As a new mom, Kate Horney knows what it’s like to be a busy woman who wants to regain her body (and energy). She created BeyondFit Mom to give women the tools they need to reach their fat-loss, health, energy, nutrition and training goals. And today, she’s sharing how to get back into your healthiest self after baby.
5 Ways to Simplify Your Postpartum Fat Loss
Every mom knows that there is a TON of conflicting information out there about how to lose baby weight. If you’re not an expert, it’s really difficult to know where to start. Especially when you’re sleep-deprived, overwhelmed and already have so much else on your plate.
If you don’t know where to start (or if sifting through fat-loss programs makes your head spin), you’re not alone. But getting back your pre-baby body doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are five easy-to-follow postpartum health and fitness tips to help you bounce back after baby.
1. Set realistic goals. When it comes time to get serious about losing the baby weight, make sure you keep your expectations in check. It’s tempting to set unrealistic goals and then be frustrated when we aren’t where we “should” be. Although every new mom is eager to look like our old selves again, one of the most important things to remember is to be patient with yourself. Give yourself some grace and remember, it CAN be done … but it’s going to take time to get your body back.
How much time? The National Women’s Health Information Center advises that about one pound per week is a safe amount of weight to lose postpartum, and will not affect your milk supply or the baby’s growth. With the average woman gaining about 30 pounds during pregnancy and typically losing around 18 to 20 in the first month, that final 10 pounds will push your postpartum fat-loss goal to several months after baby makes an arrival.
2. Do it at home. “Getting slim without the gym” has been favorite motto since becoming a mom. As you know, there are some days when getting out of the house to exercise is simply not an option. The good news is that you can still get fit in the comfort of your home. So, don’t despair if you feel like you don’t have time to get to the gym. Remember, your goal is to do SOMETHING.
And you can get a fabulous fat-burning workout in the comfort of your own home. Hold your baby and do squats and stationary lunges (no weights needed!) for your lower body, then lift your baby overhead (get ready for some giggles) to strengthen your arms and shoulders, or lay on your back and do “baby chest presses.” And during those precious 30-minute nap times, grab some dumbbells and get in a quick weight-training workout while your little one sleeps!
3. Lift weights. Speaking of weight training … if you’re ready to get your body back, cardio alone won’t cut it. This is the most often missed secret in postpartum fat-loss. If you’re wondering how to lose baby weight, you have to look past the cardio and on to the weights. The most successful postpartum training plan incorporates a balance of activities including leisurely walks, some HIIT, plenty of stretching, proper core rehabilitation (especially important for moms who have diastasis recti) and also weight training.
Weight training is the No. 1 way to change the shape of your body. I recommend that moms do strength training three times a week for 30 minutes to boost their metabolism and balance metabolic hormones that help burn fat long after your workout is over. This will go will a long way toward tightening and toning your body as well.
4. Eat right. Proper postpartum training must always be fueled by proper postpartum nutrition. I see far too many moms trying low-calorie, low-fat diets as they try to figure out how to lose baby weight. Diets don’t work. In fact, many times these types of diets make you put on weight.
As a new mom, your body needs maximum nutrition to recover from pregnancy, refuel after your workouts, and if you’re breastfeeding, to provide fuel for your baby, so immediately dropping your caloric intake to an unreasonable level isn’t healthy, and may actually cause you to gain weight or do some long-term damage to your metabolism. You certainly don’t have to count calories (in fact, I prefer to focus on quality over quantity). To give you an idea of what you need to sustain your baby while you are breastfeeding and safely lose fat, the National Women’s Health Information Center advises consuming at least 1,800 calories per day. For a healthy baby and momma, concentrate on well-balanced, healthy food choices that include foods rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folate. Remember to focus on foods that keep your hunger, energy and cravings balanced. If you do that, the caloric intake will take care of itself.
5. Find some accountability. Having social support, whether through friends or family (or awesome women in an online community) is key to reaching your long-term goals. We are social creatures by nature, and we feel good when we have someone who listens and can relate to what we’re going through.
Consider getting involved with mommy and baby fitness classes (you can workout and bond with your baby at the same time) or join a group workout if you belong to a gym. Group training — both online or in person — allows us not just to get a great workout, but also to develop and foster friendships — many of which reach beyond the walls of the gym. If you don’t have a local group, connect with moms in a similar situation as you online. The key is to establish a built-in support system and to make sure you have someone to help you on your journey.
Have more questions? Feel free to follow and reach out to Kate on her Twitter: @Beyondfitmom! —Kate Horney