“Mom, your belly is getting big!”
Those are the words my five year old daughter said to me as she rubbed my tummy, six months after having my last baby. My two year old son then asked “Baby in Mommy’s Tummy?”
Nope kids. I just need help losing weight after pregnancy number three.
It finally happened. I didn’t instantly lose baby weight fast after giving birth this last time around. Blame being older (27 is sooo old…), metabolism slowing down, sitting around a lot more as I work from home, another large baby (9lbs 4oz), or a poor diet, but weight loss after pregnancy is not easy or fast this time around.
Lately, I am much more self-conscious about my belly flab, love handles, and the fact that my pre-pregnancy jeans are way tighter than they used to be, if I can squeeze myself into them at all.
It doesn’t feel good at all.
I know that the 10-15 lbs of baby weight hanging around after my last pregnancy are not magically going to be gone by my daughter’s first birthday in three months, unlike after both my twin pregnancy and my son’s pregnancy, where by only a few months postpartum I only had those last stubborn 5lbs to lose, which I managed to do before the first birthday came around.
I really think in the first several months after giving birth, exercise should not be high on your list of important items. Your body is moving things back into their proper places, healing from stitches, scarring, and tearing. It needs a period of rest. I think going for walks is awesome and helpful to help you heal, especially after a C-Section, but much more than that, well, stop showing off.
(No, really, if exercise is your passion, go for it. It’s actually totally cool with me. But, if exercise is your passion, I’m not sure why you are reading this post. It’s not really meant for you. You know what to do to lose baby weight fast!)
By about four months postpartum, hopefully when your little Junior is on a better sleep and eat pattern (and so are you), your thoughts on exercising can take a more predominantly place in your life.
I’m trying to do something about it. I’m heading to a gym with childcare ideally 2-3 times a week and using various tools to help me not hate working out (as much). I even got myself a simple step tracker to encourage me to get more steps in (though it’s still not encouraging enough).
In addition to upping the activity and fitness levels (and this new mom app is my new all time favorite!), I’m going back to the basics of what I know about losing weight after pregnancy and general weight management.
It’s a little silly to me that I should offer up any advice on this matter as tall and skinny have generally been two words to describe me, but I know that certain tricks have helped me lose baby weight, and that these principles will help anyone in being healthier.
Weight Loss After Pregnancy Tips
1. Listen to your body
This one is huge. And my #1 weight loss tip.
If you feel full, then stop eating and don’t eat any more. If you feel bloated or gassy, then don’t eat any more food. If you feel gross and sick because you’ve been eating fast food and/or too many sweets lately due to holidays, stress, busy schedules, or birthdays, then stop eating out, stop eating sweets, and eat healthier meals cooked from scratch at home. If you don’t feel well, then eat the proper bland foods until you do. If you are tired or completely exhausted due to a new baby, then sleep (sleep helps you lose weight too).
Listen to your body. Listen to how it feels and adjust your diet and life accordingly.
2. It’s okay to leave food on your plate.
As a kid, my mother once told me that all of the skinny friends she has always leave food on their plates. I never consciously thought about the fact that I often left a few pieces of pasta, or a bit of bread, or some broth behind, until she said this to me. I did this because of point #1 above: I listened to my body, and that meant stopping before my plate was completely cleared.
Part of the reason for this is that I’m also a bit of a picky eater. Honestly, I feel weird doing it because I often seem like the only one I know who has a scrap of something left behind. And it seems ironic (hypocritical?) since I am such a frugal person: you’d that you’d think I’d be aghast at wasting food! But, for some reason it doesn’t bother me. So, I don’t eat every last crumb, crust, or portion served to me. And leftovers are still frugal, right?
3. Eat an early dinner.
Due to the fact that dinner is for many the largest, most calorie-heavy meal of the day, especially if topped with dessert or even a snack of popcorn before bed, eating late doesn’t help you lose weight. If you eat your large, full dinner early, then you have more time to move around and help your body naturally digest the calories. Plus you’ll likely avoid more heartburn and indigestion. Eating late is often followed shortly thereafter by binge-watching the latest episode of your favorite TV show or falling asleep in your bed… well, if you are like many Americans (myself included).
