It’s not far into a pregnancy that we begin to think about our post baby bodies—more specifically, getting the pregnancy weight off fast! As our midsections expand more and more, we begin to think about our little black dress, skinny jeans, and bathing suit. And if we’re honest - we think of the mothers we know, who never quite reclaimed that pre-baby figure. And while it is true that there can be some permanent changes related to childbearing: stretch marks, breast appearance, and even larger feet—our clothing size, thankfully, is within our control.
But pursuing this figure will be a bit more challenging than it was during your pre-baby life. You will have, or already have, a newborn baby—and possibly other children. You may not be able to train for the next marathon, spend daily time in the gym, or chase the latest fitness fad. But we can all incorporate these basic guide lines into our lives, and get real results. I have 3 daughters—one of which I gained 60 pounds with—and I got the weight off within 6 months, each time. Let me show you how!
15 Get a Pedometer
If you can afford a Fitbit, that’s cool, I hear they’re great. But I have a pedometer watch I bought for $30 from Walmart and it works great. I have also used several $10 belt clip pedometers. Here’s what you do. Wear one all day without paying any attention to it. At bedtime, see how much you typically walk in a day. Commit to doubling it for the next month. Triple it the third month, and so on and so forth until you are walking 15,000 steps a day. It may sound like a lot, but you’ll be there in no time and shedding weight like no one’s business. You cannot aim for goals you cannot track; that’s why the pedometer is vital. I don't recommend pedometer apps because phones die, get lost, or get left on the couch - and we don't want to miss ANY steps.
14 Jack Up Your Water Intake
Water is an appetite suppressant. How many bottles do you drink per day? Again, we’re going to double it in month one, and then triple it. The goal is to consume four bottles a day. When you wake in the morning, grab a sharpie. Write something motivational on each bottle you plan to drink that say. It can be a fitness quote, a weight goal, or anything else that gets you going! You can even tape magazine pictures on the bottles, perhaps your vacation destination (you may want to wear that two piece on a Tahitian resort).
13 Watch Television
Not from the couch though. Watching television while you are working out increases the length of the work out. If you simply work out over the course of your favorite show, you’ve given 30 minutes to fitness. I purchased a $20 used stationary bike, which worked great! It also enabled me to stay amongst my family. I did not need to be isolated to succeed. And if equipment isn’t your thing, Pinterest has tons of printable body weight and callisthenic works outs. And if that’s too much, just go old school. Do sit ups, push-ups, squats, and jumping jackets. March in place in between, while watching your favorite show(s).
12 Hit the Pavement
In comfortable weather, pull that fresh air into your lungs. Grab that stroller and go explore with baby. The park isn’t the only destination. Walk to the local library, to the trail, through upscale neighborhoods, around the schools and small businesses in your area. I wish there was a way of tracking the mileage I put on my double stroller, I'm sure it's a large number - and I love every bit of it! And when my younger girls got older, we moved from the red stroller to the red wagon. Wagons do not have the same ease of use as a stroller. Which is great - resistance training!
11 Only Eat When You Are Hungry
This is a big one for several reasons. The first being the state of your fridge and cabinets toward the end of a pregnancy—you may have been making craving choices instead of nutritious choices. I sure was. In addition to fattening food options, your intake may have been a tad bit much. So, chances are, you don't have the best choices on hand (and tossing them may not be an option), you’re accustomed to frequent feasting, and you’re home all day. That my friends, can cause you to keep much of the unwanted weight. So, have an honest chat with yourself when you’re headed for the fridge. Am I really hungry?
10 Find Things to Do with Baby
There were tons of working out with baby YouTube videos the last time I checked. Which were extremely helpful. But I also started dancing—dancing around my living room with my youngest strapped to my bosom. My 8-year-old and 1-year-old (and sometimes my husband) began to join in! We danced to songs on the radio, Pandora, or my husband’s iPod, for anywhere from a half hour to an hour. The motion kept my baby asleep and tired the other two out for bedtime. It was a win-win-win again situation.
9 Beware of the Workout Partner
Exercise buddies are great in theory! But they can easily become hindrances. If your buddy always has an excuse, soon you’ll have one too. If you want to walk briskly and the buddy can’t keep up, you must to slow down. Or you and your buddy have totally different exercise styles. If you and your buddy are good friends, you can become so consumed by gossip—no real work gets done. If your buddy’s baby hates the stroller or requires a ton of attention, more than likely, you and your little one will not be able to continue your regiment.
8 Buy Something New
A friend once told me, she gets out of exercising ruts by buying new work out gear. When she puts on a cute work out ensemble, she feels beautiful and strong. And she wants to take that jog or walk, to show off her new threads. I had a similar method with work out DVD’s. Every time I bought a new one, I would work out faithfully for at least a month! It was just something about feeling like I had the latest and greatest tools at my fingertips that really fired me up.
7 Keep a Food Log
This isn’t as bad as counting calories, because it’s no math involved, after all - phones are not always available. I bought a $1 pocket size pad, and jotted down a list of what I ate each day. Some days that list brought me to shame. But that’s how it works. It brings accountability. If you commit to making a list every day, in less than no time, your decisions will change. Facing the list is no joke!
6 Make Your Regiment Self Sufficient
Any fitness plan that depends on someone else, is taken out of your hands. And that’s the opposite of what we need. If you can’t work out without a babysitter, and the babysitter cancels—where does that leave you? If you have to borrow someone’s IPod, and they need it, what will you do? If any part of your plan requires cooperation from anyone besides your little one(s), I strongly suggest changing it. All it takes is a couple of times, of the plan going wrong—before the plan is gone.
5 Consider Timing Your Meals
I know I said, eat when you are hungry. That’s step one. But what if you eat at 12:30 p.m. and feel genuinely hungry at 1:15 p.m.? Can you eat another meal that soon? Of course not. Your body may have become so accustomed to a certain level of consumption that it expects it, that’s not the same as needing it. So when you eat a healthy lunch, look at the clock and have a plan. Something simple like, if I get hungry one hour from now, I will drink a bottle of water. Two hours from now, I’ll eat that apple. And four hours from now, I’ll have the chicken breast and asparagus.
4 Put Healthy Before Thin
If you just want to be thin, you are prone to unhealthy habits from starvation diets to diet pills (unregulated by the FDA). Your little ones need you to be happy and healthy and to show them how to do the same. There is no need for them to struggle, as we do, to get on the right path. You can raise them that way. And it starts right now.
3 Affirmation and Visualization
That’s right, the psychological stuff. It works, ladies! Every day, say, “I am healthy, I am strong, I treat my body well so it will last me another 50 plus years”, or whatever you would like to recite. But start putting the right stuff in the atmosphere. Picture yourself happy with your weight, clothing size, and body.
2 Don’t Abandon Strength Training
I know this list is all about the “not trying too hard” fitness approach. But strength training must fit in somewhere. Even if you just grab a resistance band and do a couple of sets of arm curls per week, it’s great for you! You’ll get back down to size relatively quickly but that skin will need to be tightened. Planks and resistance band training will take you from looking good in your clothing to looking good in your skin!
The one everyone knows but is easily forgotten. Breastfeeding burns calories and contracts your uterus, making your tummy the first thing to get back to normal, with the exception of excess skin and stretch marks. Between a flattening tummy and voluptuous breasts, your Vanessa Rabbit body will be in full swing before you know it.
Bonus: Drink green tea! It boosts the metabolism and suppresses appetite. It’s not the rave all across Asia for nothing!