12 Easy Ways to Lose Weight After Having a Baby
After I had my baby, I was hanging on to a lot of baby weight. As months passed, I wondered when the weight was no longer baby weight and was just extra weight. Since I was dealing with a baby and life's other demands, I didn't have time to join a gym or to commit to strict calorie counting.
So I sought out ways I could get healthier and lose weight that I could incorporate into my routine — ways that wouldn't take a lot of time or effort. Sound too good to be true? It's not.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to drink a lot of water. I fill up a water bottle in the morning and carry it with me everywhere. Rather than trying to keep track of how many cups of water I've drunk, I set a goal to be sure I drink three bottles' worth a day.
Drinking a lot of water has a lot of benefits, and it will help keep you full and away from sugary, caloric beverages. If you think water is boring, there are lots of options from flavoring water with cucumbers or lemons to drinking carbonated water.
Take weight loss head on with a diet buddy
Health coach Mai Trinh recommends finding a “diet buddy” who has similar goals. You and your buddy should each spend 15 minutes a week talking about your goals, what you did to get there, and where you may have strayed off track during the week.
Your buddy then offers some encouragement and advice. For example, if your buddy mentions she had too much dessert, help her find a healthy alternative like a smoothie or chilled fruit to satisfy her sweet tooth without sabotaging her goals.
Step up your diet game
Tracking your progress can lead to real results. I find that using a Fitbit encourages me to go for walks to rack up extra steps. My Fitbit even sends me messages telling me “You can do it” and “Vamanos.”
Many Fitbits also track sleep, which is great for new moms. You can hide your Fitbit in your pocket or on your bra strap with a clip-on version like the One, or go for a bracelet like the Charge that also has a heart rate monitor, caller ID, and can be checked in a few seconds by glancing at your wrist. I've paired my Fitbit with the Aria scale that helps keep track of my weight loss.
Write down how you fill up
Keep a food journal and send it to someone. A food journal doesn't have to be complicated; it's as easy as snapping a picture of what you eat throughout the day with your cell phone.
By tracking what you eat, you are not only more careful about what you consume, but you will be able to clearly see where you need to make changes if you find candy bars sneaking in or notice you go days without eating a piece of fruit.
Health Coach Mai Trinh says to not underestimate the power of food journaling to get you on track to eating healthier meals even if you don't have a lot of time to plan or count calories.
Before you take a bite, take a sec
Eating mindfully can work wonders for weight loss. Mindful eating means pausing for just a second before you put anything in your mouth. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or just bored.
Before you eat the rest of your child's grilled cheese or grab some pretzels on your way through the kitchen, consider if you would be better off waiting for your next meal to eat again.
If you are hungry, think about your choice. Sure, that chocolate bar sounds good, but be mindful of your weight loss and health goals and consider some baby carrots and yogurt instead.
Load the fridge with fruits and veggies
Make it easy for yourself to choose healthy food by doing just a bit of prep work. With a new baby, you don't have a lot of time to prepare home-cooked meals from scratch, but keeping some washed grapes, baby carrots, and apples in the fridge takes just about no time at all.
Taking just a few minutes to wash fruits and veggies just one day a week can mean a week or more of healthy, ready-to-eat food at your fingertips and can make eating well as easy as reaching for a candy bar.
You can't eat something you don't have
Make good choices at the supermarket. This takes no extra time at all because you need to go food shopping anyway. While you are the supermarket, skip over the chips and chocolate altogether. If you don't have junk food in the house, you won't be able to eat it — it's that simple.
Out of sight, out of mind
Realistically, it might not be possible to keep all junk food out of the house. If you absolutely must have some soda or treats on hand for guests, kids, or your partner, try to keep it somewhere that you have work to get to — like the basement or even the attic.
This way, you will not grab for unhealthy food because it's easy to get, and even when you are craving sugar, you might decide it's not worth the effort and go for healthy food instead.
Use your baby weights
Jennifer Johnson had a high-needs baby who wanted to be held all the time. Been there? Me, too. But instead of sitting around cuddling her little one all the time, Jennifer found a way to incorporate her little one into her routine to help her lose weight and stay fit.
The answer? Make small changes to what you are already doing — holding and bonding with your baby. A couple of Jennifer's tips are:
- Incorporate movement into the nap process: Hold baby close and do squats, side steps, slow dance, walk up and down the stairs in your house — whatever gets you moving and helps lull him to sleep.
- Think outside the chair and make friends with the floor: Instead of always sitting on the couch or in a chair, try sitting on the floor more often. When you sit on the floor, you change positions more frequently, become more aware of your alignment and posture, and expend more energy getting up and down than when you plop yourself onto the couch.
Go outside for a stroll
Another Baby Strong Workout tip? “Walk. Walk. Walk. Walking is one of the most amazing forms of exercise, yet it's also one of the most underrated. Try committing to going for a walk (even a short one) every day. Do the best you can.”
A great stroller can help you go further, more often. A Quinny Buzz Xtra is a great choice for walking with never-flat tires that will go over all kinds of terrain. Long walks are easier if you have plenty of storage so try pairing it with a QuinnyBox to allow you to take whatever you need on the go, whether it's lunch or blankets for nap time.
If your baby wants to be held, or you want to get some extra benefit from your walk, try a baby carrier that will be easy on your back and comfy for baby. Baby Bjorn carriers are a popular choice because they allow babies to look out at the world.
Use your Fitbit to help you track how much you are walking. Challenge yourself to take at least a few more steps every day or link up with friends to challenge each other.
Watch your portions!
An easy way to shed pounds with little extra work is to pay attention to how much you are eating. Even if you don't change what you are eating at all, making sure you eat less can go a long way. This doesn't mean you need to weigh each ounce on a scale.
This “hand guide” to portion control can help you easily eyeball what an appropriate portion looks like.
Planning ahead can also help.
Plan your meals in advance to help avoid eating empty calories just because it's easy. There are a few ways I've found that make this process go more smoothly without a lot of extra work.
Lately, I've been pinning my favorite recipes to a Pinterest board so that I can access them quickly. This way, even if I only have 15 minutes to spend in the grocery store, I can quickly pull up the ingredients I need for a healthy meal or two.
Other things I've used in the past are meal preplanning sites, such as The Six O'Clock Scramble, that sends emails about customizable menus and shopping lists on a weekly basis.
Another way to plan ahead is to portion snacks for the day simply by packing them in appropriately sized containers. The Tri Bento is great for keeping your snacks and meals (even when eating at home) ready to go. The containers are also useful for packing kid snacks on the go!