4. Don’t eat after dinner.
Don’t eat a midnight snack! This tip is by far the biggest trick to implement. Along with eating an early dinner, do not eat anything afterward! Let your body rest from digesting until breakfast the next morning (which I always eat). Feel free to drink some water if you feel the tummy rumbling, but avoid snacking. I’d rather be going to bed hungry then with a full belly! A full belly in bed makes me feel uncomfortable.
*Note – Nighttime eating does not cause weight gain, unless you exceed your daily caloric intake for the day, which is very common to do when you are eating late at night. Thus I try to avoid it altogether. Especially because I never actually count my calories.
5. Stop eating out.
I love eating out. Probably because I hate cooking and making meals every single day. It also tastes amazing. And I don’t have to clean up afterward. Eating out rocks. But, when it comes to losing weight, chowing down on burgers, fries, and sodas, is not helping you. Even “healthy” options are often high on the calorie count. The best bet is to eat at home and avoid the sit-downs, diners, and fast food places all together. Check out my post on how we avoided eating out for two whole months for tips on how to make it work with kids and busy schedules.
6. Drink more water.
Drinking more water can help you lose weight because it helps you avoid overeating, and means you’re not drinking your calories. It also boosts your metabolic rate, which helps you burn calories. The general suggestion is to drink one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight, or half your body weight in ounces in order to see the weight loss benefits of water.
Oh, and pitch the soda, tea, juice, and coffee too if you drink any of those.
Like I said previously, exercising, even if only walking, is important to losing weight. Aerobic exercise will help you burn more calories, but weight training will build muscles and help you lose fat. I recommend doing both!
8. Strengthen your core.
Did you know stronger abdominal muscles lead to weight loss? I have avoided doing a lot of abdominal exercises because I have diastasis recti, but now that I am doing the right exercises to strengthen my core it is making a huge difference for me. It’s putting my organs in their rightful place (thanks pregnancy!), increases my flexibility, strengthens my back, which means I can exercise harder and longer (thus prompting more weight loss). I recommend the Breaking Muscle’s 12 Week Program if you have diastasis recti as well. And I have found this app to be friendly to my DR as well.
9. Give up the sweets
I love desserts, sweets, and treats. It doesn’t matter if they are sour, sugary, made with natural ingredients, pre-packaged, or homemade – if it is a treat I will eat it. Unfortunately, the calorie in these foods tend to be very high. My post-dinner bowl of ice cream wasn’t helping me lose weight, or the second serving of brownies at a church function. My husband and I have done it before, and gone without eating any sweets or dessert-type foods for months at a time. I am currently cutting way back on my consumption and loving how much better I feel, and the less I am craving these types of food.
10. Grab the right snacks.
Because I am giving up the delectable deliciousness that is brownies, ice cream, pies, cakes, candy bars, and donuts, I am seeking out the right snacks (and really should have eaten more healthy pregnancy snacks all along). I am not one who naturally goes for a fruit or vegetable when needing a little something to tide me over until lunch or dinner, and so I hate that the well-intentioned fresh produce I buy rots in my fridge crisper drawer.
I recently started eating Sunsweet’s new line of Philipine Tropical dried fruits instead: Philippine Mango, Philippine Pineapple, Thai Coconut Chip, and Philippine Green Mango. They last way longer than their fresh counterparts, are sweet like a little treat but much healthier to consume. I like to mix them into my yogurt or eat straight out of the bag. I love the pineapple and mango! The mango pieces are thick and soft with a sweet floral taste so it’s easy to see why it’s America’s #1 mango! And can you ever go wrong with eating pineapple chunks?
The Sunsweet Philippine Tropicals are grown in unique microclimates in ideal conditions so I get all the wonderful tastes of the tropics delivered to my taste buds. It’s like a mini getaway to the beach. Lucky us, it’s an awesome possibility to make that likeness a reality thanks to the Sunsweet Find Your Paradise Sweepstakes! Visit their website and vote for your favorite tropical vacation locations (from the available options) to enter to win!
With these 10 weight loss after pregnancy tips, I hope you can stop hearing your daughter telling you your belly is big.
I am not a fitness expert or guru (that’s funny to imagine) or a doctor, or a dietitian, so feel free to take their advice over mine. Also, remember that your weight is only a number and doesn’t define who you are.