body to learn your new diet, it will be hard. But after about 5-7 days it becomes the new normal and I promise you can get there!! Get past those first few hard days, get used to feeling a little hungry (you will not starve to death!) and then it will get so much easier and you will feel amazing.
8. Sweat It Out: Does mowing the yard count as a workout? Well, did you sweat? Heck yes it counts! Take the stairs, park in the last row in the lot, instead of a movie date with your man try a rock climbing gym or kayaking together! Find a way to be active for at least 30 minutes and that can totally count as your workout that day! Dont forget zumba, yoga, sports, and stroller stride mom’s groups! Cant find one? Start one!
9. Track Your Progress: Take progress pictures for yourself and write your weight down. I dont have a scale in my house because I dont want to obsess over the number. I weigh myself once a week at work or the grocery store; I dont measure inches, but you can, just not every day. I just count how many pre-preg clothing items I can fit into again :) It is important to see your progress to inspire yourself that what you are doing is working and is worth it. If during your progress documentation you see something you didnt expect, you can try to find the reason for the bump in the road and fix it. Which is better than doing something blindly, thinking it is good when its actually detrimental! For example: starbucks “skinny” lattes- I was getting a skinny every time and not understanding why I still was holding onto 5 lbs… once I switched to black coffee with a little stevia in it, it solved the problem! It was the fake sugar in the syrup. Your body reacts to sugar substitutes such as Splenda the same way as sugar with an insulin spike. yikes!
10. Reward Yourself: Weekly and at the end once you reach your goal, let yourself enjoy something! This consists of, drum roll please….. a CHEAT MEAL! Woo! You deserve it! ONE cheat meal a week will not hurt you. In fact it will help you! Its something to look forward to at the end of a long week of dieting, and it lets you give in to your craving without loosing control. When I have a cheat meal I actually appreciate every bite, when I wouldnt if it was something I ate every day. Also, I think you’ll find you’ll feel super stuffed and maybe even a little sick after your cheat meal. You get used eating healthy! :) Then at the end of your journey, when your goal has been met its time to celebrate! Take a vacation, go on a shopping spree, get your hair done to top it off!
Final thoughts- just things to keep in mind:
According to my midwife instructor (Who is a Captan in the Navy and has been in OB/GYN care for over 30 years) women who don’t loose their baby weight by the baby’s 1st birthday usually never do. If that statistic doesn’t light a fire under you, then I don’t know what will! A collection of data was done by Erica Gunderson, PhD: “Approximately 14% of women are likely to become overweight within 1 year after delivery.” I’ve also read that it is important to get healthy in between babies because it is so much harder to lose the weight of 2 pregnancies. But if that is you, write it down in your excuses page so you can rip it up ;)
If you’re interested in more of the stats take a look at these studies: Loosing Weight Before Pregnancy & Childbearing and Obesity
Like I said before, I am no fitness expert. But I hope that other mama’s can find inspiration to get determined and see how powerful they can be! If you make the decision to be determined in your goals, then you have already won! We sustained life within us for 9 months, and then gave birth to our children… we can do anything after that! We are Mamas, hear us roar!
Please share any tips, recipes, things that did/didnt work for you… and please share your progress!